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The Vietnam War experience


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tobster

There seems to be alot of members here who honourable served their country in Vietnam.

 

Would anyone like to share their experience during their time there.

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Here's a Vietnam war experience. My wife is Chinese Vietnamese. When the US pulled out she was 14, a freshman in high school. When the Viet Cong took the city, Saigon shut down for two weeks. After

Steve, I really hope you don't actually buy any of that bullshit they were spouting at the museum in Hanoi. If you do, then you dishonor those who served and died there.

That was a hard time and not many speak of it.. Hard to be there hard to come home too.

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TheMatrix

Since no one is responding, I'll help to get this going, but I'm not sure if this counts... I was in Vietnam recently with my bride and went to the war museum. Hope that qualifies. Here are some pics:

 

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Not my memory, but my parents met somewhere in Viet Nam during the war.

 

My father was in the US Army and had the hots for this dancer. My mom was a nurse and stayed in the same dorm (or whatever) as the dancer. Having similar names, a love letter professing his undying love was mistakenly delivered to my mom. She wrote back and they ended up married. A sad misunderstanding for the world indeed, since I was the result.

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That was a hard time and not many speak of it.. Hard to be there hard to come home too.

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Headshot

Steve, I really hope you don't actually buy any of that bullshit they were spouting at the museum in Hanoi. If you do, then you dishonor those who served and died there.

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TheMatrix

Steve, I really hope you don't actually buy any of that bullshit they were spouting at the museum in Hanoi. If you do, then you dishonor those who served and died there.

Not taking sides bud, just posting my experience... which is very limited.

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I was there for almost 2 years, I want my smile back and the life back in my eyes. I was robbed of my youth. Bitter, no not at all, thats just the way it is. Experiences..........would'nt trade them for anything, but would not wish them upon anyone as well. Wounded, more then once, shot down, 3 times, friends lost, several. Blinded with rage and focused on vengence, yes I have been there too. As for that little engraved plate in the upper left hand corner of Matrix post. NEVER will I utter those words! NEVER!

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For Real

Steve, I really hope you don't actually buy any of that bullshit they were spouting at the museum in Hanoi. If you do, then you dishonor those who served and died there.

I was quite sickened by the length & depth of shameless propaganda at every turn in the Saigon Museum. These beliefs were not reflective of what my Vietnamese peers shared with me that they believed to be true....and none of these lads had bothered going to the Museum or reunification palace

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My apologies for being a little off topic but a few days ago my wife and I visited the Kanchanaburi cemetery in Thailand where the famous Bridge over the River Kwai is located. Over 6000 soldiers and non-combattants are buried there: Australian, British, Dutch, Indians and others, some unknown. It was a moving experience to visit such a place which belongs to an earlier war. Like all Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemeteries it is immaculately maintained. Though a place of such sadness and suffering it is nonetheless tranquil and beautiful in some ways and a worthy resting place for so many who gave their lives in such terrible circumstances. I consider myself so fortunate not to have known the horrors of war at first hand. My Great Uncle was a prisoner of the Japanese in Burma and he never talked of his experiences. Another Great Uncle lies buried in a cemetery near Dunkirk. Experiences of war must be a very personal thing and something which those not involved can barely understand.

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Headshot

Not taking sides bud, just posting my experience... which is very limited.

The communists were responsible for most of the deaths, missing and damage they cite in their museum. The NVA and Viet Cong were absolutely ruthless...not only to Americans and to ARVN troops, but to civilians in every country where they operated (North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). During Tet in 1968 alone, they executed every teacher, nurse, doctor, religious leader and local official they could find (tens of thousands of innocent civilians were murdered in just a few short days). The part that most people don't realise is that this campaign continued throughout the war. The only thing that made Tet stand out was that they were able to penetrate into areas where they had previously been denied.

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My apologies for being a little off topic but a few days ago my wife and I visited the Kanchanaburi cemetery in Thailand where the famous Bridge over the River Kwai is located. Over 6000 soldiers and non-combattants are buried there: Australian, British, Dutch, Indians and others, some unknown. It was a moving experience to visit such a place which belongs to an earlier war. Like all Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemeteries it is immaculately maintained. Though a place of such sadness and suffering it is nonetheless tranquil and beautiful in some ways and a worthy resting place for so many who gave their lives in such terrible circumstances. I consider myself so fortunate not to have known the horrors of war at first hand. My Great Uncle was a prisoner of the Japanese in Burma and he never talked of his experiences. Another Great Uncle lies buried in a cemetery near Dunkirk. Experiences of war must be a very personal thing and something which those not involved can barely understand.

 

No apology is needed. It is a very emotional thing to experience the impact war on ones life. It can also be very emotional to visit such a memorial and realize the sacrifices so may made.

 

But what you visited is not the Bridge over the River Kwai. It is merely a tourist attraction whose name was changed due to the many tourists visiting the area and mistaking it for the original. Purely economics. The remenants of the actual bridge is many kilometer from there deep in the jungle. I believe that there are two spans of bridge you visited that survived WW11 but the rest was restore after the war was over.

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Mr. Mike

I was US Navy 1968 to 1978........did multiple Westpac cruises between 1968 and 1975. Four aboard the USS Dehaven DD727 and one aboard the USS Blue Ridge LCC 19....................during the evacuation of Saigon. The Dehaven's primary purpose was to provide naval gunfire support for our guys on the ground within 15 miles of the coast. The airborne forward observer would call the fire missions and we would respond as requested. With the possible exception of "Operation Sea Dragon" (not aboard at the time) and the occasional threat of a shore battery, we had little to worry about. I would like to think our gunfire support saved a few Army and Marine lives. We also did a lot of plane guard duty in North SAR, Tonkin Gulf, trailing behind the "duty aircraft carrier" picking up any pilots that ended up in the drink.

 

Aside from many long months at sea, and hundreds of hours at General Quarters, our biggest concern was mail from home. I never felt in any danger, but we felt we served a purpose........................no hero here!

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SkyMan

I'm too young to have served then and my family has no direct experience either and I'm grateful for that. The closest my family got was my half brother who was on a sub for a tour. As for the pictures, I think they are quite disturbing and should not be displayed. I guess if you come out the victors you can blame all on the losers. I hope the guy with the shadow box gets the medical help he needs.

 

I can tell you that even without first hand family involvement I have visited the Vietnam Memorial in DC many times. It takes me a long time to walk past and I am emotionally drained by the time I do. Just thinking about it chokes me up even now. War is not glamorous and that one least of all. But it is never right to blame the soldiers.

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Headshot

Straight after you posted this topic Tobster, I was gunna reply and tell you that the guys don't like talking about it particularly and you would not get what you were looking for...

The reason most guys who have seen the horror (and sheer terror) of war seldom talk about it is that, when you do talk, ALL of the memories come flooding back to you. Personally, I don't particularly like the experience, and it scares my wife when it happens at night (which it usually does).

 

To give you an example of guys who don't talk about their experiences, my father flew combat in three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam). We never heard anything about what he did from him. Then, twenty years AFTER the end of the Vietnam War, my mom and I were going through an old foot locker looking for old pictures. What I found was a brown envelope with certificates and citatations for medals that had been MAILED to my father after he had retired. No attempt had been made to award the medals to him to honor him. I took the certificates to Hill AFB and got permission to award them to my father. I was a major at the time. It was summer when I found them, and I made all the arrangements necessary to award them at Christmas that year. In the process, I researched the medals (Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star and six Air Medals) and found out from some of the people who were in my dad's squadron at the time what had happened.

 

It was during the NVA Spring Offensive of 1972. The NVA was sweeping down from the north in a major push. During a two-week period, half of the planes (AC-119's) in my father's squadron (he was the commander) had been shot down, and nobody knew how. Finally, his executive officer's plane was shot down, and when they were hit, the two men loading the guns in the back were blown out of the plane. They survived (the first survivors from these shoot-downs) and my dad was able to debrief them and figure out what had happened. The planes had all been shot down by a Chinese version of the Stinger missile. He then devised counter measures to defend against missile attacks.

 

A couple of nights later, he was flying and was called in to defend a special forces camp that was being overrun by an estimated regiment of NVA. During the course of the night, he used his counter measures (a partial barrel-roll while dumping as many flares as possible) to avoid three missiles fired at his aircraft, and stayed on-site...and continued attacking the enemy force. Think about that...putting a cargo plane almost upside-down to put the engines away from the missiles and then recovering before you plow into the ground. The maneuver started at 2,000 feet AGL and ended just above the treetops. Then he would swing back up and resume firing. At one point, the fighting was so close, the ground commander called in fire on his own position. The special forces camp held, and the attacking force was virtually destroyed. In the morning, their were hundreds of bodies the enemy couldn't drag off.

 

Like I said, my father had never told anybody about any of this, but when I walked into my living room in my Class-A uniform on Christmas morning and called, "Attention to Orders", everyone in the room stood up (except my dad, who had no idea what was about to happen). Of course, once he saw me in my uniform, he, too, stood. I then told the assembled family that twenty years before, the Air Force had done my father a great disservice that I had been authorized to rectify. Then I read the citations for each medal, told the family what I knew about them, and presented each medal to my father who was now crying. They weren't bitter tears, though. They were happy tears. It was as if I had lifted the secrets of all those years from his shoulders. It is the ONLY time in my life that I gave my father a Christmas present that I absolutely KNEW he appreciated. There are times when the telling of stories is healthy. My father has always been my hero, and not just because of his service, but I am very proud of him. He saved a lot of friendlies because of his clear thinking and superb flying skills.

 

I still have no idea what my dad did in WWII and Korea except that he flew B-24's, B-25's and C-47's during those wars. He won't talk about it, and I understand that.

 

PS...The US Air Force still uses a modified version of my father's counter measures to defeat heat-seeking missiles, except now, numerous flares can be fired simultaneously by the pilot creating a shield instead of having a guy in the back pushing flares down a chute...and the plane doesn't have to swerve. You've probably seen pictures of the flare deployment they use today.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-s2_1Yi760

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Easyrider

Not taking sides bud, just posting my experience... which is very limited.

 

Not taking sides, I thought you were an American. Posting a picture that says, TO THE PEOPLE OF UNITED VIETNAM I WAS WRONG I AM SORRY and with medals given to American men who fought and died in Vietnam.

 

You should be ashamed of yourself for posting a picture like that and then saying you are not taking sides. Why are you not on the side of all the American boys who died in Vietnam? If you believe the lies in the picture then you are no better than the people who made the picture. Some of my close friends never came home. We met once on friendly terms, maybe its better we never meet again.

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