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Ralph Adrian Swain


I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967 which included a tour in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 after receiving my bachelor's degree in political science. I was on accelerated advancement achieving the rank of Specialist Five in the two years prior to my deployment to Vietnam. After entering training as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and being placed on permanent-party status for 18 months, I was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company with the Area Command Headquarters (USARV), the logistical command center in Vietnam. My primary MOS became Company Clerk.
I was honorably discharged and received nine decorations including the Army Commendation Medal.
In 1970 I organized the Veterans for Peace at Colorado State University and then joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and participated in Operation Dewey Canyon III in April 1971 in Washington, D.C. I completed my master's degree in history in May 1972.
In November 2007, I participated in the “Reading of the Names” in Washington, D.C. during the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
In August, 2008, I returned to Vietnam after 38 years with a 20-member delegation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. Our group included the former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Michael Marine, and Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the VVMF.
I was the chair of the Division of Humanities at Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) in Sioux City before I retired in June 2011. I was also vice president of academic affairs at the Nebraska Indian Community College in Macy, Neb. and a tenured associate professor in mass communications at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. Previous teaching assignments include the University of Wyoming and Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.
As former journalist, I worked in the newspaper, radio and television news professions in Colorado, Wyoming, West Virginia and Iowa.
I currently teach fully-online courses for community colleges in Iowa while I enjoy “retirement” in southern Arizona. I am on the board of directors of the Coolidge Veterans Commission in Coolidge, AZ. I am married to a Venezuelan woman who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and I am the father of her daughter whom I adopted.

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