Geno Silvia

Conversation with Geno Sylvia
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Geno Sylvia, Fall River Vietnam War Wall Memorial, Fall River, Massachusetts, 2021
Geno Sylvia, Fall River Vietnam War Wall Memorial, Fall River, Massachusetts, 2021

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Geno Sylvia during the Vietnam War
Geno Sylvia during the Vietnam War

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The Harold News article about the Sylvia twins, November 10, 2003
The Harold News article about the Sylvia twins, November 10, 2003

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Geno Sylvia, Fall River Vietnam War Wall Memorial, Fall River, Massachusetts, 2021
Geno Sylvia, Fall River Vietnam War Wall Memorial, Fall River, Massachusetts, 2021

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When he was 17-years old, Geno Syliva and his best friend Richard were walking around Fall River and decided to join the Marine Corps. However, Sylvia was on probation and needed to wait until his probation was over. When he finally could join, he attended boot camp at Paris Island, and in 1967 arrived at the Chu Lai Airbase. His first impression of Vietnam as a beautifully green, peaceful country was quickly shattered as the war waged on and he continued to witness carnage. His day to day routine of plane maintenance was disrupted by the Tet Offensive: "It was not what I expected at 19-years-old. I expected to do my job as an air winger." When Sylvia returned home, he turned to the VA for help with his PTSD, and as the VA, and country, rejected the notion of PTSD, the VA prescribed him Valium, which started him down a path of abusing substances to erase his trauamtic memories. Today, now decades sober, Sylvia helps veterans in AA who have come home with PTSD. "I keep my story as short as I can... I'm sorry to have witnessed it all."