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Author Topic: Vietnam war books and reading  (Read 112004 times)
Huyen
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« on: February 05, 2007, 04:57:49 PM »

Hello Everyone.  I am Miss Saigon.  I am new here and am wondering if anyone would like to start a discussion about books on the VN war?  This period is of particular historical interest to me and I have read a great deal on the subject.  I read every book I can get my hands on.  Mostly memoirs written by veterans and others who were there.  Ever since a Marine who lost his son in VN gave me a book to read about the war I have been hooked.  It is something of an addiction for me.  Now I read everything and have an extensive library on the subject.  I either have read it, or if not, I will get to it.

So, if anyone here is interested in engaging in a discussion of the literature concerning the war, I would be happy to join in regularly. 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 11:28:52 AM by Huyen » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 10:06:56 PM »

OK, I have looked up how much traffic there is on this site and have a feeling that I am going to be alone on this one.  So be it.  I can play by myself.  And I would rather do it here than at Amazon.  So, I might as well begin and see where this gets me.

I just finished reading "Year in Nam" by Leroy TeCube.  TeCube was a Jicarilla Apache who served as a grunt with the Americal Division out of Chu Lai from early 68 to 69.  This book gives a really good grunt's eye view of how things were.  Mostly long hours of humping it with little rest.  Lots of frustration over the stealthy enemy.  And he confirms the old cliche about war being long hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.  The fact that TeCube was Apache didn't seem significant to the story.  As even he says, they were all treated as soldiers first, and ethnicity wasn't a big part of it. 

I think this book is probably a good representation of the life of a typical grunt in VN.  The story is similar to other books by grunts I have read.  My only problem with the book comes from the conclusions he draws early on. Almost from the beginning he decides that the USA doesn't belong in VN.  He supports this conclusion by citing as example the hostile or unhelpful population in certain villages they searched.  My lai being one of them.  He also describes not being impressed with the ARVN, even though he had very limited contact with them.  Which was probably typical of most grunts in VN.  The problem is that he contradicts himself.   He does talk of many villages where the people were openly friendly with the American presence.  And he talks of the reprisals meted out upon the villages by the Viet Cong for anyone who cooperate with the Americans, thus rendering even sympathetic villages reluctant and quit.  His own descriptions contradict the reasons for his conclusions about the US involvement.  And I don't believe he had enough experience with the ARVN to make the sweeping generalizations he made.  Especially considering other accounts I have read.  So, while I found the book interesting,  I would have been happier if he would have left his personal conclusions out of the narrative, or supported them better. 

My next read on the subject will be about Marine grunts near the DMZ......
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 06:55:54 PM »

Huyen -- Yes, there hasn't been much traffic on these forums in a while.  I think the station is mostly about the music, with an occasional hit on the forums, usually by a gamer.  Not too many vets or researchers of the period weigh in.  I know the webmaster, Nix, is working on some enhancements to both the tracks and the site.  Maybe that will help with the chatter.  With an Editor's Pick status on Live365 and some recent local press attention, I think the potential is still there.

I admire you for tenaciously pursuing the book challenge.  Wish I was well read enough to do it justice.  These days, I only occasionally read something book-length on the period - usually those few things that directly pertain to my part in the conflict (e.g., My Detachment, by Tracy Kidder).  I was with the Americal Division, in Chu Lai, as a REMF (I'm sure you've picked up on that term by now), '67 to '68, so I can't speak in a qualified way on TeCube's conclusions as a grunt, but maybe some other vet out there can.

Thanks for your persistence in upgrading the quality of exchange on this site . . .

-- Radio Researcher
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 12:45:34 AM »

I was with the Americal Division, in Chu Lai, as a REMF (I'm sure you've picked up on that term by now), '67 to '68, so I can't speak in a qualified way on TeCube's conclusions as a grunt.

Thanks for your persistence in upgrading the quality of exchange on this site . . .

-- Radio Researcher

Coincidentally I just read the following quote from Mr. Good Morning Viet Nam himself:  "Adrian Cronauer: I'm not sure if it was a special role. Everybody had his own job to do. There are always far more support people than combat troops, usually between 12 and 15 support troops for every combat person. Each of us was simply trying to do his job as well as possible. We had cooks and medics and supply people and personnel people and truck drivers and military police and disc jockeys. Each of us made his own contribution." 

I confess that I have a great deal of respect for the real Mr. Cronauer and I believe his assessment was a good one.  Every contribution was worthwhile. 

Yes, I am familiar with the term REMF.   And a couple of REMF books are on my list, but I was not familiar with the Kidder book.  I will locate this one.  Thank you.  You must understand, I am trying to enlighten my self on this topic from all angles.  I recently finished biographies of both Westmoreland and Abrams (I liked the Westmoreland book better).  The REMF perspective is also of interest.  I am not looking only at combat references.  I am also trying to find more RVN authors, but these are much harder to find. 

Like everyone else I am here for the music.  It was serendipity for me to find this program and I like it.  The fact that there seemed to be a discussion group here as well was just a bonus.  I have read a lot of the posts here and kinda get the idea of what is going on.  It is not that I am attempting to improve the quality of the dialog here, Everyone has their thing.  I simply thought I would take a shot at seeing if anybody wanted to talk, as the VN war era is of interest to me.  Obviously I am too young and too far removed to have any first hand knowledge.  The books are a connection for me.  My frame of reference.  In a way you are more fortunate than I, in having real experience in VN.   I welcome the opportunity to converse with a Vet.  Most young VN Americans are not interested in these topics.  They are more interested in being young Americans than focusing on a disappointing past.  I suppose, in a way, I think they are correct about this.  However, I am interested, and I am here.  And since people are afforded the opportunity to talk about things that pertain to the era of this music if they would like, I am happy to click on post.  Reading in a coffee shop or writing here are more interesting to me than parking in front of the TV.  I don't even know what "Must see TV" is.    LOL 

So, once again, thank you for serving in VN.  I have very strong opinions about this but will try to keep them contained.  However, if you have any REMF stories you would like to share, I am interested.  Sometimes the best stories are the ones that seem the least significant.  A chapter in "Apache Sunrise" where the author tried to get a stolen air conditioner running in his hooch but instead took out the power for the entire base, kept me laughing for a while.   On the other hand, the "Radio Researcher" thing has me very much intrigued.  I would like to learn more about what you did.


« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 11:29:39 AM by Huyen » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 08:20:38 PM »

Quote

So, once again, thank you for serving in VN.  I have very strong opinions about this but will try to keep them contained.  However, if you have any REMF stories you would like to share, I am interested.  Sometimes the best stories are the ones that seem the least significant.  A chapter in "Apache Sunrise" where the author tried to get a stolen air conditioner running in his hooch but instead took out the power for the entire base, kept me laughing for a while.   On the other hand, the "Radio Researcher" thing has me very much intrigued.  I would like to learn more about what you did.

Quote

Thanks for the kind words.  As you know, VN vets are always glad to get such expressions of appreciation - all the more so from VN Americans.  I am proud to have served and proud of the work I did.

With regard to that work, please see the nice little capsule in Wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Security_Agency, particularly the fourth paragraph.  Even today, I am still somewhat unnerved by how much has been declassified over time.  Another excellent source appears to be The Most Secret War: Army Signals Intelligence in Vietnam, published by the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command in 2003.  I am hoping to get a copy through Amazon soon.

Interesting that you should mention Apache Sunrise.  I actually have that in my limited collection of VN books, but have yet to read it.

Attached is a rather obscure picture of the Chu Lai hamlet.  It was off-limits to most GIs, except for a Vietnamese linguist friend of mine, who used to give English lessons there.

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2007, 01:04:14 AM »


Thanks for the kind words.  As you know, VN vets are always glad to get such expressions of appreciation - all the more so from VN Americans.  I am proud to have served and proud of the work I did.

With regard to that work, please see the nice little capsule in Wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Security_Agency, particularly the fourth paragraph.  Even today, I am still somewhat unnerved by how much has been declassified over time.  Another excellent source appears to be The Most Secret War: Army Signals Intelligence in Vietnam, published by the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command in 2003.  I am hoping to get a copy through Amazon soon.

Interesting that you should mention Apache Sunrise.  I actually have that in my limited collection of VN books, but have yet to read it.

Attached is a rather obscure picture of the Chu Lai hamlet.  It was off-limits to most GIs, except for a Vietnamese linguist friend of mine, who used to give English lessons there.

-- Radio Researcher

Wikipedia on ASA: "Composed primarily of soldiers with the very highest scores on Army intelligence tests"   Woooooooo  Razz

Once again you surprise me.  I thought I have heard of most books on the VN war, and here you come up with another one that I have not seen.  This sounds like a really fascinating read.  I also need to pick up a copy.  I have read "The Secret War Against Hanoi" by schultz and "Not By The Book: A Combat Intelligence Officer In Vietnam" by Eric McAllister Smith.  However this was a different kind of intelligence.  Smith seems to have spent most of his time working on the proper understanding of VN names because of the use of tonal diacritics in the alphabet.   Gotta make sure you get the right Nguyen Grin  He is also of the opinion that his work was not utilized properly. 

I will not pry about your work.  I will defer to the suggested reading.  (OH, they are playing LA woman now.  My favorite doors song)  However, I do have a question.  In several accounts I have read I get the impression that some of the people who were involved in intelligence gathering believed that much of the work they did, information gathered, went unused (smith being an example).  However, in other places I would read about how Intel was used to plan operations that were quite successful.  My question is, do you feel the that work you did was put to productive use, or was it filed away and not exploited?  It is a simple question so you should not have to kill me after answering   LOL

It is my impression that most post war VN Americans don't care so much about the war.  They are loosely interested in VN, but they are mostly like American youth.  MTV and the like are far more important (more power to them).  It is also my impression though, that the older VN diaspora in the USA is largely appreciative of the Vets, if not so appreciative of the US decision makers.  Although for cultural reasons I doubt this comes across demonstratively.  Most just don't want to talk about it.  Where have we heard that before?  The internet is a great forum.  Easier to become relaxed and open without feeling exposed.  Although you were in intelligence  Shocked

It has been quite some time since I read Apache Sunrise.  I remember that I liked the book, but other than the A/C chapter I don't remember much about it.  I would have to refresh my memory.  I think the A/C episode was chapter 16 or 17  LOL

I have started reading, "Full Circle: A Marine Rifle Company in Vietnam" by William L. Buchanan but I am having trouble making progress so far.  This is not unusual for me.  There is a mood to these things.  Sometimes you get into reading about the grunt war, or the LRRP war, or the diplomatic war, or the secret war, or the FAC war .....   I usually select books to read randomly.  As such the first time in they don't always take.  It says nothing about my ultimate opinion of the book.  It just depends on the mood. When I bog down I usually pick something else up, and then come back later.  So now I am reading a few chapters of a biography of Maxwell Taylor.  I know.  I am a strange character LOL  This is my guilty pleasure.  Don't tell anyone.  I know you can keep a secret.

Thanks for posting the pics.  I like them very much.  Looking at them is like looking through a window for me. 


« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 11:30:28 AM by Huyen » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2007, 04:23:26 PM »

Recently I have read military biographies of three of the principles figures in the VN war.  Maxwell Taylor, William Westmoreland, and Creighton Abrams.  All three of these books used a literary device that I have seen countless times in other books about famous people.  In all three of these books someone in the person's distant past was quoted early on as saying, "This person will be chief of staff one day".  And of course all three were eventually to become chief of staff.  We see this over and over in books about famous people.  In an attempt to show the promise and precociousness of a person the author digs up some prognostication of their future success that turns out to be true.  OK, so it is true.  I still find it to be a tiring literary device.  They all do it.  But what about people who make such predictions that turn out to be far from becoming true?  I am sure this is done all the time.  In fact, I would bet that more people make more predictions about the success of some young prodigy that turn out to be wrong than those that turn out to be true.  But of course, these predictions are never revisited.  So, call me cynical, but I find this to be a worn out literary device. 

A similar description was used in the biography of Westy to describe how he met his future wife.  While this anecdote may be of similar character, at least you don't find something like it in every book you read on a famous person.  And I found it to be a cute story and liked reading about it very much  Razz

As to the biography's on these three men.  I have read two on Taylor, and one on each Abrams and Westmoreland. 

Westmoreland: A Biography of General William C. Westmoreland by Samuel Zaffiri
Found this to be an excellent biography and would recommend it highly.  It is a very well referenced and documented story of Westmoreland and his involvement in the build up in VN.  And the story about meeting his wife was fun.

Thunderbolt: General Creighton Abrams and the Army of His Times by Lewis Sorley 
Sorley has done several books on VN war topics.  But I just wasn't all that impressed with this book.  It came off to me more like Sorley was Abrams's lead cheerleader rather than his critical analyst.  No doubt that Abrams was a fine leader and commander of armored forces, but this book took on too much of the form of hero worship.  And I didn't like some of what it said about Abrams.  To me it made Abrams seem like he was put in place to pull the USA out of VN, and militarily he didn't concern himself about anything that didn't further that goal.  At least Westy wanted to win, despite the politics. 

The Certain Trumpet: Maxwell Taylor and the American Experience in Vietnam by Douglas Kinnard
Of the two books on Maxwell Taylor that I have read, this was not as comprehensive.  An interesting book, but

An American Soldier, The Wars of General Maxwell Taylor by John Taylor, was more detailed and complete in my opinion.  I liked this book very much.  Perhaps I will write more about this one later, as this post has gone on too long already .......... 
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2007, 06:41:19 PM »

Quote
However, I do have a question.  In several accounts I have read I get the impression that some of the people who were involved in intelligence gathering believed that much of the work they did, information gathered, went unused (smith being an example).  However, in other places I would read about how Intel was used to plan operations that were quite successful.  My question is, do you feel the that work you did was put to productive use, or was it filed away and not exploited?  It is a simple question so you should not have to kill me after answering   LOL

As in the fog of any war, there can be uneven results as to what use collected intelligence is put.  Just consider the radar operator's report outside of Honolulu on December 7, 1941 - or, at the other end of the spectrum, WMD in Iraq.  I have also read mixed reviews on the impact of signals intelligence in Vietnam.  However, I can say without hesitation that I personally never felt that the effort was wasted or wasn't doing some good.  Just the opposite - we were operating as if lives depended on it - which they did.  It was a dual purpose mission - to feed top level analysis in Saigon and back at Ft. Meade with raw (or semi-processed) intelligence gathered in volume.  However, coming from the Radio Research DSUs (Direct Support Units), it also was directed immediately to local commanders through TACREPS.  I think those local folks were very appreciative of this special type of eyes and ears.

I have received a copy of Gilbert's The Most Secret War.  It is a fine little pictorial history of ASA in Vietnam, comprehensive and balanced.  Lots of local commander testimonials there.  Recommended as the source book on the intelligence war few new about until recently.

Here's a prognostication for you:  Huyen will write a future book and it will be called something like, The War for My Country - A retrospective on the Vietnam War by a second generation Vietnamese American . . .
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2007, 08:36:42 PM »


I have also read mixed reviews on the impact of signals intelligence in Vietnam.  However, I can say without hesitation that I personally never felt that the effort was wasted or wasn't doing some good.  Just the opposite - we were operating as if lives depended on it - which they did.  It was a dual purpose mission - to feed top level analysis in Saigon and back at Ft. Meade with raw (or semi-processed) intelligence gathered in volume.  However, coming from the Radio Research DSUs (Direct Support Units), it also was directed immediately to local commanders through TACREPS.  I think those local folks were very appreciative of this special type of eyes and ears.

I have received a copy of Gilbert's The Most Secret War.  It is a fine little pictorial history of ASA in Vietnam..

Here's a prognostication for you:  Huyen will write a future book and it will be called something like, The War for My Country - A retrospective on the Vietnam War by a second generation Vietnamese American . . .

I hear you are a radio star now Smiley)

Yes.  I think you have received a copy of Gilbert's book.  Because on the day you told me about it I went to Amazon and saw it there used for $7 usd.  I was planning to buy it on payday, but when I went back to order it the cheapest one I could find was $25.  DARN.  You beat me to it.  But I bit the bullet anyway and ordered the $25 copy.  I will just have to skip lunch for a week.  I am already small, I guess I will have to get smaller Smiley

When the book arrives i will read it and post my comments here. 

Yes.  Unlike the opinions of some that I have read (Including "Force Recon Diary, 1969 and 1970 by Bruce H. Major Norton) I think that much of the intelligence must have been used.   I have read too many times of successful operations that were based on good intelligence to believe otherwise.  I think that sometimes at the collection level they sometimes don't see the end results, so they assume it isn't being acted upon.  Although I am sure sometimes it slips throught the cracks too. 

This is a very interesting topic.  I am looking forward to reading the book.  I have read a positive review of it somewhere on the web. 

When you say, local commanders, did that also include the ARVN and local VN district/province chiefs?  I know they had the reputation of having leak problems, but some of them were very good and dedicated.  So I am wondering if you shared? 

Interesting that you said that you acted as if lives depended on your work.  Obviously this is true.  But I wonder how universal this feeling was?  It is easy for people to be complacent and not see the bigger picture.  I know someone who did a tour in Iraq repairing helicopters.  Listening to the stories he tells, it seem obvious that some of the people over there acted like fixing helicopters in the Army was just another government job, and didn't seem to make the connection that lives depended on their work.  This disturbed me greatly.  Of course this is life.  If you look closely, it is easy to find things in life that disturb you (Like most movies by Oliver Stone Smiley)

Now what makes you think that I would spend the time to write a book :p  Seriously though, this is a hard subject for me to come to grips with.  Much as it is for many VN vets.  I guess mine is a quest for understanding, while I wait in hopes of the Bamboo curtain falling.  It must.  The wall fell.  So it must be a matter of time and it will happen.  When that happens VN will be a very beautiful place again. 

So, are you planning to be the next Adrian Cronauer?



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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2007, 08:18:28 PM »

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I hear you are a radio star now

If so, it will be in a very narrow market.  I do some on camera and voice over work on the side and fed a few station ID announcements to Nix "on spec" (on "speculation" that they would be used!).

Quote
Gilbert's book . . . DARN.  You beat me to it. . . .   I will just have to skip lunch for a week.

I got the book as a gift (based on a suggestion), so I'm not sure what it cost - but it looks new.  PUH-LEEZ - I would never intentionally take food from anyone's mouth! 

Quote
When you say, local commanders, did that also include the ARVN and local VN district/province chiefs?  I know they had the reputation of having leak problems, but some of them were very good and dedicated.  So I am wondering if you shared?

Not to my knowledge, but, then, this wasn't something I would have had "a need to know".  On the other hand, when you get Gilbert's book, you will see quite a bit on ARVN counterpart COMINT units, trained by ASA advisors.  By the end of the war, they began to produce and serve their own VN clientele.  They largely took over the mission, but on a reduced scale.  BTW - there are pictures of the ARVN personnel, including a female soldier (something that did not exist in Radio Research units at the time).

Quote
. . .  some of the people over there acted like fixing helicopters in the Army was just another government job, and didn't seem to make the connection that lives depended on their work.

In truth, those kind of people existed in every unit, including Radio Research units (check out Kidder's book, My Detachment)).  I once got a sandbag swapped for my pillow by some folks on another shift who didn't like the fact that I busted them for leaving unfinished analysis work for our shift.  I remember making the point to the shift sergeant that lives could have depended on more timely processing.  Sorry for taking the work seriously, guys!

.
Quote
. .  this is a hard subject for me to come to grips with.  Much as it is for many VN vets.  I guess mine is a quest for understanding, while I wait in hopes of the Bamboo curtain falling.  It must.  The wall fell.  So it must be a matter of time and it will happen.  When that happens VN will be a very beautiful place again.
 

Understood.  I'm sure it is a bit like living in two worlds.  Actually, the curtain is already beginning to splinter.  See the promotional website for commercial development of my former AO at:  http://www.dungquat.com.vn/english/introduction/overview/index.php
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2007, 05:32:46 PM »

Clearly you have this "reply with quotes" thing down better than I do.  I guess there is always more to learn.

I have only heard one of your spots so far, but I have heard it a bunch of times.   I like how the Vets always identify themselves with their unit they served with.  Good stuff.

OK.  If you got the book as a gift this will assuage my hunger pangs a little  LOL 

I will wait a little before I get "My Detachment".  I blew my book budget on the ASA book.  As I read so much and am only a starving student, I rarely pay full price for a book.  I put the ones I want on my wish list and watch their prices on the used market.  These go up and down a lot.  I wait and when something on my list falls to a comfortable level I buy it.  Right now My Detachment is running at $7 used.  Not bad, but after shipping that is about the new price.  So I will let it simmer for a while and see if I can get a better deal.  I did find a book called "REMF" for .68 cents and ordered it. 

Sandbag pillow?  Actually, that is pretty funny.   LOL  But I understand about the work.  People who don't take their work seriously usually resent those who do.  In any organization. 

You know, in the Maxwell Taylor book I read about something that happened at West Point while he was superintendent.   The three years following  WWII, during Taylor's tenure, saw a very high number of resignations from the academy. Apparently a bunch of young people "Hid" from the WWII draft by getting appointments to West Point. When the war was over and they were safe from being drafted, there was no point in staying for them.  I was stunned to read this concerning the so called "Good war".   Normally this is the kind of thing you only expect to hear about in reference to the VN war.  In a way it made me feel good to know that, while the numbers were lower for WWII, it happened then too. 

As for myself the feelings of living in two worlds is relatively new.  For the most part I never gave any of this much thought.  Not until I read my first book on the VN war about 3 years ago.  Then all of the sudden everything changed.  I started to think about things that I never really thought about before.  And it started to bother me.  A switch has been thrown and now these things are on my mind. 

Yes, the free market is a beautiful, wonderful, and powerful thing.  VN is changing for the better.  This is good.  But it will still be years before they can undo the damage that has been done.  Most people still live unhappily in poverty.  And I still cannot help but feel bad for the generation that was lost to this.  The new ones will have better lives.  But the diaspora lost everything.  And in VN being tied to the land of the ancestors is supremely important.  And those who have had to live the last 30 years there will only be able to realize partial lives at best.  No, it is sad, even though it is getting better.

And let us not forget.  They still are arresting people for things they write in private emails.  Free markets are so important for prosperity, but they are not the only thing. 

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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2007, 05:42:40 PM »

Last Man Out: A Personal Account of the Vietnam War by James E. Jr Parker

This book is about the final days of the Republic of VN, and James Parker's experience trying to evacuate VN who had worked for the CIA.  This was a tough read for me. 

He wasn't able to get the AmerAsian children out that he had promised to rescue.

I cried toward the end of this one and could not finish it.
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2007, 07:06:16 PM »

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Clearly you have this "reply with quotes" thing down better than I do.

Not a problem.  Just insert your comments where you want in the text you are responding to.  Then, highlight what you want to save from that previous text, click on the "insert quote" button (just above the Emoticon icons - looks like a cartoon balloon) - which brackets the saved text, and delete everything else outside the brackets.  Hmm, sounds more complicated that it is - I tend to overexplain (I don't use these things, but, oh well, here goes:   Roll Eyes).  Give it a try.

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Sandbag pillow?  Actually, that is pretty funny.

Yeah, it was funny - in retrospect - but not when your head hits it at 2:00 in the morning.  I "responded" to this mild fragging but stuffing an empty sandbag with other empty sandbags - and used it for the rest of the tour, hoping to make the perps think I was really tough!

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I was stunned to read this concerning the so called "Good war".   Normally this is the kind of thing you only expect to hear about in reference to the VN war.  In a way it made me feel good to know that, while the numbers were lower for WWII, it happened then too.

A lot more happened in that "good war" than most people realize.  War is war.

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I started to think about things that I never really thought about before.  And it started to bother me.  A switch has been thrown and now these things are on my mind.
 

I never thought much about it either, until about 20 years later!  Then, even 'though my circumstances were relatively very fortunate during my tour of duty, powerful emotional responses started to intrude.  Nothing like what is normally considered PTSD.  Just surprising responses at surprising times, without necessarily any forewarning.  Still haven't figured it out.  The human mind and soul are strange things.

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Free markets are so important for prosperity, but they are not the only thing.
 

Absolutely not.  Far from it.  A marketing piece on the Economic Zone of Dungquat does not equate to democracy and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  But such things tend to have a softening and liberalizing effect, however miniscule, on authoritarian regimes and move them ever so slightly on the evolutionary scale.  I think of Shanghai and the absorbed Hong Kong.  I also think commercial activity brings communication and the infusion of pop culture.  Strangely, this is one of the most powerful forces on the face of the earth.  When I visited Hungary very soon after the Iron Curtain fell, Budapest was plastered with posters for the upcoming Rolling Stones concert. Heck, even Kim Jong-il grooves on American pop culture!
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2007, 07:18:55 PM »

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This was a tough read for me. 

He wasn't able to get the AmerAsian children out that he had promised to rescue.

I cried toward the end of this one and could not finish it.

Anything having to do with the "innocents" in these circumstances is a catalyst to me.

At a Memorial Day ceremony at The Wall in DC, I was fortunate enough hear the adult woman who was the young girl in the picture, running from the village that had been napalmed.  Her dignity, forgiveness, and loving outlook were transfixing in their nobility, honor, and courage.  I was very glad to have had the chance to hear her address the crowd of vets there.  She was a tremendous inspiration.
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2007, 08:01:39 PM »

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Not a problem.  Just insert your comments where you want in the text you are responding to.  Then, highlight what you want to save from that previous text, click on the "insert quote"


Got it.  Despite my being on the fast track for promotions, I just made E-6, we must  remember that I am relatively new here.  I guess you could call me a "shake and bake" NCO  LOL

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Yeah, it was funny - in retrospect - but not when your head hits it at 2:00 in the morning.  I "responded" to this mild fragging but stuffing an empty sandbag with other empty sandbags - and used it for the rest of the tour, hoping to make the perps think I was really tough!

Very clever.  However, I wonder if they ever checked to see if the sandbag was real.  Or perhaps someone tried to fluff it  LOL

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A lot more happened in that "good war" than most people realize.  War is war.

Interesting that you would say that.  Of course I would agree.  But once I was talking to a man about the VN war who had been in North Africa during WWII.  He said the same thing.  He said that all war is a dirty, ugly business, and the only difference between WWII and VN was the press. 

I once saw a John Wayne movie called "Harms Way" or something like that.  (Gotta love John Wayne.  He made "The Green Berets" with his own money and outside of the Hollywood establishment.  Much like Mel Gibson has had to do.  He also wore his montegnard bracelet that he got while in VN for the rest of his life.  You can see it in any photo taken after he made the movie).  In the movie Wayne played a divorced Admiral in the Pacific war.  Somewhere along the line he runs into his son, who is now in the Navy.  His son keeps referring to the war as "Mr. Roosevelt's war".  The idea being that Roosevelt wanted in the war and provoked the Japanese to get the US in.  The son character represented the concept that not all Americans believed in the war.  John Wayne, on the other hand, naturally represented the patriot who believed in the cause.  Again, this movie highlighted something that I did not realize.  There was opposition, to some extent, even during the "Good War". 

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I never thought much about it either, until about 20 years later!  Then, even though my circumstances were relatively very fortunate during my tour of duty, powerful emotional responses started to intrude.  Nothing like what is normally considered PTSD.  Just surprising responses at surprising times, without necessarily any forewarning.  Still haven't figured it out.  The human mind and soul are strange things.

Like that song they play here by Charlie Daniels.  Still in Saigon.  At least you don't go diving for cover every time you hear a loud noise  Grin

All wars have created PTSD.  Unfortunately I believe that the way the nation treated its VN vets made it more difficult to deal with than for other wars.  I agree with Adrian Cronauer.  I think America owes its VN vets an apology, and there should be legislation passed saying such. 

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A marketing piece on the Economic Zone of Dungquat does not equate to democracy and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  But such things tend to have a softening and liberalizing effect

Oh there is no doubt that it is only a matter of time before the bamboo curtain falls and the market reforms will hasten this.  Although, Hitler did show that a Market Economy can Coexist with a totalitarian regime.  So we will see.  I hope it is sooner than later. 

On the other hand, the market reforms in China may make it possible for China to become more dangerous?  That is a scary thought. 

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I also think commercial activity brings communication and the infusion of pop culture.  Strangely, this is one of the most powerful forces on the face of the earth.  When I visited Hungary very soon after the Iron Curtain fell, Budapest was plastered with posters for the upcoming Rolling Stones concert. Heck, even Kim Jong-il grooves on American pop culture!

There is no doubt about the power of American pop culture.  The young people all around the world try to emulate what they think young Americans are  doing.  Often they are wrong about American culture, but in their minds they are actling like Americans.  Even in VN it is this way.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 10:00:10 PM by Huyen » Logged
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