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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Content Description
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
    Title: Kenneth Piotter Vietnam War collection
    Creator: Piotter, Kenneth
    Identifier/Call Number: 2017.045.w.r
    Physical Description: 4.7 Linear feet (7 folders, 1 oversize folder, one specimen box, 1 textiles box)
    Date (inclusive): 1955 July 6 - 1975 May 15
    Abstract: This collection contains an arrangement of papers, realia, and textiles from SP4 Kenneth Piotter, USA during his service in the Vietnam War.
    Language of Material: English .
    Container: Vietnam 10
    Container: 1-7
    Container: 1-7
    Container: Specimen box 2
    Container: 2
    Container: Vietnam Uniforms 1

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Kenneth Piotter


    This collection is arranged by material type, author, and date. Series 1: Military records -- Series 2: Photographs -- Series 3: Realia -- Series 4: Ephemera -- Series 5: Personal papers -- Series 6: Periodicals-- Series 7: Biographical information

    Biographical / Historical

    Specialist 4 Kenneth Piotter, United States Army (born 1944) was born in Berwyn, Illinois. He was drafted into the Army on July 4, 1968, a year after graduating from the University of Illinois. The donor writes in a biographical narrative titled "My Vietnam Experience" that he volunteered for the Army Officer Candidate School so that he could have more time to settle personal matters before entering the service.
    Piotter became an officer candidate in the Corps of Engineers and did his basic training at Ford Leonardwood, Missouri.
    While Piotter was in advanced training, he learned that he was being assigned to Infantry Officer Candidate School. Piotter writes that the assignment upset him and he asked to drop out of Officer Candidate School. According to Piotter's biographical narrative, the officer in charge told him that he was "making a mistake and I would wind up in Vietnam if I did not take my Officer Candidate orders." Piotter adds that he told the officer that he "would go to Vietnam anyway and would rather go to Vietnam as an enlisted man in the Engineers than an officer in the Infantry."
    Piotter served a year in Vietnam beginning in January 1969. He was assigned to the 31st Engineer Battalion in Phuoc Vinh and specifically worked with the 31st Engineer HHC S3 division which, according to Piotter, was "responsible for creating and maintaining engineering drawings of battalion buildings, roads, maps, etc." He also spent time near the Cambodian border in Duc Hue and Song Be. He left Vietnam in January of 1970.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Box number, Folder number], Kenneth Piotter Vietnam War collection (2017.045.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.

    Content Description

    This collection contains an arrangement of military records, photographs, realia, and other items documenting the service of SP4 Kenneth Piotter, USA while he was in the military and his service during the Vietnam War. The collection includes military records that span Piotter's entire military career, photographs that Piotter took while serving in Vietnam in 1969, Piotter's military uniforms, his dog tags, and his military medals and certificates.
    Items of interest include a 1971 letter from then-Illinois congressman John Erlenborn about the verdict in the case of William Calley, who was convicted in the murder of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai.

    Conditions Governing Use

    There are restrictions on the use of certain items in this collection and in cases where previously copyrighted material is concerned. Folders in Series 1 and 3 must be reviewed by the archivist before providing access because they contain sensitive personal information. Regarding copyrighted material, it is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Vietnam.
    Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Personal narratives, American
    United States. -- Army.
    My Lai Massacre (Vietnam : 1968)