(Victorville) – To celebrate Armed Forces Day Barnes and Noble invited the author of “Warriors at 500 Knots” , Dr. Robert F. Kirk, for a discussion about the “Myths of the Vietnam War” and book signing.
“My presentation is on 10 myths about the Vietnam War,” Kirk explained. “As I was preparing for the book I started reading and realizing that there are a lot of things about the Vietnam War that weren’t true, but they’ve been we’ve accepted as true.”
One of the myths Kirk dispels is that when Vietnam veterans came back from the war, a majority of them were homeless, on drugs, or incarcerated. “That is not true. The vast majority of the veterans that came back lived very productive, professional lives. Less than one half of one percent went to prison. They weren’t druggies, the drug use was less than it was for non-veterans, and that was during the 1960s.”
Another myth is that the majority of Vietnam veterans were uneducated. “That is not true. They were the most educated force we had put into combat – approx 49% of World War I vets were high school graduates. Something like 90% of Vietnam veterans were high school graduates. And for the first time ever for the air force, to be a pilot you had to be a college graduate. But at that time that was the most educated group we had put on the battlefield.”
The book, “Warriors at 500 Knots” is a collection of 14 short stories about the F4 Phantom fighter bomber and what it was like to be a pilot flying missions in the Vietnam war. “I was a pilot in the air force in 1969 and I flew the F4 Phantom fighter bomber in Vietnam,” Kirk said. “But I’m not actually in the book, I don’t make it about me. I really wanted to make it about the events and people, and to be historically accurate.”
“I wanted to tell the story about how professional and dedicated these soldiers were, how the mission came first, even before their own well being. I celebrate the dignity of what the men did over there,” Kirk explained. “I don’t get into the politics of it. That’s another thing. I thank them and welcome the veterans home.”
Everyone is invited to come out and honor all veterans on this Armed Forces Day with a special thanks and “Welcome Home” to our Vietnam Veterans. The event is free to the public. There
will be light refreshments for attendees of Dr. Kirk’s discussion and signing at 1:00pm
and then again at 2:00pm in the Barnes and Noble in the Mall of Victor Valley, 14400 Bear
Valley Rd in Victorville.