Streaming Media


Oral history interview of Mr. James L. Hughes. Interview conducted by Walter Napier at the VA Medical Center (Lake Nona) in Orlando, Florida on 03/22/2018.


0:01 Introduction; 0:30 Early childhood and education; 1:50 Life before the Marine Corps; 2:20 Enlisting in the Marine Corps; 3:02 Boot camp; 4:45 Special training/ ITR; 6:00 Being sent to Vietnam and first impressions; 6:30 Job in Vietnam; 7:55 Average day in Vietnam; 8:30 Experiencing race riots in the military / Whites v. Blacks; 9:10 Down time in Vietnam; 9:50 Getting attacked/ Rockets/ Shrapnel; 10:45 Tet offensive/ Napalm; 13:20 Convoys; 15:15 Coming home/ Agent orange; 16:10 Split tours in Vietnam (1969, 1970, 1971); 17:10 Patrolling in the mountains/ Missiles; 17:45 Total time in Vietnam; 18:00 R&R: Cam Ranh Bay; Japan; 18:47 Time in Paris Island; 19:00 Deciding to retire from the Marine Corps; 19:15 Being an NCO; 19:30 Feelings on the Vietnam War; 20:10 What it means to be a Marine for him; 20:40 Most memorable moment in the service; 21:30 Advice to anyone considering entering the Marine Corps; 22:00 Coming home/ Reception; 23:00 Returning to civilian life/ Hardships; 24:10 Profession after the Marines; 25:05 Getting sick/ After-effects of the war; 25:30 Losing friends due to the war (suicides; drinking; PTSD); 26:40 Advice for veterans entering the VA system; 27:50 Advice to those entering the service/ Appreciation for the servicemen; 28:50 Other health issues due to time in service and Vietnam; 29:05 Closing remarks.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Orlando (Fla.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Vietnam Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st

October 1967

October 1971

Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Air Force

Unit of Service

19th Tactical Support Squadron; Bien Hoa Airforce Base, Vietnam

Location of Service

Texas; Illinois; Germany; Vietnam; Florida

Highest Rank

Major; Maj

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury



Tet Offensive


Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal


Exposed to hostile fire while supervising flight live aircraft maintenance operations.


Awarded Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal twice.

City of Birth


Country of Birth



Napier, Walter

Interview Date

Spring 3-14-2018

Location of Interview

University of Central Florida


Hughes, James L.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Air Force

Collection Description

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

49 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida


Video; MovingImage


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.


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type