Jackie Ramsey


As interviewed by Millie Ramsey, March 23, 2019

Jackie Ramsey: In Her Own Words

"I was really young, I was 7, 8? Once that happened and he was there I got really scared. I was used to dad going away, he was in the airforce but he would have to scavenge for parts and stuff which meant getting in a jeep and going from place to place. So he got shot at and the base where he was in Sygon got bombed, and I was really young and that's when I started seeing that when the news was on, it would show things. And I would see them. I would see people, soldiers like my dad or airmen like my dad on the news. They were being shot at or airlifted out. That's when I became really aware of what was going on. Especially when I was your age. When I was a little older, I was in the 9th grade, my dad was in Vietnam. He was in Pleiku at that time and the anti-war movement was really huge and everyone was protesting. We lived in Sacramento and the anti-war movement was huge and I was not typically for war. I was more anti-war but I couldn't participate because my dad was there and it felt disloyal to my dad. The one thing I did do was, there was a table in the courtyard in my school. I can't remember if they gave them away or sold them if they sold them it was a nominal fee. There were metal bands like wristbands and they were for PMRs and WMAs and every one of them had a name on it of somebody who was a prisoner or a soldier missing in action. One of the things I did do was get one of those wristbands with other base kids. When dad went to Vietnam the last time, we had to move off base into civilian housing. We lived in an apartment in Sacramento. So when those kids found out he was in Vietnam, the ones who were seriously anti-war, they would picket kids who're dads were in the Vietnam war you know, and tell us that our dads were baby killers and all that. When he was in Pleiku, they started bombing Pleiku very heavily. We knew that because we saw that on the news. He would call every once in a while. He talked to my mom, not to us because they were very brief calls. At one point there were issues with military pay and she wasn't getting paid, and she had to rely on my dad's brother. To help figure things out and find out what was going on. You know that my dad and I had the same birthday? And for the first 18 years of my life, we only spent 8 of those birthdays together. That was really hard. He lost a lot. I think it was harder for him than it was for us. It was really hard for him to be away from his family. I think that's what a lot of people don't realize, is that it is so hard for them." Jackie Ramsey