Category Archives: USMC

Vietnam – brief personal history

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USMC Recruit Training October 1971 – I’m 2nd from left

I’ve seen a few Vietnam history posts over the years including an incorrect exit date memorial. As someone who served during this time, I’ve talked with enlisted and officers who served in Vietnam. I’ve taken a deep interest in the history. Ken Burns has done an excellent series on Vietnam, but it by no means is the last word.

+++ Operation Frequent Wind, was executed by the Marine Corps & Navy evacuation of South Vietnam – 29 April 1975. They moved over 50,000 people. Operation Frequent Wind was made late morning, 29 April 1975, Saigon. +++ Mike USMC Hawaii on the beach

The Vietnam War was a complicated extended conflict. Essentially the war we speak about began when the Japanese attacked China. After the Japanese defeat in WWII, it left a power vacuum in the region. This set the stage for a conflict lasting about 30 years.

After a 1963 generals’ coup against President Diem, the United States increased its military support for South Vietnam. President Johnson sent the first official U.S. combat forces to Vietnam in March of 1965. American military manpower peaked in 1969 with an in-country force of 534,000.

The Vietnam War officially ended in April 1975. It’s sometimes called the Second Indochina War or the American War. US combat and combat support operations ceased after January 1973.  21 January 1975 – Asked at a press conference if there were circumstances under which the United States might again actively participate in the Vietnam War U.S. President Gerald Ford said, “I cannot foresee any at the moment.” 28 January 1975 – President Ford asked Congress for an additional $522 million in military aid to assist South Vietnam and Cambodia. Ford said that North Vietnam now had 289,000 troops in South Vietnam and large numbers of tanks, artillery, and anti-aircraft weapons. Congress did not appropriate the money.

“The North Vietnamese army (PAVN) launched their Spring Offensive in March 1975. The South Vietnamese army (ARVN) was quickly defeated. The communist North Vietnamese captured Saigon on April 30, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam. In the final days of the war, the United States, which had supported South Vietnam for many years, carried out an emergency evacuation of its civilian and military personnel and more than 130,000 Vietnamese.

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*1 General Giap has published his memoirs and confirmed what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost at home.

We paid a high price [during the TET offensive] but so did you [Americans]… not only in lives and material…. Do not forget the war was brought into the living rooms of the American people. … The most important result of the TET offensive was it made you deescalate the bombing, and it brought you to the negotiation table.”

It was, therefore, a victory….” “The war was fought on many fronts. At that time the most important one was American public opinion.”

°≡≡° “What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi .. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battle of TET. you defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it.” °∙··°

But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!” «──

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The first phase of the Southeast Asia operation was called Operation Eagle Pull. It was the United States military evacuation by air of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, beginning on 12 April 1975. Ambassador John Gunther Dean called for the evacuation of Americans from the city.

This is a 4 minute video on the fall of Saigon, 30 April 1975

Notes ——- *1 Snopes claims this is an incorrect quote. Sorry Snopes, I think you got it wrong this time. This information was previously publicly published. Did Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap’s memoirs pin U.S. defeat in Vietnam on American anti-war reporting? 

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Standing beside data & communications unit – 1975

 

War is Failure to Win

Why would I start out with such a title? Isn’t war about winning? The movie about the life of General Patton started out with a speech. Among his remarks, this was said.

“America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser, this is why America has never, and will never, lose a war.” “War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity.”

Patton also said this; “Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little.”

General_George_Patton_bwPatton enjoyed war, more than others and even he knew it’s terrible consequences.

War is a failure for people all living on the same planet, who don’t understand how to get along with each other. There have been despots, tyrants, dictators, and rulers of every type. Throughout history, we witness one battle or war after another. The United States, since the beginning has been involved in fighting amongst itself or other nations, over 90% of the time.

Unlike what Patton quoted, Americans will never lose a war, he was wrong about that. Check out the war of 1812 for a start.

War is stupid.

Those who advocate it are either without conscience or unable to grasp the realities of it.

In 1860, with the Southern states ramping up their rhetoric and threatening the union, this is what William Tecumseh Sherman wrote:

You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing!

To advocate a pre-emptive war is the moral equivalent of shooting someone on sight because they might commit a crime. If you suggest or listen to the nonsense of a pastor who says, “God wants us to go to war“, you’re listening to the wrong people and misinterpreting the words of the Bible. You may as well be a heathen if you advocate going to war. War is only justified when all other options are unavailable, that means right up to the time they attack. Once they’ve made that choice, you can revisit the decision.

There are too many things that can go wrong in a war, especially when you have China as their immediate neighbor. Think Germany had logistical and manpower problems when they attacked Russia in WWII? Russia lost over 20 million people under arms with many more civilian deaths, fighting against Germany. In rough terms, they lost nearly 20% of their population. China has over 1 billion people, and approximately 300 million, which they could use in their military. Think long and hard what that means? They don’t have any more respect for the potential losses in their population than the Russians did in the 1940’s.

Here’s another person very familiar with the tremendous cost of war.

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A nun burned to death in the Spanish Civil War

Robert E. Lee

What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.
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President Donald Trump has launched a verbal volley at North Korea. On Wednesday, Trump said he would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea.

Defense secretary James Mattis said on Thursday, “diplomatic efforts to contain the threat posed by North Korea remain the favored means for solving the crisis.” He noted that the UN Security Council, unanimously passed a resolution that tightened sanctions against North Korea.

Russia called on the Trump administration to keep calm, and on Friday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state media that his country was working with China on a “double freezing” plan to address the threat.

years_at_war_usa_chartIt may become necessary for the U.S. to go to war, but it shouldn’t do so without being first under attack. To shoot, bomb, or destroy someone, just because they have the means to kill you, isn’t justification to attack first. A person with morals doesn’t initiate conflict. Words are not conflict, even though they can aid an escalation of conflict.

Inside the borders of the U.S. we have strict laws which punish people who start fights or kill others. It doesn’t matter if someone swears at you or someone you know, or taunts you. They must first be the aggressor. Laws also don’t support revenge. Anyone advocating differently isn’t a moral person despite their claims to the contrary.

Whatever will happen, I hope cooler heads can prevail. Predictions of the outcome of any war are for fools and charlatans.

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A man shot and then run over by a tracked vehicle – Iraq

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Aftermath of Marines attacking Japanese soldiers

Veterans Health Care – My Experience

If you’re a U.S. military veteran. or a family member of a veteran, then this blog post is for you. Those whom are also interested in government managed health care, and haven’t first hand knowledge, this may help you.

Most of what I’m going to discuss is only one man’s opinion, but in a sea of opinions, I’m going to do my best to accurately inform anyone still reading past the opening paragraphs.

CH-46s on runway destined for Viet Nam

CH-46s on runway Kaneohe Hawaii, destined for Vietnam

I’m a Vietnam era veteran. That means something specific, and to anyone that has also served during a time of war, but wasn’t a directly involved participant, meaning they weren’t in the designated country, served in a non-combat role, their benefits may differ from those serving during peace time operations.

The VA has different designated levels of assistance, depending on the time someone has served. They provide service for all in some capacity, but you may need to pay more for services rendered, depending on your current income, and when you served. Those details are available online, and if you aren’t aware of them, please follow this link.

VA heath care and the Affordable Care Act.

If you read the information, don’t fully understand it, and need more help, you can drop a response at the bottom of this post, along with your real name and how to contact you. Nothing you send will be automatically posted. I have to review comments before yours goes public. If you send personal information, I’ll not publish it. Of course I’m hoping I won’t be deluged with questions or some scammer trying to take advantage of my willingness to help explain what the VA can provide. I may just post a link, if I see the answer already available for your specific question.

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Me standing outside of a TAC – 1975

I want to encourage any veteran or family member that hasn’t been involved with VA health care to not defer or postpone the services which you’ve earned. Of course, if you’re enlistment or your appointment with the military wasn’t based on what you might later receive, it’s natural to ignore your benefits.

I enrolled about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in for two annual physicals, and an eye examination and a new prescription with glasses.

I went into the Atlanta VA hospital yesterday on a scheduled surgery. It was a same day, recovery at home afterwards type of care. I went in at 9am and was out by 5pm. 0900 & 1700, military time.

I can tell you my experience was as positive as I’ve had. As it has not been my first or second hospital rodeo. I think my national and international health care provided experience gives me a basis from which I can make comparisons.

I’m at home recovering today. The surgery appears to be completed without complications. I’ve had two calls from the VA. The last one was from one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery. She left her pager number on the discharge sheet in case I have a problem.

All of that without copay or out of pocket expenses. That of course is based on my time, duration of service and current level of income. If you’re a veteran or a close family member, I urge you to become acquainted with the VA. Be sure you’re not missing out on health care services. If you’ve read or heard horror stories, which I’m not going to suggest aren’t based on fact, my experience doesn’t align with those concerns. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Find a VA location near you.