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Veterans of other American wars view the hero's welcome given to soldiers returning from the Persian Gulf with emotions as varied as the conflicts in which they fought.

Many soldiers who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict agree that the homecomings should be great celebrations for the returning heroes - even if they didn't get such spectacular greetings when they returned themselves. But some Vietnam War vets think the men and women sent to oppose Saddam Hussein were just doing their jobs.

Vietnam War

Take Vietnam veteran Larry Weist. He doesn't believe men and women who got paid for doing their jobs necessarily deserve hero status.

"A hero is one who goes into harm's way beyond the normal and expected line of duty," Weist said. "If you want to call a guy who drops a bomb from an F-15 a hero, then he's a hero. But probably the majority of those people were never in a firefight. There was little ground combat, so there was little chance for heroics in the traditional sense."

Weist, a member of the 25th Infantry Division from December 1967 to March 1969, was a rifleman, radio-telephone operator and squad leader. He was wounded twice, involved in a helicopter crash during a mortar attack and participated in five campaigns in Vietnam.

Finally discharged at the Oakland Army Base, he caught a cab with three other soldiers, who asked the driver to take them to the nearest place with a phone. He took them to a Chinese cafe.

"As we walked in wearing our new uniforms, the owner came out from the kitchen, shaking his finger and saying, `no GI, no GI.' He didn't want us in his stinking, rat-hole cafe," Weist said. "That will be the last thing on my mind when I die."

For Weist and other Vietnam vets, there was no homecoming, much less a hero's welcome.

But he says after 22 years of reflection, he's not bitter. Nor does he begrudge the hoopla planned for returning Desert Storm veterans.

"In fact, I support it. It's fine. It's good for the kids. Every guy who goes to war takes a serious risk, and I will do anything I can to help them," he said. "I don't believe there's a Vietnam veteran who wouldn't honor a person who served his country nobly - just as we did. They should be treated with respect."

But Weist said he doesn't believe the efforts of America's newest vets should be blown out of proportion.

"And I don't think they want that, either," he said.

Korean conflict

Jerry Eitner, Ogden, the second vice president of the veterans group Chosin Few International, fought in one of the worst battles in history: the battle for Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Struggling at temperatures as low 30 degrees below zero, 15,000 allied soldiers suffered severe casualties, although they inflicted even greater damage on the enemy.

But even he didn't come back to a tumultuous homecoming.

"I came back in a very small group," returning to the United States in 1951, he said. It was part of his rotation, when his tour of duty was over.

"Actually, my welcome home was simply my mother and father meeting me as the ship docked in San Diego. That's discounting the Marine Corps band that greeted us."

That kind of return was typical of manyrelieved by rotation, especially before the war's end. It seems to fit with the fact that to many Americans, the Korean War is "the forgotten war."

Are today's returnees heros?

"I think absolutely, and I have a very strong feeling that even if some of them were not in combat . . . they were volunteers, they were willing to go over and do what was asked of them. In my eyes they're certainly heroes," Eitner said.

World War II

Charles H. Salisbury, a Salt Laker who served in the Army Air Corps (later renamed the Air Force) in Australia and India during World War II, recalled his own homecoming in 1944.

He arrived in Los Angeles on a ship from India. From there, he went to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was given a month's leave.

"Oh, there was a band playing at the dock when we got off, but none of our families had been notified or anything like that. It would have been a lot more thrilling for us to have our families meet us, and I admire our president for doing this," he said, referring to military notification of families of the gulf war troops when they return.

Americans serving in the Persian Gulf region - like his son, Sgt. Brent Salisbury of the Utah National Guard Military Police Company 625 - should be recognized, Salisbury said.

"I don't think anyone in the military service should be forgotten," he said. "I think the ones that do serve our country should be honored."

World War I

"Well, there's not many of us left," said George I. Passey, Salt Lake City, one of the younger veterans of World War I. As he puts it, "I'm only 93."

He was about 20 years old when he enlisted in the Medical Corps, attached to the Boston General Hospital Field Unit, Base Hospital No. 6. He served that hospital in France, caring for injured Doughboys, and ended the war at Base Hospital 208.

Although World War I ended in November 1918, Passey couldn't go home immediately. "When the Armistice was signed we had a hospital of wounded men, and we had to stay there long enough to get them home," he said.

Then, no one was notified he was coming home. He was simply discharged from the service in Cheyenne, Wyo. At that time, he lived in Paris, Idaho.

"I just hopped on a train and came home," he said. "I was met down to the train by someone, and they didn't even know that I was coming until I got there."

What does he think about the hero's welcome the veterans of the latest war are getting?

"I think anybody that enlists in the service, why, they ought to get all out of it that can. Gosh, put lives on the line - what more could you ask?"