Vietnam War

Oral History Interview: Terry Hairrell


A guard tower on a peninsula near Tam Hai village. Fellow squad members take a break from filling sand bags, September, 1967.

Courtesy Terry Hairrell

Terry Hairrell of Waukegan, Illinois, was drafted into the Army in March, 1967 and served until 1969. 

He was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by friendly fire in Vietnam that also killed one of his Sergeants.  

The experience of being a combat veteran led him to drugs and alcohol when he came back to the states in the 1970s, but he says meeting his wife saved him.

He has since reunited with some of his war buddies who continue to struggle with PTSD.

Hairrell’s firsthand account of the Tet Offensive and his recovery from his experiences during war, provide insight into what war is truly like.