The Way It Really Was” as Experienced by a Teenage Soldier

Paul King, who went to Vietnam as a 17 year old soldier, details his experiences during the war in his memoir, “Vietnam: The Way It Really Was.” King went to Vietnam as a young man wanting to serve his country, and left with visions and memories that still haunt him.

Like many other soldiers who were sent to Vietnam, King had no idea of the experiences that awaited him. In his memoir, he describes the heartbreaking deaths of his friends and fellow soldiers, as well as the horrors of seeing the aftermath of battles.

Being a tank commander and combative, he was often reduced to a private for his “misdeeds”—only to be promoted again. At one point, his only true companion was a precious dog, Shot-See, who saved his and his men’s lives many times over by alerting them to booby traps and hidden enemy soldiers before they reached them. With Shot-See’s death, Paul faced the danger of war head on as a designated sniper. He was released in dangerous areas with no backup, no communications, and no identification. His mission was to disrupt the Vietnamese by himself.

This is a story of a brave man who faced death and lived to tell about it.

“Now all I have left is bad memories and a few pictures left of what this is all about. I, and all vets who were in combat, have to live with these things, and will take them with us when we die. This book has caused many hundred hours of pain just to write it. It has made me think of things I have trying to forget for the last thirty-seven years. I know now that it never goes away” (King, 2017).

About the Author

After Paul came back from Vietnam, he still had two years left in the military. Those two years were the hardest because Vietnam had changed him forever. After those two years, he got out of the military and entered civilian life, but he could not hold a job. He tried for four years and went from one job to the other. He didn’t understand why he had so much trouble adjusting. After the four years, he went back into the military where he stayed for two years. However, there were issues that came up, and he couldn’t stay in. After Paul tried to get help, they told him to do what he had to do, and released him from service. After Paul was released from service, he went to the VA hospital, and the military told him he might have PTSD. It wasn’t until 2003 when…

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