Vietnam War

SP4 George McDaniel, U.S. Army (1969-1970)

SP4 George McDaniel, U.S. Army (1969-1970)

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

Why do I jerk back? Why am I startled? Our minds are incredible, aren’t they? How can something so small and lightweight store memories for years and suddenly spark muscles to react without our thinking of doing so? Day after day, I’m fine, so I’m surprised when my brain responds due to events in Vietnam in 1969. For example, I was having dinner with a friend at a restaurant. Suddenly, a fan nearby made a loud noise. I flinched, teeth clinched, my shoulders, neck, and head arching backward. Just as suddenly, the noise was gone. I started to explain, but he kept on talking as if he hadn’t noticed a thing, so I didn’t.

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CPT Scott Clark, U.S. Army (1965-1968)

CPT Scott Clark, U.S. Army (1965-1968)

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

It was 1967. I was assigned to Charlie Battery of the 2/20 Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA) Battalion attached to the 1st Air Cav Division (Airmobile) in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. As an aviation officer, I had command of a section of two attacks Huey helicopters, each equipped with 48 very lethal rockets. We had just received a fire mission that plotted out in the middle of the dense jungle between three small mountains. What we didn’t know at the time was that the jungle hid a North Vietnamese division with anti-aircraft batteries on top of each mountain.

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Sgt Allen Rogers, U.S. Marine Corps (1967-1971)

Sgt Allen Rogers, U.S. Marine Corps (1967-1971)

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

I arrived in Vietnam in January 1969 as an aircraft electrician for CH-46 helicopters in HMM-265. I became a ‘door-gunner’ in February and started flying on combat missions. I flew combat missions for several months. On the sixth of August, I flew a total of 26 separate combat missions that hectic day. For that, and the fact that we had received enemy fire, I received my “Air Medal” and ‘earned’ my Combat Air Crew wings.

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SP4 Tom Hirst, U.S. Army (1969-1971)

SP4 Tom Hirst, U.S. Army (1969-1971)

Of all the military operations you participated in, including combat, humanitarian or peacekeeping operations, which of these made a lasting impact on you and why?:

Somewhere in Cambodia during “Operation Rock Crusher” courtesy of President Nixon’s planned “Incursion” in May/June 1970, the 1st Cavalry Division’s Charlie Company 1/12th is set up in its “Night Defensive Position” in a thicket just off a sandy, well traveled road. After setting up our “perimeter” and “automatic ambush” to cover the approach of the road, we settled down for the night.

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Vietnam War – Operation Frequent Wind and the Fall of Saigon

Vietnam War – Operation Frequent Wind and the Fall of Saigon

The Vietnam War ended for the United States in January 1973, but not entirely. South Vietnam would fight in vain for its existence for another two years. As North Vietnamese troops closed in on the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, U.S military assets scrambled to evacuate American personnel and South Vietnamese refugees. Ultimately, the U.S. military and the CIA’s Air America evacuated 1,373 Americans, nearly 6,000 third-country nationals, and more than 138,000 South Vietnamese refugees. Called Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation was among the last combat actions between North Vietnam and the United States.  The Success of Operation Frequent Wind The end of American involvement in Vietnam is often punctuated by the imagery of U.S. military personnel pushing helicopters into the sea from the decks of aircraft carriers. Out of context, these images seem to punctuate the failure of the American mission in Vietnam. Looks can be deceiving.  A closer look at the UH-1 Hueys that went...

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Service Reflections of SSG John Cihak, U.S. Army (1969-1989)

Service Reflections of SSG John Cihak, U.S. Army (1969-1989)

Truth be told, I went to get away from home “a Payton Place” My parents were not the best, and I was the oldest; I had to get up, cook breakfast every day, go to school, then to work and home to cook dinner, wash dishes and help my brother and sisters with their homework, then I could do mine. This was five days a week, and on weekends I did my chores and went to work, still doing the cooking and laundry. I also paid my parents to rent to live in the garage with an old car that did not rum, sleeping on two-foot lockers. There was physical abuse and sexual abuse in this family.

My BIO father was a drunk in the USAF; his law was his leather belt using either end and a 2×4. When my parents separated, I had to stay with him and two sisters; my brother and one sister went with my mother. My father once threw me out the 2nd story window for talking to my mother, telling her how we were doing (remember, we were not allowed friends as we thought this was normal). On top of all this, my mother was sleeping around with my uncle (my father’s brother), so I wanted to get away.

I had an uncle John who had been in the Marines during WWII, and so I went to get in; they turned me down, not believing my age, and those of us who went to Nam knew the Army took anyone who had teeth, two eyes, two ears, four limbs with all five on each, and anyone who could shout, so my life began well by Payton Place and hello Vietnam I volunteered for the draft early with my friend Don.

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The Dogs of the Vietnam War

The Dogs of the Vietnam War

Former dog sentry handler Richard Cunningham shared a history about well-trained dogs as a new kind of warfare. In the Vietnam War about 350 dogs were killed in action and 263 handlers were killed. When U.S. forces exited from Vietnam only 200 of the dogs made it back to the states. "I would wager that 90 percent of American combat troops killed in action during the Vietnam War never saw their killers. Whether it was a sniper at 200 yards, a rocket fired into a base camp or an attack from a well-concealed bunker complex, the element of surprise was usually on the side of our enemies. But our forces did have one elite weapon that sometimes took the advantage away. At times, these weapons even turned such situations upside down and enabled us to surprise and take them out. That elite weapon were our military working dogs in Vietnam War, and we had thousands of them. Military Working Dogs Were the Elite Weapon in the Vietnam War I was a sentry dog handler in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, a...

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Condemned Property by “Dusty” Trimmer

Condemned Property by “Dusty” Trimmer

"Dusty" Trimmer served one year of combat infantry duty with the 25th Infantry Division. In this, his first book, he presents a staggering description that cut to the heart of the combat experience: the fear and belligerence, the quiet insights and raging madness, the lasting friendships and sudden deaths. Yet it is much, much more. It is an account of veterans long after leaving the battlefield as they struggle with physical and emotional damage in a world that seems indifferent to their plight. The book differs from most Vietnam War tomes. It is a collection of interrelated short, seemingly disparate pieces. It jumps around a lot. It does not have a plot. There is no moral to the story. However, what it does more importantly is bear witness to the things men do in war and the things war does to men. Horrible things that scar many, if not all, for the rest of their lives. To dramatize this point, Trimmer personalizes much of it by writing about his experience, observations,...

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LTJG David Brendle, U.S. Navy (1966-1977)

LTJG David Brendle, U.S. Navy (1966-1977)

Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your Military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances and what was the outcome?:

I was an HM3 corpsman aboard the USS Enterprise CVAN 65 on January 14, 1969. We were awaiting a final drill and inspection before leaving Hawaii for Viet Nam. What was supposed to be a routine exercise turned into a deadly nightmare.

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SGT Robert Pryor, U.S. Army (1967-1969)

SGT Robert Pryor, U.S. Army (1967-1969)

Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances, and what was the outcome?:

At 0200 hours on 20 June 1969, our camp was partially overrun by approximately 100 Việt Cộng. They held the south and east portions of our compound. There were over three dozen trapped women and children hiding in that area. Four US Special Forces and two Vietnamese Special Forces were in the camp. We also had 15 to 20 members of our Civilian Irregular Defense Group. Mostly the sick, lame, and lazy. Our main camp strikers were out on two separate operations. The Vietnamese Special Forces soldiers elected not to participate in the battle, so it was four against 100.

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SP4 Brian Willard, U.S. Army (1967-1970)

SP4 Brian Willard, U.S. Army (1967-1970)

Riskiest Moment: Was there any specific incident during your Military service when you felt your life was at risk? What were the circumstances and what was the outcome?:

Finding an NVA Base Camp in Cambodia, and Killing It
Before It Killed Us Inside Cambodia
I flew in a troop-carrying Huey helicopter for my first two months in Viet Nam. After two gunners on the prestigious smokeship, Pollution IV, were shot, I was lucky enough to grab one of the two positions.

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Service Reflections of Capt Bill Darrow, U.S. Marine Corps (1963-1983)

Service Reflections of Capt Bill Darrow, U.S. Marine Corps (1963-1983)

Both my parents were in the Navy during WWII. My Mother was one of the first WAVES, and my Dad was a POW at Bataan and an officer in the Navy. I have three brothers who were all in the Navy during the Korean War. During my grade school years, I attended Peekskill Military Academy in NY and was further schooled at home with Calvert School. I graduated from High School in Belvidere, NJ.
At 17, I briefly attended a Business School in Pennsylvania but soon got bored. Then, I decided to join the Navy and carry on the family tradition. There was a long narrow hallway in the post office where the recruiters were located, with the Navy recruiter on my right and the Marine Corps recruiter on my left. I stood in the hall between the two offices. Turning to my right to go into the Navy recruiting office, I noticed that the Navy Chief was wearing a soiled uniform. Next to him was a coffee pot that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the Spanish American War. He was overweight and didn’t seem to be too interested in the young man beginning to enter his office. Just before I walked into that somewhat messy office, I heard someone with a deep, commanding voice speak to someone else he called Corporal. I turned and saw the most chiseled-faced, lean man with a very short neat haircut and wearing a shirt with creases in it that could cut your finger on. I couldn’t help but stare at the very clean office with posters of fighting men, jets, carved Marine Corps logos, and an NCO sword hung neatly on the wall. Another man with fewer stripes on his shirt walked across the office

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