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"Reflection of 50yrs ago in Vietnam. I can't get No" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2019 8:02 p.m. PST

…Satisfaction.

" Late in 1969 I turned 21 in Vietnam. The majority of us where basically still teenagers up to early 20's. We either got drafted or joined the military. Today I look around in my twilight years to see a generation the has no clues about the real world. A lot of my buddies has passed on. Other like us are suffering the effects of Agent Orange. Some also from nuclear weapons exposure. To a the reader of blog. We are your brothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandfathers. We give the best years of our life to keep America save. We the Vietnam veteran never got a home coming. Just spit on by the anti war crowd. All our home coming where one by one to Detroit, L.A,. Cleveland, Buffalo and Great falls Montana. Our friends who never serviced us looked at us as we where a little strange or odd. Some of us never talked about Vietnam. Other joined veteran groups. Some of us started the Vietnam veterans group as WW2 vets didn't understand us.."
Main page
link


Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2019 6:26 a.m. PST

I thought we were going to see a water skier behind a Pibber……

Must be even harder when it is war you did not win…however much the PBI came out on top in every single battle. Add to that the hostility at home at the time…but worst of all the suggestion that it was maybe all a waste and that their country's leaders were often lying through their teeth.

Vietnam now comes across as just a smiling place, for young tourists to spend their valuable currency, all to profit a highly commercialised economy.

and yet…was the Domino Theory really wrong? If the US had not said here and no further…?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2019 2:08 p.m. PST

(smile)


Amicalement
Armand

zardoz1957 Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2019 8:55 p.m. PST

@Deadhead The US said no, fought, but eventually left and South Vietnam fell to the NVA. The domino fell in the end. Are you implying that the American effort accomplished something?

Dn Jackson27 Oct 2019 9:20 p.m. PST

"Are you implying that the American effort accomplished something?"

Well, it's speculation, but what if we hadn't fought there for 10 years? If the communists hadn't been exhausted by the war could they have spread to Thailand, Indonesia, or even India?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 1:37 a.m. PST

Exactly….esp India which was very pro Soviet then.

bit like the Alamo (although revisionist historians have argued against even that legend).

There is no doubt who won the war. But that does not mean it was not worth fighting. Ask the citizens of Hue their views of their Northern Liberators in 1968…those that were left anyway.

Actually I might even question who won the war in the long run. MacDonald's, tourism and Coca Cola and the entire capitalist system finally beat the Communist dream.

Skarper28 Oct 2019 1:57 a.m. PST

I strongly suggest we just don't do this again. Every few weeks something political pops up on this sub forum and we all [or some of us anyway] feel obliged to go over the same old ground. It's futile.

Let's all just focus on the what and how to model/game this period of history and leave the whys aside?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 5:08 a.m. PST

Good point. I am new to this forum but can well understand what you are saying….

Wolfhag28 Oct 2019 6:31 a.m. PST

It appears Capitalism has won:
link

Wolfhag

Legion 428 Oct 2019 6:31 a.m. PST

I know many Vietnam Vets I see almost daily. They don't come off as bitter or resentful, etc. We just had a Military Officers Association of America meeting/lunch at our near by airbase. I sat with one of my comrades who served as an Inf PL in the USMC in Vietnam. I'm always very interested in hearing him relay his experiences there. As well a US Army Huey Gunship Pilot and another comrade who flew both Huey "Slicks" and Gunships. I am honored to be in their presents.

They were all very young, in their early 20s. They did their duties. They are heroes in my and many other's eyes. They volunteered and did their duty and did what was asked of them.

I know some EMs who served their too, some drafted, some volunteered. Again they did their duties, in either situation, volunteering or drafted. Whether they liked it or not.

When I went on to ROTC, '75-'79 then on active duty '79-'90. Many of our instructors and those I served with had served in SE Asia. In some cases 2 or more tours. I learned a lot from them.

Regardless why our soldiers go to war, fighting Nazis, Imperialism, Communism, Terrorism, etc. On a tactical level it matters little. Our Soldiers kill, capture and/or destroy enemy personnel and equipment. As they are legally ordered to do. The reasons why or who the enemy is does not really effect what our troops do. The Enemy are only considered targets. Serviced & terminated. That is the way I was trained and understood the dynamics and I'm sure many of my comrades felt the same.


It appears Capitalism has won:
Always does … thumbs up

RudyNelson28 Oct 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

One misconception do exist about the Vietnam War era or is less considered.
One fact is that not everyone in the army went to Vietnam. Both my uncle and myself were Vietnam era veterans but not in country deployed. He was in Germany at in 1968.
This was a time of no homecomings and riots at many levels and schools which today would make major news with the 24 hour news cycle. But then the fights happened then moved on.
This was the beginning of two social events that combined to very slowly change the fabric of American values.
One was the ending of the draft. The quality of the new soldiers dropped but the sprinkling of veterans kept the military readiness at a satisfactory level. Still no draft but we shifted types of combat soldiers expected.
Another is one of the controversial issues. No, not the destruction of the black middle class based on black owned businesses. That is already quantifiable and a member of papers exist in college thesis files. (A great place to do research on military and history as well.)
But the radicalization of opinion. This era was the beginning of the lack of social and political compromise that we see today. The fanatics are the flower children, Veterans, activists of that day or their children and grandchildren who were inspired to advocate the lack of compromise. End part one.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 10:42 a.m. PST

Thanks!.


Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 11:17 a.m. PST

Interesting on Wolfhag's link to yet again see that rooftop Huey landing described as evacuating the Saigon US Embassy.

However iconic an image, it was not the embassy. Offhand I cannot recall what institution it was in truth…..some kind of CIA facility I do know

Another quirk of history. Far from the Vietnamese exporting their politics to the capitalist world as per the Domino Theory, the moment they had peace what did they do? They fought a war against Communist China and later against their other neighbours, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge

Legion 428 Oct 2019 2:38 p.m. PST

All true Rudy. Many didn't realized how many Divs., units, etc., the US had in Europe, Korea, etc.


They fought a war against Communist China and later against their other neighbours, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge
The Chinese attacked Vietnam in '79 and it lasted off and on until '91. With the Chinese occupying some Vietnamese territory.

The Chinese had not really seen much combat of any kind since the Korean War, '50-'53. Or on a large scale. And once again the Vietnamese had the home court advantage, it was their backyard. But even with that both sides did take some losses over that time period. But in the end … Vietnam stayed Vietnam.

Wolfhag29 Oct 2019 1:23 p.m. PST

Nice post Rudy.

Another quirk of history. Far from the Vietnamese exporting their politics to the capitalist world as per the Domino Theory, the moment they had peace what did they do? They fought a war against Communist China and later against their other neighbours, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge

They are age-old enemies. In 1979, the Vietnamese with the best army they've ever had decided to settle some old and new scores with Cambodia. China interfered to stop them. A power struggle in that area that has been going on for hundreds of years.

The Domino Theory was prevalent in the 1960's with a lot of evidence. However, it was mainly the Soviets backing a Communist movement, not the countries so much themselves exporting it.

IIRC the US/Roosevelt were close to partnering with Ho at the end of WWII and then some things went wrong, Roosevelt died and Truman backed out. The OSS/CIA and Ho were very close.

Vietnam was also a test of the US commitment to its allies in the Cold War and to what degree they would defend them. It would be a real strategic setback if we didn't help. It's hard to tell what would have happened if we green-lighted NVN to take over the south even after the US had invested a lot of money for infrastructure and military.

The combination of local military and CIA operations had just defeated a large Communist insurgency (with up to 500,000 killed) in Indonesia in 1966. There was no reason to think they could not do it in VN too. However, the overall US strategy was incorrect and they underestimated the enemy's will to fight. Sometimes with foreign policy, there is no decision that will lead to the desired outcome.

So far History has shown to a large degree that after fighting a war with the US we'll eventually make up and somewhat peacefully trade as all parties have a common interest in fair trade.

About 6 years ago my family sponsored a Vietnamese high school exchange student who lived with us as part of our family for about a year. She was almost always in her room studying even though we invited her to our typical family activities. She finally told us that if she does not get all "A's" her parents will beat her when she gets back to VN. Talk about pressure!

She said her father has his own HVAC business in Ho Chi Minh City but almost everyone calls it Saigon. Her brother immigrated and after college, he's an engineer for BART (rapid transit in SF). She said the south is mostly free-market/Capitalist and the north very Socialist.

The US has profited from getting some the best, brightest and most industrious VN integrated into our society.

News Flash:
link

Wolfhag

Legion 429 Oct 2019 1:51 p.m. PST

backing a Communist movement
Back then the USSR and PRC would back a barrel of monkeys if they thought they could use them to spread their dogma.

Wolfhag29 Oct 2019 6:56 p.m. PST

Back then the USSR and PRC would back a barrel of monkeys if they thought they could use them to spread their dogma.

and the US would back anyone that said they won't go Commie. Papa Doc Duvalier in Hatai shook down JFK for $40 USDM or he'd let the Russians in. It was cheaper to pay him off rather than do something.

Wolfhag

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2019 1:28 a.m. PST

$40 USD million sounds a bargain to avoid another Cuba or VN in the Caribbean. Less than a day's expenditure in VN later. Integrity is all well and good but…..let us face it, corruption and embezzlement of funding was what ran South Vietnam, the snag there was it did not work, not that it was unprincipled!

Legion 430 Oct 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

and the US would back anyone that said they won't go Commie. Papa Doc Duvalier in Hatai shook down JFK for $40 USD USDM or he'd let the Russians in. It was cheaper to pay him off rather than do something.
Very true … generally the 3 big "Super" Powers play that game very often. And in many cases they find they wasted $ & time … But in other cases e.g. the Russians & PRC in Korea, Cuba, SE Asia, Central & South America, and to a lesser extent in some places in the Mid East they did get a lot of bang(s) for their bucks, i.e. Syria. But I think they did waste a lot $ on Africa. In many cases they just could not get anything really "effective" going on.

Reports stated that many of the African groups/nations "troops(?)" were not good at converting to the Communist cause, etc.,. And like many in the Mid East they just proved not to be that good at soldiering. E.g. Many of the Mid East Forces never really understood how to properly execute modern combined arms warfare. The historical record demonstrates that through out the many Arab-Israeli Wars. Regardless of how many died on all sides.

let us face it, corruption and embezzlement of funding was what ran South Vietnam,
That seems to be an underlining trend in many places where the US, and even Russia and PRC in some cases try to "assist" …

"You can't free a fish from water."

Virginia Tory30 Oct 2019 7:50 a.m. PST

"let us face it, corruption and embezzlement of funding was what ran South Vietnam,"

They had their share. They were trying to put together a government on the fly. They didn't have the "Do what we say or we shoot you" methods of the north, why by 1960 killed or exiled everyone who disagreed.

And anyone who doesn't think there's corruption and embezzlement in communist countries isn't looking hard enough. They were just more disciplined.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2019 9:11 a.m. PST

That is a good point. They were probably just less ostentatiously corrupt. The Hanoi Elite all made sure their offspring went off to Moscow universities, rather than heading south on that trail. I find it hard to imagine they could have, in practice, easily amassed great wealth in such a rigidly disciplined society (just as you said). Not to say they were far too principled, it is just that they did not have the chance.

and we have to admit that we are generalising. I am sure there were middle ranking officers of great integrity and competence in the ARVN, just as much as in the NVA.

catavar30 Oct 2019 12:59 p.m. PST

Having recently read a book about Vietnam during the Cold War I was surprised by how much Russia, and even China for awhile, initially pressured the north not to stir up trouble with the US; at least that's the impression I got from it.

Legion 431 Oct 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

Yes, Stalin/USSR did the same during the Korean War. Keep the US/NATO busy. And they obtained some intel including a number of US POWs being taken to the USSR. And never heard from again … Where are those men Mr. Putin ?

Strong rumors were Russian Pilots flew Russian designed Nork aircraft during the Korean War.

When US Special Forces did the Son Tay Raid in 1970 into North Vietnam to rescue US POWs held by the NVA. Sadly they had move those US POWs. link
But at least The Green Berets killed more Chinese than NVA there. I not only read that but was told the same by one of our SF instructors when I was in ROTC.

VA Troy +1 The North Vietnams were not without guilt when it came to corruption, etc. Plus they in may cases with classic Communist predilections. Were more than glad to send waves of NVA and VC to assured death into US firepower. Into a war of attrition.

During Tet, the North pushed the VC forward into battle knowing that many would be lost. As they knew for every hard core Communist in the NLF/VC there was another who was just a Nationalists. They didn't want to deal with any Nationalists from the South once the US/SEATO left. After Tet the VC were pretty much down to about functioning 3 Rgts. And those had to be fleshed out with some NVA.

Dead NVA as in their teens were found with tattoos on their arms saying "Born In the North to Die In the South".

Some KO'd NVA MBTs were found with the crews chained in so they would abandon them when the US let loose with all our firepower. I.e. US Hueys and Cobras firing TOWs and rockets, etc.

The North was "lucky" US firepower did not inflict many more losses to them. If the Linebacker Air Offensive continued on after the NVA agreed to go back to the "Peace" Talks. Much of Hanoi would be rubbled and they were running out of SAMs, etc.

catavar31 Oct 2019 10:22 a.m. PST

I don't think there were enough worthwhile targets in the north to justify the losses and bombing Hanoi into rubble would've been a PR nightmare. My two cents.

Legion 431 Oct 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

The bombings during Operation Linebacker did bring the North's leadership back to the Peace Talks. That was one of the most important reason they returned. Massive US airpower was on the way to turning Hanoi into a moonscape.

PR nightmare
That would have been in the eyes of the beholder.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2019 2:02 p.m. PST

Oh it could have been seen as like Dresden in 1945. A war crime. Well that is still the suggestion anyway….

Downtown Hanoi was however "remarkably" (pure chance of course, nothing to do with bomb aiming) spared. Linebacker concentrated on infrastructure like power supply, transport links or fuel…….but not on the buildings in the town centre. Sensible, flattening residential Hanoi would have made no difference and yet strangely every bomb would have some how targeted a hospital, a school for orphans or a place of worship, packed with innocent civilians…or so we would have been assured.

Bomb Haiphong. Ah that makes much more sense, but the harbour is packed with USSR and PR Chinese nationals…woops.

With one exception in 1945 (and that was two rather big bombs at the end of a lost conventional war) bombing cities never wins wars.

You have to persuade the other guy that he is beaten, however obvious that might be, he needs to be convinced….or else he will come back again and fight on.

Legion 401 Nov 2019 5:26 a.m. PST

You have to persuade the other guy that he is beaten, however obvious that might be, he needs to be convinced….or else he will come back again and fight on.
Very true … And as you noted there were plenty of targets left by the time the North returned to the peace talks.

But it still was their backyard. The best we could do is continue to attrite already weakened NLF/VC and the have the North retreat back to their borders and stop supporting the VC. But the possibility of those events occurring were very slim.

And there would have been a situation like we have in Korea today. With no change in sight.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2019 3:22 p.m. PST

I was lucky enough to be in College during the Vietnam War. I vividly remember the day the National Draft Lottery was done. One guy in our group was Number 1, I was I think 320. I have often wondered though if I should have gone, perhaps something I emotionally needed. I am determined to make a go of gaming it this time around.

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