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Robert "Doc" Lindstrom, 69, of Freemont, Ohio, served as a Navy corpsman with the Marines near Da Nang, Vietnam from 1965 to 1966 and returned for a second tour from 1971 to 1972. He says he volunteered for duty in the war because of the same reasons that other men served in World War Ii and Korea. ?You felt that it was your turn,? he says. ?You felt an obligation all of your life to do your time, so to speak, in the military. It was a community thing. Everybody felt that way.? Aside from a sense of duty, Lindstrom says he initially did not have any strong feelings on the war. ?I was a corpsman,? he says. ?I was here for the troops. I didn't give a fuck about that other shit.? Being at war, he adds, was ?kind of a lark at first,? until his platoon started taking casualties. ?You do get used to the blood,? he says. ?You have to get used to it.? After the war, Lindstrom finished college on the G.I. Bill and earned a masters degree in education. He was treated for prostate cancer in 2007, and was awarded disability compensation on the presumption that it had been caused by Agent Orange. Lindstrom returned to Vietnam for the first time in 2011 on a trip sponsored by Veterans for Peace, and he returned this year because he wanted to help out a widow he met during that trip whose two middle-aged children are severely disabled because of their father's exposure to the herbicide. ?We got marinated in the same shit, man, and I'm giving them a little bit of the money that should be coming from the [U.S.] government. They're giving me government money, so I'm going to give them a little government money.? Another reason, he adds, is that he felt a ?personal opportunity? to make a difference in one family's life. ?Because you can't do it for everybody,? he says. ?You can at least do it for one person.? March 19, 2013.
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