Jedlowski, Ray (Interview transcript and video), 2018


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Jedlowski, Ray (Interview transcript and video), 2018



Hammond, Steve (Interviewer)


Ray Jedlowski was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1942 before his family moved to Michigan where he graduated high school in Dearborn in 1962. Jedlowski’s father was in the Navy during the Second World War and gave his son plenty of exposure to military life in port even though he was not fond of the seas. Since he could not find steady work after high school, he went down to the recruitment office and decided to enlist into the Air Force. He was then sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for Basic Training before graduating onto Amarillo Air Force Base for technical school and administrative training. Jedlowski was then stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland as a Civil Engineer. He recalled how the base went into lockdown following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In 1965, he was deployed to Vietnam and was stationed at Pleiku Air Base near Saigon. Shortly after his arrival, the base experienced a small skirmish, but the new arrivals were not overly concerned for their safety. Jedlowski’s unit was tasked with constructing billets and lodging for the First Cavalry Division after its arrival near Pleiku. At the end of his tour, Jedlowski was relieved to go home and was flown to Hawaii and then back to Andrews Air Force Base where he was formally discharged in 1966. Back home, Jedlowski described the ‘chip’ effect where he was physically at home, but his mind was still as paranoid, wired, and irritable as he was in Vietnam. Disappointed with how the war was escalating and how some Americans looked to dodge the draft, he refused to watch the news, but was still proud of his contribution to the war effort. He was disappointed that presidents Nixon and Ford abandoned the war so quickly and that, combined with the intensified anti-war protests at home, the U.S. war effort fell apart. He was also conflicted by the construction of the Vietnam “Wall” Veterans Memorial in 1982 in Washington D.C. since he thought the sincerity of the project was mixed. After the end of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Jedlowski thought the U.S. military and government did a far better job of handling the war effort than during Vietnam. However, Jedlowski is grateful that the general, domestic attitude toward veterans of the Vietnam War has changed for the better.




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Jedlowski, Ray, “Jedlowski, Ray (Interview transcript and video), 2018,” Digital Collections, accessed December 6, 2023,
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