Return to Vietnam

Support for Vietnam trip comes from old friends and new

Posted April 25, 2014

Clarence Williams, left, and Leonard Peebles are returning to Vietnam more than 40 years after fighting there.

The last few days as we embark upon our return to Vietnam have been exciting, emotional and humbling. When word got out of our plans, we were overwhelmed with the positive, encouraging support – from the management and staff at WRAL, where we have worked for 40+ years, and from various friends in the community.

Then I got a call from Bob Matthews. I have never met Bob, but I am very familiar with his work in the Vietnam veterans' community. Bob teaches Triangle-area high school students about the war, and, more importantly, he leads vets back on tours. He explained that he was taking a group back next month to build a playground in one of the villages. We discussed our itinerary, and, unfortunately, we will not be able to meet up with them. We will be back in May before Bob's group leaves. I look forward to meeting him upon his return, as I am fascinated by what motivated him to do his outstanding work for both the vets and the Vietnamese people. I salute him for his continuous service.

My colleague and co-worker Leonard Peebles and I arrived at LAX around 8:30 Wednesday night. The third member of our team, Paul Pope, who is retired from Capitol Broadcasting/WRAL, flew in from Ohio, and we met for a late dinner at our hotel. I think the entire dining room got caught up in our joyful reunion.

Paul and Leonard are Marines. Paul did a tour in Vietnam in 1969. The folks at the Hilton bar laughed when I made a joke about lowering my standards. "No self-respecting PARATROOPER should be seen in the company of a MARINE," I said.

I am truly blessed to have worked with both of them over the years and to proudly call them my friends! 

We are scheduled to fly out early Friday morning for China and then on to Vietnam.

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  • Bob Smith Apr 26, 2014
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    Wow - very interesting - I am very much looking forward to reading the updates. Thank You so much for your service years ago, and for sharing your experience on your current trip!

About this Blog:

WRAL producer/director Clarence Williams is going back to Vietnam, where he served in the war 44 years ago. He'll blog about his experience during his 13-day trip and share stories and pictures along the way.