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The Things They Carried

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Sarah Massey

on 15 September 2015

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Transcript of The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien
Born during the year of 1946 Tim O'Brien grew up in Minnesota where he went on to graduate from Macalester College in the year of 1968, along with graduating it was then that Tim received a draft notice. Although Tim was against the war he went on to serve for the U.S Army to fight in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. Whilst in Vietnam Tim served in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th battalion and in 23rd Infantry Division.
What Countries were involved?
Tim O'Brien
After returning home from the war Tim went on to study government at Harvard University where he graduated and gained an internship for Washington Post. During the year of 1973 Tim's writing career took off as he started to writing about his experiences in the Vietnam War with his non-fiction fiction short stories. Tim has now gone on to become a professor for Texas State University where he teaches a Creative Writing program.
Why did it start?
What technological advances occurred during this time?
American Draft Process
What was it like for the soldiers in Vietnam?
What was the reaction at home?
What were the things they carried?
Were there any important or famous people who served in the Vietnam war?
Film References
What was New Zealand's role in the war?
Events throughout the war
Throughout the war many countries were involved but the main two were South Vietnam and North Vietnam. South Vietnam was supported by the anti-communist countries which involved the United States of America, South Korea, Australia, The Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand, Khmer Republic, Kingdom of Laos and Taiwan. North Vietnam was supported by communist forces which involved Pathet Lao, Khmer Rogue, and Peoples Republic of China, the Soviet Union and North Korea. Many more countries got involved within the war as combat, non-combat, support, doctors, engineers, pilots etc. (reportedly being 21 countries in total).
On December 1, 1969 the United States of America conducted two lotteries to select the men that were to fight in the Vietnam War. This was done as every day of the year was numbered; all of the papers were put into a container and drawn randomly. Men that were born between the years of 1944 and 1950 and the day that they were born on was drawn would be forced to fight in the USA military.
Even though same may not know it, many famous people served in the Vietnam War, some of these people included:
Drew Carey
MC Hammer
Chuck Norris
Dennis Franz
Bill Cosby
Kirk Douglas
Clint Eastwood
Carl Reiner
Hugh Hefner

And the list goes on and on, showing the many brave people that went on to serve for their country.
Mr T
Tony Bennett
Bea Arthur
Elvis Presley
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sidney Poitier
Mel Brooks
Tom Selleck
Alan Alda
During the 1970's and 1980's many films were created and were primarily based on the events that arose during the Vietnam War. In films such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Casualties of War, these were just some of the films at were based on the subject of war. With this came films such as Forrest Gump which address issues that soldiers had when they returned home being a more serious outlook on the issues they had to deal with. Along with Forrest Gump came other films such as The War at Home, Coming Home, Born on the Fourth of July, and Dead Presidents which all address many aspects of the war and the effects that were results from this.

During the Vietnam War life was very different for many of the soldiers; American soldiers were forced to fight in the war because of the draft process. The soldiers faced many difficult challenges throughout their time at war being both physical and emotional. Their emotional weight that was forced upon them caused them to take drastic measures as they would have to deal with the loss of their fellow soldiers, and some fight for a country they have no connection to, some would shoot off their own toes to be able to escape the war. A physical weight they had was having to shoot their fellow soldiers, and sacrifices their lives for the good of other people. Some of the soldiers had a limited supply of necessities while others were strongly equipped and ready for war.
For the return of American soldiers it was quite difficult for them to come back to a realization that they were to be considered as 'baby killers' as this was the first war to be public advertised, this allowed for people back at home in America to see what truly was going on as they would fight innocent people in order to support their country. Although everything that the soldiers had to experience was a very large variety, the most common similarity they all had was the intention to survive the war.
The reaction at home for the American soldiers was outrageous. Being the first war to be publicly advertised on television, many were able get their first visualization on the war. It was with all of this that the anti-war movement started in America, students in the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) would protest anti-war, civil rights, and many more influenced events during this time. The SDS was composed of a large number of different campaigns that brought the students together to protest what they believed in. This lead on to the student strike in the 1970's in which students marched down a freeway in Seattle to protest for the anti-war movement.
Throughout the course of Tim O'Brien s short story 'The Things They Carried' many of the objects the soldiers carried were listed throughout. The notorious items ranged from personal items, to good luck charms, and to weapons used for combat, which involved:
Bruce Springsteen's song 'Born In The USA' was released in 1984 was written for the many men that were forced into the war, but on the other hand it was considered as a patriotic song for Americans.
During the war New Zealand's involvement involved serving for South Vietnam, the involvement was considered as highly controversial. A lot of the involvement they had was through anti protest movements, in 1963 New Zealand's government agreed to send a surgical team to Vietnam, then in 1964 a team of engineers were sent over to help with the rebuild of roads, bridges and reconstruction missions, this was a part of the non-combat involvement. Among all of this there was additional support that New Zealand had for the war sending over supplies, with all of this there were soldiers that were sent to Vietnam being a total of 3890 with the highest peak of 543 people being in Vietnam at the same time. Along with this there were 187 wounded soldiers and 37 casualties throughout the course of the war.
The Vietnam War was caused by a communism threatening to expand into south-east Asia. It was after the cold war that the north and South Vietnam were separated; North Vietnam was left in the hands of the Chinese being non-communist, and South Vietnam in the hands of the French. During the World War 2 Vietnam was overtaken by the Japanese which was originally apart of the French empire, in 1946 the French made an announcement that they were going to try reclaim North Vietnam, in which this meant they would have to fight for their independence.
Throughout the course of the Vietnam War there were a large variety of technological advancements that occurred. One of the most major advancements was the publicity that the Vietnam War had; this was caused as the Vietnam War was the first ever war to have live footage broadcast on to televisions internationally. With this advancement it caused many conflicts that arose over the course of the war, causing the student protests, anti-war movements and marches. This was a major technological advancement as this type of broadcast was the first ever to be done, which gave the people at home the ability to truly see what is going on in the war.
The other major technological advancement was the creation of Agent Orange a substance that was created by a mixture of two herbicides. Agent orange was sprayed over large agriculture land that would sink into the soil, trees, plants, etc. and would work as a toxin to poison the surrounding area denaturing the crops so that there was less areas for soldiers to hide, with is it caused many health issues because of the toxins that were involved in the substance. Even to this day Agent Orange is affecting many people because of the large areas that it was sprayed and the concentration that it was which caused the health issues and to this day is causing many deformations in the effected recipient.
M-16 gas-operated assault rifle
M-79 grenade
tear gas grenades, along with colored smoke grenades
good luck charms which included objects such as a pebble, thumb, pantyhose, The Bible, comic books
starlight scope
pentrite high explosives
plastic water containers
food packages
The weight of these supplies was unbearable but in order to have a chance at surviving the war they were a necessity that was spread through the soldiers to carry.
personal letters
pocket knives, heat tabs, wrist watches, dog tags, chewing gum, lighters, sewing kits, military payment certificates
2-3 canteens of water
steel helmets
jungle boots
flak jacket
.45-caliber pistol
PRC-25 radio
medical supplies
By Sarah Massey
Full transcript