It would be hard to know who was coming home. You got on a plane in SE Asia, you probably landed at Travis AFB and within a few hours you were out of the service and on a bus to the airport in SF, and catching a flight for your final destination probably in your class A or B's possibly in civilian clothes.
Did indeed return from Nam via Travis AFB, where half the guys literally kissed the ground upon returning to The World. Did indeed process out at Oakland Army Base in about 16 hours, including time for the traditional steak dinner served 24/7 to Vietnam returnees. (While awaiting my name being placed on a manifest to RVN exactly one year earlier, I had actually served a night of KP at that same mess that served these steak dinners, and recalled seeing the looks on the faces of the guys who had returned from Nam just hours before and telling myself that all would work out okay for me and that just one year from then I'd be on the other side of that serving line - and with God's grace, I was.)
Then dressed in required Class A's, myself and four other guys, none of whom I knew, shared a cab ride from Oakland to the San Francisco Airport. One of the guys had a potential flight he could make if we got down there to the airport ASAP. The cab driver ignored the speed limit and the concept of complete stops at red lights, and not surprisingly was stopped by a cop. While awaiting the anticipated ticket, the five of us told the driver we would gladly pay the cost of his ticket because he was trying to help us out. When the cop looked into the cab and saw five soldiers (half buried under duffel bags and suitcases that wouldn't fit into the trunk), he looked at us and asked "back from Vietnam?", received several nods, and told the cab driver not to kill anybody and to get the hell to the airport and get these guys home.
Every word true, exactly as it happened.
I had about a 4-hour wait at the San Francisco airport, saw many people and was seen by many people, and never got one negative word, stare or look of scorn directed at me, (or at least that I was aware of). Likewise, I landed at the airport of another leading anti-war city, Boston's Logan Airport, spent about an hour and a half there waiting for family to come pick me up, and once again, everyone treated me like just another guy, neither acknowledging my uniform positively nor negatively.
I have met many, many hundreds of Vietnam vets (real ones, and a real one can tell another real one) in the 40+ years since, and have still yet to meet one that was spit on, or knew someone who was spit on, or who saw someone spit on.
I'm sure it happened, but I'll bet most guys who claim this happened to them are those fake frickers who lie about being Nam vets just to get sympathy and a handout from society.
By the way, I was hired for a pretty decent job just two days after I arrived home, and I was well-received by the members of my community, including those who were anti-war. Which did not surprise me one bit.
Why was I not surprised? Because I had been one of those anti-war protestors myself just a few years earlier - and neither I, nor those I associated with, ever once had an issue with the guys who served there. It was political, on all sides.
My 365 days in RVN got me a VA loan on my first house, a BS and an MBA using the GI BIll, and a lifetime of friends and good will from others, whether I deserved it or not.
As another poster pointed out, though, a good number of "Vietnam Vets" out there who do the most talking never set foot on Vietnamese soil, or flew in an aircraft above it, or was on a ship off the coast. THOSE are the guys who really have pissed me off over the years, not the "public" in general.