Oral History of Paul H. Friedman

Dublin Core

Click to View (Movie, Podcast, or Website)


Oral History of Paul H. Friedman

Alternative Title

Oral History, Friedman


Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Gulf of Tonkin
USS Forrestal (Aircraft carrier)


Oral history of Paul H. Friedman's military service in Vietnam during the Vietnam War (1961-1975). Friedman was born on August 28, 1946 in Rockway Beach, New York. In 1966, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the U.S.S. Forrestal G Division, which engaged in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin. Friedman achieved the rank of Petty Officer, 3rd Class. He was injured in the 1967 fire that devastated the Forrestal and killed 134 of his shipmates. Friedman ended his service on November 19, 1967. During his service, he received the National Defense Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. This oral history interview was conducted by Ettore M. Lanza in Coral Springs, Florida on March 21, 2011.

The Vietnam War was a Cold War Era "military conflict". The war was originally waged between Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. The United States became involved as a preventive measure to combat communism. The official date of the military conflict is November 1, 1955 and ending in April 1975. The date of the war has been disputed, but a study in 1998 by the Department of Defense definitively put the start of the Vietnam War as November 1, 1955. The first combat military troops 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade didn't arrive until 1965. With the arrival of the combat troops came the first traditional battles of combat fighting in the war. During the Vietnam War, not only did American military go into battle with and for South Vietnam, the military also trained members of South Vietnam to fight alongside during the war. Peace talks were attempted, with France moderating, beginning on May 10, 1968. These talks were unsuccessful and lasted over three years. The longest battle of the Vietnam War began on January 21, 1968 and didn't end until the U.S. reclaimed Route 9 on April 8, 1968, seventy-seven days later. While the military conflict ended in 1975, it was a long process towards reunification and redevelopment as a country. The conflict left Vietnam in both political and economical ruins.

While the U.S. military was fighting overseas, Many American citizens protested the war at home. Demonstrations took place across the country with the most famous one being at Kent State University in Ohio. While this is the most well known demonstration it was not the first. Americans questioned the U.S. involvement in the war throughout.


Oral history interview of Paul H. Friedman. Interview conducted by Ettore M. Lanza in Coral Springs, Florida.

Table Of Contents

00:00 Intro
1:00 Where/when he was born
2:10 Parents/relatives/friends in military?
5:35 Reason he joined Navy/boot camp
8:15 USS Forrestal
8:45 Ship details
9:55 Destinations
11:45 His onboard occupation
13:15 Fire begin
17:35 Shrap metal in his foot
21:10 Fire subside
22:35 Trip back home
25:20 Reflections/book
27:00 Outro


Lanza, Ettore M.


Friedman, Paul H. Interviewed by Ettore M. Lanza. UCF Community Veterans History Project, DP0011885. March 21, 2011. Audio/video record available. UCF Community Veterans History Project, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, Orlando, Florida.


Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries

Date Created


Date Copyrighted


Date Issued


Conforms To

Standards established by the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/vets/.

Is Part Of

UCF Community Veterans History Project, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, Orlando, Florida.
Vietnam War Collection, UCF Community Veterans History Project Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.


Multimedia software, such as QuickTime.




87.4 MB


28-minute and 40-second digital audio/video recording




Moving Image


Rockway Beach, New York
Gulf of Tonkin
Coral Springs, Florida

Spatial Coverage

40.586736, -73.81157
19.151389, 107.384722
26.2667, -80.2667

Temporal Coverage


Accrual Method


Audience Education Level

SS.K.A.1.2; SS.K.A.2.4; SS.K.C.2.1; SS.1.A.1.1; SS.1.A.2.1; SS.1.A.2.2; SS.1.A.2.4; SS.1.C.3.2; SS.1.C.2.1; SS.1.C.2.2; SS.1.C.2.3; SS.1.C.2.4; SS.2.A.1.1; SS.2.C.2.2; SS.2.C.2.4; SS.2.C.2.5; SS.2.C.3.2; SS.3.A.1.1; SS.3.C.2.1; SS.4.A.1.1; SS.4.C.2.2; SS.4.C.2.3; SS.5.A.1.1; SS.5.C.2.5; SS.6.W.1.3; SS.7.C.2.2; SS.7.C.2.3; SS.7.C.4.1; SS.7.C.4.2; SS.8.A.1.1; SS.8.A.1.5; SS.8.A.1.7; SS.912.A.1.1; SS.912.A.1.6; SS.912.A.6.10; SS.912.A.6.13; SS.912.A.6.14; SSS.912.A.6.15; SS.912.A.7.10; SS.912.A.7.11; SS.912.A.7.17; SS.912.C.2.3; SS.912.C.4.2; SS.912.W.1.3; SS.912.W.1.6; SS.912.W.8.4; SS.912.W.9.4


History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher


Originally created by Ettore M. Lanza and published by the University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.

Rights Holder

All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/.


Morris, Alisha

Digital Collection

External Reference

"American Experience." Public Broadcasting Company. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/timeline/tl3.html.
Burlage, John D. "The Forrestal Fire." America's Navy. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=73.
"USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59)." The Virtual Wall: Vietnam Veterans Memorial. http://www.virtualwall.org/units/forrestal.htm.
Moïse, Edwin E. Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
Freeman, Gregory A. Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought It. New York: William Morrow, 2002.
Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: Wiley, 1979.

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Lanza, Ettore M.


Friedman, Paul H.


Coral Springs, Florida

Original Format

1 audio/video digital recording


28 minutes and 40 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency