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Allegany County
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Photographs and Prints
John "Perkey" Yates

John Jesse "Perkey" Yates, Vietnam Vet Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


John Jesse "Perkey" Yates is a 1967 graduate of Allegany High School. A photograph of John on the Allegany basketball team appears elsewhere on this website. John served in the U.S. Army, 4th Division, 2nd. Battalion, 35th. Infantry, Company D in Vietnam from June 1969 to June 1970.

It is written that more blacks served in Vietnam than in any other American war. Between 1965 and 1969 blacks comprised only 11% of the population, but 12.6% of the soldiers in Vietnam with black combat fatalities totaling 14.9 percent of the total. Blacks enlisted at a higher rate than whites, and according to local black veterans, were almost always in the combatant positions.

Racial incidents and experiences varied among individual soldiers, with all noting that while in a combat situation itself, everyone was dependant upon the guy next to him, regardless of race. In Perkey's case, he didn't experience any differences in relations among the races whether they were in the field, or back at the rear. He notes, "In the field, I did not have any problem at all. I was in a company where that really didn't happen. My friends were white friends and black friends in the field. We spent our time together back at the rear." Yates also credited the leadership of a white First Sergeant and Captain for the "safe return home of himself and many of his comrades."

John Yates is presently a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America -

Cumberland Chapter 172 Color Guard. Update: John “Perkey” Yates and Robert Peck lead Cumberland Chapter #172 of the Vietnam Veterans of America Honor Guard during the opening ceremonies of the National Day of Prayer on the Downtown Cumberland Mall, May 4, 2017.


Photograph and information from Welcome Home - A History of the Vietnam War, 2005, produced by Allegany High School Oral History project and John "Perkey" Yates.

Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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