Manuel Carvalho 1944 –
Manuel, a veteran of the armed forces, has been a member of the Bruderhof since 1982. He is constantly reaching out to other veterans, visiting VA hospitals or participating in organizations like Veterans Breakfast Club, a Pittsburgh-based initiative that publicizes veterans’ stories.
I joined the Marines in 1963 as a naive kid, fresh out of high school and at odds with my father. I enlisted out of rebellion. Before I knew it, I found myself on the shores of South Vietnam. We were sent as an expeditionary force, and set up Da Nang Air Base. Two years later, on a bright sunny day, I found myself in a firefight and got hit by several rounds. Everything went black, and my life passed before my eyes. When I came to my senses, I was being dragged out of a rice paddy by one of my buddies.
It was only after being discharged in 1967 that I really realized what I had taken part in. I had earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. But I had been conned. I had been part of a killing machine.
I recently had a run-in with a recruiter in Brooklyn. I told him, “We’re on opposite sides. I’ll do anything I can to stop anyone from signing his life away.” They won’t tell you the reality – what shooting someone is like.