Ed Blank grew up in Pittsburgh’s South Hills. After graduating from Duquesne University and completing an ROTC program, Ed commissioned in the US Army.
As an officer in Vietnam, Ed’s specialty was rigging telephone lines for communications among US troops—an often overlooked and undervalued requirement of war. But it was not combat duty, so his experience of the war was a lot different than many other GIs.
Most often, Ed’s deployment to Vietnam was spent battling the dangers of mosquitoes, rats, shrews, scorpions, and red ants. “I never fired my weapon while in Vietnam,” says Ed. There just wasn’t a need to get into combat. Nevertheless, the danger of engaging the enemy was always present, Ed tells us. it could have happened, but it didn’t.
“When I came back from Vietnam” Ed says, “most people didn’t have any sense of the war.” In fact, Ed wasn’t quite sure he did either.
This interview was recorded November 30, 2015 at the Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Interviewer: Todd DePastino. Special Thanks: Ed Blank, Todd DePastino, Senator John Heinz History Center. A production of the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative. Executive Producer: Kevin Farkas. Videography: Kevin Farkas, Bryan Chemini. Editor: Jonathan Stile.