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George Robinson Interview

Dublin Core


George Robinson Interview


Vietnam 1970-1972


42 minutes


George Robinson was born in Manhattan New York, but grew up mainly in the Bronx. He attended college at Holy Cross. When the draft numbers came out, he enlisted into the Airforce. Robinson did not want to join the army, but still wanted to serve. Robinson entered Vietnam in May, 1970, and re-upped in 1971. He was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Airforce base. As an advisor his responsibilities were to teach English to South Vietnamese Officers who were in the process of becoming pilots. All air traffic controllers and pilots, use English. His job was teach the officers English, in order to take the pilots exam. Robinson elaborates on his rewarding experiences teaching these individuals. He recalls that one of the most common sayings among the South Vietnamese Officers regarding learning English was, “If you know two languages, you are worth two people.” In his view, he was helping them fight their war, so that American soldiers could go home. Part of the problem was many of the South Vietnamese did not want to fight the war. He says similar to the Civil War for America, the Vietnamese were supposed to fight against people “who looked, acted, and talked similarly.” Robinson gives his opinion on the American strategy in Vietnam, the domino theory, and what could have been done differently. He says that in the beginning America should have supported Ho Chi Men. Also, he expressed the problems that go along with having soldiers who were not in for the duration of the war. In many cases, you did your year and went home. While in World War II, you would be in for the duration of the war. Robinson discusses having jitters, and nightmares during his transition back into civilian life, not unlike many other veterans.




Recorded Interview

Alternative Title

Vietnam War Interview

Date Created


Oral History Item Type Metadata

Time Summary

0-5 min: Bronx NY; Family life; ROTC; Holy Cross; Physical; Failed eye exam; Military family; Draft numbers; Airforce; Didn't want to be a grunt.
5-10 min: Enlistment; Getting there; Culture shock; Processing; 6 weeks of training;
10-15 min: Teaching the South Vietnamese; Pilots exam; Teaching English; If you know two languages you are worth two people; Entertainment; Getting comfortable; Downtown Saigon.
15-20 min: Reunions; Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; We were lied to; Advising; No limited war; American strategy in Vietnam.
20-25 min: The Domino Theory; Communism; Good boy; Catholic school; Followed authority; The splitting of North and South Vietnam.
25-30 min: We know the right way mentality; Vung Tau; Protesting; Going up north; Dangers of not having your rifle.
30-35 min: Making a living in a war zone; Being short; Being next; Leaving Vietnam; Transitioning back to civilian life; Teaching back home.
35-42 min: Nightmares; jitters; Being alert; Tae Kwon Do; No one should have gone to Vietnam; Facing fear; The students; It is the people you remember; Was there a clear strategy?; Doing your year and going home; Not in for the duration of the war.



Florio, Alec and Cody Clark. “George Robinson Interview.” Vietnam Oral Histories. WCSU Archives, 8 Dec. 2016. Accessed on the Web: 29 Jan. 2020.


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