Cliff Fejfar was born May 1, 1949 in Yankton, South Dakota; when he was 3 the family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, and that’s where Cliff grew up. It was the 1950s, and life was good: Cliff and his friends played baseball, went to school, and watched TV – all the things that punctuated American adolescence in that postwar decade. He was aware of the Cold War, and remembered hearing about Vietnam on the evening news. At 16 Cliff and several friends made the decision to join the Navy. Cliff’s parents acquiesced, so in high school he began training, and after graduation he was called up and sent to Treasure Island and Mare Island, both in California, for training. The navy put Cliff in the Mobile Riverine Force – the “Brown Water Navy” – and he began to be acquainted with the new ships and tactics. He was sent to Vietnam in 1968, as the Tet Offensive was unfolding. Once there, it was Cliff’s job to patrol the riverways of the Mekong Delta region in the southern portion of Vietnam. He and the other Riverines would deliver supplies and troops as needed, as well as disrupt Vietcong supply lines. They also dealt with very dangerous conditions, often taking fire while on patrol and supporting the ground troops. Cliff experienced his fair share of loss during that year. On his return to the US he also had to confront the realities that awaited returning Vietnam vets, as Americans were searching their souls on many issues during the tumultuous 1960s. Cliff Fejfar joined Crestwood students via zoom in May 2023, when he and fellow Vietnam vet Larry Woods shared their stories and thoughts with Mr. Masters’ Grade 10 history class: we thank the Veterans’ Breakfast Club for the introductions.
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