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Posted: 12/19/2003 8:05:49 AM EDT
I was watching Platoon the other night, and it got me wondering...

Were infantry units as undisciplined and screwed up as shown in the movie? Were drugs that prevalent? Crimes of war, etc.?

I know that Oliver Stone is a commie asshole, and the best part of the movie was when charlie did a Palestinian into his bunker (did THAT ever happen anywhere?), but still, the questions persist.

I'd really like to hear from guys WHO WERE THERE, and who can speak from direct experience.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 8:29:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2003 8:33:04 AM EDT by EdAvilaSr]
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 9:11:51 AM EDT
Drug use was fairly common in my Navy unit, starting in about '66. Mostly weed and alcohol, but acid was coming on strong too, by '66... By '68, there were high numbers of guys using.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 9:35:11 AM EDT
Can't say anything about Vietnam but I know for a fact that I missed out on the party when I enlisted in '82. My first official duty as one of Uncle Sam's steely eyed killers was to clean broken beer bottles from the hull of M60-A1s before turning them in and going to M1 transition training. The first Sergeant made it VERY clear that those beer bottles had been there for a long time and that those days were long gone. He was right. According to the old timers, the volunteer Army was nothing like the conscript one. They loved to talk about the good old days of partying in the field and Hash-bashes in the barracks. The thought of partying during an FTX never entered our minds. We were lucky if we got to stop long enough to take a dump. Sleep was another seldom afforded luxury. Parties were restricted to whatever was available at the Class VI. Recreational pharmaceuticals were out of the question. We pissed in the bottle at least once a month and surprise shakedowns were so common that they were seldom much of a surprise.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:20:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 1:05:20 PM EDT by crowboy]
1965-66 in the 173d was NOT like the movie Platoon. I believe the serious problems in discipline and morale began after the 1968 Tet Offensive and after 3 years of constant media criticism back home. C/1/503d PIR 173d Airborne Brigade(SEP) First to RVN 05 May 65
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:38:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Zaphod: I know that Oliver Stone is a commie asshole...
View Quote
He seems like it, and I'll give you that he is damn wierd. But he was a grunt in Vietnam, too, and Platoon reflects his own experiences there. I think most Vietnam Vets will tell you that Platoon is probably the best of the Vietnam movies. I was not there, but had many friends who were, including a younger brother. In the 1968 time frame their stories were all consistent with the gist of Platoon.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:39:20 PM EDT
My experience in Vietnam (1967-1970) was more along the lines of We Were Soldiers than Platoon. Now, don't get me wrong, guys got drunk and used pot but were usually very professional in the field. Most of the guys did their jobs well. To me Platoon was Left Wing bullshit. Most guys served with honor and we did kick a little ass now and then. Don't trust Hollywood.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:39:40 PM EDT
What about the TV Series "Tour of Duty", is it closer to what really went on? I used to love watching that show, I also like Platoon. I still think we should have made Hanoi into a glass covered parking lot. Thanks to all the Vets that served in that "war", you're all my heros. God bless ya' and hope ya'll have a very Merry Christmas.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:51:13 PM EDT
We definitely had a dope problem. We also had a bad problem with morale and the draftees. I enlisted but I could sure understand how the draft fucked up guys lives and families. I really got tired of the bitching some guys did. Hell...we didn't want them there any more than they wanted to be there. The draft sucked and the way we deployed our guys one at a time sucked too. As has already been said, the dope and the other problems began to get worse in the late '60s and into the early '70s. It was not a fun time.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 3:55:00 PM EDT
I pretty much agree with Flash, and Ed is right in saying it depended greatly as to what Unit you belonged to. We stayed in the field for as long as 4 weeks at a time and everyone did their jobs, when you are doing 50/50 every night you would have to be fking crazy to get high, not to mention that all our senior NCOs were WWII and Korean Vets.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 4:30:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 4:44:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2003 4:47:41 PM EDT by rn45]
NVA soldiers did indeed do suicide attacks into comm bunkers. We experienced a lot of grief from RPGs. I've noted that some people said they were inaccurate and unreliable but that was not my experience. Drugs were very prevalent when I was there. Marijuana was $2 a bag. There was heroin and opium too. Our unit was fairly unique as were assigned to directly support an ARVN unit. There was a lot of arguing and bitching in my outfit, but that shit ceased when we hit the bush. Can't have all that noise. There just seemed to be lot of pissed off people there. There was a lot of alcoholism among the lifers.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 6:14:49 PM EDT
It seemed to me that all the lifers were fucking alcholics and spent all their "off"time drunk,or close to it.The young guys smoked pot,some tripped.We got hit one night rockets and morters were falling like rain.All the lifers were so drunk they couldnt man their weapons and were falling all over each other,that was disgusting.The perimeter defense was all younger potheads who were very much into busting some caps on the NVA,and not letting the enemy win.It is amazing how the fear of death will smarten you up when you are high.The same thing will kill you when you are drunk.Two verry different highs.Vietnam 1968-1970.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 6:30:10 PM EDT
my father is a veitnam veteran of the marine corp,of all the veitnam war movies he has seen he allows that the chaos of apocalypse now was the veitnam that he remembers.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 6:43:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2003 6:52:59 PM EDT by TomJefferson]
Yep drugs were everywhere when I was in. Hell, it was being smuggled back to the US in barrels of tanks. Alcohol was even more prevalent. In my time, I saw less of this in combat arms than non-combat arms personel. Sorry didn't know anyone who killed a fellow soldier or raped little girls. Although certain it happened, I don't believe it was the norm so a bit Hollywood since it's in most of the movies. As for the chaos statement, hell I thought that was the norm for the military even stateside.[:D] My experience was very limited but what there was I was very impressed with our soldiers compared to the ARVN pukes. Tj Sidebars: 173rd, hell of an outfit bud one to be proud of for sure. Dinky, things didn't change much in three years after you got out in regards to who did what.
Link Posted: 12/19/2003 7:36:21 PM EDT
A lot depends on where in country you were. I spent a little time outside Saigon, a little around Da Nang but mostly out around the Ashau with the 101st. Anytime you were in areas with villes and people, there were to many temptations. Heroin was cheap, you could buy it at any bridge or cross road for a couple bucks for a coke can full. Whores were everywhere, even in the rear of some permanent base camps where they worked during the day as barbers, in the PX, doing laundry, etc, and as sicklo girls at night. Anywhere you have dope, broads and time to kill the troops get in trouble. Out in the field its a different story. A week or two in the bush with nothing but a food or ammo drop once in a while then a week on the firebase doing improvements. You were glad to get back into the field to get some sleep. A trip for a day or two into the rear to hit the px, watch a movie, kick back at the beach was just enough, then back to the field. Its the same in every war, keep the troops in the field and they stay sharp and focussed. Two much time in the rear they get unreliable and into trouble.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 11:55:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TNFrank: What about the TV Series "Tour of Duty", is it closer to what really went on?
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Nothing I've seen on TV or the movies really approximated what it was really like. The battle scenes in We Were Soldiers were somewhat realistic. What is missing in the movies is the smell of the place (other vets will know what I'm talking about) the cockiness of baby boomers, the whole experience of being alive in the 60s and the fear of war. Most of the senior officers and NCOs were Korean vets and a handful of WWII vets. They had a much different outlook on everything than the baby boomers. Vietnam was hardly ever fun in any sense of the word. I'm sure the returning vet will say the same thing about Iraq. It was always very hot, it stank to high heaven, it robbed young men of their youth and it disrupted a great life for many young men. It was very short on round eye pussy, the Vietnamese men sucked for the most part and Charlie was an ass breaker if you gave him any slack. On my first day in-country we were flying into Bien Hoa on a commercial airliner in September of 1967. I was in a window seat. It was dusk outside. From afar in the sky I looked out and could see a firefight going on the ground. It scared the shit out of me. I knew I was in the shit then. When I left in March of 1970 we took off at night. I also looked out the window and could see a firefight. Not much had changed except a lot of very good American boys gave their lives during that time I was in-country. I have been to DC scores and scores of times on business in the last 25 years. I cannot bring myself to visit all those great young men whose names are on the Wall. Once, about 10 years ago I stayed at an uptown DC hotel and began the walk to the Wall. Each step became harder and harder to take. I made it to the street by the Wall before turning around and going back. Maybe if another vet had been with me I would have the courage to go. I cannot go with a family member. They would never understand.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 12:13:36 PM EDT
i was too young to go - my 1st cousin was there for 2 tours - one with 82nd and one with the SF. i remember him saying he got off the plane at the ton son nhut airbase and had the immediate reaction of wanting to turn around and get back on. he also said it was one of the prettiest places in parts and one of the nastiest as well. i don't think platoon was accurate to him. some of apocalypse now was but most of it was hollywood. he had a disdain for anything hollywood or folks who had not been involved produced.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 12:23:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 12:47:46 PM EDT by crowboy]
Originally Posted By Flash66:
Originally Posted By TNFrank: What about the TV Series "Tour of Duty", is it closer to what really went on?
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Nothing I've seen on TV or the movies really approximated what it was really like. The battle scenes in We Were Soldiers were somewhat realistic. What is missing in the movies is the smell of the place (other vets will know what I'm talking about) the cockiness of baby boomers, the whole experience of being alive in the 60s and the fear of war. Most of the senior officers and NCOs were Korean vets and a handful of WWII vets. They had a much different outlook on everything than the baby boomers. Vietnam was hardly ever fun in any sense of the word. I'm sure the returning vet will say the same thing about Iraq. It was always very hot, it stank to high heaven, it robbed young men of their youth and it disrupted a great life for many young men. It was very short on round eye pussy, the Vietnamese men sucked for the most part and Charlie was an ass breaker if you gave him any slack. On my first day in-country we were flying into Bien Hoa on a commercial airliner in September of 1967. I was in a window seat. It was dusk outside. From afar in the sky I looked out and could see a firefight going on the ground. It scared the shit out of me. I knew I was in the shit then. When I left in March of 1970 we took off at night. I also looked out the window and could see a firefight. Not much had changed except a lot of very good American boys gave their lives during that time I was in-country. I have been to DC scores and scores of times on business in the last 25 years. I cannot bring myself to visit all those great young men whose names are on the Wall. Once, about 10 years ago I stayed at an uptown DC hotel and began the walk to the Wall. Each step became harder and harder to take. I made it to the street by the Wall before turning around and going back. Maybe if another vet had been with me I would have the courage to go. I cannot go with a family member. They would never understand.
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Well said Flash. Thanks for the kind words regarding the Brigade Tom, although I think all the first arrivals in 65-66 had high morale and wanted to kick ass (here is a pic of the attitude most had) We still had our WWII Fathers attitudes and felt we had to live up to their service. Things were sure different when we came home though, it was like an alien society. I believe Gen Hal Moore(1st Cav) said that the country that sent us in 1965 did not exist anymore on our return. [img]http://www.polycat.net/trent/dad/scan2.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 12:25:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 12:26:35 PM EDT by wetidlerjr]
I was in a non-combat unit although anyone that was in 'Nam got shot at at one time or another. I can't speak for those in the bush as I was stationed at DaNang AB as a USMC Air Deliveryman (Rigger) doing flare and cargo drop. We were regularly hit with rockets and mortars (snipers once!) at the base and we often took ground fire while flying. I flew in combat in KC-130Fs and AF Caribous and made practice(proficiency) jumps from choppers as well as helping to pack parachutes and cargo with the 5th SF Group. They only had a handful of Riggers and we would often have two or three men detached to help them rig. The 5th SF often dropped cargo to their units in the field and I participated in some of those while these camps were under fire. The only VC I saw were either dead or POWs and I never fired my weapons at the enemy. I did burn a lot of shit, though! [lol] [devil]
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 2:53:36 PM EDT
I had a similar conversation just yesterday with my work pardner. He said [i]Platoon[/i] was no where near what it was like. But [i]Apocalypse Now[/i] was the closest, except for the part of renegade soldiers and the .mil hunting them down. He has also said [i]Hamburger Hill[/i] was a very close to reality movie, as he had been in that battle but in a different unit of the 101st on a different part of the hill then the unit depicted in the movie. He has also admitted to drinking heavily and smoking some really goooood stuff, frequently.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 3:22:57 PM EDT
Flash66,I also seem unable to approach the"wall"I have been in DC several times also since it's construction,and seem to suffer "classic",anxiety attacks when I consider going over to see it.One of my buddies who also spent time in the Nam refuses to go there period.It is even fucking with me,now to even think about Going there.The thought flat scares the shit out of me.A couple other guys I know have each made several trips back to Vietnam and they are allways telling me "come on and go with them sometime."I shudder.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:08:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: But he was a grunt in Vietnam, too, and Platoon reflects his own experiences there. I think most Vietnam Vets will tell you that Platoon is probably the best of the Vietnam movies.
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Stone has admitted that he wrote the movie based largely on the STORIES he had heard from others while in Vietnam, not on his own experiences. This clarification is usually omitted when people talk about him or the movie. While I have no doubt that most of what he depicted actually occured, I'm also sure that he condensed the actions of dozens of different units into a single platoon to enhance the drama of the story and to further anti-Vietnam-War sentiment. And as many, many Vets have stated, experiences in Vietnam varied greatly depending on when and where you were there, and what your job was. There isn't just one "truth" about the experience. This is especially noted by troops who were in Vietnam for multiple tours. They can describe vast changes in just a couple of years' time. -Troy
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Well, duh. He was making a movie about the Vietnam experience, not about himself. You're mincing words. R. Lee Ermey, who was there for 2 tours (2nd tour cut short), said in an interview that he thought Platoon was the best Vietnam movie. Interestingly, he thought Apocalypse Now sucked dead bears, and of course it's really a surreal rendering of a Joseph Conrad story. I remember in the early-mid 70s working with a guy who had just gotten back. He related a story one time which to me captured the essence of the that time. He was out on a combat patrol when his squad heard nearby automatic weapons fire. His squad leader told him to check it out. So he carefully maneuvered out of visual range of his squad, crawls into the bushes, and lights up a joint. As he put it, "fuck that shit, I ain't gonna go looking for trouble." His attitude was typical of draftees who had no interest in a professional military career, and felt like the cause they were fighting for was less than worthwhile. I think even many of the professional soldiers were less than motivated in Vietnam, due in large part to the imbeciles and morons running the war (starting with Johnson and Macnamara) and the ridiculous rules of engagement they often had to operate under.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:13:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dinkydow: Flash66,I also seem unable to approach the"wall"I have been in DC several times also since it's construction,and seem to suffer "classic",anxiety attacks when I consider going over to see it.One of my buddies who also spent time in the Nam refuses to go there period.It is even fucking with me,now to even think about Going there.The thought flat scares the shit out of me.A couple other guys I know have each made several trips back to Vietnam and they are allways telling me "come on and go with them sometime."I shudder.
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I'm scared also. I don't really understand it myself. Some of my vet brothers seem to embrace and love the Wall. Maybe they are the real brave ones and I'm just a chickenshit. I have never to come to grips with myself on the war. I was in Vietnam on a Thursday and sitting in a college classroom the next Monday. There has never been a day in the last 33 years that I have not thought about the war but yet I very seldom discuss it with anyone. It is something that some day I will have to deal with. Maybe we should get a group of us Vietnam Veteran together that have never visited the Wall and go together. We could provide support for one another.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:15:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Fruit_of_the_Looms: I had a similar conversation just yesterday with my work pardner. He said [i]Platoon[/i] was no where near what it was like. But [i]Apocalypse Now[/i] was the closest, except for the part of renegade soldiers and the .mil hunting them down. He has also said [i]Hamburger Hill[/i] was a very close to reality movie, as he had been in that battle but in a different unit of the 101st on a different part of the hill then the unit depicted in the movie. He has also admitted to drinking heavily and smoking some really goooood stuff, frequently.
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I can see how, if you're drunk or stoned most of the time, Apocalypse Now would seem like a close approximation to reality. [;D] I always thought if someone would edit Apocalypse Now to remove all scenes with Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando you'd have a pretty good movie, and one not too far off. But the Sheen and Brando nonsense just ruins it for me.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 4:31:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 4:47:04 PM EDT by crowboy]
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist:
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: But he was a grunt in Vietnam, too, and Platoon reflects his own experiences there. I think most Vietnam Vets will tell you that Platoon is probably the best of the Vietnam movies.
View Quote
Stone has admitted that he wrote the movie based largely on the STORIES he had heard from others while in Vietnam, not on his own experiences. This clarification is usually omitted when people talk about him or the movie. While I have no doubt that most of what he depicted actually occured, I'm also sure that he condensed the actions of dozens of different units into a single platoon to enhance the drama of the story and to further anti-Vietnam-War sentiment. And as many, many Vets have stated, experiences in Vietnam varied greatly depending on when and where you were there, and what your job was. There isn't just one "truth" about the experience. This is especially noted by troops who were in Vietnam for multiple tours. They can describe vast changes in just a couple of years' time. -Troy
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Well, duh. He was making a movie about the Vietnam experience, not about himself. You're mincing words. R. Lee Ermey, who was there for 2 tours (2nd tour cut short), said in an interview that he thought Platoon was the best Vietnam movie. Interestingly, he thought Apocalypse Now sucked dead bears, and of course it's really a surreal rendering of a Joseph Conrad story. I remember in the early-mid 70s working with a guy who had just gotten back. He related a story one time which to me captured the essence of the that time. He was out on a combat patrol when his squad heard nearby automatic weapons fire. His squad leader told him to check it out. So he carefully maneuvered out of visual range of his squad, crawls into the bushes, and lights up a joint. As he put it, "fuck that shit, I ain't gonna go looking for trouble." His attitude was typical of draftees who had no interest in a professional military career, and felt like the cause they were fighting for was less than worthwhile. I think even many of the professional soldiers were less than motivated in Vietnam, due in large part to the imbeciles and morons running the war (starting with Johnson and Macnamara) and the ridiculous rules of engagement they often had to operate under.
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I think most RVN combat vets would disagree with Ermey and consider "Platoon" for what it is, a piece of Hollywood anti war B.S. Your early 70s friend from work sounds like an REMF that was blowing some Maryjane smoke at you and if you want to denigrate Draftees you should go to the "Wall" and start there. The vast majority of soldiers who served did their duty and did it well.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 5:09:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Flash66:
Originally Posted By dinkydow: Flash66,I also seem unable to approach the"wall"I have been in DC several times also since it's construction,and seem to suffer "classic",anxiety attacks when I consider going over to see it.One of my buddies who also spent time in the Nam refuses to go there period.It is even fucking with me,now to even think about Going there.The thought flat scares the shit out of me.A couple other guys I know have each made several trips back to Vietnam and they are allways telling me "come on and go with them sometime."I shudder.
View Quote
I'm scared also. I don't really understand it myself. Some of my vet brothers seem to embrace and love the Wall. Maybe they are the real brave ones and I'm just a chickenshit. I have never to come to grips with myself on the war. I was in Vietnam on a Thursday and sitting in a college classroom the next Monday. There has never been a day in the last 33 years that I have not thought about the war but yet I very seldom discuss it with anyone. It is something that some day I will have to deal with. Maybe we should get a group of us Vietnam Veteran together that have never visited the Wall and go together. We could provide support for one another.
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I am not so sure I have the ability to do that,visit the wall,that is.For many years the feeling of the "Betrayal"of the Vietnam vetern by the US public and government has left me,shall we say...bitter?I tend to avoid reminders....except...very lately these posts.I do not belong to the VFW or any other veterens organizations.For years when asked about "what did you do in the 60's?"My reply was..."went to college,partied,tried to avoid the draft.(I was 4 year RA).This is tough for me.Even being around most vets makes me nervous.....I don't know why.These are allways the people who seem to know where and what the fuck.I expect it is because I hold things in until I become really pissed off.A walking wounded headfuck is what the whole period gave me.58,000 of us took it up the ass and lost their lives over some "lack of planning,head office bullshit."The rest of us,the ones that came home, were treated like a bunch of lepers.I resent the fucking"Avoided military service"bullshit that I hear from some fellows that are also our age.I really want to choke the shit eating life out of them when I hear about"Baby killing,Heroin addict dope zombie,trained killers"in regardes to the 58,000 of us that are not here to kick fucking liberal asses over the "You must be willing to sacrifice freedoms for the common good"shit.Sorry for the rant.Sore spot.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 5:52:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By crowboy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist:
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: But he was a grunt in Vietnam, too, and Platoon reflects his own experiences there. I think most Vietnam Vets will tell you that Platoon is probably the best of the Vietnam movies.
View Quote
Stone has admitted that he wrote the movie based largely on the STORIES he had heard from others while in Vietnam, not on his own experiences. This clarification is usually omitted when people talk about him or the movie. While I have no doubt that most of what he depicted actually occured, I'm also sure that he condensed the actions of dozens of different units into a single platoon to enhance the drama of the story and to further anti-Vietnam-War sentiment. And as many, many Vets have stated, experiences in Vietnam varied greatly depending on when and where you were there, and what your job was. There isn't just one "truth" about the experience. This is especially noted by troops who were in Vietnam for multiple tours. They can describe vast changes in just a couple of years' time. -Troy
View Quote
Well, duh. He was making a movie about the Vietnam experience, not about himself. You're mincing words. R. Lee Ermey, who was there for 2 tours (2nd tour cut short), said in an interview that he thought Platoon was the best Vietnam movie. Interestingly, he thought Apocalypse Now sucked dead bears, and of course it's really a surreal rendering of a Joseph Conrad story. I remember in the early-mid 70s working with a guy who had just gotten back. He related a story one time which to me captured the essence of the that time. He was out on a combat patrol when his squad heard nearby automatic weapons fire. His squad leader told him to check it out. So he carefully maneuvered out of visual range of his squad, crawls into the bushes, and lights up a joint. As he put it, "fuck that shit, I ain't gonna go looking for trouble." His attitude was typical of draftees who had no interest in a professional military career, and felt like the cause they were fighting for was less than worthwhile. I think even many of the professional soldiers were less than motivated in Vietnam, due in large part to the imbeciles and morons running the war (starting with Johnson and Macnamara) and the ridiculous rules of engagement they often had to operate under.
View Quote
I think most RVN combat vets would disagree with Ermey and consider "Platoon" for what it is, a piece of Hollywood anti war B.S. Your early 70s friend from work sounds like an REMF that was blowing some Maryjane smoke at you and if you want to denigrate Draftees you should go to the "Wall" and start there. The vast majority of soldiers who served did their duty and did it well.
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Christ, get off your high horse. My early 70s friend was a combat vet, not an REMF; didn't your read what I posted? And who was denigrating draftees? I was simply relating how it was, and how many of them thought. I don't disagree that "the vast majority of soldiers who served did their duty and did it well." As for the movie "Platoon" it is certainly better than the vast majority of Vietnam movies, most of which are either some director's drug-induced fantasy ("Apocalypse Now", "The Deer Hunter") or just so piss-poor they are completely forgetable. Maybe you could provide an example of a Hollywood non-B.S. pro-Vietnam movie? John Wayne's "Green Berets"? [puke]
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 5:53:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 5:55:14 PM EDT by Flash66]
I am not so sure I have the ability to do that,visit the wall,that is.For many years the feeling of the "Betrayal"of the Vietnam veteran by the US public and government has left me,shall we say...bitter?I tend to avoid reminders....except...very lately these posts.I do not belong to the VFW or any other veterans organizations.For years when asked about "what did you do in the 60's?"My reply was..."went to college,partied,tried to avoid the draft.(I was 4 year RA).This is tough for me.Even being around most vets makes me nervous.....I don't know why.These are always the people who seem to know where and what the fuck.I expect it is because I hold things in until I become really pissed off.A walking wounded headfuck is what the whole period gave me.58,000 of us took it up the ass and lost their lives over some "lack of planning,head office bullshit."The rest of us,the ones that came home, were treated like a bunch of lepers.I resent the fucking"Avoided military service"bullshit that I hear from some fellows that are also our age.I really want to choke the shit eating life out of them when I hear about"Baby killing,Heroin addict dope zombie,trained killers"in regardes to the 58,000 of us that are not here to kick fucking liberal asses over the "You must be willing to sacrifice freedoms for the common good"shit.Sorry for the rant.Sore spot.
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I blame nobody for my actions except myself. It is not important to me what other people thought about my participation. I did it for my country and I did it for myself. I could not have lived with myself had I not gone to Vietnam. I had to work at it because I was not originally assigned to RVN. I had to transfer out of Germany. I feel sorry for those that did not understand what was really going on from the stupid war protesters to the leadership from Johnson on down. I have no respect for those that could not understand that Vietnam was an important part of defeating the Communists in the Cold War. I usually feel comfortable with fellow vets. Like you I also have no respect for those chickenshits that could not do their duty. Whenever I run across one of them I usually just dismiss them as being worthless assholes and try not to have anything else to do with them. My 25 year old son wants to arrange a trip to Vietnam for the two of us. He wants to see where his Dad served and get a feel for what his Dad experienced. One part of me wants to pass that on to my son but the other part of me does not want to return to that goddamn place, especially when the fuckin commies are still in charge. I don't think I can take it. I love each and every one of my fellow brothers whose names are on the Wall. I think back over my rich and great life and wonder why I was allowed to live while those young men didn't. One of the reasons I can't go to the Wall is because of the guilt I have of living while those brave men didn't. I was not braver or more deserving in any way. I was just luckier. I don't think I can face my brothers on the Wall knowing all the joy I have had in the last 33 years and knowing they had nothing but pain and then death. It is not fair to them and I have never been deserving of their sacifice.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 6:19:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist:
Originally Posted By crowboy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist:
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: But he was a grunt in Vietnam, too, and Platoon reflects his own experiences there. I think most Vietnam Vets will tell you that Platoon is probably the best of the Vietnam movies.
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Stone has admitted that he wrote the movie based largely on the STORIES he had heard from others while in Vietnam, not on his own experiences. This clarification is usually omitted when people talk about him or the movie. While I have no doubt that most of what he depicted actually occured, I'm also sure that he condensed the actions of dozens of different units into a single platoon to enhance the drama of the story and to further anti-Vietnam-War sentiment. And as many, many Vets have stated, experiences in Vietnam varied greatly depending on when and where you were there, and what your job was. There isn't just one "truth" about the experience. This is especially noted by troops who were in Vietnam for multiple tours. They can describe vast changes in just a couple of years' time. -Troy
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Well, duh. He was making a movie about the Vietnam experience, not about himself. You're mincing words. R. Lee Ermey, who was there for 2 tours (2nd tour cut short), said in an interview that he thought Platoon was the best Vietnam movie. Interestingly, he thought Apocalypse Now sucked dead bears, and of course it's really a surreal rendering of a Joseph Conrad story. I remember in the early-mid 70s working with a guy who had just gotten back. He related a story one time which to me captured the essence of the that time. He was out on a combat patrol when his squad heard nearby automatic weapons fire. His squad leader told him to check it out. So he carefully maneuvered out of visual range of his squad, crawls into the bushes, and lights up a joint. As he put it, "fuck that shit, I ain't gonna go looking for trouble." His attitude was typical of draftees who had no interest in a professional military career, and felt like the cause they were fighting for was less than worthwhile. I think even many of the professional soldiers were less than motivated in Vietnam, due in large part to the imbeciles and morons running the war (starting with Johnson and Macnamara) and the ridiculous rules of engagement they often had to operate under.
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I think most RVN combat vets would disagree with Ermey and consider "Platoon" for what it is, a piece of Hollywood anti war B.S. Your early 70s friend from work sounds like an REMF that was blowing some Maryjane smoke at you and if you want to denigrate Draftees you should go to the "Wall" and start there. The vast majority of soldiers who served did their duty and did it well.
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Christ, get off your high horse. My early 70s friend was a combat vet, not an REMF; didn't your read what I posted? And who was denigrating draftees? I was simply relating how it was, and how many of them thought. I don't disagree that "the vast majority of soldiers who served did their duty and did it well." As for the movie "Platoon" it is certainly better than the vast majority of Vietnam movies, most of which are either some director's drug-induced fantasy ("Apocalypse Now", "The Deer Hunter") or just so piss-poor they are completely forgetable. Maybe you could provide an example of a Hollywood non-B.S. pro-Vietnam movie? John Wayne's "Green Berets"? [puke]
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You were relating how it was? I dont think so. You were relating how you heard it was. You know 0 about the average Draftee in the 60s. I do believe you said "Typical of Draftees". I have heard this bullshit for 39 years, everyone has a friend, brother in law, ect ect that describes the War just like it was. Just like it was out of one of these Hollywood fantasy productions. Do some serious research like Burketts "Stolen Valor" and then come on here and talk.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 6:36:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 6:41:31 PM EDT by 1911Shootist]
Originally Posted By crowboy: You were relating how it was? I dont think so. You were relating how you heard it was. You know 0 about the average Draftee in the 60s. I do believe you said "Typical of Draftees". I have heard this bullshit for 39 years, everyone has a friend, brother in law, ect ect that describes the War just like it was. Just like it was out of one of these Hollywood fantasy productions. Do some serious research like Burketts "Stolen Valor" and then come on here and talk.
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And you know 0 about what I know. Let's not get in a pissing contest. "Stolen Valor" seems to enjoy a mixed reputation for being either "myth busting" or "full of lies" and for that reason does not constitute "serious research". Indeed, so many people have called "bullshit" on it that I'm surprised you have the gall to recommend it. Here are the tag lines for the current first 3 reviews on Amazon: "Burkett and Whitley's research questionable" "A Good Read, But Full Of Mistakes" "Burkett is a Liar who Stole My Valor" [rolleyes] If you want an accurate historical source on the war may I recommend Stanley Karnow's "Vietnam, A History"?
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 6:52:19 PM EDT
Heroin was a problem in 1972, in the rear, at least. I was at Camp Holloway in Pleiku. Many of the helicopter mechanics and support people were into using marijuana and some of them got into heroin. I had to escort two enlisted men (under arms) to serve in-country detention. One of them was to Long Bihn Jail, a very bad place. The attitudes of people varied over the year I was there. For four months, the NVA had Pleiku surrounded and our only resupply was by air. The food sucked and there were shortages of everything. The work sucked because of the shortages and there just wasn't much you could do except drink, get high or risk your life to go into the city unarmed.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 6:58:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2003 7:18:42 PM EDT by crowboy]
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist:
Originally Posted By crowboy: You were relating how it was? I dont think so. You were relating how you heard it was. You know 0 about the average Draftee in the 60s. I do believe you said "Typical of Draftees". I have heard this bullshit for 39 years, everyone has a friend, brother in law, ect ect that describes the War just like it was. Just like it was out of one of these Hollywood fantasy productions. Do some serious research like Burketts "Stolen Valor" and then come on here and talk.
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And you know 0 about what I know. Let's not get in a pissing contest. "Stolen Valor" seems to enjoy a mixed reputation for being either "myth busting" or "full of lies" and for that reason does not constitute "serious research". Indeed, so many people have called "bullshit" on it that I'm surprised you have the gall to recommend it. If you want an accurate historical source on the war may I recommend Stanley Karnow's "Vietnam, A History"?
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Pissing is easy but not productive. Your critique of Burketts work is the first I have heard. His stats and facts are all well documented. I have read Karnows book, it was published in 1983 and is an excellent read on the History of Viet Nam but does not deal in "detail" concerning the subject at hand. I served with draftees and my own personal expierence tells a vastly different story than your definition of a typical draftee. The bottom line IMHO is dont believe anything in these fking movies and be very careful to take vet stories that sound as if they came out of "Platoon" with a grain of salt.
Link Posted: 12/20/2003 7:33:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 3:27:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EdAvilaSr:
Originally Posted By crowboy: Well said Flash. Thanks for the kind words regarding the Brigade Tom....
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Well gee,he's not the ONLY one who feels that way,you know? [;)] I "lost" a lot of frinds from the my unit who got transferred to the 173rd.Don't know what happened to them.Too afraid to look them up on the wall. Guys,if I could get this back to the original questions and even some that naturally derive from those discussed above, I would appreciate your kindness. As much as it hurts me to see arguments on the board,none hurt me more than a bunch of vets-Vietnam or any other.To me, vets are vets!-arguing amongst ourselves.[:(] Good night and God Bless!
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Ed, It looks like alot of us stayed away from the Wall. We had quite a few NCOs from the 82nd and the 101st, when the Brigade was formed in 63 they pulled NCOs and Officers mainly from those two divs. In 67 they took an entire battalion from the 101st. Sorry for the debating but the original question was about the quality of the troopers. I will confine my posts to my own expierence's. God bless you and God bless all of our brothers. May all your landings be soft... Gene
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 3:54:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 5:26:14 AM EDT
Great thread. For two cents, my Dad said Tour of Duty was the closest he had seen. He was there in 1967. Of platoon he thought they took the worst stories of a 10 year war and jammed them into one movie. I think if there is a common thread in this thread, is the change from pre tet to post tet. That would be an interesting paper if someone decided to do it.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 6:07:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By EdAvilaSr: Gene, IIRC the 73'rd fot decimated a couple of times before 68.One of my friends (PFC Archuleta,from Fresno CA) got his orders for the Bgde in the summer of 67)
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Ed, They used the Brigade for fodder in 66-67 plus the RAR ( our 3d battalion ) went back to Australia so they were grabbing people from everywhere they could. I was home in Dec 66.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 7:07:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Sylvan: I think if there is a common thread in this thread, is the change from pre tet to post tet. That would be an interesting paper if someone decided to do it.
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I think the change is not Pre or Post TET but is pre or post Johnson stopping the bombing of North Vietnam. Clear message that we were not interested in winning. Hell, we beat the shit out of them in Tet.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 9:05:44 AM EDT
Yes we did Flash but you would not have known it from the media. For all practical purposes the VC were destroyed but all the media reports looked like we got our asses kicked. Typical shit from Rather, Arnett and their asssociates.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 9:07:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2003 2:14:07 PM EDT by EdAvilaSr]
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 10:00:48 AM EDT
1911 Shootist, It is you who is misrepresenting "Stolen Valor" by B. G. Burkett. The book has received excellent reviews and it has a 4 and 1/2 star rating out of 5 on amazon.com You conveniently quote [b]3[/b] negative reviews out of [b]200[/b] reviews, of which over 90 percent are positive. Two of those three negative reviews are from two individuals who have an axe to grind against the author, B. G. Burkett. If you read the reviews you would see that the negative reviews are not respected by others who have read the book.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 10:22:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2003 10:31:56 AM EDT by ThunderStick]
Concerning Oliver Stone, [b]Platoon[/b] is a complete work of fiction, and I am surprised to see that many take this movie seriously. [b]Robert Hemphill[/b], who was Stone's commanding officer in Vietnam, puts the lie to platoon. He wrote a book about his time in Vietnam called [b]"Platoon: Bravo Company"[/b]. It gets a four and a half star rating from readers on amazon.com In it you will get first hand accounts of combat and the behavior of the troops. Rape, Fragging, murder of children and civilians, and drug use are nowhere to be found in Oliver Stone's former unit. It should also be noted that Oliver Stone spent half his time in vietnam out of combat "in the rear in Saigon" where drug use was much more common. Drug use was [b]NOT[/b] common amongst comabt soldiers, because being high in combat (or on patrol) would get you killed. This is why I call [b]Bullshit[/b] on the "I got high while on patrol" stories. There are a great many posers when it comes to Vietnam stories. Some of you are extraordinarily gullible when it comes to these [b]tall tales[/b]. Out of all the troops that served in Vietnam only about [b]10[/b] percent saw actual combat. [b]Posers[/b] who are easy to catch if you just try. Ask specific details about their units, MOS, where they served and you'll get a lot of [b]"huhs?"[/b] or they'll have to think about it for awhile because they were mechanics remaking themselves into combat vets, or better yet repeating things they saw in a fictional movie. Drug use was more common among youth who stayed home in America, than in those who served in Vietnam. The guy who told a story about draftees smoking pot on patrol and not wanting to be there obviously doesn't know that over 70 percent of Vietnam vets were [b]VOLUNTEERS[/b]. In World War II 66 percent of vets were [b]draftees[/b]. So much for the myth of WWII guys signing up to fight the bad guys.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 10:40:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2003 10:45:28 AM EDT by raven]
Very interesting. And the failure of Vietnam under the commies and the eventual collapse of the USSR proves what you guys were fighting for, at heart, was right. But you knew that. Hopefully. Michael Moore is posting a bunch of letters he's getting from GI's inIraq who are convinced they're only there to boost Halliburton's stock price. It's pretty sick, especially when you consider the enormous good these GI's have done, and how Moore slandered American intentions at every opportunity to keep us from getting rid of a man like Saddam. I watch how the news media strives each day to relive their glory years of Vietnam and subverting US policy, I dont think the public will buy it again.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 10:47:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: And you know 0 about what I know. Let's not get in a pissing contest. "Stolen Valor" seems to enjoy a mixed reputation for being either "myth busting" or "full of lies" and for that reason does not constitute "serious research". Indeed, so many people have called "bullshit" on it that I'm surprised you have the gall to recommend it.
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[BS2] Show me some "real" reviews from academics. I have never heard of the books "dubious" reputation. The end notes are over 50 pages long. Please direct us to the "lies" you are referring to.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 10:56:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ThunderStick: 1911 Shootist, It is you who is misrepresenting "Stolen Valor" by B. G. Burkett. The book has received excellent reviews and it has a 4 and 1/2 star rating out of 5 on amazon.com You conveniently quote [b]3[/b] negative reviews out of [b]200[/b] reviews, of which over 90 percent are positive. Two of those three negative reviews are from two individuals who have an axe to grind against the author, B. G. Burkett. If you read the reviews you would see that the negative reviews are not respected by others who have read the book.
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Jeez, I am really getting tired of beating a dead horse, but the principle thrust of "Stolen Valor" appears to be to uncover and reveal phony veterans. As such, it does not represent an historical perspective on the war, but probably dwells on a small corner of it. I'll have to read it, but even then, without proper peer review, how do I know I'm not being sold a bill of goods? As for the reviews, I thought it was telling that the first 3 called B.S. on the book. (What's this, I think? Have I detected a trend?) Keep in mind that anyone can, and does, review these books, including 13 year olds whose idea of history was formed by watching The Real World on MTV, and 70 year old ex members of the Simbionese Libaration Army. What would be most telling would be reviews by veterans who were there, and perhaps more importantly, peer reviews by professional historians with expertise in that era. I, as much as the next guy, respect and feel gratitude to the men and women that served in Vietnam. I've been to the Wall, and count it one of the most moving experiences of my life. Every moring I drink my coffee from a cup that features a picture of the famous sculpture of 3 Vietnam era soldiers by Frederick Hart, with the motto "All Gave Some... Some Gave All." I often refect on the guys I knew who did not make it back. One in particular, I recall vividly, was the center of our high school football team the year I was a senior (1967). He was kinda small to be playing center, had red hair, always looked sleepy, and always had a smile on his face. He came back after only two weeks over there, killed in an ambush. Vietnam was my generation's war, and I do not intend to forget it or the men and women who served there. But I have to be honest, I have to say I question whether the war made sense or was necessary. It was conceived by some true idiots and prosecuted by even bigger idiots. We were told that the Dominoe Theory was a law of nature, and as Vietnam went so would go all of Southeast Asia. That, of course, turned out to be a steaming pile of shit. Some claim Vietnam was necessary to help defeat Communism during the Cold War, but who actually got defeated? We sure expended a lot of men, material, and money. The Vietnamese suffered even worse. Seems to me the Russians and Red Chinese, our true enemies, escaped relatively cheaply while we beat ourselves up. I hope I don't come across as some kind of liberal, anti-war POS. I am not, I assure you. I'm just trying to call it as I see it, and that's the only way I *can* call it if I'm to be honest. Hopefully we can disagree here without ripping off each other's heads and shitting down our necks. Peace and happy holidays. [:)]
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 11:14:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 1911Shootist: Jeez, I am really getting tired of beating a dead horse, but the principle thrust of "Stolen Valor" appears to be to uncover and reveal phony veterans. As such, it does not represent an historical perspective on the war, but probably dwells on a small corner of it. [red]I'll have to read it,[/red] but even then, without proper peer review, how do I know I'm not being sold a bill of goods?
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Exactly! You do not now what the hell you are talking about. Read the book and then get back with us. My dad was a Corpsman in 1966. He went to Vietnam as a 35 year old father of five. He went so his boys would not have to. From 1966 until December 12, 1999 he listened to and railed against uninformed idiots who were never there but who had the balls to tell him and his brothers what the war was “about”. I was three years old when he retired in 1969. I was vaguely aware that he was a Vietnam Veteran. I remember the pain on his face when Saigon fell. How we would watch TV and see all of the “deranged vets” and how he would say it was bullshit. The night he died he finished reading “Stolen Valor” . The book helped ease his pain and helped him remember something I always knew. The Vietnam veterans are honorable fighting men and fought just as honorably as any American Warrior.
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 11:54:02 AM EDT
Shootist, The book covers much more than you stated. It exposes the myths regarding Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide, Agent Orange, AWOLs, desertions ect ect. You are already getting the best reviews you could have right here from guys who were there and who have read Burketts book.
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