Everybody’s heard of the My Lai massacre — March 16, 1968, 50 years ago today — but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians (that’s the Vietnamese count; the U.S. Army said 347). They were going to kill more, but they didn’t — because of what Thompson did. Continue reading
Fifty years ago, a Dillard High School teenager was drafted into the Marines, and on the Fourth of July, his tour of duty in Vietnam began. He was 19, a young father.
His service lasted three months. Pfc. Gregory Carter was killed in action in October of 1969, and his body was brought home to Fort Lauderdale, where he is buried near his mother. But for all these years, Carter lay in an unmarked grave.
Carter’s anonymous status in the city cemetery was discovered recently by the Vietnam Veterans of America, and his new headstone will be dedicated in a ceremony later this month.
… Choppers Got Shot up so Bad he Had to Use 3 Different Ones
Editor’s NOTE: There are days in this land of ours today that I look back to other days. Yes – I have shared some of my story on this site before, and you can find them if you so desire. Singer Charlie Daniels told one hell of a story with his song, “Still in Saigon,” but his direction was different than the one which I chose in life. Yes – I feel much the same way in America in 2019 – but look back on that experience with different feelings than that which the song portrayed. I spent 21 months with the 498th Dust Off (Med-Evac) Group – and have never regretted one day of that service. Then I read the stories of Bruce Crandall and his Co-Pilot, Ed “Too Tall” Freeman – and I am home once again – yeah, “Still in Saigon.” ~ Ed.
Most fans of war films have probably seen the movie We Were Soldiers, but did you know that hidden in that movie is a Medal of Honor-winning event? Greg Kinnear plays a hard-charging helicopter pilot named Bruce Crandall. For his actions during that battle, Crandall would be awarded the USA’s highest decoration.
“The officer commanding the medevacs looked me up to chew me out for having led his people into a hot LZ, and warned me never to do it again. I couldn’t understand how he had the balls to face me when he was so reluctant to face the enemy.”
Born in Olympia. Washington in 1933, Bruce Crandall was drafted sometime around his 20th birthday and then commissioned out of Engineer OCS the following year. Continue reading
NOTE: The following was originally re-published by Kettle Moraine Publications in late June of 2018, however during our purge of the site, this column was accidentally lost. We are excited to have found it once more. For those of my Brothers and Sisters who walked (or flew) in my boots… I’ll see you at Sundown. ~ JB
A young US Marine Corps corporal directs modern history’s largest Naval bombardment in support of ground forces, wiping out an entire Viet Cong battalion augmented by Red Chinese regular soldiers.*
28-29 July 1965
Where the hell are you, Charlie? You’re out there. I feel it.
A rawboned, lanky U.S. Marine strained to detect movement in the inky darkness, a starless space made blacker by a rain squall that suppressed the sounds of soldiers creeping toward their objective. A few feet away, a South Vietnamese Ranger, Sergeant Thi, also patrolled, straining to spot a large Viet Cong force they knew was approaching. An attack was imminent.
As he scouted the area, Corporal Karl Lippard mentally took inventory of his dicey situation and limited assets. He was armed with an M14 rifle and four 20-round magazines. Sgt. Thi carried a .30-caliber M1 carbine, and a Colt 1911 semiautomatic pistol was tucked in his M9 shoulder holster. The Marine had stowed his map case, helmet, poncho and pack in an old French bunker near the Ca De River bridge’s north approach. A telephone land line linked the abandoned bunker to roughly 20 other Marines dug-in on the south side. All were “Raiders”, a company of U.S. Marines that had received specialized training—“rubber boat” operations and submarine insertion, for example. Raiders were elite forces, the handpicked best of each U. S. Marine Corps battalion. Continue reading
According to reports from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, the Michigan Heroes Museum, and others, Lt. Col. Charles Kettles — the Vietnam war hero and Army pilot who received the Medal of Honor in 2016 for his resupply and rescue efforts in 1967 — died Jan. 21, 2019, at his home in Michigan. Continue reading
Funny, when we fought together there was no such problem because our mutual problem was about keeping each other alive. We were a team with a common goal. We’re home now, and there is no team. We are individuals. We have each other to fight. We have the system to fight. We have the economy and Wall Street, and healthcare, and schools to fight. Continue reading
You’re a 19 year old kid. You are critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam .
Its November 11, 1965. LZ X-ray, Vietnam.
Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in. You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is half-way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again. Continue reading
The 95-year-old Jackson passed away over the weekend, according to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, who made the announcement Monday morning.
His death leaves James P. Fleming as the only other living Air Force Medal of Honor recipient, according to Military Times Hall of Valor Curator Doug Sterner.
Jackson, a native of Newnan, Ga., was famous within the aviation and special operations community for his daring rescue of a team of Air Force combat controllers who were stranded at the besieged airfield of an abandoned Army Special Forces camp during the Tet Offensive. Continue reading
Dustoff helicopter pilot Patrick Brady made multiple evacuations of wounded soldiers in bad weather and intense fire near Chu Lai, South Vietnam, on January 6, 1968. He received the Medal of Honor on October 9, 1969.
~ Forewords ~
Brotha Smoove called me that night and said that it was vitally important that I see the film. He saw Walt Kowalski in me and felt that, not only was the finest film Eastwood had made in years – maybe one of his best – but that I needed to see myself on film. After I saw the movie the next evening, I texted him back and said that, “Maybe we all needed to see it.” My meaning extended beyond the three of us, who by that time, had known each other for forty years – we have now surpassed a half century together, Raymond, Leonard and myself. My comment was directed of course – to all who had served, and those who supported us – or maybe didn’t.
America has changed in my lifetime – and not necessarily for the better. Walt lives within us all who have spent as long on this earth as many of us have. We were Walt. I am Walt.
I’ll see you at Sundown,
Sometimes we conservatives get sucked into the strangest dialogues. A few days ago was no different.
Speaking to a customer on the phone who was a Vietnam vet, our five-minute conversation turned into 30 minutes or more. He told me of his time in the country, and he, to this day, can’t understand how we lost.
Well, the memories rushed back to a conversation I had with my son several years ago concerning the same. And although I covered the same material, it was a very different feeling speaking to a boots-on-the-ground veteran than it was setting my son straight. Continue reading
Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., 89, Dies; With Blinks, Vietnam P.O.W. Told of Torture
The prisoner of war had been tortured for 10 months and beaten repeatedly by his North Vietnamese captors in recent days, and there were threats of more if he did not respond properly when the propaganda broadcast began. Haggard but gritty, Cmdr. Jeremiah A. Denton Jr. slumped in a chair before the television cameras. Continue reading
First light was almost upon us. I peered around the left edge of the ammo box. What I saw told me that there would be no more pawing around through the supplies dropped by the choppers in the dead of night. Through the misty rain, and what was left of the gently blowing night, I could see a slightly darker wave moving out of the jungle towards us. I also knew that we were all as good as dead if we stayed in our current position. It was either time to attempt to run back to the company lines under what covering fire the M-60s, grenades, and the Ontos could provide us or get back inside the hole and, with air hopefully on the way, wait the attack out and pray our hole wasn’t found. Three options, with not one of them being without high mortal risk. Continue reading
Jane Fonda resumes her performance as an historical revisionist on a subject that keeps coming back to haunt her: the Vietnam War.
Fonda’s latest foray into her past as a useful propaganda tool for the communists has reared its ugly narrative all over again on the occasion of the thespian accepting a “Lifetime Achievement” award at the Traverse City Film Festival this summer. Michael Moore, the king of propaganda, added to the publicity swirl by heaping accolades on the actress as he bestowed the award.
Jane basked in the glow of her safe audience at the festival — taking advantage of the occasion to screen the sanitized version of her life in the recently released HBO documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts. Continue reading
Today is the 50th anniversary of my landing. Within a week and a half, I would be joining the 498th Medical Company (Dust Off), Lane Army Heliport, An Son, Republic of Vietnam.
I’ll see all of you boys again one day – at Sunset.
On this day in 1968, some ten years after I sat in a bank in Mukwonago, Wisconsin – where I purchased my first silver coins out of a bag in a Vault – I landed in Viet Nam where I would experience a twenty-one month long adventure – one that would guide me for the next half century. Although I was not a Medic – I flew along side them on each flight that I participated in – as a ‘Patient Protector’ and assisted them in many of their medical procedures – including one particular flight where we were transporting a wounded enemy combatant to a hospital – he grabbed for the Medic’s sidearm once too often, and thus the ‘patient’ learned to fly – from a 3,000 foot altitude. No apologies here – not even to this day so many decades later.
The following is a personal commentary of one of my Brothers. ~ J. B.
“Write drunk; edit sober.” – Ernest Hemingway
~ Preface ~
February 15, 1968 – Being the Chef, bartender and janitor at the off-post Officer and NCO club near the North Point, Germany home of the 619th Ordinance unit, I was cleaning up the club after the monthly combined wives club luncheon, when Holroyd informed me that I had a call from Division Headquarters which I needed to take. It was Frank (our former Company clerk) telling me that my tour of duty was nearly at an end, and asked how many days leave I wanted to take in the States. I told him that I had no desire to return home, “What’s up?” The answer was the one, which most of us dreaded at that time. TET had taken its toll that month in Viet Nam, and I was being called up. “Oh shit,” I thought to myself, but, what the hell? – I was ready for a new adventure anyway. After all – it was easy in the movies, wasn’t it, John Wayne and all? I told Frank that I would take 45 days and began to make my preparations. Continue reading
~ Forewords ~
Several years ago on a reunion trip with several of my cohorts from the rice paddies, the boys went out for lunch, while I stayed behind at the hotel in Newport, California to make some notes and write a bit of remembrance. The three of us had spoken for several years about collaborating on a book about our time together over ‘there’ – but I began to realize that both of the guys were bullshit artists, and really had no desire to follow through, and so I decided to write a preface – to what I hope would become my story about the twenty-one months I spent in the Far East – VietNam. What came out of that several hours of peace, can be read HERE. I would highly recommend that you read it before you continue… but – at your discretion…
As for now – we pick up where we left off… ~ Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher and Veteran
While searching for specific information earlier in the week, I came across the following. To say the least – it left me in shock for several reasons – the first of which because Memorial day is upon us. Secondly because, next week – June 5, 2018 I will look back exactly 50 years ago to my first landing in Vietnam, where within a week I would be assigned to the 498th Medical Co. (Dust Off) – the company for which a part of the following story took place. Although I do not specifically remember David Hertle, our stories overlapped during the same time frame, to the point where we both left the company and Vietnam within two weeks of one another – but there are others….
One final note: The author makes reference within the following about his story having taken place some 30 years before his writings, which now makes this piece 20 years old.
To all of my Brothers who served in the 498th out of Lane Army Heliport – our time and story is nearing its end… I’ll see you at Sundown.
Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher/Editor Continue reading
As veterans we see the empty places in our ranks where friends once stood. We see shadows when we remember something funny with them and start to laugh realizing only you will be laughing. And we look across the table or the bar stool next to you and realize that it’s filled with another you don’t recognize because your brother hasn’t been there for a while.
Remember the USS Forrestal. There is an old adage that says, “It’s not polite to speak ill of the deceased.” So – I won’t. I will post this NOW – while he is hanging on and still causing trouble. I hope that he is buried with a R(h)INO horn, for it befits him. As a 21 month Veteran of the Viet Nam “war” – I have never had any use for him, nor have I ever voted for him – and had even less respect when he spearheaded the movement to establish relations with his buddies – his captors – who housed him so well and took such good care of the Admiral’s son in Hanoi. He and Senator Ted Kennedy will soon be reunited – in Hell. May his journey be swift. ~ Ed.
Merry Christmas to all and be Blessed.
I’ll see you at Sundown!
Terrifying study shows jungle parasite from Southeast Asia may be killing American veterans decades after end of the war
Half a century after serving in Vietnam, test results show some men may have been infected by a slow-killing parasite while fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
The Department of Veterans Affairs this spring commissioned a small pilot study to look into the link between liver flukes ingested through raw or undercooked fish and a rare bile duct cancer.
It can take decades for symptoms to appear.
By then, patients are often in tremendous pain, with just a few months to live.
‘It was surprising,’ he said, stressing the preliminary results could include false positives and that the research is ongoing.
Of the 50 blood samples submitted, more than 20 percent came back positive or bordering positive for liver fluke antibodies, said Sung-Tae Hong, the tropical medicine specialist who carried out the tests at Seoul National University in South Korea. Continue reading