Vietnam War

Oral History Interview: Joseph LaHood


Joseph LaHood grew up in the south end of Peoria, Illinois and was expelled by four different high schools over the course of two years. Faced with no other option, LaHood decided to join the Marine Corps.

He completed basic and infantry training in California and from there went to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to learn about supply.

In December of 1969, LaHood was sent to LZ Ross in Vietnam, where he administered supplies and had night patrol duties. Despite his attempts at getting an early discharge, LaHood had to stay in Vietnam an extra six months.

When he returned from the war, LaHood submerged himself in his studies and his work.

He attended years of therapy to unpack the more traumatic memories that he had repressed from his experiences in Vietnam.

In the process, LaHood rediscovered his Catholic faith and became a deacon for three different churches. LaHood cannot justify the traumas that occurred during the Vietnam War, but he believes that these experiences helped him serve and empathize with others who have experienced similar emotional trials.