Voices of Guam’s Vietnam veterans to be documented

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A project documenting the voices of Guam’s Vietnam Veterans was announced Tuesday.

A press conference was held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Koban in Mangilao to announce the details of the new project — Beteranu Gi Geran Vietnam: In Their Own Words, In Their Own Language —- which is a project supported by Humanities Guåhan and funded by a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The project is a major effort to document the indigenous voices of Vietnam veterans from Guam for archival and research purposes.

Former UOG president Robert Underwood is the project director with support from veteran advisers Bill Cundiff and Danny Santos, CHamoru linguist Teresita Flores, and Humanities Guåhan Executive Director Kimberlee Kihleng

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The project is connected with two linguistic archive projects —- the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress and the Kaipuleohone linguistic archives at the University of Hawaii where the interviews will be stored.

“We are targeting 25 interviews. There is a process of screening obviously. These are 2-hour interviews and they have to be transcribed and that is the purpose in the veterans history center… to give them a sense of the experience,” Dr. Underwood said.

He added that the interviewers will be trained with the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The collection has over 100,000 archived stories.

During the press conference, veterans expressed the urgency of documenting the voices of the veterans now in CHamoru.

Bill Cundiff reported on the number of Vietnam veterans on Guam.

Dr. Underwood says they have a 4 to 5-month timeline for the project — from training the interviewers and conducting the interviews to uploading the stories to a website created specifically for the project.

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