Oakland author, vet talks about researching Vietnamese side of war Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD When author and Navy Vietnam veteran Kevin Levin asked the five North Vietnamese army veterans facing him across the room how they felt about winning the Vietnam War, the reply was simple.

“They looked at me and said nobody wins a war,” Levin said.

When the meeting started, Levin was not sure how the stern-looking veterans felt about being asked to be interviewed by someone who had fought against them more than 40 years ago. They brooked no interruptions before each finished speaking about their experiences.

“There was not a smile on their face,” Levin said.

They only relaxed when Levin started asking his own questions about life in the North Vietnamese army, whether they were wounded, did they feel they would survive going south to fight the Americans. They, in turn, asked him the same questions.

The interview was one of several that Levin got while researching what it was like to serve on the enemy side of the Vietnam War for a book that was based both on his experiences serving as an adviser to the South Vietnamese navy in the Mekong Delta in 1968 and 1969 where he was wounded twice, and on the experiences of those he interviewed.

Levin, now an Oakland resident, spoke Thursday afternoon about his writing and his research in Vietnam during a meeting at Paradise Valley Estates of the Solano County chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

This is the second veterans author luncheon that the group has hosted. Last month, retired minister and Navy Capt. Lest....

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