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Return to Vietnam

A veteran, his daughter, their journey

My father’s gun: like riding a bike (if he knew how to do that)

November
15

We’re heading back to Cu Chi with our group of Rotarians and Vietnam veterans. I’m hoping to get another shot at firing an M-16, which is the weapon my father used here 40 years ago. (The Cu Chi tunnel attraction features a shooting range with all sorts of military weapons, including AK-47s, but I wanted to stick with the father-daughter theme.)

When we went there by ourselves on Veterans Day, my father and I each took a turn. I couldn’t tell if anyone was hitting the targets – it’s practically a driving range, and the targets don’t flip if you hit them – but I’m pretty sure I missed. My father couldn’t tell how he did, either, but at least he held the rifle correctly. Click on the video link below to watch him back in action.

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This was the first time he had fired an M-16 since leaving Vietnam in 1968. Afterwards, he said, “It was a strange feeling to be firing an M-16 in the same area that I was stationed in 40 years ago. And even more strange that the M-16 was handed to me by a Vietnamese tour guide. But the strangest feeling was the fact that my daughter’s first opportunity to fire a weapon was also an M-16 at Cu Chi.”

babagun2.jpg

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 at 3:00 pm by Nicole Neroulias. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Vietnam veterans, Vietnam veterans

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3 Responses to “My father’s gun: like riding a bike (if he knew how to do that)”

  1. Return to Vietnam » Blog Archive » Down the rabbit holes in Cu Chi

    [...] Vietnam veterans, Rotary Club members and friends. We ended up at a different tunnel tour – no shooting range at this one, but we got an excellent demonstration of how the Viet Cong guerrillas disappeared down [...]

  2. Return to Vietnam » Blog Archive » Three letters from home, two dog tags, and a P-38 can opener under the tree?

    [...] his M-16 rifle, the other indispensable item that American soldiers carried in Vietnam was the small P-38 can [...]

  3. Izellah

    This is great info to know.

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About this blog
"Return to Vietnam" chronicles the journey of Col. Andonios Neroulias USA (Ret.) of Briarcliff Manor, NY, joined by his daughter, staff writer Nicole Neroulias, to the country he fought in 40 years ago. They are traveling with Vietnam veterans and Rotarians from Rockland County and other parts of the country. Check this blog for daily posts, photos, recordings and slideshows about their experiences.
About the authors
Nicole and Andonios Neroulias

Nicole Neroulias grew up in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and graduated from Cornell University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered religion and city news in Cyprus, Connecticut and California, where she earned several fellowships and prizes, including a national Religion Newswriters Association award. She joined The Journal News in early 2007 and also teaches journalism at Columbia.

Col. Andonios Neroulias emigrated from Greece in 1956 and was commissioned an officer through the ROTC program of the City College of NY. From 1967-68, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry (Tropic Lightning) Division, whose main base was in Cu Chi, known for its intricate Viet Cong tunnels. Among his military awards are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve and lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
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