Posts tagged ‘Viet Nam’

February 13, 2011

The “Myth” of Hanoi Jane Fonda Now?

by lewwaters

Note microphones (3) held up to capture her words

Ask just about any Viet Nam Veteran to name a public figure they despise and invariably, the name of aging actress Jane Fonda will be said. How odd then that one who lays claim of being a “Viet Nam Veteran” himself not only defends the traitorous conduct of Fonda, but authors a book decrying such claims as a “myth?”

The author, Marxist Associate Professor of Sociology College of the Holy Cross, member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War seems to have spent his time in Viet Nam as a draftee Chaplains Assistant. Lembcke, who penned a stinging rebuke of Chaplains on VVAW web site stating, “I left Vietnam pretty disgusted with the chaplaincy as an institution.”

read more »

January 6, 2010

The Second American Civil War

by lewwaters

From 1969 to 1974, I was out of the country, serving first in Viet Nam then in Germany. From the time I returned in 1974, I have been trying to figure out and understand where did the country I left back in 1969 go. This article, more than anything I have ever seen or read before, offers the best explanation of what happened during my 5 year absence and why the country I left to fight for,, disappeared while I was gone.

Our Second Civil War
By Bruce Walker

January 06, 2010

The 1860s marked a period of great trial for our land. A bloody civil war resolved, at least nominally, some important issues. It was the period after Appomattox and after Reconstruction, however, which determined the true impact of our first civil war. The 1960s, which ended forty years ago, was the time of our second trial — our Second Civil War. It is a testament to its ferocity and its reach that the consequences of this internecine war for the soul of America remain undetermined.

Conservatives — those who wanted to conserve the values of America going into the 1960s — stood on one side of this battlefield. These Americans viewed our land as the best candle of hope in a stormy world. They strongly favored equal rights for blacks, despite an Orwellian rewriting of history painting them as racists. The Republican Party, the principle vehicle for conservatives, had a very long and clear record of opposing Jim Crow and the disenfranchisement and segregation of blacks.


The 1960s saw a loosening of corsets (which was simply a question of moderating the equipment of decency) evolve into a long cultural striptease that ended with rabid feminists burning their bras. The abiding faith of Christians and of Jews, which had stabilized families and restrained notions of sin in a healthy check on the direction of culture, began to be portrayed almost always as bigoted ignorance. Defying foundational faith was championed as heroic. God and sin, the left snarled, were false, or worse. Two generations of Americans have grown up in this gulag of godlessness. Now, faith in anything beyond the top bureaucrat or trust in anything above the most decorated sociologists is heresy against militant secularism.


The 1960s saw the prevailing sentiment of America — profound gratitude for the freedom and prosperity bestowed by brave and noble predecessors — transformed by the left into a rude ingratitude, a mocking deconstruction of everything good in America, and an embrace of each imperfection as proof of some capital crime. Conservatives saw America as the place where everyone wanted to be, the one great nation which never had an emigration problem, the refugee country of all oppressed peoples. When GIs fought in Korea or in Vietnam, conservatives saw that the policy mission may have been foolish and the strategies unwise, but the underlying purpose — to preserve freedom — was never in question. The left, by contrast, seemed in the 1960s to adopt the belief that the people of South Korea would actually have been better off if they had been incorporated into the vast concentration camp which is North Korea.

Read the rest at American Thinker

December 31, 2009

New Year 1971 – Will I Ever Get Out Of Viet Nam?

by lewwaters

Since I told the story of my first Christmas in Viet Nam, I also add that New years 1970 was once again spent with me sitting on the same perimeter bunker I sat on just the week before on Christmas. It was another uneventful night, though.

New Years 1971 was one of those memories no one wants, but laughs at today.

By late December 1970, I was eager to go home, since I had been in Vietnam since July of 1969. All in all, I have to say it was probably the worst trip of my entire life. It should have been the best.

To start with, when I went over to Camp Holloway, in Pleiku, to pick up my manifest ticket, some weird nut came running up to me and threw his arm around my shoulders. Unlike today, that was frowned upon back then. He was wearing fatigues with a Warrant Officer insignia and Captains Bars. Even after our best Jungle Juice party, we didn’t get that weird. His aide snapped a Polaroid of us and while he was treating it, I found out that it was Rick Jason, none other than the star of the TV Show, Combat. After realizing this, I thought to myself, “Whoopee, I just want out of this country.”

Since then, I have come to appreciate what Mr. Jason was doing there and visiting the Troops of such an unpopular war.

Later that same day, I hitched a ride on a ‘Huey’ to Nha Trang to sign in at the replacement center. To my amazement, I was scheduled to leave the next day, leaving me to believe I would be home on New Years day. I grabbed some chow and settled in to a bunk in the transient hooch to grab some shuteye.

Waking up the next day, I took my last in country cold shower, threw away my faded and worn Jungle Fatigues and put on my Dress Green Uniform, which I had brought back over with me after my extension leave in July.

All of us scheduled on the flight huddled together under a shed to await the planes arrival to fly us home. It turned out to be on Flying Tigers, a cargo line no less. We waited and waited and after a few hours a Sergeant let us know that the plane was having engine trouble in Japan and that Flying Tigers had sent another one from the states. I sat there losing count of how many flights left before our plane arrived, still in full Class A Uniform, sweating in the heat.

Finally, as the sun was setting on New Years Eve, we were told that the plane had arrived at nearby Cam Rhan. We boarded a bus, drove to the Airbase and headed up the gangplank to the beautiful DC-8. Some one had a radio on and AFVN played Peter, Paul & Mary’s, Leaving On A Jet Plane. The sight of that plane was one of the most welcome sights I ever saw. I entered it and no sooner found my seat, than four other Army guys and I were bumped from the flight in favor of some Air Force dudes.

Of course, our duffle bags with clean clothes, shaving equipment and such remained on the plane, now heading to the world. We were promised seats on the next flight out. I spent New Years watching two Vietnamese women fighting over an inflated balloon at the terminal, until one of them popped it. Unable to contain my excitement, I drifted off to sleep on the wooden bench.

The next morning, we were placed on another Flying Tigers plane. Personally, by this time, I couldn’t care if it were a Cessna Bird Dog, I just wanted out of that country. As was normal, when the airplane lifted off and the wheels left Vietnamese soil, we all went nuts cheering, clapping and just being guys. We were served a breakfast and I settled back until a few hours later, we landed at Yakota Airbase, Japan, for refueling.

Unbeknownst to me, this turned out to be the very same plane that was experiencing engine trouble at the beginning of my little odyssey. As it turned out, it was again having engine trouble and we were told there would be a yet another slight delay. You know, there just isn’t much to do at the Yakota Air Force terminal for hours on end all day!

By the time they said the plane was fixed, another Flying Tigers plane, with the exact flight number as ours, had recently landed. Not wanting the flights to get mixed up, they roped off a corridor for us to follow to our flight. Of course, we all stayed within that corridor, right?

The Flight Attendants did a quick headcount, to insure none of the guys from the other flight had snuck on to our plane. It turned up two extra people than the manifest showed. So, we spent another two hours while they checked our tickets and I.D. To say tempers where flaring would be a gross understatement. Even the flight attendants, usually calm, good natured and friendly, were sounding like sailors over the planes intercom as they too were becoming irritated.

Come to find out, the head attendant had grabbed the wrong manifest in the first place and was counting for the other flight. A full Colonel onboard, also going home, stood up and informed the flight crew that if they wished to live a peaceful life, it would behoove them to get that plane off the ground and headed eastwardly, quickly.

Fortunately for the flight crew, liquor was not served to GIs on MAC flights.

We landed at McCord Air Force Base late afternoon, but still New Years Day. We found our gear waiting for us, just outside the U.S. Customs. Since it had been there so long, they all but strip-searched us, probing tubes of toothpaste, cutting open containers of talcum powder and such. Finding no contraband, we cleared Customs.

Since I had taken my dress greens back to Vietnam with me and wore them home on this flight, I was put on a bus to SeaTac airport to get a connecting flight home. With all the delays, I must have looked and smelled a sight. I did, at least, get a shave at the barbershop at Yakota Air Base, so I wasn’t as bad as I could have been.

Not knowing much about what airlines went where on the West Coast, I stopped at the first counter I ran in to for a ticket to Redding, California, where I was to meet a young lady I had been writing to and who would became my first wife. United Airlines booked me on a flight to San Francisco to make a connection to Hughes Airwest, then back up to Redding that evening.

Arriving in San Francisco, I ran to the other terminal to make my connection, only to discover, that since it was New Years Day, flight crews had been given the evening off and the flight to Redding had been canceled. The next flight was at 6 A.M. the next morning. Little did I know that I could have made a direct flight from SeaTac to Redding by Hughes Airwest, as the ticket agent then explained. Thanks a lot, United.

Realizing I was to enjoy yet another evening in an airport, I headed for the nearest bar in the airport for a couple beers and then went looking for a comfortable bench to fall asleep on. No sooner had I leaned back and closed my eyes than a Security Guard came along and informed me I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the airport. The entire night was spent with me catching catnaps between his rounds.

I got on the flight at 6 the next morning and headed to Redding, smelly, sticky and just grungy as all get out. No one said anything around me, which surprised me, looking back today. I was met in Redding by the young lady and being as grungy as I was, not to mention sleepy from playing cat & mouse with San Francisco Airports finest, acted like a complete dork.

We headed to the peoples house she was staying with, where they held a little delayed Christmas for me complete with a few gifts and all. First, I took a shower, threw away my underwear, and shopped for a set of civvies.

Relaxing and enjoying being back in the USA, I began nodding off on their couch, until the Christmas tree they decided to burn started popping. The man was a WW2 vet and seemed to understand why I all but did a back flip over the couch and told the girl to show me to the room I was staying in, where I fell asleep again, on top of the electric blanket.

December 24, 2009

Christmas 1969, In Viet Nam

by lewwaters

Repost from December 2009

Church a

I can still vividly recall my first Christmas in Viet Nam. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones who pulled perimeter guard Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning.

But, it was a quiet night, no problems.

I recall how odd it felt, Christmas Eve and Morning, sitting behind sand bags, an M-16 beside me and an M-60 machine gun in front of me, flares and an assortment of grenades with my steel pot on my head and flak jacket over my chest prepared to “light ’em up” if need be.

Shortly after dawn, the poor guys who drew day guard on the bunker on Christmas Day relieved us and we went back to the ‘hooch’ for a little sleep.

We were on a stand down so no missions were scheduled and Christmas Day itself, we didn’t have to go down to the flight line to work on the helicopters, it was actually a day off, a real day off.

Some time shortly after noon, a bunch of packages showed up, I believe from the Red Cross, wrapped and with small tokens in them, some cookies, a card, just little items from home.

Some guys had received packages from their families with crumbled cake, stale cookies; some little token that brightened their time. Didn’t matter what it was, all were appreciated, especially the unexpected Red Cross packages as they came from home.

The Mess Hall had turkey, a welcome change from what they jokingly referred to often as Roast Beef, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, a regular Christmas meal with the Mess Cooks wearing Santa Hats and a small minimally decorated tree on a table just inside.

Whatever services the Chaplain held Christmas morning I missed since I was catching up on some sleep after pulling guard duty all night. But in a strange way, it was a peaceful and nice day; even with war all about us and the red clay dust of Viet Nam all over us.

The calmness of that afternoon almost felt out of place, after being in country nearly 5 months. The fear I felt arriving at Ben Hoa earlier that year was now hidden more from view. But, that afternoon, it was not there at all.

Even though we doubled up on guard duty during the stand down, ‘Charlie’ respected it that year.

It was my first Christmas ever away from home, family and friends, although I had made new friends there.

Mostly older teens and young twenties, we became boys again in the midst of a war as we laughed, swapped trinkets from our packages, took time to play ball or listen to stereo’s of somewhat latest releases someone received from home.

It was an odd but pleasurable Christmas Day, that Christmas 1969 in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam.

Strangely enough and I cannot for the life of me understand it, I cannot remember a thing about Christmas 1970, my second Christmas in Viet Nam.

Within days, I was on that freedom bird heading back to ‘the world,’ arriving New Years Day 1971.

As non-eventful as Christmas 1969 was, it is forever embedded in my memory.

September 16, 2009

Mary Travers of Peter Paul & Mary Dies

by lewwaters

Peter Paul & Mary
She was 72 years old and died today after battling Leukemia for many years.

Peter Paul and Mary were known for several catchy tunes from the 1960’s that many younger people still enjoy today. “Lemon Tree,” “Puff (The Magic Dragon),” “If I Had a Hammer,” and my favorite, “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane.”

They were also known for their liberal politics and opposition to the Viet Nam War.

I disagreed with the groups politics, but sure enjoyed their music, especially when in Viet Nam.

I recall in Cam Rahn Bay, walking out to the freedom bird for my final trip home after my last tour, someone turned on AFVN radio and what should I hear playing but “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane.”

The song never meant as much to me as it did at that moment.

May she rest in peace and finally lose the bitterness she felt in life.

July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite: Only The Good Die Young

by lewwaters

waltercronkitevietnam Walter Cronkite, long-time news reporter and anchorman for CBS News has died at the age of 92.

Labeled by many as “iconic” and “the most trusted man in America,” I cannot share that view of this man. Like Debbie Schlussel, I have no tears to shed for a man who held the responsibility of responsibly and honestly reporting the news to America, deliberately gave a false view of our involvement in the nation of Viet Nam during the 1960’s.

Much of America listened every evening to the man they trusted and never suspected that he was beginning the very biased news against America that helped lead America down the path of the communist nation we are now becoming.

In the Viet Nam War, many seemed to be surprised by the sudden attacks across the nation in the Tet of 68 offensive. Even though our intelligence was at best sketchy, American and South Vietnamese were not caught totally off guard and the offensive launched by the North Vietnamese Communist ended up a huge failure for the Communist North Militarily. Their numbers were decimated and it took many years for them to recover and launch the final drive South, defeating the South Vietnamese who no longer received any aid from America due to Democrat congressional policies.

In many regards the Tet of 68 Offensive was very similar to Germany’s Battle of the Bulge in World War Two, a desperate attempt.

It is ironic that Cronkite reported on both battles of desperation, accurately reporting the Bravery and steadfastness of World War Troops who pushed back the Nazi’s, but labeling our decisive victory in Tet as a “stalemate” and “unwinnable” in a broadcast aired on February 27, 1968 upon his return to America from Viet Nam and ending that broadcast with,

it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

Abandoning a struggling ally is hardly “the best they could do,” as millions of Asians in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos paid with their lives as Communism spread across Southeast Asia and untold thousands more lost their lives as they desperately tried escaping the throes of Communism in rickety boats across the South China Sea in what was labeled the Boat People.

In an October 2000 speech, retired General Fredrick Weyand, who commanded II Field Force during the Tet of 68 offensive said in part,

After Tet, General Westmoreland sent Walter Cronkite out to interview me. I was in Command of the Forces in the South around Saigon and below and I was proud of what we’d done. We had done a good job there. So, Walter came down and he spent about an hour and a half interviewing me. And when we got done, he said, “well you’ve got a fine story. But I’m not going to use any of it because I’ve been up to Hue. I’ve seen the thousands of bodies up there in mass graves and I’m determined to do all in my power to bring this war to an end as soon as possible.”

It didn’t seem to matter that those thousands of bodies were of South Vietnamese citizens who had been killed by the Hanoi soldiers and Walter wasn’t alone in this because I think many in the media mirrored his view…”

When I was in Paris at the Peace Talks, it was the most frustrating assignment I think I ever had. Sitting in that conference, week after week listening to the Hanoi negotiators, Le Duc Tho and his friends lecture us. Reading from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Herald Tribune, the Atlanta Constitution, NBC, CBS, you name it. Their message was always the same. “Hey, read your newspapers, listen to your TV. The American people want you out of Vietnam. Now, why don’t you just go ahead and get out?” So finally a Peace Agreement was signed that everyone knew would be violated and with no recourse or hope of enforcement on our part.”

General Weyand went on to say he doesn’t blame the media entirely for the outcome of the war, but Cronkite’s words expressing how he had no intention of reporting the Battle truthfully evidence how the media spearheaded the anti-war effort at turning public opinion against the effort to keep the South Vietnamese free and towards supporting the Communist Forces of the North.

In short, he sold out America and our Troops as well as millions of Southeast Asians.

In the days ahead many will label Cronkite as “iconic,” “legendary,” and heap accolades upon him I feel are undeserved. Cronkite himself called what he said on Vietnam as his “proudest achievement.”

It escapes me how having the blood of millions of people, over 40,000 of which are American Soldiers on your hands could be seen as his “proudest achievement.”

Uncle Walt, as he was affectionately known, is gone. Dead at the age of 92 and who lived much longer than many of my brothers whose blood is on his hands that he sold out. His death at this ripe old age reinforces the old adage, “only the good die young.”

I have no tears for the man but offer condolences to his family and loved ones.

Others who sold out the Vietnamese and American Troops will join him one day. Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Ramsey Clark, Bill Ayers and so many others who today lavish themselves with the very luxuries they called for others to scorn as they spoke out against a free Viet Nam will also face the grim reaper in time.

Just as I hope and pray for Walter Cronkite, they too should face every single one of those well more than 40,000 American Troops their anti-American conduct helped kill on their descent to hell!

November 9, 2008

America’s Veterans, A Better Breed

by lewwaters

A repost in honor of all of Clark County’s Veterans and all Veterans throughout America. Our Veterans are owed what can never be repaid.

America’s Veterans, A Better Breed

November 10, 2007

It may be very difficult for many to understand, but there exists a segment of our society, a minority within, that willingly place themselves between our enemies and the rest. That segment has always been there throughout our history and will remain there in the future.

They come down from the mountains. They come from the cities of the North and the Bayous of the South. They leave the beaches of California and Florida. North, South, East and West, they leave the comfort of their homes and loved ones to volunteer for America. Young and older, Black, White, Brown, Red and Yellow skinned, historically male, but now female too, they come with no desire of praise or large salaries, but a desire only to see America remain the freest nation on the planet and to see others share in the freedoms we do.

Not all face battle, but many do. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and end up forgotten by all but family, loved ones and maybe those that sent them. Some never return, lost forever, their fate unknown to all who know and love them.

Others return wounded, broken in body or mind. They may face a life of scorn by the very ones they were protecting. All too often those who wish to use them to further political agendas and who could care less about them use them as political props. They are looked upon as victims instead of as the heroes and patriots they really are.

Many desire to return to battle alongside their comrades as soon as possible, missing limbs and fitted with prosthetics. Lifelong friendships may be forged after the battle ceases while others shun closeness, fearing the pain of losing a friend during another battle.

Our media pages and reports are filled with bad news and claims against them. Some of our politicians denigrate their sacrifices for political gain. And still, they continue to come from all corners of the nation to fight for our freedoms, liberties and to keep our great nation free.

These are the ones that fill the ranks of our Armed Services and our Veterans Groups. They are America’s Veterans.

I once received in email what I consider to be the very best Definition of a Veteran I have ever seen.

A veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The ‘United States of America’, for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’” (Author unknown)

That is Honor. An Honor that too many Americans no longer understand. That is the courage to leave everything behind and possibly travel to far lands to face an enemy to keep people you don’t even know free or to free a people you also don’t know.

I am one who has a very difficult time affixing “Greatest” to any generation as every generation has faced their trials and tribulations. World War Two gave us many who traveled far to fight oppression and tyranny. Many were forced into the Military and many others volunteered.

Korea and Viet Nam were similar but with the Korean Veterans simply being forgotten and the Viet Nam generation facing the scorn of a thankless nation for many years. Yet, the Viet Nam generation had a greater percentage of volunteers than did the World War Two generation.

Today’s Military and Veterans of the current battles are 100% volunteer, no one is forced into the Military against their will. How can we rate these Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines any less than earlier Veterans we consider “the Greatest?” I cannot.

As we reminisce and celebrate another Veteran’s Day, let us recall that we still have several in Harms Way, doing what many of us did before, facing an enemy to keep America free. Facing an enemy to free an oppressed people.

America owes its Veterans, all of its Veterans, a debt of gratitude. It is a debt that can never be adequately repaid. We can never regain what we gave up in our youth to face the enemy. We can never repay what others give up today to keep us free.

The best we can do is honor and respect them, teaching our children to also honor and respect the sacrifices they made and are making today.

Until such time that the world stops producing despots, tyrants and those who feel they have a right to rule all others, we will keep on producing Veterans and they will continue coming forth for all of us. I thank God that they keep coming.

To all my fellow Veterans, Welcome Home! Thank You!