Vietnam War

Capt Dan Lauria, U.S. Marine Corps (1970-1973)

Capt Dan Lauria, U.S. Marine Corps (1970-1973)

Dan Lauria: Marine Corps Veteran, Veteran Actor Dan Lauria, one of America’s best-known TV dads due to his famous role as “Kevin’s Dad” on the hit show Wonder Years, is an accomplished TV, film, and stage actor. His service in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War had a profound impact on both his life and his acting career. Todays, Lauria continues to support veterans through his involvement in several important organizations. Dan Lauria’s Early Years On Stage Lauria, an Italian-American, was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Lindenhurst, New York. He graduated from Lindenhurst Senior High School in 1965 as a varsity football player. Later, he briefly returned to the same high school as a football coach. Lauria developed an interest in performing from his aunt who used to awaken him to watch old movies on TV. A joke cracked on the football field in college led to acting lessons with Yale's Constance Welch. Lauria’s father was a World War II veteran of the Army who...

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CSM Patrick Gavin Tadina – Vietnam War’s Longest Continuously Serving Ranger

CSM Patrick Gavin Tadina – Vietnam War’s Longest Continuously Serving Ranger

A 30-year Army veteran who was the longest continuously serving Ranger in Vietnam and one of the war's most decorated enlisted soldiers died. Patrick Gavin Tadina served in Vietnam for over five years straight between 1965 and 1970, leading long-range reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy territory - often dressed in black pajamas and sandals and carrying an AK-47. The retired Command Sergeant Major Patrick Gavin Tadina died May 29, 2020, in North Carolina. He was 77. "Early this morning, my Dad ... took his last breaths and went to be with all the Rangers before him," his daughter Catherine Poeschl said on Facebook. "I know they are all there waiting for him." He is survived by his wife, two sisters, two daughters, four sons, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, the family, said in a brief online obituary. A funeral had not yet been scheduled. A native of Hawaii, Tadina earned two Silver Stars, 10 Bronze Stars - seven with valor - three Vietnamese Crosses of...

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Famous Army Units: 1099th Transportation Company

Famous Army Units: 1099th Transportation Company

The Vietnam War from its outset presented novel threats to US forces from unfamiliar terrain, embedded supply practices, enemy infiltration tactics and more.  Striving for strategies to achieve battlefield supremacy the Army relied on tried-and-true practices, applying equipment and personnel in innovative ways to gain an advantage.  Without question, the single largest departure from earlier conflicts was the extensive rivers and waterways, creating unique logistic and combat challenges.  Drawing largely on experience with amphibious operations in both WWII and Korea, the Army deployed its Transportation Corps with both defensive and offensive roles.  Spanning May 1965 to February 1972 the 1099th Transportation Company, popularized as the “River Rats”, became the most decorated boat unit in Vietnam. Isrine's Motto “Hit the Beach” The 1099th Transportation Company’s roots reach back to 1953 in the form of the 159th Transportation Battalion, activated at Fort...

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Maj Charles Liteky, U.S. Army (1966-1971)

Maj Charles Liteky, U.S. Army (1966-1971)

Charles Joseph Liteky, a former Army chaplain, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient and peace activist, died of a stroke at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital on Jan. 20, 2017. He was 85-years-old. At The Beginning of Charles Liteky Military Service Charles Liteky was born in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 14, 1931, the son of a crusty career sailor who served 33 years in the Navy, leading to frequent moves as he was growing up. In 1948 when his father was stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, the darkly handsome, 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior was the charismatic quarterback on the Robert E. Lee High School's football team and was known to have broken a whole lot of girls' hearts. Following his graduation from high school, he attended Chipola Junior College and the University of Florida before transferring to an Alabama seminary affiliated with the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Now known as Trinity Mission, the group is a Catholic congregation...

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Women Of The Vietnam War

Women Of The Vietnam War

It has been estimated that as many as 11,000 women served in Vietnam or in other locations, but over 90% served as nurses. Women Of The Vietnam War served as nurses in evacuation hospitals, MASH units and aboard hospital ships. Others worked in support roles in military information offices, headquarters, service clubs, and various other clerical, medical, and personnel positions. Servicewomen in Vietnam experienced many of the same hardships as their male counterparts and served bravely in dangerous situations. Many were awarded personal citations.  Non-military women also served important roles. They provided entertainment and support to the troops through the USO, the American Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations. Women working as civilian nurses for USAID (US Agency for International Development) participated in one of the most famous humanitarian operations of the war, Operation Babylift, which brought thousands of Vietnamese orphans to the U.S. for...

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Vietnam War – Battle of Ngok Tavak & Kham Duc

Vietnam War – Battle of Ngok Tavak & Kham Duc

Kham Duc Special Forces Camp (A-105), was located on the western fringes of Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. In the spring of 1968, it was the only remaining border camp in Military Region I. Backup responsibility for the camp fell on the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), based at Chu Lai on the far side of the province. The camp had originally been built for President Diem, who enjoyed hunting in the area. The 1st Special Forces Detachment (A-727B) arrived in September 1963 and found the outpost to be an ideal border surveillance site with an existing airfield. The camp was located on a narrow grassy plain surrounded by rugged, virtually uninhabited jungle. The only village in the area, located across the airstrip, was occupied by post dependents, camp followers, and merchants. The camp and airstrip were bordered by the Ngok Peng Bum ridge to the west and Ngok Pe Xar mountain, looming over Kham Duc to the east. Steeply banked streams full of rapids and waterfalls cut through the...

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The Boys on Cherry Street by Ron Boehm

The Boys on Cherry Street by Ron Boehm

Tens of thousands of books have been written on the Vietnam War. Thousands more are in the process of being written, and thousands more are being considered by other veterans. Such books inevitably deal with heroic actions and stories of courage and sacrifice.  Boehm brilliant book also includes stories about heroes and their courage, but he wrote the book to be a different kind of book on Vietnam. He was highly successful. It is a collection of the experiences of Boehm and his friends doing a lot of crazy and outrageous funny things together that were symbolic of the young men of the Vietnam War era, high school and college roommates and Marine buddies who fought in Vietnam~stories of barrooms, parties, and first-time exploits.  With humor laced throughout much of his writings, here is a prime example that when I envisioned the scene, I could not stop laughing: Fred Bonati, his friend who was leaving the Corps in a few months, let his hair grown long. One day a Major told him to...

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Maj Bernie Fisher – First Air Force MOH

Maj Bernie Fisher – First Air Force MOH

A separate design for a version of the Medal of Honor for the U.S. Air Force was created in 1956, authorized in 1960, and officially adopted on April 14, 1965. Previously, members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Air Forces, and the U.S. Air Force received the Army version of the medal.  The first person to receive the new U.S. Air Force Medal of Honor was Major Bernie Fisher during the Battle of A Shau Valley in March 1966. He also received a Silver Star during the same battle. The A Shau Valley is located in Thua Thein Hue Province, 30 miles southwest of the coastal city of Hue, along the border of Laos. The valley runs north and south for twenty-five miles and is a mile-wide flat bottomland covered with tall elephant grass, flanked by two strings of densely forested mountains that vary from three to six thousand feet. Its geography and isolation made it a primary infiltration route for the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) into South Vietnam for men and material brought down...

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Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Common Myths of the Vietnam War

Myth of the Vietnam War #1 Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.  Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers. Myth of the Vietnam War #2 Common belief that the media reported suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.  Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group. Myth of the Vietnam War #3 A common belief is...

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Just Dust: An Improbable Marine’s Vietnam Story by Wes Choc

Just Dust: An Improbable Marine’s Vietnam Story by Wes Choc

By their very nature, books on war deal with death, near-death experiences, injuries and all the unpleasant but inevitable aspects of war, like homesickness, bad food, substandard leadership, impossible missions and seeing friends die but above all, is the fear; fear of being killed, fear of losing body parts, fear of not living up to the challenge, fear of fear itself. Just Dust: An Improbable Marine's Vietnam Story has all of that but focuses more on the author's contemplation of the experience.  Like any good book - and this one is brilliant - Choc follows a logical progression beginning with his dissatisfaction with college; his inability to feel important; his decision to join the Marines and his difficulty in boot camp; the challenges of Vietnam and his ultimate and surprising dissatisfaction of Marine life that did not include combat. But what makes this book stand out is how he processed all this and how he closely analyzed his actions and thoughts. Most importantly are...

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To Hear Silence by Ronald W. Hoffman

To Hear Silence by Ronald W. Hoffman

Five years ago, the author returned to Vietnam on a battlefield tour with his wife, Nancy. In a conversation with the guide, Bill Stilwagen, he mentioned how his unit had accomplished a lot in its first 13 months in-country, yet when he looked on the internet, he couldn't find anything. Stilwagen challenged him by saying, "Why don't you write a book about it?" Hoffman took the challenge seriously. Upon returning home, he immediately set out to write a true account of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marines from the time when first formed at Camp Horno, CA, in July 1966 until the original men left Khe Sanh, Vietnam in October 1967. Relying on a diary he kept, along with a mountain of research he compiled from declassified documents and information he gained by interviewing some of the men in the Battery, Hoffman started typing. Four years later, he completed his book, "To Hear Silence."  The book covers his 15 months with Charlie Battery starting with the training at Camp...

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Vietnam War – Fire Base Mary Ann

Vietnam War – Fire Base Mary Ann

Richard Nixon had campaigned in the 1968 presidential election under the slogan that he would end the war in Vietnam and bring 'peace with honor.' However, there was no plan in place to do this, and the American commitment continued for another five years. The goal of the American military effort was to gradually build up the strength and confidence of the South Vietnamese armed forces by re-equipping it with modern weapons so that they could defend their nation on their own. This policy became the cornerstone of the so-called 'Nixon Doctrine.' As applied to Vietnam, it was labeled 'Vietnamization.' With a renewed U.S. offensive bombing campaign forcing a recalcitrant North Vietnam back to the negotiating table, with resulting progress in the Paris peace negotiations, on January 15, 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of all offensive actions against North Vietnam. This would be followed by a unilateral withdrawal of all U.S. troops. Twelve days later, on January 27, the Paris Peace...

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