I re-released this story in 2022. To listen, click here. To read all the comments on this show over the years, scroll to bottom of this page.
Extraordinary. Please tell me there’s more, an outtakes reel, a Part 2?
I’m sorry I never responded to this Madison, and as you assumed, there is lots more incredible tape. Maybe someday I’ll try to put together some outtakes for the site. Thanks for the good idea…!
Please put together some outtakes! I’ve listened to this story so many times. I have a few good memories connected to this episode now. Like – I remember what I did almost one year ago when I first heard it. I was lying in the park, a hot summer day, mild breeze and a few people walking by on the gravel road behind me. I was lying in front of a fountain, sound of running water, ducks drifting across the pond. Small drops of water from the fountain softly landing on my forehead from time to time. Listening to this story, the stark and the powerful, mixed with beautiful, intriguing music. Amazing. Just amazing. Thanks for putting it out there, and thanks for bringing people of the world closer. We’re not alone.
Beautiful and brave. Thank you for this, Vaughn and Erica.
Thank you for helping Vaughn share his story.
Powerful interview and so honest. Vaughn’s stories should be heard by everyone. Thanks for touching the human heart.
What makes it so extraordinary is his reflection on his own thoughts and actions. Everyone should hear this and more.
Thanks for bringing us Vaughn’s story. He is remarkable and you have captured him beautifully.
Wow! What a fascinating and powerful story.
I was moved to hear Vaughn’s voice and words. I knew he was a combat Vet, but never knew the details. I am so glad that he survived and has now told his remarkable story. Vaughn, thank you for your service to our country; you are so humble about your contributions and accomplishments.
Vaughn and Beverly have been cutting and coloring my hair and that of my husband for years. They are truly wonderful people. When you are sitting in a chair you get to know the person behind you at a distance. If you are lucky you learn more about them. It is usually pretty superficial. I would never, ever have asked Vaughn to talk about his experiences in Vietnam. This takes our relationship to a different level.
The pain of war never ends. If you are lucky you become a Vaughn Hood.
Thanks for sharing Vaughn’s story. Vaughn, Thank You for your service to my country Vietnam. It’s so wonderful to listen to your amazing journey and experience in Vietnam.
Amazing! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for this.
A sidenote: I found the loud clapping background sound very distracting. I was so happy when it went away and did not return.
Thank you Vaughn, for sharing your story, and thank you, Rumblestrip for posting it. As one of Vaughn’s brothers-in-law, I can confirm that he is indeed a very, very good man, and that my sister was most fortunate to meet him and fall in love. Vaughn is the kind of guy you hope your sister will marry, and whom you are proud to have as one of your family. I am sure there are many other Vaughns out there with similar stories, from past and present wars, and I hope they too get the opportunity to share their experiences so that we in the “real world” can better understand and appreciate their sacrifice, and what they still deal with today and for the rest of their lives. Maybe then we, as a nation, can do a better job supporting them, and better yet, keep them from harms way.
You are a beautiful and strong spirit, Vaughn. Thank you for your service.
Vaughn is an amazing man and I am honored I was able to share memories with him and his wife Bev! They are kind, loving, HARD WORKING people….Thank you for letting me be part of your life!
Great interview Erica—amazing story Vaughn. Real and true and shows the challenge and joy of humanity.
Wow. Incredible. Thank-you Vaughn.
This is such a beautifully made story. I have to say I disagree with the person who didn’t like the clapping. I thought it was perfect there. The story is raw but the crafting of the story is like music. Erica nd Larry….wow. Thank you.
Vaughn and Bev were my first bosses in San Francisco in the 80s @Jaboh1. I was in high school and they let me work as a receptionist and later I babysat their kids. I always admired both Vaughn and Bev and the community of people who worked with them in their salon in our Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. I looked up to them both. I was so moved to hear Vaughn tell his story. I never knew he had lived through so much. Thank you for sharing Vaughn! You are an inspiration!
Vaughn and I were business owners on the same block on Haight St between Masonic and Ashbury in San Francisco for many years and my hair cutter for a couple decades.
He told me about his time in Vietnam and gave me a copy of a poem he wrote trying to make sense of the past.
It hangs over my desk still to remind me of this gentle man.
Thank you Vaughn for being one of the good ones.
Thank you Tom and Pat Pinkos for sharing the link to Vaughn Hood’s story. Thank you Vaughn for the raw, educational and heartfelt interview. Accounts like Vaughn’s are “key” to helping others understand the War in Vietnam and its aftereffects. My husband is a Vietnam Vet and I understand PTSD and a lot of the things Vaughn shared. The stories from the jungles were riveting as was Vaughn’s intervention through transcendental meditation. We just listened to the interview together and we Honor Vaughn for his tour of duty! God Bless You.
Vaughn – this was powerful to listen to. In Vietnam you modeled yourself after Rock, and regardless of what happened to him, you are a rock – of wisdom, kindness, goodness. I’m inspired to strive after listening to your interview. Thank you.
Vaughn, thank you so much for sharing your story and and Pinkos for sharing it with us. I grew up in Vaughn’s
hometown and actually graduated high school with his sister. I also married a Viet Nam vet that survived that travesty. Your story will be heart-warming and up-lifting to those still suffering.
Very moving. One of the best things I’ve ever heard on radio. Thanks Vaughn.
Bravely, beautifully told. Thank you for your story, Vaughn. Much love to you and your family.
Vaughn’s life story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing the pain and the triumph.
Thank you for sharing your story Vaughn. I have had the pleasure of knowing Vaughn and his wonderful family for quite a few years. The Hood family is one in a million: giving and inviting, fun and warm, and talented, inspirational humans all. I’m proud to be able to call them friends. Thank you Vaughn for your service and for your courage, both during your duty and now in sharing your inspiring story. Peace and love to you and yours.
Wow so beautiful Vaughn. Thank you for sharing
Vaughn. Thanks for sharing your story again. I would make it mandatory listening for every armed services recruit.
You know that I think you have always been a brave and good man. I hope you can eventually remember the memories with less pain. Always remember that all of your friends are out there for your support.
Thank you for this wonderful interview with Vaughn Hood. Vaughn was my hairdresser for some 20 years while I lived in San Francisco and his wife Beverly did my color. We discovered we had many things in common; we were all from the Midwest and Bev and I were of Polish ancestry. Sometimes when my parents would visit, I would take my mom to Vaughn for him to cut her hair too. Vaughn and Bev were so supportive of me. They would give me a discount or let me pay in installments for my cut/color during the years that finances were tight for me. Vaughn was and still is the ONLY hairdresser that knows how to cut my hair. When they told me they were moving to Vermont, I was truly heartbroken about not being able to see them once a month and about not being able to get my hair cut by Vaughn. Often I would stop in their shop just to say hello or drop off a loaf of bread or flowers in between cuts. But I’ve stayed in touch with them during the years since they left SF. I moved away too, back to my native Iowa and a couple of years ago, I drove to Vermont to visit them and yes, get a hair cut from Vaughn. And I can’t wait to make that trip again.
We feel honored to call Vaughn our friend. Thank you, Vaughn for telling your story. We all can learn from your experiences. And we can all be grateful that men like you have a voice. Keep sharing your compelling story! It offers something so valuable to young and old alike.
So very powerful and moving. Thank you to Vaughn and Rumblestrip for sharing your experiences. We are indebted to you.
Thank you, Vaughn, for continuing to do the very best you can, every day. Your compassion and generosity has helped me in my very own darkest hours. We are all fighting battles of some sort or other. You are not alone, XOXO, Lj
What a powerful example for me of how little we know about people. I work in a building close to Mr. Hood. I’ve spoken to his wife on the phone. I’ve probably passed him on the street a dozen times. And yet I had absolutely no idea that such an amazing story was right there the whole. Thank you both for taking the time and care to make this happen.
Thank you Erica for getting Vaughn’s voice so very right and true. Thank you Vaughn for telling us all what happened. I am so happy we crossed paths back here in SF a while ago. And i am glad you want to come back. I may miss you that time but glad i caught you this time around. All best to you and Bev, Sophie and Charlie.
Thanks so much Connie! Larry Massett edited the story, which means he was the storyteller behind the storyteller. He’s the king. Thanks so much for listening and taking the time to write. Erica
I applaud the work you are doing here. I have known Vaughn for sometime now. But now I know him better. I am married to a Vietnam Vet. Ugly war and many scars.
What a moving and inspiring story. He is a true hero, not just for his service in Vietnam, but because of his choice each and every day thereafter to live as a good person. Vaughn’s example challenges us all to live an authentic life.
Beautifully told story of a terrible time in war. Thank you Vaughan. In constantly doing your very good best you inspire the rest of us. Knowing more of your story will give the gentle touch of your hands when you shampoo my hair a mysterious resonance.
Thank you, Vaughn, for sharing your story. I am so happy for you, your family, and friends that you found acceptance and the freedom to fully feel again after your experience in Viet Nam. I was in a four-year relationship with a Viet Nam vet with PTSD whose main strong emotion was anger. I hope this broadcast makes its way to him so he can, in his mid-60s, finally begin to heal. Be well and please keep sharing.
Vaughn, thank you for your vivid, articulate, and deeply touching account of a harrowing time, and of your efforts to reconcile these experiences with the gentle true core of you and to reclaim the full gifts of life. This is so helpful in extending to us a bit more understanding of you, and of our nation. A surprisingly uplifting story.
This interview broke my heart, filled my heart, keeps resonating. Near the end I thought, “This is what being a man is,” and two seconds later he said, “I’m as good a man as there is.” It was spooky, but also beautiful to know that despite his real, deep damage, he still steps up and gives back. He is a role model, his is an exemplary American life – if I ever get my butt up there, I hope I can get him to cut my hair, and thank him for sharing his story. Beautiful work
Wow. What a riveting 30 minutes. I will think about Mr. Hood’s story for a long time. I was motionless throughout. Thank you Vaughn for sharing this remarkable insight. Thank you Erica, for bringing it to R.V.
I’ve just now had a chance to sit and listen to this interview straight through. Erica, it’s a work of art; Beautifully
interviewed and edited by you, and artfully told by Mr. Hood. Among other things, a spiritual experience.
It brought you a heartfelt message from your sister. Bravo; keep doing this.
This story was edited by Larry Massett, which means that he made all the decisions about how the story works. I did the interviews and the mix, so it was a great collaboration. Thank you so much for writing Ruth and I will pass on your kind words to Larry!
A powerful story; well told. And a reminder to us all both of the horrors of that particular conflict, and of the reasons we should not blindly rush into wars .
I’m a retired journalist, but it is hard to come up with the right words to describe my reactions to his great story. I graduated from high school with Vaughn, but I have seen him only a few times since then and did not know all that he had been through. It is very touching that he is willing to share his experiences with the world. Best wishes to you, Vaughn, and hope you will be attending our 50th high school reunion next year.
What a gift you’ve bestowed on us whose lives have touched yours even a bit. I thank you Vaughn, for sticking with us who know nothing of the war, for telling your story to us, for the sheer beauty of opening your heart. Profound and moving. You are indeed a good man.
Thanks Vaughn for sharing your story. Even though we have been friends since childhood, I had no idea what you had been through.
Moving. A display of resilence and finding meaning in the deepest of tragedies. From a review of these comments, he and his wife have lived their life well and have stories upon stories upon stories of their goodness and life in the community. That is where life is to be lived, in the community.
I learned about this story through the article in 7 Days. After reading it I had to check out the podcast and listen to this story, among others. So Powerful! This particular story and this podcast medium inspires me to try this kind of journalism too. Thank you Erica and Vaughn for sharing.
I’ve talked with you for years about everything while you cut my hair, heard some of the stories. But never felt closer than listening to the interview. You are full of courage. Thanks.
thanks erica and larry, for a most touching story, told by a “natural”.
what impresses me most about Vaugh are his clear-eyed self-awareness and his even manner through a vast range of emotions.
how can we allow war to break people will-nilly?
i’ll have to get my hair cut by him this summer in St J.
Thanks for sharing Vaughn…..a powerful 30 minutes listening to your voice tell the story of a most difficult journey and the redemption that eventually follows after many years. You are an inspiration.
Thank you for your service to our Country.
Thank you for sharing this very touching and humbling inner story, Vaughn. Your courage is in looking at your past, forgiving yourself for what you needed to and then, more importantly, the ability to recognize that you are incredible person.
You may see yourself as small in stature but you are a giant among men. Your story and the way you conduct your life is an inspiration to us all.
Good work! There’s lots of heart here. It’s so good to hear stories from Vermont.
Vaughn, Erica, and Larry . . . thank you so much for this moving account of a life well and deeply lived. This pod cast has virtues too numerous to name because of its soulful tone and authentic delivery. Most important to me is the way it builds bridges to non-veterans like me who read about the facts of war but seldom hear the feelings and consequences embedded in these facts. It has long been a pleasure for me to enter Jaboh’s creative atmosphere, to discover what wonderful fashion statement Bev is making in the moment, and to speak with you, Vaughn, about Michigan/Ontario similarities and share reflections on the sixties and life generally, all as you thoughtfully cut my hair. After listening to the pod cast, I am profoundly affected by this window onto a world I have only glimpsed through novels like Tim O’Brien’s powerful The Things They Carried. May your story find its way to Veterans and civilians everywhere, especially those who have yet to discover a way through their own darkness. You are an inspiration to Veterans and civilians alike.
Listening to your story, I cried for the first time in as long as I can remember. It’s heartening to know that someone who has been through so much bad can come out so good. Thank you all.
Vaughn Hood is a true American hero. People like Vaughn are few and far between in this world,
but when you meet such a person you need to be sure you take some time to listen and learn. Brave,
considerate, and hard working…a rare combination. I’m honored to have met such a man, thank you
Vaughn for sharing your story with me.
Thank you for telling us your story, Vaughn Hood. It is an extremely powerful and important one. I am sure there are many veterans of wars who have stories to tell, but never can find the words, the means or the courage to do so. My hope is that relating your experience can be therapeutic for you and a model for others to do the same. You are a remarkable person.
There is no better 3 minutes of podcasting than the final three minutes of this episode. Thank you for it.
so many things I love about this interview with Vaughn Hood. The Viet Nam story is incredibly moving and important not just to Vaughn but to a whole generation of people whose friends and brothers went to fight, die and be wounded in a war they didn’t know why we were in. But I also loved the hippie barber to hairdresser part. It was such a fun and personal illustration of the changes that occurred in the long-hair hippie days. And it was so beautifully told.
This is INCREDIBLE. Why have I not head this on VPR????? Why why why????
What a moving life story…thank you Vaughn for sharing…I have always enjoyed our conversations but this puts such a shine onto our next visit, not to mention my hair…Erica and Larry did such a beautiful art piece with a part of your life. Thank you.
Vaughn, I met you for the first time this morning when you cut my hair. You have a unique way of cutting hair; the thorough brushing; the head and neck massage. You listened to what I wanted and I LOVE THE CUT, thank you.
I was very anxious to get home and listen to the audio. Had no idea what it was about and told my husband he should listen. We were totally enthralled hearing about your experiences in Vietnam and your journey from hippie barber to hairdresser. My ex-husband served twice in Vietman, wounded twice and has been fighting demons since (one reason we are not married today). My current husband also served in Vietman (intelligence) and he still won’t talk about his time over there . My brother had three weeks left of his tour in Vietman (1967) and was killed.
Your story is like so many others that went to serve our country yet you have opened up and revealed your enter thoughts and experiences which help us to understand (somewhat). Thank you Vaughn.
Thank you for this. Beautiful.
I was in the same unit in Vietnam as Vaughn Hood, but I was there a bit earlier from Dec. 1966 to Dec. 1967. I have not met him yet. This presentation is excellent. Vaughn does a great job in recounting his experiences and it was very moving for me and I could tell it was moving for him as well. It’s in his voice throughout the interview. Everything he says IS as it was. It is very difficult to recount these types of experiences to others, although they never leave us and are always in our minds and part of us. Erica has contacted me about Vaughn and I am hoping he will be able to join many of us from Co. D, 2/7th Cav, who are in touch with each other. We meet yearly at 1st Cavalry reunions and other reunions, in addition to Facebook, phone and e-mail. Thank you for making his interview available to everyone and bringing Vaughn back to us.
I was with D 2/7 from May ’69 til Apr ’70. We had to be there at the same time, was in the 1st plt.
I was in the 2/7th D Co. from March of 69 till shot June 9th of 69. Some of what you talked about sounds a lot like what fire fights I was in. Were you any were near L Z Jamie?
Vaugh has been cutting my hair for years and I have heard much of his life story, including some of his experiences in Vietnam. Yet in listening to this interview, I cried through a lot of it, as I finally felt the depth of pain that he has been holding for so many years. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us, Vaugh. They are powerful and need to be told and heard. Your goodness, heart, and humor shine through. Please keep shining!
Garry Owen 2/5 dealing with the demons is never easy but u made seem easy no deros delta 2/7 7/69. 9/70 don’t mean nothing ,just a thang
What a beautiful episode. Brava, Erica! I love that you just let him talk and reflect. An amazing piece of radio.
“People have no idea.” I had no idea. Sometimes when I hear the depth of experience of someone like Vaughn, I am moved, but also embarrassed by the memory of the times I have glibly offered my opinion about subjects like war. It is good to be humbled into silence and to understand that one’s own story is just a part of the great mandala of sentient beings. We would all be better off if tried to understand the hidden depths of others before we get too enraptured by our own view. This story is very beautifully told and produced.
Vaughn Hood…………….. “your a good man with a strong spirit”…….. Thank you for serving our country and thank you for coming home and being the man you want to be. ……………..rod savage Viet Nam era 1/9 Cav FT. Hood Texas
I am a freshman in high school and I had this assigned to me as homework. I never thought I could take so much from this interview. I am truly inspired.
Well Reagan, that makes my day. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I encourage you to pick up a mic, or a pencil…and go interview someone. Then come back and tell me about it…!
Very powerful. It wasn’t easy for him to share his story, but he made a difference in everyone who listened.
Thank you for a heart-full interview of a strong, quiet hero.
Thank you for Vaughn’s interview. My husband was in Vietnam twice, the first time was 10 days after we were married because I couldn’t let him go without being his wife. The second time was right after I became pregnant with our first child who was born while he was there – he met his son, thankfully, when he was 5 months old and told me he didn’t know who he was or who his family was. He has struggled for 43 years to cope with the effects of war, just like Vaughn and so many others. He acknowledges the “thank you for your service” that he occasionally receives, usually from other Vets, but we both know that will never be enough to fill the holes in his life created by war.
Vaughn is right to say that he feels the worse for those who were maimed – and we can’t possibly know what all that means to each individual. My husband developed cancer from exposure to Agent Orange and it took 3 years to establish his VA disability claim. We need to never forget the overwhelming sacrifices made by our veterans – I am grateful for your radio production in bringing humanism in to a world constantly at war and making it real for those who have been fortunate not to share those experiences.
Vaughn, you are my hero! Thank you for giving me faith and inspiration! I am only a child, so I do not know much about what is going on in this world, but you have helped me to understand a little bit. I know that I will never fully understand what you have gone through. Being brave is not being unafraid, it is being afraid but still fulfilling your duties.
God bless and thank you for everything.
I saw this on the Atlantic’s 50 best podcasts of 2015 list. What a powerful story. Thank you, Vaughn, Erica, and Larry.
This is a very moving story that I highly recommend to anyone who is lucky enough to run across it.
I found the link to Vaughn Hood’s story at Berks Story Project in Reading, PA, on the day after Christmas. Deep understanding and deep humanity Vaughn shares with us. Thank you, Erica, for bringing his voice to us. Thank you, Vaughn, for being the man you are, and for surviving the war and then healing from the scars. Chicago to Vietnam to San Francisco to Vermont, you are a light and a story that needs to be heard. Thank you.
What a centered person.
I was lucky enough to come across this podcast listed on Atlantic’s Top 50 for 2015 and the grace and humility of Vaughn’s voice and story have resonated with me the entire day. Thank you, Erica, for the inspiring work, and thank you, Vaughn, for the honor and courage with which you continue to serve us all every day.
Best Podcast on Atlantic’s Top 50 for 2015. Thank you Vaughn and thank you Erica for a story beautifully told. I grew up with a father with severe PTSD from World War II. He is 95 years old and lives with me. Your story resonated with him. It is a healing balm for someone who has experienced the horrors of war.
I wish that I possessed the ability to adequately describe my feelings about this podcast through this comment. The immense humanity and grace within this man is astounding. So often we throw around the term “great American” to describe those that are anything but. However, what better way to describe this man? He and his unassuming resolve to do the next right thing made me stop mid jog and just think. I thought about whether I am striving to live each like this man. Not long ago I read a book which described Saints as those who lead humble lives in a manner that radiates peace and love. Vaughn is a saint. Thank you.
My husband and I just listened to Vaughn’s story and we are both so moved by his humility, honesty and even humor. I have known Vaughn for 16 years yet I now realize that I did not know him truly. His gentle demeanor hides the scars that he suffers with daily. This was a powerful interview that has caused me to think about much. Thank you for opening up, Vaughn, so that others can get a glimmer of what war does to lives. It is an honor to know you.
The incredible thing about what you’ve done is provide opportunity to juxtapose an extraordinary life with a more mundane one. I am blessed to know that Vaughns example exists and how to think about making life full of goodness
Just need to echo what Suzanne Smith said below. The story of Vaughn Hood left me glued to my chair. It’s what NPR calls a “driveway moment.” So powerful, so tender,so very well told. That war was another war that never should have sucked us in.I wish him all the best of luck in this world. His story will stay with me forever…thank you!
Beautiful. Powerful. Moving. Inspirational. Thank you, Mr. Hood, and kudos to all who contributed to the project.
Great story, very touching, thanks for sharing as it is ever grateful to be reminded how fortunate we can be. Your courage and leadership are quite moving.
Great story, thank you. What a wonderful man, listening to this makes me want to drive to Vermont for a haircut.
I have had this link on my laptop for, well, probably months. I had surgery the other day to remove some hardware from an ankle repair and finally listened. It was oddly peaceful to listen to Vaughn’s voice, in spite of the darkness inherent in much of his tale. I feel privileged to have heard him, and I hope one day to tell him to his face that his voice was healing, and to thank him for sharing- and you for putting it on the air.
What a gift you are blessed with to create Vaughn Hood’s remarkable peice on Rumblestrip. Thanks you Vaughn for sharing it with the wide world.
We listened to your VPR Rumble Strip short version of this story on your new VPR format a few days ago. I remember listening to the original longer interview a while ago. I was in the Reserves (1970 to 1976) and I was only active duty at Ft. Jackson for 3 1/2 months in the summer of 1970 and after that at two week summer camps during the following 6 summers, so my exposure to the Vietnam War was was buffered. But it did give me exposure, that I would not have otherwise have had, to soldiers who were on their way to or who had returned from Vietnam. I am grateful for that experience. What struck me most was the contrast of draftees fearful of what their government would do to them if they did not submit to being drafted; to those who wanted to be participants in that war, or had at least accepted their fate. Some I knew who did not want to go were killed over there. That affected me most at that time. In those days I remember very little talk about how the soldiers I knew felt about their experiences. Later those veterans who did talk, mostly where the ones who saw their participation as high points in their lives. A few years ago, maybe 10 years ago, killed himself after decades of anguish about his participation. But more recently I have had friends, who I did not even know were Vietnam War veterans, talk about their feelings of how that war effected them. This war is still very much with them and by extension with us. Thank you for providing a forum to not forget how this war is still with them and us.
Beautiful show – I really enjoyed hearing Mr. Hood’s story.
Thank you. That is all I can say. Thank you.
So inspiring, with all that happens in the world these days this story makes you realize the things we take for granted everyday. Count your blessings!
I had the honor of meeting this man today. Great stuff we need a part 2.
Had no idea who I was going to meet last evening when Vaughn, Bev, Charlie and their friend Sue joined my sweetheart Doug Yeagley here in San Diego. Vaughn, Bev, Sue and Doug had been hairdressers back in Michigan in their youth and hadn’t seen each other in quite a number of years. Doug has been excited for this reunion with these friends I know he just loves.
I felt an instant, wonderful connection. Vaughn spoke of his time in Vietnam and how it affected him. After they left last evening, I was left with feeling I had known and loved them all my life.
Thank you Vaughn, for sharing your experience is such a vulnerable, healing and hopeful manner. Above all, thank you for the gift of YOU.
Floie Van Patten
I’m a Vietnam vet. I was very moved by this piece. I went there after graduating from college. Wasnt a grunt, didnt have to hump the boonies (be out in the field, on patrol, etc.) but was in base camps along the Cambodian border, just before we invaded cambodia. My job to was debrief recon teams who had been inserted just across the Camb. border, to see what the NVA or VC were doing, not to engage or be targets, like Vaughn.
I love the way he told his story. Utterly truthful and authentic. I’m so glad that he’s found peace and a way to live with himself. I went through the same sort of experience, but didnt have to deal with the heavy shit that he did. I would go to his shop if I ever got to St. Johnsbury VT.
Illuminating. Thanks to Vaughn for his insight, and thanks to the exceptional editing that brought his story to such vivid life.
We go into the Silence to ask how to understand ourselves and another human being. I was moved to go into Vaughn and Beverley’s Shop, not for a haricut…at least not yet…slim funds at the moment. I went into Jaboo to share something with Vaughn. What I shared was about a Vietnam Vet who after 40 years of PTSD found himself attending 4 Gazing Sessions with Braco, Healer, Gazer from Croatia. Visit http://www.Braco.me Click on Testimonials, video Testimonials and scroll down to page 2 and click on the Vet’s Testimony. He had a similar experience of goodness flowing into him that totally changed his life. His PTSD was gone and so was his recent diagnosis of Stomach Cancer from Agent Orage. I had not idea that Vaugh was a Vietnam Vet carrying the burden of that, dtermined to offer his best and mastering such a remarkable offering of one’s BEST. An exemplary story, a story that penetrates all the layers of my own heart wall and defenses bringing me into his TM meditation transmission. How could such good come from so much trauma? It seems that God is at work here and everywhere even amidst the most dire circumstances. Let me take a step humbly back and bow my head to honor this human being for being a human being that can represent humanity’s best. Thank you so much Erica and Larry for capturing this soldier of peace and allowing us to receive his gifts. Thank you.
Mr. Hood has just reached me through my laptop. His is a powerful, profound story told well.I consider myself blessed to look into his life and hear him speak with such honesty and emotion. And yes, I agree he is a Good Man.
This story is powerful and amazing. It should be required listening for everyone old enough to vote, but especially for our elected officials. I was a small child who grew up with pictures of the Vietnam War on the 5 o’clock news. I didn’t understand the reasons for it then. I understand it even less now. I am so sorry for what you have lost. Vaugh you are a very good man. Words here are inadequate. You touched me deeply.
This was indeed a powerfully moving episode. The last thing Vaughn said about being brutalized by society and yet he still gave back every day of his life…..I like it. I relate to it..
This hit home in more ways than allot know. This podcast did so well of catching the struggle we all deal with and dealing with it through humility and hard work. I totally relate to this and can vouch for the pain most true vets have. You can tell the difference from the vet who never went to combat but tries to relate and those that have seen the elusive elephant(as I call it). My life was a little more twisted due to having my family and kids going through my emotional issues and I still harbor those scars. I spent 21 years in the military with 90 percent of it in special forces. Where we canʻt talk to family and canʻt really vent. So this 21 year special forces veteran with all the awards etc, heard this podcast and had to pull over because he could not stop crying. Thank you for letting me get that out of me and release that emotion.
R. I cannot thank you enough for this response, and for taking the time to write it. It is exactly why I make this show. I will make certain that Vaughn sees it. With gratitude, Erica
Vaughn has been my “barber” for the past two years. I feel we have become friends over that time. He invited me to listen to this program. I am honored that he wanted to share it with me. As I listened to his truly compelling journey I thought about my father. My father fought in WWII (North Africa and Italy, POW Stalag VIIA). He never spoke about what he did or saw. My brother and I found his purple heart and medals under his socks in a drawer the day after he died while we were getting clothes for the funeral home. And it was only many, many years later that our mom (who worked in a munitions factory outside Kankakee, IL) showed us his military records. My father was 58 years old when he died of a heart attack no doubt brought on by the burden of WWII. I was 19. I wish my dad could have met Vaughn. And I wish especially today (Veteran’s Day) that all of us could listen to and reflect upon Vaughn’s journey, my father’s journey, and the similar journeys of countless men and women who silently persevere every single day. Maybe if we did we would see how petty, self-centered, and self-righteous we are when we profess (on Facebook,etc.) our dismay, anger, or sorrow over current events. May the Vaughns of this world inspire us instead to be so much better, and lead a simple and quiet life with grace and dignity.
I urge you all to take time to listen to Vaughn Hood’s account of his experience in Vietnam and how it impacted on his life. Clearly, Vaughn is an exceptional human being in every way. He is a highly intelligent, humble, caring, sensitive, task oriented individual who is fully committed to achieving excellence in whatever he commits himself to. As a society we owe Vaughn and men like him an enormous debt of gratitude. The sacrifices that Vaughn and others like him made on our behalf are beyond the grasp of most of us. Listening to his account of his experience is both educational and enlightening and has helped me to gain greater understanding of the sacrifices that our service men and women make for us every day. I have met Vaughn in the past however I was clueless regarding his life experience until I took time to listen to his account, An American Life: A Story about war and hairdressing. The next time I am on Eastern Avenue I will visit his Shop so that I can shake his hand and express my appreciation for him.
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I was so very touched and moved by Vaughn’s account of his experience in Vietnam.
Not many combat survivors can so eloquently, and with emotion tell the life altering experiences they endured.
The men and women that so valiantly went to serve their country despite the great opposition to this war should be honored for their bravery not only while serving in the war but for enduring what came after they returned home.
Government calls these brave people to serve their country and then toss them aside when they return.
Our politicians should be ashamed for the huge benefits and compensation they receive and vote in for themselves and yet they will not do the same for our soldiers.
Thank you Vaughn for your story, which needed to be told least we forget, which we should never be allowed to do.
I just listened to the story of Vaughn Hood through Scott Carrier’s podcast, Home of the Brave, and was brought to tears. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for sharing Vaughn’s incredible story, and that you’ve most certainly gained a regular listener.
I’ve said on the facebook how much this piece means to me, and I may have commented here before but I forget.
So again, Vaughn’s story is so moving, and contains such strength and dignity, and hope. Me, I like the clapping. Arvo Part’s music is pretty to much keeping me going at the moment. It’s a pretty rough time for me in Tasmania. I’m listening to An American Life every day, and trying to apply just a little of Vaughn’s reflection and wisdom into my days. Vaughn, Erica and Larry, thank you so much. It’s an incredible piece of work.
Such a story.Thank you for sharing your experiences and your life.I never have heard anyone I know speak about their tour in VietNam.
There is an atmosphere in your salon that radiates the goodness about which you have shared.
Thank you for so many things. Honesty, service, surviving, giving, caring and most of all speaking out so that some of many can try to comprehend past trauma in a daily life. What a powerful pod cast!
I just sat in my car in the driveway, and cried after hearing this. A lovely long driveway moment. This is an exquisitely beautiful piece. I love this man. Thank you for recording him for all of us to hear Erica. This changed me.
Erica, you were always a fab interviewer, but this is so deeply moving..
maybe, as we all get older, we become softer and more humble
at the deep resilience of some and the terrible tragedy that has so hurt others.
I hope you look into the idea of a base secured income for all,
which the USA can well afford, so we get all these people out of this deep cleft of pain and poverty.
Bravo ! Denney Morton
Erica, when are you going to release more from this podcast? Have you published the most recent one you did with Vaughn about Jabot yet?
Not yet! I am working on a huge series that starts airing on NOvember 12 and am editing three shows at once as fast as i can. I’ll get to work on Vaughn soon and man….it was an amazing conversation. It’s gonna be good…
Dear Erica, Vaughn, and Larry,
I have ‘An American Life’ on high rotation again. Sometimes, I listen to the version on ‘Home of the Brave’ too, because I like hearing the nice things Scott Carrier has to say about you, Erica.
The nature of recovery from trauma is not linear, as we might prefer it to be, but cyclic. And I am at that point in the wheel where surely I have reached, in engineering terms, BDC (bottom dead centre) where things are at the lowest possible point.
‘An American Life’, I firmly believe, could be prescribed as a panacea for the lost, the maimed, the bereft. It is tape with magical healing qualities. My current dose is q.d., but b.d. also is effective when insomnia plagues me.
Sergeant Hood may have lost many men in his squad, but I am sure he has saved the lives many other people over the course of his life.
With respect and kindness,
I was lucky enough to be sent your story from a dear friend who worked on your home some years ago in cole valley ..he Van Vorheis .. now Tsogtor ……(SOG -TOOR) is an ordained Buddhist monk of 10 + years living in oaxaca city mexico.
I listened enthralled and wrote to him and told him that I fell in love with vaughn as i listened.
It is your heart , compassion, kindness, understanding of self and others , values, work ethic and more..,.. that allowed my spirit to well to that degree.
I am so sorry of your suffering and yet perhaps it in part was so as this beautiful life story could be told ….. your humble nature and spirit heals and will continue for countless number of people who needed this.
perhaps one day I can find my way to your shop to meet you and your wife .. I would be honored to shake your hand …. you are a man indeed, and yes a good a man as there is …..thankyou peter
This episode meant so much to me. My dad went to Vietnam when I was a baby, and it left him with a sadness that never completely disappeared, even in his happiest moments. For the longest time I thought that core of sadness was about me, because when you’re a kid, you think that way. I understand, now, that his experience in the war had a profound affect on him. Like Vaughn, my dad used work to get through afterwards.
I’ve read books and seen films about the war, but nothing has come close to explaining the American soldier’s experience in Vietnam like this interview. I am so grateful to Vaughn for his honesty and insight and to Erica for providing the space, support, and platform for Vaughn to share his story. I feel like I have a much deeper appreciation for what my dad and other veterans– of Vietnam and of all other wars– went through both in the conflict and upon their return.
I agree with the others who have written above that this is a healing episode. The story of how Vaughn asked for help, both from a stranger and from the hospital, and how he was able to begin recovery through meditation, is a story of such hope for all who struggle with mental health issues.
Thank you so much, Vaughn and Erica.
After listening to Vaughn Hood talk about being young and looking at the sky, thinking about eternity and doing whatever is necessary to not come back, … I’ve never met or heard anyone else say that, but that is something that happened with me at about 3 or 4 years old, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. I no longer live in Vermont, I’m in Japan now, but i’d Like to talk with you more about that. Is it possible to have this conversation?
Theo. What a remarkable thing to recognize about yourself in someone else’s story! If you want to send me an email, you can send to email@example.com.
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