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Oral History interview of Wilfredo A. Lopez. Interview conducted by Sebastian Giraldo at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 4225 Kissimmee, FL.


0:01 Introduction; 1:20 Background info; Date of birth, place; 1:55 Moving back to Puerto Rico, Dropping out of school; 3:05 Jobs after dropping out of HS; 4:30 Family in military; 5:10 Factors into going to the US Army; 5:28 Parents Reaction; 6:40 Enlisting; 7:12 Helping fellow Puerto Ricans by translating for them; 9:20 Differences between draftees and enlisted-men; 10:26 Basic training in Fort Jackson; 11:15 Thoughts when arriving to basic training; 12:05 General day to day of Basic training; 12:53 Thoughts on drill sergeants; 13:33 Tests in basic training; 15:40 Leave to visit family in Puerto Rico; 16:28 More thoughts on basic training; 17:40 MOS and being sent to Germany; 18:04 Arriving in Germany, getting accommodated to the culture; 19:56 Interacting with the local population; 20:26 Volunteering to go to Vietnam and reasons for going; 22:11 Memories of Germany; 23:24 Leave before going to Vietnam, went to see family, going to Oakland; 25:13 Trip to Vietnam, discussions about Vietnam with others and arrival; 28:12 Duties will in Vietnam, amount of work, personal training; 30:30 Interaction with civilians, allowance to leave base; 32:32 Involvement with battle, frequency of combat; 33:34 Loss of a friend to a land mine, bombardment at nights; 34:40 Location where he was stationed, other experiences in Vietnam; 36:02 Length of enlistment; 37:00 Coming back home, treatment of veterans, wearing civilian clothes; 38:02 Reasons for keeping memories of Vietnam to himself; 39:02 Withholding service from future employers, also from other people; 41:01 Talking about Army in Vietnam and misconceptions of USA population; 43:30 Help by government, personal disabilities, mistreatment of Veterans; 46:36 Life after service, seeking education, did not show off he was Viet veteran; 49:58 Thoughts on how the government treated veterans, discusses PTSD; 51:46 Veteran groups, dislike of holidays, perception of peacetime veterans; 57:24 What it means to have been part of Army, closing thoughts, other thoughts; 1:00:56 Closing remarks.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Puerto Rico





Home State


War or Conflict

Vietnam Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Unit of Service

2nd Armor Division (Germany); 11th Cavalry (Vietnam); 20th Combat Engineer

Location of Service

Fort Jackson (S.C.); Fort Houston (Tex.); Wiesbaden (Germany); Da Nang (Vietnam); Pleiku (Vietnam)

Highest Rank

Staff Sergeant; SSG

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Presidential Commendation; Civil Defense Medal; Gallantry Cross (Vietnam); Vietnam Campaign Medal


Served as Tank Track Mechanic (19K20 MOS).


"Comfortable discussing combat." -- The interviewer.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

Puerto Rico


Giraldo, Sebastian

Interview Date

Fall 11-21-2017

Location of Interview

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4225 Kissimmee, FL


Lopez, Wilfredo A.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Army

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


Giraldo, Sebastian

Length of Interview

62 Minutes


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 & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type