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Last updated on July 24th, 2017 at 07:25 am
Ward Reilly, an outspoken member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Southeast national contact for that organization, isn’t a Vietnam veteran. Rather, Reilly – who came to this site’s attention through his belief in mystical birdlife – served from 1971-74 with US forces in peaceful Germany. Reader JDB turned up this interesting information, and has lately been in contact with Reilly, who claims to have made no secret of his non-‘Nam status:
I served, proudly, for 32 months in Germany in the 1st & 16th(Rangers) as a mortar gunner, starting in 1971, when I volunteered for the infantry at age 17.(With 2 full years left in the ground war in Viet Nam)
I went where the army sent me…that what soldiers do. I could have just as easily been sent to Viet Nam, but I got lucky.
Reilly requires a certain amount of prodding before his wartime location is revealed. Biographical details offered in this speech – although entirely accurate – would incline any listener not aware his Division was based in Germany to conclude that he’d served in Vietnam:
My name is Ward Reilly. I am a retired Government Inspector, and I am a member of “Veterans For Peace”, “Vietnam Veterans Against The War”, and the Baton Rouge based “Coalition For Alternatives To War in Iraq”. I served for 3 years as a volunteer Infantryman, as an 81mm mortar gunner, in the Weapons Platoon, of Co. “C”, 1st Bn., 16th Infantry (Rangers), of the First Infantry Division, from 1971 until 1974. I spent 1095 days of my life living with, training with, and sharing the lives, of hundreds of combat veterans who served in Vietnam, a war that ripped our country apart and caused countless atrocities and deaths on both sides.
No mention of Germany there. No mention of Germany here, either:
Ward Reilly is a native of Chicago. He volunteered for the Infantry in 1971 and was a member of the Weapons Platoon, Co. “C” 1st Bn. 16th Infantry (Rangers) from 1971 until 1974 when he was awarded an Honorable Discharge. He joined Viet Nam Veterans Against the War originally in 1972 while he still an active duty soldier and is now a National Contact person for them. Ward joined Veterans For Peace in 2000 and is a Board Member of “Bienville House For Peace and Justice” founded in 1968 of Baton Rouge, member of CAWI (Coalition Against War & Injustice) of Baton Rouge founded in 2002. Other memberships include Greenpeace, NOW, Amnesty International, NORML, the “Draft Board” of the Baton Rouge District, and C3 in New Orleans. He states he is “NOT in the CIA, FBI, NSA, or Homeland Security.”
He doesn’t state that he was not in Vietnam. No wonder the Green Party is confused, referring to “Vietnam veteran Ward Reilly”. So too the Baltimore Chronicle; a Reilly piece published last August carried this description:
Ward Reilly, of Baton Rouge, La., is a Vietnam combat veteran.
This was later revised:
Ward Reilly, of Baton Rouge, La., is a Vietnam Era Infantry veteran.
Oh, please. A Vietnam Era veteran? Reilly’s latest column for the Chronicle also omits the crucial matter of his ‘Namlessness:
Ward Reilly is the Southeast national contact for Vietnam Veterans against the War, and a member of Veterans For Peace. He was a volunteer Infantryman in the First Infantry Division from 1971 to 1974.
Yes, he was. In Augsburg, Germany.