TRUTHS ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR
“Do not fear the enemy,
for your enemy can only take your life.
It is far better you fear the media,
for they will steal your HONOR.”
Virtual Vietnam Wall
Click on the following link, then by state, then name, to find each person listed on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
You will find their service information, awards,
and information regarding their death.
Help your Brothers. Join Vietnam Veterans of America
Check online for a Chapter near youu!
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapters in Alabama
Nobody Knew His Name
By Colonel John A. G. Klose, USA (Ret.)
His call sign was "Music One Six". His voice was very deep, clear and
unforgettable. Everyone there knew who "Music One Six" was, but nobody knew
his name. His remains, and those of his copilot First Lieutenant Alan
Boffman, came to the United States on 19 July 1990, 19 years, four months
and one day after being shot down in Laos, 18 March 1971.
It was during LAM SON 719. "Music One Six" was the leader of an attackhelicopter section from "D" Company, 101st Aviation Battalion. He and hissection were assisting in the extraction of 1st ARVN Infantry Division's 4/1Battalion after six weeks of heavy combat in Laos.
The 4/1 Battalion had a strength of 420 when they had been inserted 40kilometers into Laos by helicopter combat assault. After six weeks ofcontinuous contact with North Vietnamese Regulars, the battalion had beenreduced in strength to 88, 61 of which were wounded. An English-speakingsergeant whose call sign was "Whiskey" was in command and had the onlyoperable radio. They were surrounded in a bomb crater at the base of a 1,500foot escarpment near the Xe Pon River. The enemy had loudspeakers and wascalling for the unit to surrender.
Sixty-eight U.S. Air Force airstrikes were used to keep the enemy forces
from overrunning the 4/1 Battalion's final positions. U.S. Army Cobra
gunships fired in direct support of the unit. Often, the effects of their
fire were on the perimeter of the bomb crater.
"Music One Six" and his section had refueled, rearmed a number of times,
returning to the battle and expended their ammunition throughout the
afternoon in support of "Whiskey" and his unit. The last smoke grenade to
mark the friendly position has long since been used. "Music One Six" knew
exactly where the 4/1 survivors were. It was he who volunteered to lead the
troop carrying helicopters into the bomb crater to extract the unit. He said
"Spasm Two Two (Operations Officer of the 173 Aviation Company) this is
Music One Six, follow me and I will lead you to the friendlies".
On final approach to the bomb crater, "Music One Six's" Cobra came under
intense enemy ground fire. He aborted the approach and told the other
helicopters to follow him around for another approach. His aircraft was on
fire and he had lost his hydraulic controls. He brought his gunship into a
slow 360-degree turn back toward the friendly unit. He calmly stated, "My
mast is on fire and I've lost my hydraulics. There they are twelve o'clock.
100 meters, I'm going to try to make it to the river."
Smoke and flames could be seen trailing from his gunship as it turned toward
the river. His rotor RPM was decaying as the rotors noticeably began to slow
down. "I've lost my engine and my transmission is breaking up. Good-bye.
Give my love to my wife and family", were "Music One Six's" last words as
his helicopter crashed and became a ball of fire.
Everyone in the air over the bomb crater knew that they had witnessed an
unparalleled act of courage and selfless devotion to duty; that one aircrew
had given their lives so that 88 other soldiers might live. Everyone there
will always remember "Music One Six". But nobody there that day knew his
name. The urgency of a situation involving fellow soldiers on the ground,
had everyone together that day.
To paraphrase General MacArthur, "I know not of the dignity of their births,
but I can attest to the dignity of their deaths..." No heroes ever died more
courageous deaths. I was proud to be with them on the field of battle that
day. I was privileged to be at Travis Air Force Base on 18 July 1990 when
"Music One Six" Captain Keith Brandt (age 31 at death) and his copilot 1LT
Alan Boffman (age 24 at death) came home. I was proud to salute their
caskets on behalf of their many comrades who served with them that day in
Laos. None of us will ever forget them.
1968 Tet Offensive and the News Media
As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces, and a decided defeat for the U. S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite initial successes by the Communist forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee, MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the deaths of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The organization of the Viet Cong units in the South never recovered. Years later, it was announced that Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap concurred that the Tet Offensive was a major defeat for his forces.
The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. Particularly, prior to Tet, the majority of Americans were in favor of the war in Vietnam, but the misrepresentation of the truth gave momentum to the anti-war factions in the United States. Instead of the U. S. military being allowed to deliver the final knock-out blow to the Communist forces, politicians caved in to the anti-war activists. This was just one example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth.
101st A/B - 173rd A/B Brigade - 82nd A/B
"Screamin' Eagles" - "The Herd" - "All American Div."
MYTH: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.
FACT: The U. S. military was not defeated in Vietnam.
The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. Quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California at Berkley, Gen. Westmoreland stated the war was a major military defeat for the VC and the NVA.
The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.
How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U. S. prisoners, withdrawal of all U. S. forces inside South Vietnam, and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 than there were during the more than ten years the U. S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-war movement in the United States.
More Myths and Facts about the Vietnam War
Myth: Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.
Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.
Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group.
Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.
Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% was other races.
Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.
Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.
Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter.
U. S. Special Forces - MACV
Vietnam War facts from the VA
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975
2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam
Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation
240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor
58,148 were killed in Vietnam
304.000 were wounded
75,000 were severely wounded
23,214 were 100% disabled
5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations
Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21
11,465 of those killed were younger than 20
Of those killed, 17,539 were married
Average age of men killed was 23.1 years
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old
The oldest man killed was 62 years old
97% of Vietnam veterans were honorably discharged
91% of Vietnam veterans say they are glad they served
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome
There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam veterans and non-Vietnam veterans of the same age group.
(Source: Veterans Administration study)
Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet groups.
Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran group by more than 18%.
Vietnam veterans are less likely to be in prison – only one-half of one percent of Vietnam veterans have been jailed for crimes.
Some ask how the Viet Cong could fight so well against the U. S. military forces who obviously were better equipped and better trained. Those who were there know first-hand that, although from American standards the Viet Cong seemed like an unlikely formidable military force, they were just that .
On the Viet Cong
Remarks byMaj. Gen. (Ret.) Paul F. Smith,
173rd Airborne Brigade
“In the context in which we consider morale as a factor affecting the performance of our soldiers, I do not believe morale to have been important in measuring performance of the VC soldier. I believe indoctrination and
discipline induced subjugation of all personal feelings. Discipline within the VC was outstanding until a situation arose that had not been covered in instructions or indoctrination – then it broke down. VC small-unit tactics lacked the element of fire and maneuver. This was probably so because the VC units were not designed for confrontational warfare nor were they structured or trained to engage organized, aggressive, well-controlled and supplied enemy forces. Their hit-and-run, ambush, infiltration, and harassing tactics were outstanding – particularly against the impatient American…”
On the fighting ability of the Viet Cong and NVA
Gen. (Ret.) W. B. Rosson
Chief of Staff, MACV
Commanding General, Task Force Oregon (later Americal Division)
Commanding General, I Field Force
Commanding General, Provisional Corps, Viet Nam (later XXIV Corps)
Acting Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force
Deputy Commander, USMACV
“Generally speaking, I found the VC and NVA soldier to be tough, courageous, well-motivated, dedicated, and competent. His overall quality diminished during the U. S. involvement due primarily to heavy combat losses. Units on the whole were well led, reliable. Commanders displayed considerable ingenuity in making do with little and in overcoming the harshness of jungle camp life. Unit effectiveness also diminished as the war progressed and as casualties took their toll. The VC and NVA excelled in the guerrilla role, and were able to surmount the challenge of operating and surviving in difficult terrain – jungle, mountains, and delta. The VC, for obvious reasons, operated more easily among the people in populated areas than did the NVA, but once the NVA personnel became acquainted with an area they blended in effectively.
One came to admire, possible envy, the VC and NVA for their stealth, mastery of camouflage, ability to move and operate at night, noise and light discipline, and removal of bodies and weapons from the battlefield. They were impressive at times in breaching wire obstacles by stealth, demolition, or wave assault. Conduct of ambushes became a specialty.…the VC and NVA demonstrated convincingly their ability to withstand the physical and psychological hardships of campaigning ‘for the duration’ in an environment of uncommon severity and danger.”
After seeing this website, a friend of mine who served in the 173rd in Nam in 1967-68, sent me the following comments, which are his observations, and are presented for discussion:
Sometimes statistics don't tell the true story with Nam. In terms of the myths about volunteers it depended upon several factors, i.e. the unit itself had much to do about the ratio of volunteers to draftees. For example, it is very true that volunteers filled the 82nd and 101st Airborne but no so true for the 173rd/503rd PIR, 25th Infantry or the Americal Division. The Brigade/Divisions that were brought out of mothballs tended to have more draftees whereas the old units that were never deactivated after Korea or WWII were largely made up of volunteers.
Draftees had very little opportunities to avoid combat MOS's if they were high school athletes. The available schools that a draftee could volunteer was limited to airborne, or if their scores were good enough they could get in Ft. Rucker or Ft. Sill. Are these people now counted as volunteers rather than draftees after Jump or artillery school? If so, everybody in the 173rd could be called a volunteer. If you came to basic training in shape and were athletic, the draftee was assured infantry was his final destination.
My impression was that I was not surrounded by near the number of idiots in the 173rd as I was in basic training. Where did all those idiots go? My theory is that they ended up in supply, motor pool, clerks and cooks, or some make-up unit like the AmeriCal Division or the 25th Infantry Division. The drill instructors weren't dumb, they tagged you right out of the box.
The other thing to consider in this myth is the year when the measurement is taken. If you limited you statistics to 1967 and 1968, then I'm pretty sure your statistics would look different. We doubled our combat footprint in these years - where do you think they got the manpower? Plus, I have a higher opinion of the citizen soldier than most of the lifers in the military - personally, I think the military is the best when it reflects the population that it represents. I believe in universal military service - that way, you always have a reserve of trained soldiers if the shit really hits the fan. By in large, I think the draftee did a pretty good job in the Nam and should not be disparaged.
Another friend emailed the following very interesting comment:
In reading some of your website content, here's my bottom line on the Vietnam war: the brave 50 thousand that died in Vietnam did NOT die in vain. They inflicted millions of casualties on the North, thus, set the price-to-be-paid for any other nation to push communism down the throats of another. And none did. None were willing go through what we put North Vietnam through. So then, the 50 thousand put a stop to the spread of communism, and slowly the iron curtains fell, and are still falling all around today. All without a bloody third world war. The 50 thousand PREVAILED for liberty and democracy!
If you choose to comment, send me an email, and I'll post any appropriate comments here. Thanks.
173rd Airborne Brigade
Activated in 1915, as the 173rd Infantry Brigade the unit saw service in World War I, but is best known for its actions during the Vietnam War. The brigade was the first major United States Army ground formation deployed in Vietnam, serving there May 1965–1971 and losing almost 1,800 soldiers. Noted for its roles in Operation Hump and Operation Junction City, the 173rd is best known for the Battle of Dak To, where it suffered heavy casualties in close combat with North Vietnamese forces. Brigade members received over 7,700 decorations, including more than 6,000 Purple Hearts. The brigade returned to the United States, where it was inactivated in 1972.
The above memorial, patterened after the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D. C.,
was erected by the VFW Post in Athens, Alabama, and is located in the
southbound rest area of I-65 in north Alabama (where the big missile sits).
This beautiful memorial lists the names of all Alabamians who made the
ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War.
A Military Prayer
I saw a soldier kneeling down,
for this was the first quiet place he had found.
He had traveled through jungles, rivers, and mud.
His hands were scarred and toil-worn.
He had fought for days from night 'til morn.
He folded his hands and looked to the sky.
I saw his tears, as they welled in his eyes.
He spoke to God, and this is what he said:
"God bless my men, who now lie dead.
I know not what You have in mind,
but when You judge, please be kind...
When they come before You,
they will be poorly dressed,
but will walk proudly, for they have done their best.
Their boots will be muddy and their clothes all torn...
but these clothes they have so proudly worn.
Their hearts will be still and cold inside, for
they have fought their best and did so with pride.
So please take care of them as they pass Your way...
the price of freedom they've already paid.
Those Who Didn’t Return
If you are able, save for them
a place inside of you,
and save one backward glance when you are leaving
for the places they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you love them
though you may not have always.
Take what they have left, and what they have taught you,
and keep it with your own.
And take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes you left behind.
For they are the true heroes
of their generation.
Save the Montagnard People
These indigenous people of the central highlands of Vietnam
gave courageous and unselfish service to the United States
military, especially MACV-SOG Special Forces.
Contrary to the promises made to them, they were abandoned
when the U. S. forces withdrew from Vietnam,
and were slaughtered by the thousands.
They are still being persecuted.
Efforts are finally being made to save these people.
Check out the following website.