A new welcome home for Vietnam era veterans

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT
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NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KTIV) - Dozens of Vietnam-era veterans gathered in North Sioux City Monday for a ceremony intended to make up for the way they were treated the first time they came home.

South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson awarded challenge coins to those veterans who served during the Vietnam War. He says many of those service members received a poor welcome home. One veteran attending the event says he was told not to wear his uniform off base because anti-war sentiment was so high.

“So our captain being the dedicated person he was, he said, ‘we’re going to send some you guys to the parade.’ Okay. That sounds pretty cool. But once we got there wasn’t so cool. People were nasty,” said Jim Nolen, a Vietnam-era veteran.

Another veteran at the event, Ralph Webb served in the U.S. Navy from 1971 to 1974. He had a low draft number and thought it was better to enlist in the branch of his choice. Webb thought the Navy would keep him on the ocean. But he ended up intercepting radio traffic, after learning North Vietnamese.

“There were 20 of us that went to language school together. And out of those 20, we still all keep in touch with each other. And that’s 50 years ago, every summer or every winter, we get together and go someplace and vacation for a week together,” said Webb.

In total, the congressman awarded about a dozen challenge coins at Centennial Park.

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