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One in this occasional documentary series presented by ABC News. This edition focuses on the troubled lives that several veterans of the Vietnam War have led during their years after combat. The program examines the lives of five decorated veterans who are serving prison sentences stemming from non-military charges. The veterans and their accolades include: Duane Maybee, who was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received during battle; James McAllister, who was awarded three Bronze Stars for gallantry at Hamburger Hill; Kenneth Patterson, who received the Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal; Raymond Baker, who received thirteen various medals, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and the Purple Heart; and Albert "Pee Wee" Dobbs, who received three Bronze Stars, three Army Commendation Medals, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, a Purple Heart, and the Presidential Citation of Devotion and Courage. This program also includes comments from Col. Charles Beckwith, William Dobbs, and Dobbs's mother, Dorothy Slauson. The following topics are discussed: the reason that hundreds of thousands of veterans have had problems with the law since returning home; the military backgrounds of many Vietnam veterans' families; differences between the soldiers who fought in World War II and those who fought in Vietnam; the experience of going to Vietnam by troop carrier and the soldiers' initial reactions upon arriving; the emotions one experiences when a fellow soldier standing nearby is killed; America's great division over the war; the way actual combat in World War II was so different from that in Vietnam; Dobbs's courage and bravery, which earned him the respect of other soldiers; the sense of family among the soldiers, which kept many of them sane; events at Hamburger Hill; an incident that has haunted Dobbs throughout his life; the absence of parades or parties for the soldiers returning home from Vietnam; America's domestic battles as the soldiers returned home; the way veterans were not respected by the public for having fought in the war; veterans' bitterness with the government's lack of help or support after their return; post-traumatic stress disorder, which afflicts more than half of the Vietnam veterans; the concerns of veterans' families; ways that many veterans released their aggression and bitterness; the temptation to believe that getting killed in action is a fate preferable to survival; and whether fighting for their country was worth their time and effort. Commercials deleted.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Marc Haas and Helen Hotze Haas Foundation, 1998.

Preservation of the Post–World War II American Television Documentary Collection is supported in part by a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


  • DATE: July 15, 1982 Thursday 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:49:17
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T84:0120
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Crime and criminals; Veterans; Vietnam War
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV series, 1973-1988


  • John Korty … Executive Producer
  • Pamela Hill … Executive Producer
  • Richard Richter … Senior Producer
  • Bill Couturie … Producer, Director, Writer
  • Jonas McCord … Producer, Director, Writer
  • Theodore Haimes … Associate Producer
  • Kathryn Witte … Associate Producer
  • Karyn Taylor … Associate Producer
  • Ken Melville … Music by
  • Dawn Atkinson … Music by
  • Peter Thomas … Narrator
  • Raymond Baker
  • Charles Beckwith
  • Dobbs, Albert "Pee Wee"
  • William Dobbs
  • Duane Maybee
  • James McAllister
  • Kenneth Patterson
  • Dorothy Slauson