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The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Oral history interview with Dennis L. Boyer

Repository: Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Research Center

Collection Description (CRHP): In this interview, Boyer describes the involvement of GI Resistance members and other military personnel (including himself) in the building of Resurrection City in 1968.

Collection Description (Extant): Dennis L. Boyer, a Dodgeville, Wis. resident, discusses his duties in the Air Force during the Vietnam War as a member of the Combined Intelligence Center/MACV, anti-war activities with the American Servicemen's Union (ASU), and post-war involvement with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Boyer tells of basic training at Lackland (Texas) speaking to economic class differences and physical abuse. He also mentions meteorology training at Chanute Air Force Base (Illinois). Stationed in Washington D.C., Boyer relates his impressions of the Tet Offensive and GI resistance programs. He describes his participation in civil rights demonstrations and involvement in ASU. While in Vietnam, he mentions planning for anticipated operations with the Combined Intelligence Center, trips to Cambodia and the evidence of American bombing there, and living with a Vietnamese family. Boyer provides detailed discussions about drug use, fragging, racial tension, class differences, and soldier morale. He talks about his involvement with the ASU in Vietnam including meetings, organizational structure, anti-war actions, and connection between the ASU in Vietnam and in the United States. Boyer comments on his return home, fears of re-entering civilian life, and decision to join VVAW. Boyer discusses VVAW at length, providing an analysis of the group's successes and failures and the reasons for its decline. As a member of the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) Chapter of VVAW, Boyer talks about participating in Memorial Day and Veterans' Day parades, interacting with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and coordinating several eastern state VVAW chapters. He mentions John Kerry's role and subsequent dismissal, FBI infiltration, occupation of national sites, the Gainesville Seven, and the Winter Soldier Organization. Boyer comments on the effect that his participation in the VVAW had on his life, including his politics, work with labor unions, and becoming a Mennonite.

Origin Info: Interviewed by Mark D. Van Ells, on November 3, 1994 and on January 24, 1995 in Wisconsin as part of the Wisconsin Veterans Oral History Project.

Access Copy Note: User copy available: 3 sound cassettes analog, 1 7/8 ips (ca. 233 min.).

Collection URL: http://wisvetsmuseum.worldcat.org/oclc/56212465 External Link

Date(s): 1994-1995

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: (ocm)56212465

Extent: 2 sound cassettes analog 1 7/8 ips (ca. 233 min.); 77-page transcript

Language: English

Interviewees: Dennis L. Boyer

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

Civil rights demonstrations--Washington (D.C.)
Poor People's Campaign
Race relations
Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Veterans--Political activity
Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Genres:

Interviews
Sound recordings
Transcripts

 

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