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Battlefields, Boeings, and Basketball Courts

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Broadcast: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
The war in Vietnam touched many different lives, in many different ways. This special Veteran's Day episode of With Good Reason shares memories from an NBA All-Star who played pickup games with the troops in the jungle; a soldier who navigated the Mekong Delta in a patrol boat while his baby daughter was born back home; a flight attendant who firmly told the soldiers, "See you on the way back"; and a young marine whose life was saved by the sacrifice of a friend.

Later in the show: In the 1960s, it took almost three weeks to cross the sea from America to Vietnam. Three weeks for young men in crowded cabins with salt water showers and absolutely nothing to do but think about home, the war, and what might be next. In this episode we focus on a single troopship, the General Nelson M. Walker, and a few of the soldiers who traveled on it. There’s the man who wrote home about the voyage to Vietnam—about tanning oil, hillbilly radio, and a run-in with a typhoon. Another who survived the jungles of Vietnam, only to return home and feel as though democracy had passed him by. And then there’s the fiancée who snuck on board to say one last goodbye to her lover before he was killed in action. These stories were produced in partnership with The Vietnam Graffiti Project.

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