On September 17, a highly anticipated 10-part documentary on The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick begins airing on local PBS stations. Did you know that one of our reference databases, Fold3.com, contains more than 21 million items (records, documents, photographs, and Honor Walls) that pertain to the Vietnam War?
Photos: Fold3 has Vietnam War photo collections dealing with three armed services—Marine Corps, Army, and Navy. Many of these photos are in color, and they capture a wide range of subjects: individual service members; group photos; aircraft; tanks and other vehicles; riverine and ocean-going vessels; Vietnamese soldiers and civilians; military operations; casualties; and much more.
Vietnam Service Awards: This record collection includes Meritorious Unit Commendations, Navy Unit Commendations, Presidential Unit Citations, Presidential Unit Commendations, Valorous Unit Awards, and Vietnam Unit Awards. The records in this title contain a history of each recommendation; description of missions/operations; lists of soldiers; and documents outlining the process of approval/disapproval of the award.
Medal of Honor Recipients: These citations describe Medal of Honor actions: when and where they occurred; what took place; and why that soldier or sailor’s actions were considered deserving of a Medal of Honor.
The Pentagon Papers: This top-secret report was leaked to the New York Times in 1971. It revealed damaging insights into U.S. policy in Vietnam, and helped solidify domestic opposition to the war. In 2011, the full 7,000-page report (3,000 pages of historical analysis and 4,000 pages of documents) was declassified and released to the public. It’s available in its entirety here on Fold3.com.
Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial: You can either do a search for a name or look at a high-resolution image of the wall—almost like you were really in Washington DC. You can click on a name of interest and view information on that person: armed service, rank, hometown, DOB; race, religion, marital status, tour start date, date of injury and of death (if different), geographic place where injury occurred, and unit details.
Additional Fold3.com record collections that contain some Vietnam War records, documents, or photos include:
Army Registers, 1798-1969 (Officers only)
Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009
Navy Muster Rolls, 1949-1971
New York State Adjutant General Reports, 1846-1995
Fold3.com can be viewed at SLPL locations, or can be used from home if you have a valid library card and PIN. A list of our reference databases is available here.