Dan Bonner joined Marines out of high school in 1965. After basic training he was assigned to the 5th Marine Division, 28th regiment. He arrived in Vietnam June 1966 and served there until February 1968, completing two tours of duty in-country. His second tour ended with the beginning of the Tet Offensive.
While in Vietnam, Dan was stationed at Chu Lai air base as part of Marine Air Group 12, VMA-311 and 1st Battalion 7th Marines. Like all Marines, Dan was first and foremost an infantryman, but he was also a highly trained airplane mechanic.
In April 2014, Vietnam veteran Dan Bonner joined fellow veterans Henry Hoffstot (WWII), Manuel Carvahlo (Vietnam), Don Johnson (Vietnam), Howard Pfeifer (WWII), Joe Cirelli (Vietnam), Pete Longstreth (WWII), and Robert Harbula (Korea) for our second veterans oral history educational project at Winchester-Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
These veterans were part of our effort to work with teachers and students to provide an interesting workshop covering the oral history process, appropriate interview questions, special considerations when interviewing veterans, active listening skills, and oral history ethics.
Note: This video version of Dan Bonner’s story has been slightly shortened for presentation purposes. The audio version contains the complete interview.
Listen to the complete, full length version of Dan Bonner’s interview with the students of Winchester-Thurston School, recorded April 24, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
KEYWORDS: 1ST MARINE AIR WING; 28TH REGIMENT (MARINE); 3RD DIVISION ( NVA); 4 HOLE OUTHOUSE; 5TH MARINE DIVISION; A-4 SKYHAWK; AIRCRAFT MECHANIC (JET); AK-47 RIFLE; BARNES, KENNY; BAZOOKA; BEENIE WEENIES; BLACKWATER, WV; BODY COOLER BEER; BOEING BUMMER; BROWNING AUTOMATIC RIFLE (B.A.R.), BUNKER (SANDBAG); CALDWELL, RON; CAMP LEJEUNE, NC; CAMP PENDLETON, CA; CANNON (20 MM); CATTLE CAR; CHU LAI; CHU LAI LOUNGE; COAL MINE; DA NANG, VIETNAM; DARTS; DAVIS, WV; DEBUG THE BREAD; FAIRMONT, WV; FRUIT CAKE; HAM & MOTHERS; HEFFLEFINGER, LARRY “FINGERS”; HIROSHIMA, JAPAN; HUMAN WAVE; KGB (KOMITET GOSUDARSTVENNOY BEZOPASNOSTI); LISTENING POST; M-1 CARBINE; M-14 CARBINE; M-16 RIFLE; M-60 RIFLE; M-79 GRENADE LAUNCHER; MARINE AIR GROUP 12; MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT; MARINE CORPS AIR STATION EL TORO; MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, PARRIS ISLAND, SC; MARINE, ANTHONY; MEMPHIS, TN; MORTAR; MOUNTAINEER HIGH SCHOOL, WV; NAPALM; NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY (NVA); OKINAWA, JAPAN; OLD MAG 12; PARIS PEACE TALKS; PLATOON 349 (MARINE); QUANTICO, VIRGINIA; ROCKET FIRE; SCHUMAKER, BOBBY; SUICIDE SQUAD; TET OFFENSIVE; THOMAS, WV; TUNNELS; USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62); VIET CONG; VMA-311 (MARINES); VO NGUYEN GIAP, GENERAL; WAKE ISLAND
The Social Voice Project is dedicated to understanding the voices and stories of our lives–those first-hand, authentic accounts of lived experiences we call oral histories. Sharing these experiences reveals our social, economic, and political lives, and they help forge important understandings of public histories.
The Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative is a veteran-run, award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our mission is to capture, preserve, and share the voices, images, and experiences of veterans of all eras and branches of service with a Western Pennsylvania connection.
The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten. We believe that through our work, people will be educated, healed, and inspired. The Veterans Breakfast Club is a non-religious, non-political 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.