Ten Vietnam veterans found themselves standing on soil they had last touched 50 years ago.
Mission Veteran Expedition was the catalyst that made this powerful reunion with the past a reality for a group of Vietnam veterans in the trucking industry. Witnessing the gravity and significance of it all first-hand was Randy Dye.
Representing Veterans In Trucking and CDLLife, Randy Dye accompanied the veterans as a supporting staff member along their journey.
Mission Veteran Expedition, a collaborative venture with Waypoint Vets, FASTPORT, and Wreaths Across America, wove together the stories of these 10 Vietnam veterans. On Novemebr 4, 2023, they embarked on a journey that would take them all across Vietnam, exploring locations that held deep significance for each of them.
Before the plane even touched down in Vietnam, Randy could sense the undercurrents of camaraderie within the group that would later turn into profound friendships.
“At the end of it you would’ve thought they knew each other for their whole lives, and I feel a part of that. It’s a blessing for me to feel like I’m a part of their friendship”Randy Dye
The expedition’s itinerary included a War Legacies briefing at the US Consulate, a tour of the former US Embassy Saigon, a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta Luxury Tour, exploration of the War Remnants Museum, a Halong Bay Cruise, and a Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency Tour. These experiences not only added layers to their collective memory of the country but also created a new mark on the veterans, illustrating the impact of adventuring across Vietnam.
Randy echoed the group’s gratitude for the unexpected warmth and hospitality of the Vietnamese people. The journey had unraveled layers of preconceptions, leaving in their wake a newfound appreciation for the beauty of shared experiences.
Beyond the scenic landscapes and historic sites, the journey was a space where the stories of each Vietnam veteran were able to unfold, unfiltered and raw.
Randy emphasized the profoundness of experiencing the country in lockstep with veterans who had served there a half century ago.
“I was proud to be an American,” Randy said, the weight of history combining with reverence for those who came before.
Upon returning state-side, the veterans were welcomed home with SiriusXM Radio interviews by Jimmy Mac and Lindsay Lawler from RadioNemo of North America, and by the Vietnam 50th Commemoration, providing a proclamation as well as a pin, a hat, and a coin that commemorated the welcome home. Each veteran was also given a quilt from Quilts of Valor, made specifically for each of them.
“That moment hit me,” Randy said, his voice carrying the weight of shared history and unspoken emotions. “They got that official welcome home, which was some closure,” he added, capturing the true impact of the ceremony.
“That phrase ‘welcome home,’ to a veteran who served this country, whether in combat or stationed away from home, ‘welcome home’ is a big deal”
“Being able to document the trip, giving them that is one of the best gifts we could give. They can share that”
“At the end of the day, it was wonderful to see how well the country received us all,” Randy expressed, his words carrying the hope that the expedition’s ripple effect might change lives. “If we changed one person’s life, it was worth it,” he concluded, a testament to the enduring power of the experience.
All are invited to join hands in honoring these veterans. For media inquires, please contact [email protected]