A Minnesota PBS Initiative

A Vietnam Veteran's Story

On this episode of Lakeland Currents, host Ray Gildow welcomes Buford Johnson, a Vietnam veteran who served in the US Army during the early 1960s. As a Special Forces advisor to the South Vietnamese military, Mr. Johnson had a unique perspective on the war and the effect it had on both Vietnam and the United States. 

Buford says, "People don’t realize Ho Chi Minh was a genius. He was an unbelievable organizer. This guy knew how to fight a war. The most important weapons they had were propaganda and infiltration and they did a beautiful job of it. I should have been afraid, but I remember thinking that I really admired the skill of the enemy. These are remarkable, well-trained individuals. We weren’t dealing with amateurs, we were dealing with professionals."

Originally broadcast on Lakeland PBS, January 26, 2018.

U.S. Army soldier with a group of Vietnamese soldiers in Vietnam.

Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: Vietnam Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Military Service

Military Branch: U.S. Army

Dates of Service: 1963 - 1965

Unit: Special Forces Advisor

Story Themes: Bemidji, Buford Johnson, Combat, Congress, Farmer, Fort Benning, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, Ho Chi Minh, Lakeland Currents, Lakeland PBS, Mankato State, Ray Gildow, ROTC, South Vietnamese, Special Forces, St Cloud, St. John’s University, Training, Watch

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