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Collection Robert E. Clampitt
WVM ID Number OH 113
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Robert E. Clampitt
Date 1995
Event World War II / Korean War
Narrator's Name Robert E. Clampitt
Interviewer's Name Mark Van Ells
Description Robert E. Clampitt, born in 1928 in Terre Haute (Indiana), moved to Madison with his father after his parents divorced. He recalls turning on a radio to listen to Jack Benny when a news broadcast interruption announced the Pearl Harbor attack. Clampitt mentions his reasons for enlisting in the Army in 1946. Clampitt describes his experiences and impressions of his induction at Fort Sheridan (Illinois), basic training at Fort McClellan (Alabama) and intelligence school at Fort Riley (Kansas). He describes the trip to Italy and his experiences serving with the 88th Division in Italy along the Yugoslavian border. Upon his return, Clampitt left active duty and joined the 84th Division Army Reserve.

He talks about getting married and going back to school using the G.I. Bill before mentioning his reasons to return to active duty. Clampitt was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division and sent to Korea. He talks about working in the intelligence shop and with Operation Little Switch. Clampitt mentions one training incident in Korea where they were surrounded by Korean guerillas and Communists who set the woods on fire around Clampitt's unit. Clampitt describes good training in Hawaii and his assignment to 1st Division at Ft. Riley (Kansas). He talks about being an ROTC instructor at the University of Illinois in 1957 and compares it to how he was treated while working in the ROTC department at the University of Wisconsin during the Vietnam War.

Clampitt, now assigned to 19th Infantry in Germany, describes working in Berlin along the border, how he could identify Russian officers and a conversation he had with an East German border guard. Clampitt discusses why he volunteered for Vietnam and his job as an advisor to the 52nd ARVN Ranger Battalion. He reflects on the Army's goals in Vietnam and comments on the tour of duty rotation. Clampitt describes working for University of Wisconsin ROTC department during the Vietnam War. He returned to Vietnam in 1968 and describes working at Military Assistance Compound Vietnam (MACV). Clampitt recalls differences between two different Vietnam provinces and the effectiveness of the Phoenix program. He comments on the VC defectors and the effects on moral caused by the way the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam. Clampitt's final assignment was at a correctional training facility after which he retired and talks about post military employment and joining veterans groups.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 1 hour, 40 minutes)
Transcript: 54 pgs.

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Biographical Record Clampitt, Robert E.
Search Terms Vietnam War