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Oral history interview with Karen Duffy. Interview conducted by Alex Thorp in Orlando, Florida on September 27, 2016.


0:28 Birthplace; 0:55 Childhood; 3:33 Siblings; 4:37 Father; 7:49 Finding Your Passion; 9:20 Catholic Religion; 11:04 Childhood (Continued); 13:58 Education, Bucket List, Army Special Services; 20:29 Heading to Vietnam, Hawaii Layover; 22:26 Lack of Training, Recreation Center; 25:34 Initial Reaction to Vietnam, Saigon; 28:38 Phuoc Vinh Base Camp Experiences; 29:40 French Bathtub Water; 32:12 Black Swimming Pool; 35:34 Sending Pictures Home; 39:40 Morale for the Wounded; 41:14 Bingo With the Soldiers; 43:02 Phuoc Vinh Base Camp Surroundings; 47:04 Tay Ninh Combat Base Experiences; 51:20 Radio Broadcast Show; 52:08 American-Filipino Relations; 54:28 Twenty-Fourth Birthday; 55:51 Civil Action Group Clinic; 58:06 Tay Ninh Combat Base Surroundings; 1:01:26 Basketball Tournament; 1:03:53 Truck of Brass Instruments; 1:06:40 Going Home, Vietnam War Protests; 1:10:44 New York, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 1:12:52 Agreeing to Second Tour; 1:14:22 Phu Loi Discussion Groups; 1:17:09 Decompressing In Europe; 1:20:59 Cao Dai Temple, Wedding, Strangeness; 1:26:19 Suffering From Heat Stroke, Bob Hope; 1:30:20 Changing Perception of War; 1:35:04 Meeting Injured Soldiers; 1:37:12 Being Captured; 1:40:21 Christmas 1969; 1:45:42 Closing Comments; 1:47:36 End of Interview.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Washington (D.C.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Vietnam Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Begin/End date of Service - 2nd


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Unit of Service

1st Cavalry Division; Philippine Civic Action Group; 25th Infantry Division

Location of Service

Phouc Vinh (Vietnam); Tay Ninh (Vietnam)

Highest Rank


Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Vietnam Civilian Service Medal; Vietnam Civilian Service Medal; Department of the Army Citation


Administered and ran programming for a recreation center at forward bases to include holiday activities, music, programs, library, bingo, games, group activities, talking one to one with service men. Assisted at aid station with minimally wounded men or with terminal injuries. Held classes for short term men on how to re-enter civilian life; assisted chaplain with some of his sessions and helped command with community programs. Volunteered at local orphanage to teach English to deaf students.


“Attempt made to take me prisoner, but, once outside the gates and at a house somewhere outside the village, one of the local people helped me escape and was able to make my way back to base camp.” – The veteran. He was awarded Vietnam Civilian Service Medal in 1969 and 1970. This interview includes transcript file "Oral Memoirs of Karen Duffy: An Interview Conducted by Alex Thorp."

City of Birth

Washington, DC

Country of Birth

United States


Thorp, Alex

Interview Date

Fall 9-27-2016

Location of Interview

Orlando, Florida


Duffy, Karen Gill; Women and the military -- United States; 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


Thorp, Alex

Length of Interview

108 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. 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