Yesterday, I went to the Howard County Central Library in Columbia to see again the MPT travelling exhibit celebrating Vietnam veterans from Maryland. The display consists of sixteen eight-foot banners, one for each veteran featured in MPT’s three-part documentary, “Maryland Vietnam War Stories” aired in June 2016. I was honored to be one of the sixteen.
Three aspects of the exhibit got my attention during this viewing, the first time I’ve seen the exhibit since last year.
One was that the banner on me depicts me as an army officer. As I explained in an earlier blog, when MPT interviewed me in 2014, my connection with the National Security Agency (NSA) during my years in Vietnam was still classified. Since I didn’t say who I worked for in Vietnam, MPT deduced from the photos they had of me in an army uniform (my cover was the uniform, army or Marine, of the combat unit I was supporting) that I was an army officer. If the observer looks closely at one of the pictures, he will see that my name tags read “GLENN” and “CIVILIAN” and that the collars of my fatigue shirt, where an officer’s rank would normally appear, sport the number “13”—I was a GS-13 at the time. The uniform, and others like it, was the result of a prank the men of one unit played on me.
Second was that several of the other men featured in banners were assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1967. They probably took part in the battle of Dak To. I was providing covert signals intelligence support to the 173rd during that battle, so we may have run into each other back then.
Third was the seventeenth banner. I came upon it after looking at the other sixteen. It’s an explanation that the other banners each represent one of the veterans MPT was honoring. Emblazoned in large letters toward the bottom are the words, “Thank you and welcome home.” As I explained in an earlier blog, those words make me cry. I cried again yesterday when I saw them.