It was May 1968 when a then-21-year-old John Mayo climbed into a plane in Saigon, Vietnam, and headed back to the United States after 18 months of war, much of which was served as a lieutenant platoon leader in a combat engineer battalion.
“When I left during the war I really didn’t ever think I would come back,” said Mayo, a former Clarksdale mayor and a state representative. “I do remember thinking this was a beautiful country and how much I would like see it again when there was no war, but I didn’t really think I would ever be back.”
It may have taken 40 years, but Mayo now can say he has a fresh perspective on Vietnam and an understanding of what the country is like in the 21st century.
After recently accepting an unexpected invitation to return to Vietnam with another veteran, Mayo spent the last week of June in the country.