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Posted: 6/8/2001 2:25:42 AM EDT
All this week the History Channel had shows on about Viet-Nam. Throughout the week I have often wondered if we could have won that war. What I mean by winning is defeating the enemy. American forces had insane ROE place on them. For example we could not bomb S.A.M. sites until they were operational as to not escalate the war due to killing a Chinese observer. I am only 27. Although in the the military I have never been in combat so I have no real idea of what or troops faced over there. However, I feel that had we lifted half of the ROE we could have defeated the enemy in Viet-Nam. Our troops that fought in this war, as in any, were true heros. Thoughts???????
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 2:40:14 AM EDT
Straight from the horses mouth, One friday morning an old timer we call polygrip(because when he gets mad his teeth fly out) came up to my office to discuss payroll issues. Any way he retired from the corp as a Sgt. Major. During our conversation I brought up Vietnam. He totaly unloaded on me. He told me he was a platoon Sgt for 4 yrs in the bush. He told me all kinds of crazy stories, one was that they used to cut the ears off of dead enemy soldiers and string them around their necks. That way the smell would cover up the aftershave smell. He said he used an M1 Carbine that he modified by cutting the barrel off so it would not hand up on the vegetation. He said that once during a battle he came face to face with a NVA so close together that neither could draw their weapons so they started fighting and he said he bit out the side of the NVA's neck. (I'm just repeating what I was told.) Anyways the old man has seen some action no doubt. He said and I quote, Million dollar airplanes and choppers, air superiority the whole war, and we got our ass kicked, I think that says it all, unquote. Interesting stories from the guy, I wish I could share them all with you guys.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 2:46:28 AM EDT
Interesting......
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 2:55:03 AM EDT
Lemme tell you something about Desert 'Nam II... Yeah, we could've won, but they wouldn't let us corss the 69th parallel into Canada, so there was no way in Hell we could chase the Hungarians to neutralize them. Then after fighting it out with them all the way to the border, our pulse rifles always seemed to run out of juice. Now, as I was saying, we wore onions on our belts, as was the style back in nineteen dickety six. We had to say dickety because the Kaiser stole the word "twenty" from us. Sure, we had the occasional suicide bomber invade our camps, but since we were far away from the front lines with the Naval 43rd Refuelling Batallion, there wasn't a whole lot to worry about. That was in my third tour, back in my 1st thru 5th tour though, I saw a whole lot more action. Whenever Chuck would charge is from across the barren desert, we just opened up on them with our flint locks. They were never much of a concern. We used to line up single file and take turn shooting at them. Then there was the time when the fast movers finally got there, I tried to get them to nape the whole area, but they said we were too close to the enemy for it to be safe. That's when I pulled the drum of foogas off my ruck, hurled it 75 yards at the machine gun nest which was pinning us down, then proceeded to thro a Willy P grenade at it. That was the end of those lousy Canadians.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 3:09:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 3:36:08 AM EDT
We won every battles in Vietnam. The enemies suffer heavy lost. They didn't win the war, it was those damn liberals here in Washington who won the war for them.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 4:29:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 4:44:06 AM EDT
We [b]did[/b] win in Viet Nam. We [b]did[/b] kick their collective asses at every opportunity. Their Tet of '68 offensive was a suicide mission and we killed nearly all of the Viet Cong in that series of battles. It was just the NVA after that and we kicked their butts out of the country. When we bombed the north in '72/'73 they begged for peace. We gave it to them when we got our POWs back. We left. They came back in and we turned our heads away. All those newsreels of helicopters picking people off rooftops and then being pushed off from carrier decks was the final evacuation of the embassy and the CIA people. We beat their asses. Then quit. Norm
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 4:46:01 AM EDT
What could have been? We could have supported Uncle Ho's idea of freedom from the Frogs and offered him aid to get him away from the commies. Personally, I think he was more of a nationalist than a commie at first but none of the "free" countries supported him and the commies offered the only hope of freedom for his people.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 4:48:38 AM EDT
Let it rest. It would have been a much longer, drawn out war. The politicians told us the world would end if the coms. took over Vietnam. Well, they took it over and nothing changed. If you look at it from different views, the winner is not so clear. Yes, the US won every battle but the coms. are there now.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:06:52 AM EDT
We did support Uncle Ho at first, in the late fifties, as he talked as if he was a nationalist. Then he showed his true commie colors. Norm
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:08:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 5:07:51 AM EDT by critter_FR]
Originally Posted By MOD: What could have been? We could have supported Uncle Ho's idea of freedom from the Frogs and offered him aid to get him away from the commies. Personally, I think he was more of a nationalist than a commie at first but none of the "free" countries supported him and the commies offered the only hope of freedom for his people.
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That's a little known story. One of these days I'm going to do some research and do an article on that subject. From what I understand, Ho Chi Min had been begging for aid from the free world, for quite some time, before he aligned himself with the commies. You're right, if we had stepped in in the late forties, or early fifties, we might never have seen a Vietnam war.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:09:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Norm G: We did support Uncle Ho at first, in the late fifties, as he talked as if he was a nationalist. Then he showed his true commie colors. Norm
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Do you have a source to back up that claim? All I have ever read said that we refused to offer any aid. Not a flame, just looking for info.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:15:45 AM EDT
What could have been? We could have supported Uncle Ho's idea of freedom from the Frogs and offered him aid to get him away from the commies. Personally, I think he was more of a nationalist than a commie at first but none of the "free" countries supported him and the commies offered the only hope of freedom for his people.
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That is a good point. It might make a difference and then it might not... Anyway, as we all said that's history. I am looking forward to the future rather than in the past. One thing we should learn from Vietnam is that we should never trust a commie.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:36:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 5:34:53 AM EDT by MOD]
Actually the US could have done something much ealier than the 1940' b/c "in 1919, Woodrow Wilson arrived in France to sign the treaty ending World War I, and Ho, supposing that the President's doctrine of self-determination applied to Asia, donned a cutaway coat and tried to present Wilson with a lengthy list of French abuses in Vietnam. Rebuffed, Ho joined the newly created French Communist Party. "It was patriotism, not communism, that inspired me," he later explained." http://www.time.com/time/time100/leaders/profile/hochiminh.html
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 5:58:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 5:56:43 AM EDT by satcong]
God bless Vietnam veterans, they did their time in HELL. My fav Vietnam quote: If your attack is going particularly well, it's probabaly an ambush. We own the day, Charlie rules the night.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 6:44:12 AM EDT
Two books I highly recommend are "Vietnam, A History" by Stanley Karnow, and "A Bright Shining Lie" by Neil Sheehan. The first is a history of that region starting thousands of years ago and ending with the Vietnam War's end. The second covers the period of America's involvement, and I would read them in that order.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:01:36 AM EDT
How could we have possibly won when apparently all of our troops over there were drug-addicted, undisciplined losers who were victimized by the military, returned to the states shattered husks of their former selves, and spent the next 30 years in government sponsored re-hab? Oh, and hanging out at the Wall wearing Green Berets Navy Seal Tridents. (I mean both items together) Hey, I'm only telling you what I heard from five ex-POWs I talked to yeaterday.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:15:24 AM EDT
I was about to suggest Bright and Shining Lie or anything you can get on John Paul Vann.. Once upon a time Ho and Giap rescued US fliers from the Japs..the OSS boys like him alot..but when the WWII was over France came back in to south east asia and wanted its plantations back.. and its plantation workers who knew their place..(wouldnt that piss you off-in your own country to be subserviant to a bunch of arrogant frogs who treat you like shit and your women like whores)... We backed France-again-otherwise they would have another temper trantrum like they did during the dividing of Germany- Did we push Ho into the Commie camp..maybe Was he in the end a commie -no doubt- his methods the VC methods- were brutal and harsh Were we innocent- speaking for myself-nope..... Dont forget..Russia, China, North Korea, the Checzs, Bulgarians,Poles,et all comblock countries aided abetted and equiped trained advised and fought against us Its doubtfull China would have allowed a democratic free Vietnam at its border anymore than they allowed a united and free Korea I would recommend Frances Fitzgerald's book "Fire In The Lake" how are not understanding the vietnamese people led to our inability to fully "americanize" them and how we saw their resistance to us as a threat...and how the VC exploited them because of it.. if you get a chance click here and read about a real hero of the Vietnam War John Paul Vann [url]http://www.geocities.com/equipmentshop/johnpaulvann.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:44:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 7:43:28 AM EDT by LARRYG]
Originally quoted by Gus Laskaris:
How could we have possibly won when apparently all of our troops over there were drug-addicted, undisciplined losers who were victimized by the military, returned to the states shattered husks of their former selves, and spent the next 30 years in government sponsored re-hab? Oh, and hanging out at the Wall wearing Green Berets Navy Seal Tridents. (I mean both items together)
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Screw you Gus! You don't have a clue. Drug addicted losers? We served our country you asshole, we were not losers or drug addicts. The vast majority of us came home and got jobs and have lived normal lives and never wore anything military again. 5 ex-POW's. You are also a liar, you did not talk to any POW's. I guarantee you never served, in fact you sound like a Klintonista.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:55:04 AM EDT
Hey Larry, lighten up dude. I guess you didn't pick up that I was using irony as a rhetorical device. In other words, I was pulling your leg. Surely you realize that the stereotypes I mentioned are the creation of non-hackers and wannabes who probably never saw any action. Unfortunantly this has been accepted as the truth by most people in our country. Can I also reccomend that you read "Stolen Valor?" (I am a former Marine Infantryman, by the way, with eight hard years of routine, peacetime service.)
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 7:59:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 7:58:07 AM EDT by LARRYG]
Sorry about that, Gus. I missed the irony and the leg pulling. There have been posts of this nature by those who really meant it. I guess I overreacted.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 8:05:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 8:24:28 AM EDT
I was having a good day until I came upon this post. All I can say is"that if you were not there and didn't see it with your own eyes" then there is no way in hell that you will ever understand what happened in the "NAM" !!! Movies,books and hear say,can in no way make people (who didn't see or serve) realize what that war was all about and what scars us veterans still carry inside us today....... Sorry for rambling on, but no way can I FORGET !!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 8:48:29 AM EDT
Gus, try one of these: [rolleyes] It goes a long way. PapaSan, How would you suggest anyone younger & not involved learn? Not all are able to sit at the feet of someone so wise. Norm
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 9:02:34 AM EDT
While at Da Nang '67 I debriefed F-4 pilots after their missions around Package VI, Hanoi/Hiphong. They were not allow to strike the harbor, military and industrial complexes within these cities, the supply centers of NVN. Also, Charlie was spotted setting up 140mm rocket launchers in Happy Valley outside Da Nang AB by Spooky, an AC 47 gunship. Spooky requested permission from the base to fire. The base in turn requested permission from 7th AF HQ at Tan Son Nhut AB, Saigon. 7th HQ requested permission from PACAF HQ, Hickam Field, HI. By the time permission was granted, Charlie had spotted Spooky and boogied out without firing a shot. The political handcuffs were real! Ever since then I have had a 'strong dislike' (mild enough?) for career politicians. It gets stronger the higher they move 'up'! I dread the day that the Viet Nam vets are at the same point that the WWII vets are today: faltering voices unheeded and unheard. I cringe at the thought that our country will continue down the slippery slope of apathy and selfishness encouraged through the welfare state and 'it's for the ...'. Bless all the vets and those that support them! Sorry, no smilies on this one.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 9:14:21 AM EDT
My grandfather was a korea vet and a vietnam vet. He told us that virtually noone over there that he ever knew did the drugs. Marijuana was used a bit by some soldiers, Not all. He said the boys in his unit were strong as mules and some were twice as smart. He went through 2 tours and not once did he get injured, just b/c he knew what he was doing. He died not long ago from natural causes. Just b/c 5 POW's said everyone were druggies doesn't mean they were. I don't know if you've seen TOUR OF DUTY on TNT, but it depicts the truth of vietnam and it follows the actions of one unit in particular. They did deal with drugs, but it wasn't serious. Also, yes we could have won Vietnam if we stayed there longer. Most Vets would back up my story. Mikie
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 9:19:37 AM EDT
I just missed Nam, we sat around waiting for our draft number to be up. Mine was, I thought really hard about it. I was in college, with an ex to be and a son. If Nixon had not ended it I would have gone. Because I did and still do believe in the US. My campus had only one demonstration during the war....by the Young Republicans for Nixon. Our generation was twisted by the war. We didn't fight a war, The higher ups were never serious about it. They sent young men to die, so the economy would prospire. Some of us blamed the our own age for the war. Some of us did not come home, some left part of themselves there. some of us were here, I still remember the time I had a vet ask for a job and I had none. If we fought like WWII we would have one, not like some PC candy ass polititions stars or not.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 9:41:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/8/2001 9:43:10 AM EDT by imposter]
After the war, Colonel Summers, U.S.A., said to a Vietnamese Colonel "We won every battle." The Vietnamese Colonel thought for a second and then said "That is true, but it is also irrelevant." There were plenty of mistakes on the battlefield by both sides, but there is no doubt that they could not overcome our massive firepower. Tet was an act of desparation - the NLF was losing ground in the south. They lost the battle they had intended to win, but broke our will and ultimately won the war. War is a test of wills. We hoped to break their will by killing their soldiers, blindy hoping that their leadership would succumb to the same sorts of pressures that ours ultimately did. But that is not the way to defeat a totolitarian power. You think we would have learned our lesson with the Nazis and the Chinese in Korea. All of that bunk about our army being a bunch of losers is just that; that was the finest and most prepared army we have ever fielded. But that did us no good when our faulty military strategy could not achieve victory.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 11:25:12 AM EDT
I was just a kid during most of the war, but I remember everyone in the neighborhood was bummed (myself included) when the guy who lived across the street from me died over there. He had just graduated from West Point and was piloting a helicopter when it got shot down. He was there for less than 6 weeks if I recall. All I know is the military brass and the politicians let the guys down. F*ucking politicians micromanaging the war -- setting limitations on where they fought, what they bombed, how they engaged. Our weasel politicans giving in to the fat, weak-minded liberal college kids as if they ran the war. F*cking college students smoking weed known what's best? Walter Cronkite and Jane Fonda types undermining our actions as well. Knowing how the guys would be treated when they returned and how the politicians would let them down while they were there, I'd have gone to Canada too. I know it's not one's place to choose how and where he serves his country, but when your own country is f*cking you, what do you do?
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 12:06:15 PM EDT
I think we could have won the war but it would have taken a real "gloves off" approach that would have been politically impossible at that time. We got our clocks cleaned in a number of engagements but ultimately never failed to give back better than we got. So much of the public's knowledge of that war is gained from "Platoon" or phony "Seals" crying at some memorial. Although fiction, "Tour of Duty" pretty much gets it right as does "Hamburger Hill." My unit supplied the intel for the little foray into the A Shau Valley upon which the movie was based. For those who want to talk about U.S. intel "failures", some of the blame must fall on field commanders. I have personally given briefings in which commanders (a 101st Col. in one instance) refused to believe what we were telling them and had to learn the hard way. And yes, there were plenty of restrictions that we had to deal with and this is not something I just heard from somebody. I learned it first hand May 68-May 69 in northern I Corps.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 12:59:45 PM EDT
There are Holiday Inns in Ho-Chi-Min(sp?) city. I think they even have a McDonalds in Vietnam. I have seen news stories about the Vietnamese encouraging tourism. They have been bitten by the capitalist bug. We won.
Link Posted: 6/8/2001 1:32:31 PM EDT
you know one of the real comedies of the whole thing was how the antiwar crowd screamed about the awful things we were doing to the Vietnamese people and yet they went silent about what the north did to the south after we bugged out. The same goes for Lon nol in cambodia--we broke our promises and dee dee'd and left the Khmer rouge to their bloody work--and we didn't here a word from the "caring" souls back in the US. The communists far surpassed the US when it came to killing their own people. I don't think you will find many south Vietnamese that think they are better off today than in 1967. As a matter of fact, there are some of us US citizens that could say the same.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 12:19:42 PM EDT
http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies15.htm Interesting article.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:21:03 PM EDT
Old Papasan, to you and and everyone else who served, my hat is off and my head is bowed. But the two books I mentioned will give you an insight on the decision makers. The greatest enemies of the U.S. fighting man was not the guys with the AK's, but the politicians and generals who put career before conscience.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 1:26:15 PM EDT
I think their biggest enemies were "Joe Shit the Ragman" and other phonies with the fake "1000-yard-stare" parading before the public as stereotypical Viet Nam veterans. Some of you guys make it sound like our veterans came home and immedietly went to pieces because Oprah wasn't there to hold their hands.
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 3:26:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Gus Laskaris: How could we have possibly won when apparently all of our troops over there were drug-addicted, undisciplined losers who were victimized by the military, returned to the states shattered husks of their former selves, and spent the next 30 years in government sponsored re-hab? Oh, and hanging out at the Wall wearing Green Berets Navy Seal Tridents. (I mean both items together) Hey, I'm only telling you what I heard from five ex-POWs I talked to yeaterday.
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Typical....... That's the problem.... you only know what you "hear".... but you really don't know, now do you? [sniper] [b]The Sniper
Link Posted: 6/11/2001 4:14:10 PM EDT
I've held the same 'revisionist' view of U.S. involvement in Vietnam for years - We won, plain and simple. The U.S. should look at Vietnam the same way Pres. Lincoln looked at Chancellorsville - the Feds lost that battle, the South lost Jackson, and the Feds wound up winning the war. Consider this, while some 56,000 Americans died during the 10000 day war in VN, the Viet Cong and the NVA had approx. 1,000,000 war dead. While we have approx. 2500 MIAs, the NVA has approx. 330,000 MIAs. We kept the Soviet Bear and Chinese Dragon tied down in Southeast Asia for ten years, to the extent that both countries were unable to cause any further trouble anywhere else on the globe during that period (1965-1975). We tested weapon systems and fielded a whole new generation of officers, who learned a great deal from their travails in VN. The so-called 'Domino Theory' whereby the fall of South VietNam would have led to the successive downfalls of Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, didn't happen. Why? Because after having been bled white by their million man losses in VN, the NVA had just enough muscle left to slink into Cambodia in 1975, stay around long enough to get their asses kicked silly, and then slink out again in 1979. I wish we had film of the NVA evacuating their embassy in Phnom Penh, like we have of the US evacuating theirs in Saigon in 1975! Imagine if the year were 1965, America had abandoned the Republic of South VN, and the NVA, with a million more men under arms, had shown up at the border of Cambodia. Eric The(NextStop,Singapore)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 6:32:26 AM EDT
Originally Posted By The Sniper:
Originally Posted By Gus Laskaris: How could we have possibly won when apparently all of our troops over there were drug-addicted, undisciplined losers who were victimized by the military, returned to the states shattered husks of their former selves, and spent the next 30 years in government sponsored re-hab? Oh, and hanging out at the Wall wearing Green Berets Navy Seal Tridents. (I mean both items together) Hey, I'm only telling you what I heard from five ex-POWs I talked to yeaterday.
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Typical....... That's the problem.... you only know what you "hear".... but you really don't know, now do you? [sniper] [b]The Sniper
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I hope you picked up that I was pulling your leg. The problem is that the public perception of Viet Nam veterans has been shaped by a bunch of non-hacking losers, most of whom are the worst sort of wannabes. Apparently, most of the grungy, unkempt "wall groupies" who are incessently interviewed by the media are imposters. Many of them were REMFs, never left the states, or never even served in the military. Case in point were those "homeless vets" who who formed a color guard for the 1992 Democratic convention. Turns out that they were imposters. Dude, there were only 802 american P.O.W.s who returned from Viet Nam and about 3500 MIA's. What do you suppose the odds are of meeting a real, live former POW? Pretty slim. And yet, within 5 miles of my house I know of three guys who either were or claim to have been Viet Nam P.O.W.s (As if this is an honor). Think about it.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 6:41:18 AM EDT
i never heard of the severed ears to cover the odor of after shave one?i thought that collecting the ears was a carryover from the french who would pay bountys on VC .TURN IN 2 EARS EQUELLED 1 vc? is that corect?
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 6:42:29 AM EDT
i never heard of the severed ears to cover the odor of after shave one?i thought that collecting the ears was a carryover from the french who would pay bountys on VC .TURN IN 2 EARS EQUELLED 1 vc? is that corect?
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 7:14:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 7:19:59 AM EDT
[b]NORM: PapaSan, How would you suggest anyone younger & not involved learn? Not all are able to sit at the feet of someone so wise.[/b] I was told Bullshit stories about veitnam until they can actually prove they were there i will not believe it a lot of imposter's out there trying to fantasize about "THE EXPERENCE". some one come's up to you and tells you they bit necks of nva; yea right! i did four tours there yea right! i hung ear's around my neck. yea right! see i got a good story iam 34 i served in vietnam in the SOG/MACV yep we went out every night and capture enemy leader's and tax collector's yep really! i never used a m16 i used a AK47(MY MAK90 is a Veitnam bringback really!). until i actually see pics and it's verified i will not believe it.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 7:28:49 AM EDT
One more point to make out every time we go to war they bring up vietnam; America needs to quit doing this let our soldier's go in and let them really do there jobs let them kick some ass. we lose one soldier we go bazzerk (We lost one oh my it went bad how can this be!) Pathetic. yes use vietnam has a training tool but not a cruch!
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 7:47:14 AM EDT
Militarily we won all the big ones. Politically our soldiers hands were tied. But socially, i am under the impression that the locals did not support us or want us there. Plus there was no honest V-N politicians to run the place even if we did achieve military supremacy. You never hear of the girls coming out and kissing the soldiers for liberating their towns like in WWII. Instead i tend to think of burning villes. I'm sure some of the true vets can shed more light on this, but my question is how can you win a war without the people (locals) supporting you?
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 8:16:36 AM EDT
The sad thing is that our society is so ignorant about the military that most wannabe stories are swallowed whole by a credulous public. That is why you can see pictures of wannabes wearing both an Army CIB and a Navy SEAL trident.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 8:30:37 AM EDT
To all the Vets out here and anyone else who would like to visit a site that is for VN Vets, please go to : [url]http://pub50.ezboard.com/bvietnammemoriesbulletinboard[/url] This is a site that welcomes home our veteran and give them a place to share common interest and memoriies, no BS is allowed. There are many stories of battles that you can feel the intensity of close quarter combat, many were measured in feet not yards. Please come, and welcome home. Ron
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 8:45:43 AM EDT
I have somewhat of an disadvantage, being too young for VN, but remembering the news every night. ( I was 15 in 1975) However, the following article is about my neighbors across the street from me. They are some of the nicest people I know. They take care of each other, and even take turns mowing each others yards! Though my secret, they are my heroes, and I remind myself of their honor, bravery, and sacrifices, every time I see one of them.; ------------------------------ Honor at home in St. Pete Beach St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg; May 25, 1998; KRIS MAYES; Abstract: Ron Ray, Gary Littrell and Frank Miller shared places in Army Airborne units. They shared a war in Vietnam. Then they shared the highest honor for valor in combat. "It's very unusual for three (Medal of Honor recipients) to live on one street," said Miller, who moved to St. Pete Beach on the advice of Littrell. "It turned out to be the best decision I've made in my life." The three became acquainted through the tightly knit community of Medal of Honor recipients. Littrell arrived in the Tampa Bay area 12 years ago and was followed six years later by Miller. Ray moved in next door to Littrell on Belle Vista Drive a month ago. Ron Ray, Gary Littrell and Frank Miller shared places in Army Airborne units. They shared a war in Vietnam. Then they shared the highest honor for valor in combat. Now they live on the same street in St. Pete Beach, perhaps the first time that three Medal of Honor recipients have lived in such close 2proximity, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are only 165 living Medal of Honor recipients, about 70 of whom are Vietnam-era veterans. Today, the three men will sit together on the podium during Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery at the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines. "It's very unusual for three (Medal of Honor recipients) to live on one street," said Miller, who moved to St. Pete Beach on the advice of Littrell. "It turned out to be the best decision I've made in my life." The three former soldiers are close comrades who tease each other, toss arms around one another and plant an occasional kiss on one another's foreheads. The three became acquainted through the tightly knit community of Medal of Honor recipients. Littrell arrived in the Tampa Bay area 12 years ago and was followed six years later by Miller. Ray moved in next door to Littrell on Belle Vista Drive a month ago. Ray is now in international real estate development and is rehabilitating power plants in eastern Europe with Westinghouse. Miller is a veterans benefits officer for the regional VA office in St. Petersburg. Littrell is a retired VA hospital patient representative. Despite their 25-year friendship, the men say they rarely discuss the bravery that led to their medals. They are shy about wearing the ribbons in public, preferring to keep them stored in cabinets.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 8:46:53 AM EDT
"There are very few of us who talk about our (Vietnam) experiences," Ray said. "Basically that's past." In fact, they are unaware of what each did. "We should learn from our mistakes in the past, but we don't need to live in the past," Ray said of the war. He added, "That's what Memorial Day is for us. We come together and recognize that people died for our freedoms. You don't need to re-fight the old fights, but you never forget that people paid the supreme price for freedom." The actions of Medal of Honor recipients must be witnessed by two people. The medal recommendations then pass through the Department of the Army and are approved by Congress. Respect for Vietnam veterans is on the upswing, said Littrell, who recalls a time when he preferred to shield his involvement in the war. "After the Vietnam War, society treated us very poorly," he said. "We were not welcomed back here, and consequently a lot of us went into seclusion." The popular Persian Gulf war changed all that, causing respect for veterans to swell. During a gulf war parade he attended with his son, a gulf war veteran, Littrell said, he "shook so many hands that my finger was bleeding." "A lot of my hard feelings were washed away," he said. For a vast number of Americans, Memorial Day has become just another day of revelry, a time for family picnics, beach barbecues and boat outings. But for the neighbors on Belle Vista, it's a time for reflection about personal losses. "To me, Memorial Day is not Memorial Day, it's Charles J. Hein Day," Miller said, repeating the name of a fallen friend. "To me it's an actual person. It's a smile. It's a person I can identify with." Miller keeps a manila file with photos of Hein, his best friend, taken in the highlands of Laos. One of the photos shows the tall, strapping man with a shock of brown hair peering through a jungle thicket a few hours before his death. "To lose him was a severe blow," Miller said, recounting how he had to carry Hein's body through the jungle for a day and a half. "I read somewhere that once you've carried a dead man, he'll be riding with you for the rest of your life," Miller said, his voice catching slightly. "I think that's true. You never forget." Gary Littrell, 53 Rank: sergeant first class Dates of service: 1961 to 1983 April 4, 1970: An adviser to a South Vietnamese battalion, he came under heavy enemy fire near Dak Seang. For four days he "redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language." Ron Ray, 56 Rank: lieutenant Dates of service: 1959 to 1980 June 19, 1966: An ambush patrol he was leading in the la Drang Valley was suddenly attacked. Ray threw himself in front of a grenade, sparing the lives of two men. He then got up and continued directing his team despite injuries from the grenade and subsequent gunfire. Frank Miller, 53 Rank: staff sergeant Dates of service: 1965 to 1992 Jan. 5, 1970: Miller, who served in Vietnam for 6 1/2 years, led his long-range reconnaissance team out of an ambush in northern Laos. During the skirmish, Miller was shot in the chest and was wounded again in the arm several hours later.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 8:47:52 AM EDT
There are Holiday Inns in Ho-Chi-Min(sp?) city. I think they even have a McDonalds in Vietnam. I have seen news stories about the Vietnamese encouraging tourism. They have been bitten by the capitalist bug. We won.
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Sorry. As long as the commies are in power. we won shit!.
Link Posted: 6/13/2001 9:36:52 AM EDT
While I agree that our sodliers fought bravely and that we kicked ass on the battlefield, I think it is a mistake to say we won the war. We lost. We lost so bad, it nearly cost us the cold war. If we pretend like we won, we will not learn from our mistakes. We should never fight a war in that manner again. Or we will lose again.
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