Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Haunted by war’s horrors; at 69

Gerry Gitell, Vietnam veteran haunted by war’s horrors; at 69

One of Gerry Gitell’s assignments in Vietnam involved an attempt to win the hearts and minds of civilians.

December 14, 2010 - When he served with the Green Berets during the Vietnam War, Lieutenant Gerry Gitell led patrols along the border of Cambodia to prevent attacks by the Viet Cong.

“Our outpost was only 30 meters across a river from the Cambodian border,’’ he told the Framingham News in 1966, shortly after his return after a year in Vietnam. “We couldn’t cross into Cambodia because of government restrictions. But, the Cambodian government allowed the Viet Cong to come into Cambodia from Laos. How are you going to fight a war when you can only defend and not attack?’’

Mr. Gitell, who was diagnosed by the Veterans Administration with posttraumatic stress syndrome many years after his service in Vietnam, died in his sleep from hypertensive cardiovascular disease, during the night of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at his home in Henderson, Nev. He was 69.

His son, Seth of Boston, said Mr. Gitell had participated in various veterans events that day and talked by phone to family members, praising the help he had been getting from the Las Vegas Veterans’ Center. {continued}

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