It was standing room only at Fishtrap’s second Big Read event Thursday night, Jan. 19, at the Tomas Building conference room.
Fishtrap titled the event: What Vietnam Teaches Us: Wallowa County Veterans Discuss The Things They Carried. The 2017 Big Read book is Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War classic “The Things they Carried.”
Local veterans Dennis Sheehy, Steve Rubin and Jose McCormack spent the evening answering questions from moderator Miles McFall and the audience about their war experiences.
The three veterans and McFall sat in a row facing the audience for the duration of the evening. Sheehy joined the Marine Corp in 1966 and went to Vietnam in March 1967. Originally an infantryman/rifleman, he became a radio operator. He left Vietnam in June 1967 when he was wounded. After spending some time in a naval hospital he left the Corp in 1968.
Steve Rubin served in the U.S. Navy as a doctor from 1973-1975. He did two tours off the coasts of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Joe McCormack enlisted in the Marines in 1967 at 17. Originally trained as an 81 and 60 millimeter mortar man, McCormack went to Vietnam in 1968 and was retrained as a forward observer as well as forward air controller and forward naval gun controller and artillery forward observer. He left Vietnam in 1969 and was honorably discharged in 1970.
McFall is a retired clinical psychologist who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for many years.
The first question McFall asked were the men’s overall impression of O’Brien’s book and what