From Dream To Reality: Building The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Jan Scruggs


In 1968, Jan Scruggs volunteered for the draft, and after training at Ft. Bragg and Ft. Polk, he deployed to Vietnam in April, 1969. He joined the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in operations against North Vietnamese regulars. On May 27, 1969, his unit was heavily engaged, and the next day he was hit by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade), taking shrapnel to his back. For the next three months, he recovered at a facility in Cam Ranh Bay before returning to his unit. On January 21, 1970, twelve of his comrades were killed when a crate of mortar rounds they were unloading from a truck exploded. That event has shaped his life, fueling his desire to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In this interview, he describes several of his engagements during the Vietnam War, including the time he was wounded, and recounts the fight that resulted in his receiving an award for valor. He discusses dealing with Post Traumatic Stress, and nearly committing suicide. He recalls some of the challenges and successes he encountered while developing and building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and ends by talking about what his military experience means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics PTSD Returning from War Morale Injuries Life After Military
interviewer David Siry
date 23 October 2017


name Jan Scruggs
institution American University / University of Maryland School of Law
graduation year 1975 / 1990
service Infantry
unit D Company, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 199th Light Infantry Brigade
specialty Mortars
service dates 1968 1970