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The NYC Veterans Oral History Project: Laris Moore

September 26, 2013

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Laris Moore served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1969. He served in Vietnam, and also spent time in Fort Bragg, Fort Jackson, and Fort Sam Houston. He enlisted because he felt everyone in America should serve their country. Mr. Moore trained as a combat medic, and mostly worked in the morgue in Vietnam. Mr. Moore calls Vietnam “a racial war,” and recounts many injustices. Among these are his witnessing almost a dozen of his friends getting shot. He also tells of a drug trade that used coffins that were being sent back to the United States as a vehicle of transport. He says, “you had to be lucky, and if you weren’t lucky, you were dead.”

Major Points in Interview

2:30 - First experiences of boot camp at Fort Bragg.

3:30 - Trained as a combat medic.

3:45 - Worked mostly at the morgue in Vietnam.

5:08 - Had to defend himself against his "own American soldiers."

5:23 - Says Vietnam was "a racial war," "we were at war with the Vietnamese and we were at war with ourselves."

6:12 - Story of black soldiers killed by white soldiers.

8:11 - He was the witness in this case, so he was shot at in order to prevent his testimony.

9:29 - Understands why people end up traumatized after war.

10:12 - Stresses again it was not the Viet Cong killing American soldiers, they were killing each other.

11:27 - Lost ten friends.

12:12 - These friends killed by other American soldiers had "Killed in Action" written on their death certificates.

12:49 - Didn't travel by group, traveled as individuals for safety.

14:48 - Hollywood does a disservice to soldiers by glamorizing war and lying about it.

17:57 - Vietnam was also a corporate war.

20:16 - Agent Orange was designed to kill anyone, not just Viet Cong. Companies just cared about profits.

20:58 - Funeral homes made the most money.

22:25 - There was a drug trade run out of coffins.

23:55 - "Once Uncle Sam teaches you to be a killer, a killer don't fit in with normal people."

25:33 - Went to art school once he got out.

26:19 - Feels friends & family don't understand these stories.

27:38 - Doesn't belong to any veterans associations.