Oral History interview of John Wyatt. Interview conducted by Wyatt, John at Orlando Public Library, Orlando, FL.
0:00 Introduction; 0:24 Early life in Los Angeles and Family’s Military Background; 2:14 Moving and Growing up in Michigan and Ohio; 2:33 Siblings; 2:39 Parents as Only Family Members in Service; 2:44 Perspective on Military Involvement in Vietnam and Volunteering for the Draft; 5:02 Family’s Reaction to Military Involvement and Relationship with Parents; 6:09 Induction in Cleveland and Experience in Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia; 8:01 Interaction with Different Kinds of Service Members: Draftees, Enlisted Members, and National Guard Members; 8:39 Graduating from Basic Training; 8:48 Advanced Training to Drive Tanks and Decision-Making About Special Training; 12:00 Infantry Officer Candidate School; 15:28 Role as Defense Counsel for 10th Aviation Group; 18:57 Defense Case that Led to his Orders to Leave for Flight School; 23:05 Reflections on the Military Justice System; 25:16 Flight School, Advanced Helicopter Training, and Accommodations during Training; 26:27 Treatment of Draftees, Enlisted Members, and Minorities, and Media Depictions of the Vietnam War; 31:18 Drug Usage Amongst Troops; 32:00 Conflicts with Tactical Officer and Lack of Time to Eat; 34:03 Aviation in the Army, Role as Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam, and Information about Division; 37:53 Reaction to Being Sent to Vietnam; 38:27 Traveling to Vietnam; 38:55 Location in Vietnam and First Impressions; 39:31 Flight Training in Vietnam and Duties as Platoon Leader and Operations Officer; 42:44 Details about Missions, Interaction with Colin Powell, and Flying Hours; 45:08 Alcohol and Drug Usage Amongst Pilots, Night Missions; 47:15 Plane Models and Their Features; 49:22 Incorporating Techniques Used in Vietnam in Recent Training for Afghanistan and Iraq; 50:49 Teaching Helicopter Students and Diversity of Students; 51:53 Returning to Vietnam as a Skycrane Pilot for Second Tour; 53:06 Flying Skycranes in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Da Nang, Vietnam; 53:56 Parachute School, Advanced Individual Training Company Commander, and Deciding to End Service; 54:48 Role during Second Tour, Progression of the War, and the Impact of Borders; 57:53 "On Strategy" Book by Harry Summers, Politicization of War, and Comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq, Afghanistan; 01:01:12 Drinking, Beach Going, Movies, and Games for Relaxation in Vietnam, Rest and Relaxation Time, Relaxation in Iraq and Afghanistan; 01:03:44 Prevalence and Details about Drug Usage in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; 01:08:19 Relationship with Fellow Pilots and Officers, Leadership Decisions, and Success as a Pilot; 01:13:07 Interaction with Locals in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand; 01:16:54 Communicating with Friends and Family via Letters, Radios, Phones, Computers, and Satellites; 01:20:56 Emotions and Friendships during Vietnam War, Involvement in Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association; 01:23:23 Leaving the Military, Joining the Army National Guard, and Therapeutic Environment of the Army National Guard; 01:27:10 Preparations for and Deployment to Iraq; 01:29:29 Comparing Experiences in Vietnam and Iraq; 01:37:30 Leaving the Service and Reception by People in the States; 01:38:57 Reflections on President Bush and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Supporting Orphanage in Iraq; 1:40:14 Reflections on Importance of Service and Patriotism; 1:40:39 Helmet from Vietnam, Photographs, and Newspaper Article Featuring Flight to Fallujah; 1:43:11 Conclusion.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Los Angeles (Calif.)
White - Hispanic
War or Conflict
Vietnam Era; Operation Iraqi Freedom
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Begin/End date of Service - 2nd
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
U.S. Army National Guard
Unit of Service
F troop 8th Cavalry Americal Division; 478th Heavy Helicopter 1st Aviation Brigade; Troop N (AIR) 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment: Company B, 1st Battalion 171st Aviation Brigade
Location of Service
Chu Lai (Vietnam); Da Nang (Vietnam); Iraq
Captain; CPT; Major; MAJ
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal; Bronze Star; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal
Cavalry Aero-Rifle Platoon Leader; Cavalry Operations Officer; Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader; Cavalry Troop Commander; unit training officer; Army Flight School Instructor Pilot.
Type II diabetes due to agent orange exposure, hearing loss due to 39 years as a helicopter pilot. Served as: Instructor pilot at Fort Walters, Texas; Platoon Leader, Operations Officer 8th can; Air troop Commander 107th ACR. 40 years total service (active and national guard). Won Distinguished Flying Cross twice, Air Medal 32 times, Army Commendation Medal 3 times; total medals 27.
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Orlando Public Library, Orlando, FL.
Wyatt, John W.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present -- Personal Narratives; United States. Army; United States. Army National Guard
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES; University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Central Florida, RICHES, "Wyatt, John W. interview" (2016). Veterans Oral Histories. 439.