Louis Cavicchioli (b. 1946) was born and raised in an Italian community in Rochester, New York. A graduate of East High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1965 and volunteered for the Construction Battalion (CB), better known as the “Seabees.” Cavicchioli served two tours in Vietnam, specializing in water purification. After his service, he returned to Rochester and a job at General Motors, where he worked for 36 years. Cavicchioli was forced into retirement by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He remained actively involved with the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 20, marching with the color guard.
In his interview, Cavicchioli explains that his decision to join the Seabees was impulsive and guaranteed that he would spend time in Vietnam. He discusses the two tours he spent in country, focusing on his second tour, during which he was in close contact with Vietnamese civilians and at high risk of becoming involved in combat situations. Cavicchioli discusses how his experience in Vietnam led to drug use, and how he struggled with addiction for many years after he was honorably discharged from service in 1969.