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The Last Bayonet Charge in Vietnam

" The Few - the Proud "

A Veterans Day Retrospective on Our Veterans Today Senior Editor and a Marine – Gordon Duff

 

Intro by…   Jim W. Dean

A Tall, Skinny Gordon Duff - Vietnam Marine

 

Welcome to a Veterans Today magical mystery tour effort today, folks. I took the privilege of dressing up and sharing with you  one of the Gordon’s best pieces, and perfect for Veterans Day.

We were having a long call one day in 2010 where he was going over his last bayonet charge story. It was so good I simply said, “Gordon you have to get off the phone and write this all up now, while it is fresh in your mind.”

In my years of interviewing combat vets I have learning you have to get all the material you can while they are ‘on a roll’.

And to my huge surprise, about few hours later he already had it posted.  It is a VT classic, and I just could not let it sit buried away in his archive of 1500 articles.

And these do not include the two million words he wrote for the AOL military chat boards starting back in 1993 with 300 baud modems, and then more later for the History Channel.

We were not doing magazine style layouts on our articles back then because the labor input goes way up. And as you all know we are a high volume publication, with veterans in twenty eight countries now and the correspondent list is growing. Veterans Today, in retrospective,  has been a work in progress ‘Occupy the Veterans Orgs’ movement before it’s time.

When I came on board VT, one of my focuses was to put more multimedia presentation time into our major article efforts.

Why? Because we have to do all we can to broaden our readership and influence reach. Frankly, we are running out of time, people. Whatever it is we are going to do…we have to do it soon. The clock is ticking.

Edmund Burke - Statesman - Writer - Philosopher - And a Closet American !!

Gordon’s article below is a very intimate peek into a horrible day in a Vietnam Marine Vet’s life. But he goes on to include a hard nose retrospective of  his whole tour…and the war itself.

And I have to warn you…it is not pretty. Many of you already know, but especially for our new readers, there will be many unpleasant surprises.

I now know, because I was shocked by a lot of it…and I knew he was not exaggerating. That is not Gordon’s style. Horrors don’t require hyping.

The War on Terror Vets will be facing similar challenges to the Vietnam ones.

As always, those who have gone before will help all we can, to pass on the hard lessons we have learned, the mistakes we made.

This is an age old duty, and reminds me of a favorite quote, from Edmund Burke’s  famous Parliament speech.

Burke, by the way, was fervent supporter of the America Revolution, a very very risky thing to be in the British Parliament at the time. And might I say, a kind of one man Veterans Today of his time. But I am sure he probably had a merry band of warriors like Gordon does.

“Society is an open ended partnership between generations. The dead, and the not yet born, are as much a part of society as the living. To dishonor the dead is to reject the relationship upon which society is built, the relationship of obligation between generations. Those who have lost respect for the dead, have ceased to be trustees of their inheritance.”

Director - Ron Maxwell

I had the good luck to hear this live from  Gods and Generals director Ron Maxwell, guest of honor at the 2003 Sons of Confederate Veterans convention in Asheville, N.C.  His address received thunderous applause, and I was all goose bumps to getting it all on video as I was the only one there with a camera.

I knew I would be sharing it for many years. And I don’t mind telling you that I adopted it as a good life’s compass and rudder…and the course brought me here to VT…and to this spot with you today.

So here we go with my tribute to Brother Duff, and his to us and what we all hope will be our tribute to Edmund Burke…that we will pass his wisdom on, and add in our own to boot!

 

Vietnam – Decades of Liars Blacken the Names of Real Heroes

 

A Young Gordon Duff - Early in His Tour

How Many Real Phonies Were In Vietnam?

How Many Wear Medals Awarded by Themselves?

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Today, my good friend and fellow editor, Jim W. Dean of Heritage TV in Atlanta sent me an article on Vietnam by James Webb, a Marine with a Navy Cross, Silver Star and Bronze Star.

I read the article. I am flabbergasted. The best thing I can say is I hope someone else wrote it. It is offensive and simply insane.

Here is an excerpt.

We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of “Dying Delta,” as our company was known, bore that out.

Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better.

Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

Another quote I don’t entirely understand.

The Greatest Generation ? Think about it they fought a unpopular war, came Home were spit on, called names, their Fathers Generation had nothing to do with them and yet though it all these so called no good cry babies who could not win a war (Thanks to their Fathers and Mothers Generation) fought the biggest war of their life and is still fighting it today.

Rambo

Draft Dodger Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam Veteran John Rambo

Every time I hear about “airport spitters” I think of draft dodger Sylvester Stallone playing Rambo, the whining crybaby of movie fame. Whoever wrote and directed that must really have hated America.

Every time I hear the airport spitter myth I know I am being played. For those of you who know nothing about PTSD, spitting on a combat veteran is a form of suicide.

Pointing an empty shotgun at a SWAT team is considered safe and sensible in comparison.

I was a Marine grunt in Vietnam. I served with 2nd squad, 2nd platoon of BLT 1/26, a Marine Special Landing Team.

I won’t call myself a hero, in fact no real Marine would, it is considered an insult to call a Marine a hero, always has been. Let’s talk about “Dying Delta.” That would be Delta Company, 1/26.

We also had a unit called “The Walking Dead” which was 1st Bn, 9th Marines. Frankly, these were just names people made up. I can talk a bit about Delta though. Back during the summer of 69, Delta Company was set up on a perimeter a couple of clicks inland between Hoi An and Chu Lai.

We were operating, supposedly, with the Korean Marines. In truth, they were living on ships and we were fighting. This is how Americans buy their allies. This was war like TV, bayonet charges, death every day, continual combat.

The French Were Gone - Now it was Our Turn

Delta had been surrounded by a large force of North Vietnamese Army troops, maybe numbering in the thousands. This was like the movie Zulu, for those familiar with such things.

The area had once been French, half destroyed villages here and there and abandoned plantations, even hedge rows like in Normandy, except temperatures well over 100 degrees with stifling humidity.

Delta had sent out a patrol that had gotten past a hedge row and was ambushed. Our squad was called in to get them.

We had three Amtracks, huge lumbering vehicles that picked us up and brought us to the other side of the hedge row, where we could hear the wounded on the other side.

This was a wild ride, several kilometers cross country, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The night before, our unit had been attacked for hours. I had dug into the soft sand so deep that Harris and I, Lance Corporal Eddie Lee Harris, could have been accused of trying to get back home.

Our position was eventually overrun, with Harris and I spending some time hiding out from the North Vietnamese, still in our hole. We pulled sand over us and waited for our guys to come back. We laughed about it in the morning.

I remember it raining then, I took out my poncho, tied it between trees and filled a canteen with rain water. Water and ammunition, run out of either one, you are dead.

Marine 'Amtrak Service' - to the Front Lines

We got a radio message to prepare to move out immediately. We waiting for the Amtracks to pick us up.

We were told “dying Delta” was in trouble and we had to save them. We had just barely saved ourselves.

It was called a “suicide mission.” Drama. Marines do alot of drama. The unfunny part was burning our mail, our photographs, making sure we had nothing to identify us.

There was an ominous feeling about this.

The “tracks” ran over trees as we careened through old buildings, through swamps. We sat on top of the tracks, old .30 caliber Browning machine-guns with sandbags holding down the tripods on each. More sand bags gave us cover.

This was a fascinating run, lots to see and we weren’t walking. We climbed off the tracks, sand, cactus, and what I will call “hedge rows” but really embankments separating fields, maybe 8 feet tall with bike paths on them.

I had Bill Eckard behind me and Ed Harris next to him when I hit the top of the berm to go across and get the wounded. I could see two or three of the Delta guys on the ground ahead maybe 30 feet.

They weren’t moving. I stopped abruptly when several anti-aircraft rounds came past me, they had a big gun out there. It was like having a bus nearly hit you.

A Navy corpsman ran up next to me, meaning to head over the berm and down to what we hoped were wounded. The next thing I remember was him being hit and coming apart.

RPG - Durable...Lightweight and Very Effective

A couple of months ago, I went over this with Bill Eckard, who is also one of our staff writers. Bill says he was hit by an RPG, a rocket propelled grenade.

I lost a little chunk of time then and remember nothing between then and several minutes later, or what I guess was “minutes.”

This wasn’t one of our corpsmen but this was a Medal of Honor guy by any standards. I am still waiting for my “idiot standing next to him” award.

We then drew back down along the “safe” side of the berm, spread out and talked about how to deal with this.

We knew we had one heavy weapon or more in front and maybe another to the right, maybe out 80 to 200 metres and were taking small arms fire from almost everywhere.. The answer?

Harris took a fire team around to flank the guns, hit them from the left while we fixed bayonets, waited for Harris to get into place and went over the top, right out of World War I. This may have been America’s last bayonet charge, or at least I hope so.

Soviet DShKM 12.7mm (51-Caliber) Heavy Machine Gun is a gas-operated, belt-fed, air-cooled, fully automatic-only weapon, firing from open-bolt position.

After advancing successfully, we turned back to get the wounded and dead. We were under heavy fire with one man getting hit in the abdomen in the process.

I picked him up and carried him back while I could see Harris continuing to advance on the gun crew from the left flank. He was a total maniac, a frightening son of a bitch. We were best friends, still are.

Harris left Vietnam without any personal decorations although I saw him earn three Medals of Honor there.

Eckard has a Silver Star and a handful of Purple Hearts for which he paid dearly, losing both legs and part of an arm. He writes for us also and is as tough as he ever was, maybe more so.

He spent 34 years fighting the VA, retiring as Director of the Prosthetics Division. I am proud of him, much more for that than Vietnam.

The guy I was carrying had stopped moving, moaning. He was dying, though his wound looked so small. Human life isn’t always appreciated as it should be, something I remember thinking at the time.

I got to the side of an Amtrack and, with some help, we got him on board. He was a KIA as were others lined up on the ground.

War is funny, anyone who tells you they remember everything is a liar. I remember seeing journalists show up, Life Magazine, taking photographs of the dead and wounded.

Reality Combat Roulette

Then things went very wrong. We could see people, “indigenous forces” or whoever, coming out of a treeline. We flanked them, now they flanked us. Everyone, and I don’t remember who “everyone” was, pulled back except the rear guard, us.

I remember turning, firing occasionally, really at nothing. I remember how hard it is to reload an M-16 or to clear a jam when being shot at in the open.

Shaking hands were part of the problem.

Out in the Open With the 'Experimental' Rifle

When I got my weapon functioning, I turned around and noted that my associates had managed to put 200 meters between themselves and me in what I imagined was two seconds.

I suspect I was fumbling with my “failed” experimental assault rifle a bit too long.

How do you describe being shot at?

It really doesn’t seem that personal, it isn’t “at” anything, its simply metal stuff flying around everywhere like mosquitoes but bigger, some of it very big, very fast and capable of hitting you anywhere, not like in cowboy movies.

You get hit and parts come off. I had seen that. There is a feeling of vulnerability that is hard to describe, at least to someone that hasn’t “been there.”

There was a cemetery about 30 yards away, French with large monuments, angels, weird stuff like that. Who would want to be buried in such a miserable place?

Experiencing Heaven and Hell - At the Same Time

By that time, I was genuinely frightened, things weren’t looking good for me at all. The air seemed to have lost all its oxygen.

Time was stopping and I felt like I was turning into lead.

I ran, though I swear it was slow motion, to the cover of the cemetery, not much cover but better than nothing.

I laid down on a grave, behind a tombstone, maybe made of aging concrete. Chunks of it were flying off as it was being hit.

I remember flattening out, holding my head sideways, arms out, trying to be invisible, sink into the ground if possible. It was easy to tell they had a heavy weapon.

This was a .51 caliber anti-aircraft gun. Remembering the difference, when a half pound of lead heads past you, that part is easy. We use this kind of weapons on others all the time now. They are quite devastating.

Vladimirov KPV-14.5 Heavy Machine Gun on Kharanin-Designed Wheeled Mount

I would like to say I was firing back, changing magazines. I don’t remember doing that. Assume I was, it sounds better. What I remember next is looking up and seeing an Amtrack a few feet away, looking over me. The driver crawled out the hatch, no shirt, no helmet, just an M-14.

Marine Amtrack

He stood on top of the track at least 8 feet in the air above me, assumed the “off hand” position, the perfect rifle firing stance, and began putting fire on the enemy gun crew, fire I could tell was dead on.

This was the day’s third Medal of Honor, another one not awarded. Years ago I actually heard from this guy.

He thought nothing of it but wondered who it was he was saving.

“We did this kind of thing all the time,” not every day but often, too often. This is the job.

I remember him writing, “You guys did all the hard stuff, I was just a driver.”

When reading James Webb’s story I get angry. The highest ranking person at that action died. It was the Navy corpsman killed next to me. He was an E-5.

There wasn’t a single officer in that action or so many others, endless others in Vietnam. I went six months without ever seeing an officer. Our units were run by Lance Corporals and occasionally Corporals.

It wasn’t always that way and it wasn’t true of all units but it was true of most units. Webb’s story is simply self serving.

This, quality of command, was a discussion question from 1993 to 1999 on AOL’s Military History section.

Hundreds of Vietnam veterans participated with many giving accounts of great officers, particularly early in the war and many, most, indicating that officers and staff NCO’s had become oblivious and showed poor morale, something we saw with some consistency.

It Took a Month of Patroling to be Able to Really Do It

As Marines, we seldom went out in units larger than a squad with typical squad strength down to as little as five men eventually.

We had an officer with us once, out to get his “bronze star” patrol, the once in a tour day in the field, a casual walk to the safest local village we could find.

He threw up from the heat, couldn’t keep up. We made sure he couldn’t keep up, actually. Harris still laughs about this.

If you didn’t go out every day, there was no way you could stay up with a combat unit that was out 7 days a week. We didn’t enjoy dragging tourists around with us.

For us, it didn’t matter, platoon or company, our officers and NCOs were back at our firebase, one we visited only rarely. I saw our platoon sergeant in the field once, trussed up with a helmet, flak jacket and camouflage blouse, sleeves rolled down.

Rare Photo - Both Dick Winters

He had never worn any of it before and looked like a clown. These stories about brave officers leading men in combat are quite humorous.

I think of the HBO series, Band of Brothers, the story of Easy Company, 505 PIR, 101st Airborne, in World War II. We never had an officer like Lt. Dick Winters.

Maybe Webb was like Winter but if he was, I couldn’t imagine he would have written something so utterly divorced from reality.

I thank Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg for their fine effort.

We could call the problem morale or corruption. It goes further, much further.

When the units food was sold for drugs and sex or for cash, a routine that went on every day in Vietnam, our officers were silent. When men lost, not 20% of body weight but 40%, malnutrition, malaria or combat wounds never treated, of our officers said nothing.

They would simply assign patrols to areas they had never been and knew nothing of, unaware of the war, the enemy or anything relevant to their jobs.

Why Did the Officers Abandon Their Men in Action ?

We would roll our eyes back in our heads, take off and fight the war, knowing nobody cared, nobody wanted to know and that a separate little world that involved driving back into DaNang in jeeps, visiting “the club,” taking in movies and eating specially secured food existed parallel to ours.

This was a world of polished jeeps and helicopters, fine china, sterling silver, teenage prostitutes carefully screened for “cleanliness,” a world of ignorance, corruption and incompetence.

Imagine not knowing the name of your platoon commander because you never met him or her? They could have been women for all we knew.

I am reminded of the scene from Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen gets off his boat and heads ashore, a unit is under attack near a bridge.

He stops a soldier, “Son, who is in command here?” The response, “I thought you were?”

Bernard Fall - KIA, 1967 - by Bouncing Betty Mine

French author Bernard Fall wrote a book called Two Vietnams. I had actually read Falls books before going to Vietnam, which made one of us.

Fall had no idea how far America would take the concept, though. We had two Vietnams. Real Marines, Army and Vietnamese, the farmers, the Viet Cong, the NVA, we lived in one of them.

The other Vietnam? There was a huge underworld of clubs, swimming pools, black market, visiting congressmen being treated to the perversion of the day.

Medals by the thousand were given to people who hadn’t spent a minute in combat or who were removed from command for incompetence.

Bernard Fall - The French Debacle in Indochina

Our rare and occasional ventures into the rear made us sick.

We were looked at like freaks, walking skeletons with long hair, wearing rags and openly hostile and disrespectful to those who were used to something different.

We were no longer “with the program.”

American soldiers sacrificed, gave their lives, their health, all, not just for nothing but to be dishonored by a pack of professional liars who have spent every moment of the last four decades patting themselves on the back for their heroics.

There were two Vietnams. There are also two kinds of vets. Alot of us came back and never got “with the program.” It seemed like the honorable way of dealing with dishonor.

What kind of officer wouldn’t notice that the turkey dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas had been sold at DaNangs black market, called “Three Corners,” and men, even in the “rear echelon” were fed fatty liverwurst and stale bread, not just stale but moldy?

In the field, it was canned garbage, a decade over the expiration date. The officers got turkey with all the trimmings, the men got nothing. Nobody said a word. The only war our leaders were trained for was “class war.”

If you would like to know the primary concern among command personnel in Vietnam, I will tell you. It was “staying alive.” The reason? Hate. Marines hated their senior NCOs, many of them at least.

Some, I admit, were exceptional people, combat vets from World War II and Korea.

One of my favorites, Master Sergeant Miller W. Scott, from Tennessee, the picture perfect Marine, tough as hell. Scott would reluctantly sit with me and complain about what the Marine Corps had become.

A Tall and Skinny Gordon Duff in Vietnam - Combat Patrol Diet Was 400 Calories a Day - Regular Ration Consumption Caused Vomiting

It was his job to get me to accept a commission, something I had been refusing. Scott, a combat vet from Korea, hated being surrounded by racists, drunks and some seriously fat people, our senior staff NCOs.

He knew how much money they were making, selling our food, our equipment and maybe our weapons.

The military, in Vietnam, was ruled by a Mafia of NCO’s, a group that started out running drugs through the enlisted clubs in Germany, who carried their “infrastructure” to Vietnam.

Eventually Marines caught on, using the term “Marine” blasphemously.

Many Marine bases had special high security compounds for the officers and staff NCOs to live in, protected from their own troops.

We will never know how many were murdered by their own men but minimally ten times more than reported.

A “fragging” death quickly became a “mortar attack.” A claymore mine under a bed was called a “rocket attack.”

Many bases saw more combat inside the wire than out with gunfire regularly erupting between African American troops and senior NCOs from regions of the country where virtual slavery was still practiced openly.

Undercover CID operatives were infiltrated into units, drug dogs were brought out to remote firebases and “good ole southern boy” NCOs would creep around at night or hide in the bushes trying to catch “brothers” smoking marijuana. It had become a “juicer versus doper” war.

The Double Shift Duff Squad - Combat Patrols During the Day - Then Night Ambushes

Rear areas became a battleground of aging drunks against cooks, radio operators and clerks while combat troops were permanently kept in the field out of fear they would join the “insurrection” against “whitey.”

Many officers and NCO’s thought combat troops were Viet Cong sympathizers or members of terrorist groups like the White Panthers or Weathermen. They were right.

In order to feel safe, units were kept in the field 30 days a month, resupplied by jeep or helicopter with perimeter security handled by cooks, radio operators and clerks, often moving from typewriter to hand to hand combat.

Combat operations had become impossible with open warfare between black and white, urban and rural, educated and “professional military” overshadowing anything else going on.

If this isn’t the way you heard it told, its time you started paying attention to different people.

The real Marines were my friends, some “grunts,” some aircraft mechanics, two good friends running a water purification facility, driving trucks, working and fighting.

In the middle of writing this, I just finished reading General Stanley McChrystal’s final report on Afghanistan, released only by a newspaper in Britain. It reports what I and so many others, have been writing about all along, the total failure of American efforts to support Karzai.

However, this detailed and intelligently written report makes no mention of the $65 billion drug business in Iraq closely tied to the Karzai regime.

McChrystal talks about massive corruption, remember, this is corruption in his own command, but does so only in a passing shot. Why didn’t he jail the thousands involved when he was there? Why can’t he see an opium poppy?

Are Americans simply looking away or, as in Vietnam, are many taking part? What are we covering up?

But, compared to the stories from Vietnam, the “whitewash” and baloney, this McChrystal report is a breath of fresh air and honesty. It is also “too little, too late.”

Washington Showing His Sick and Starving Troops to McCain-Kerry Congressional Committee of its Day

America has abandoned troops before. Valley Forge was the start but isn’t and won’t be the finish.

When Senators McCain and Kerry, “heroes” of Vietnam fought to block efforts to return recover our POWs from Vietnam, their corruption, so blatant, was never reported and only rewarded, never punished.

We put medals on our trash, put it in congress or promote it to the highest levels of the Pentagon.

Lying about Vietnam is part of why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan now. The scum rose to the top because we stopped valuing the truth.

If you wonder why we can fight a ten year war, one we have done so much worse in than Vietnam, spent a hundred times as much money and yet hear nothing about it, think of the heavily decorated officers building careers for themselves, perhaps even heading on to the senate.

How can there be nobody at all, military, congress or the press, telling the truth about what is going on? Why is everyone telling the same lies? Who has that kind of power? Can drug money control, not only our military but press as well?

I can still picture Vietnam, seeing a Marine rifle squad heading across the rice paddies in the distance, into the hills. Behind them, miles behind, lay the city of DaNang. I will always remember being a part of one of those squads. I remember sitting out in the hills, looking back toward the city in the distance.

End of Runway Attacks to Crank up Mission Stats

One day we sat four hours, watching the air base. Planes took off, one after another, looped around a mile off the end of the runway and dropped bombs in an empty field.

This went on endlessly, with pilots flying “sorties” or “bombing missions” against “enemy targets.”

We had one empty hillside burned black from constant bombing. Nothing had ever been there but thousands of tons of bombs, napalm, had been dropped on it.

It was close, safe, convenient. I wonder how many generals had “made their bones” bombing that blackened rock?

If you have seen photographs of Vietnam with fields looking cratered like the moon, this field off the end of the runway was the place. The unexploded bombs left here would be picked up by the Viet Cong and used for booby traps or, as they are called now, IEDs.

No Enemy Here

These bombs killed many of my friends and one nearly got me. The Air Force delivered endless tons of high explosives to our enemies like this.

Naval gunfire was the same way. Aging, left over ammunition, unexploded, defective until wired as booby traps, could be found everywhere.

Most American casualties came from weapons made from defective American munitions.

So much of the war was “pretend.” Army units were sent into hopeless attacks, flown into enemy strongholds because it fit a news cycle or a VIP needed entertainment.

All that was needed to “sex up” any disaster was a typewriter. You could spread casualties out over weeks, add hundreds of imaginary killed enemy and a bungling coward just earned a Silver Star for killing off a dozen Americans.

The lessons the military learned in Vietnam, lie often, lie big, have been generously applied to the War on Terror. Israel has built a culture out of this practice.

We had our two Vietnams. One involved a war, one we fought with no food, defective weapons, no fire support, no air support, hopelessly outnumbered while the other Vietnam partied on.

Tens of thousands of our “leaders” lived in such comfort and excess in Vietnam it is a wonder they would ever leave. Keeping Max Cleland, a real soldier, out of government was important. We remember that one too.

A Marine - Multi Tasking in Hue

We had two Vietnams. One involved good and decent people who fought with honor, cared for their friends, showed decency and humanity every day, soldiers who are almost all gone, killed in war or dead or dying as veterans.

The others? We know who you are. You have gotten away with decades of deception. You were bunglers, cowards and thieves. You are not forgiven. You fill our golf courses, yacht basins, “bankster” investment firms.

For four decades I have run into phony veterans, guys with no military service but a wealth of war stories, gleaned from the imaginary world of movie and TV baloney.

The numbers? Maybe 4-500. In 2004, during Rolling Thunder, Henry Sullivan, an Army medic and I polled one group of “Vietnam Veterans” while on the yearly motorcycle run to Washington DC.

In a room of 200, there were three Vietnam vets. Henry and I were two of them.

People who were, to Henry and I, “vet groupies” were being continually thanked for their service by kind people donating food and drink to what they thought were Vietnam combat vets decked out in ribbons, medals and “biker gang” regalia.

This week, President Obama, in response to what can only be described as “bizarre” policies by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the handling of, not only medical care for veterans but disability compensation processing for PTSD victims, announced he was “loosening” policy restrictions.

His new “policy” is nothing new. He is, in fact, requiring Veterans Affairs, to comply with its own rules as they have existed for decades, rules they have never complied with. All of this, of course, is to give recently returning veterans, whose “meltdown” is now a national disgrace, a better chance at survival.

Mr. President, this isn’t quite good enough, not by a long shot.

Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs arrives at the World War II Memorial in Washington

A flurry of questions have come in about this new ruling, almost every one from a Vietnam veteran denied disability though diagnosed with PTSD.

The stories read like so many we have seen for decades, missing files, lost documents, appeals denied for incomprehensible reasons, compensation exams that resembled inquisitions.

For every recent returning vet claiming PTSD, and we have nearly 400,000, we have 3 Vietnam vets whose claims were wrongly denied and whose children were denied educational benefits, families that lived in poverty for decades.

Just because America abused and neglected Vietnam veterans for decades and got away with it, doesn’t mean we have forgotten.

Most of the children are adults. Most of the Vietnam veterans who filed claims are dead. With 711,000 “Vietnam survivors” out of 2.9 million, (2009 figure) the problem seems to be correcting itself, as members of our government would like to think.

Those who could have done something about it, the senators, the highly decorated rear eschelon “Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon,” the real “heroes” of every war, were then and continue to be silent, almost to a one.

Never in the history of warfare have so many owed so much and done so little to deserve it. Why do you think we are holding up combat operation in Afghanistan? When we destroy our veterans, we kill our military.

In Vietnam, as with Afghanistan, we sent an army to a hopeless war led by the most corrupt leadership in America’s history.

In Vietnam, a generation of Americans was systematically destroyed, with the best and brightest of the generation “doing time” in Vietnam, combat units, while “bottom feeders” sat in Saigon and DaNang.

Those shirkers an “no accounts” have given us the America we have today, broke, addicted to propaganda and fear, obsessed with safety, a generation ducking responsibility and leadership, borrowing from tomorrow to steal today.

The Wheeler Dealers Always Win

The number of members of congress who ducked Vietnam through imaginary illness, special arrangements for “safe” National Guard units or simply deferment after deferment created a list of “chickenhawks” that became a national shame.

Those that ducked service in Vietnam were the first to push for war after war for the children of those who fought.

Who would have imagined this or have believed they could have gotten away with it?

There is a great national movement to forget Vietnam, pay off our current abused “volunteer army” that ten years of war has utterly destroyed and cover up the sins of the past. President Obama believes that fixing a problem 40 years late is enough. I don’t agree.

Every vet who was denied 30 or 40 plus years of help, whose kids went without health care, clothing, food, college money or a stable home environment is owed.

American KIAs - Finally Going Home

This is a debt, a real debt that we can put a price tag on. We may not be able to pay the vets, bring them back from the dead, but we can reimburse their children for the suffering our crimes have caused.

We now have a generation of “collateral damage,” victims of Vietnam and government duplicity, now raising families of their own. With Vietnam, we started a chain reaction of bitterness, poverty and despair that must be addressed.

We pay for that first, before we buy another weapon, no more aircraft carriers, useless transport aircraft, unusable bombers or new military golf courses.

Only when we recognize the real cost of war will we understand how to live in peace and security.

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Short URL: http://www.veteranstoday.com/?p=161206

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Posted by on Nov 11 2011, With 0 Reads, Filed under Editor, New World Order War, WarZone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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9 Comments for “The Last Bayonet Charge in Vietnam”

  1. Payment to those who served, care for wounds psychological and physical, undying and unlimited gratitude for a nation that stepped in it in ‘Nam, these are things that are necessarily secondary to presentation of the TRUTH to those who served, those who stayed behind, those who look back and seek the truth about it. Some time ago, I bleated about this to Gordo in an article or two featuring my indelible bitterness at a government that is hung up on chronic mendacity. The nature of our lies that is most crippling is our continued use of those lies to a duped public that has been strapped with the so-called Patriot Act. In time, thanks to our fine Harvardian Cass Sunstein, grumbling about anything untidy will be a punishable “offense”. Many people fought the war, that war. Many had no contact with the military, yet they have distinguished themselves in helping us elucidate the source of our collective madness. While no amount of analogizing can duplicate what real war feels like, stinks like, the average GI doesn’t have the audience and use of pervasive language to amplify the insanity of war, our wars. In the end analysis, the war was owned by all of us in one way or another. We all shared something, perhaps it was relief for not having to serve as US or RA. The collective agonies of writers, per se, cannot be forgotten, cannot be trivialized. To discover the real truths belies unbelievable pain.
    The life of the soldier too often is marginalized. I’ve ranted about this often, yet I have never felt that I dishonored any soldier by calling him/her a mere dupe of a nation that is more and more divorced from truth and reality. Ultimately, the worst bolus of distress any GI faces is to come home and realize he’s/she’s been had. Fearing 11Boo, I took another year…..only to become a medic. Such a choice. Ultimately, tragically, serving this nation as a soldier has become a disgrace like no other in our history. We heard the stories about the MinuteMen, the courage, the timeliness, live free or die. No such luck anymore, thank you, Hillary Clinton. We are all victims of “friendly fire”, aren’t we? Killed by our own government, what happened to Pat Tillman? Why? The only way a young person about to enter the military stands a chance is to realize why he/she is going into our military. Every soldier is lied to, from top of the government to one’s local unit commander. You join so you can get lied to. You are propagandized starting in kindergarten, it continues you whole life. No honor anymore, you are the eternal soldier fighting and dying for……nothing. You are walking Soylent Green, raised in the Heartland and lied to forever. I learned, young un’s better learn, too. Right quick.

  2. JD: you have me laughing. I know that good straight men like you and GD always follow the rules. Can I call you two for advice the next time the temperature drops below 0. If we should have a war in the cold God knows where, is it OK to bring a few cases of brandy and sit down with our adversaries and build a good fire and send in nice radio checks?
    There is one rule for when it is real cold- don’t be dumb enough to get out there.

  3. How you are able to productively channel the story I just read into the contribution you continue to provide is nothing short of amazing. I continue to see the “made-up history channel” proclaiming the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” as the reason for our entering the Vietnam War. The inconvenient fact that it never happened is still entrenched as “history”.

    I am in the unfortunate position of dealing with my oldest son having “signed up” for the Navy reserves. He wants to get his EMT training via the Navy and the recruiter assured him, “you won’t be a bullet-catcher like Army/Marines. He is under the “propagandized” impression that Navy Corpsman must just stay on the ship and treat seasickness.

    Even if I could get him to read your account, his heels are dug-in and I’m only alienating him more everytime we talk. I was hoping the stainless steel plate in his arm that was required to “fix it” after a skateboarding accident many years ago would be the “stop sign” to his acceptance. Apparently not.

    An intense read that should be a required “study course” as part of the Armed Forces Recruiting efforts.

  4. Thank you for the article, Gordon. I had no idea whatsoever that that was the reality of Vietnam. Very sad.

    Can you recommend a good book on the true story of our POWs in Vietnam? I presume McCain is blackmailed in part to vote for war here, war there, and defense spending everywhere with his treachery on the POW issue.

  5. I don’t think our television and movie watching populace understand what it means to be on your own as these young Marines were out there- all alone- and no one, not Mommy or the President was going to help them.

    Certainly, the Commandant of the Marine Corps was not going to rescue them.

    I can remember times in a different climate when we had subzero weather (in -20s) and severe wet air and there were so many cold weather problems and yet except for the Looies, there were no officers or NCOs above SSG out that night.

    Survival or at least not getting severe frostbite depended on those with a little ingenuity and breaking rules.

    This is what it means to be alone.
    There is this book Loon and it is a good book and it is good to see that this Marine grunt unit had such a great Captain.

    • Good Gosh 60, Breaking the rules to survive…that’s one hell of an example to set for the young folks, don’t you think. :-)

      Frankly, if they told me that I was like going to like Greenland or some place like that, I would have gone for the stockade…anything but freeze to death. I can get hypothermia tremors, from just the thought of getting them.

      And then you have a dude next to you in a short sleeve shirt, smoking a cig saying, ‘Yeah, it’s a might crispy this morning’. I would be green with envy….feeling cheated on my genes. But I fixed it by heading South!!!

  6. The article and comments teach a lot. Some have learned to read this stuff now and disconnect themselves and emotions from it. That’s just how it turns out for some people.

    It was made pretty darn clear that things really don’t change-witness past 40 yrs since end of Vietnam, especially beginning 2001 and to current day. I was waiting for someone to talk about what has been going on in Iraq and Afghanistan- very perceptive to have written about it in this article. The words form part of my skin.

    Of course if you bring up the subject of men dying for what purpose, you may get a standard answer like “if you go in the military, dying can be a part of the job and you should have accepted that”.

    Yes, IEDs are a cleaner way of stating booby traps.
    How can we get to read McCrystal article?

    I guarantee this: if you live by honesty and taking care of all the right way but it stalls the system and makes others look bad, they will find a way to get rid of you.

    The words and pictures in your article really create a mood.

  7. Thank you both for posting this again because there probably isn’t an equally illustrative and hard-hitting write up of the Viet Nam war (and war in general) anywhere.

    Coupled with the info on the Chickenhawk page you link, this tops even Smedley Butler’s comments on the topic.

    Surely every reader will know people who will benefit by receiving a link to “The Last Bayonet Charge in Viet Nam.”

    That said, one may only wonder if the average American is now capable of tearing himself away from the latest ball game or tv sitcom, or processing anything through her mind that contradicts the poison that has long been accumulating there thanks to a government education and media system.

    Thanks again, Gordon Duff and Jim Dean as well!

  8. And Peter, You have to realize that you live in an imperfect world and just because you are a veteran does not change that. And also, non veterans are involved with disputes with the government, and have been, forever.

    One example is disability, getting SS is still hard, but used to be much worse. My sister took five years to get hers. The hearing took about 15 minutes. The SS presented their case, and to everyone’s astonishment just said ‘You have got to be kidding to think this lady can work’…slammed the gavel, and she got her five years past due funds.

    You are not alone in your struggles. That is not a huge deal of comfort, but from your writing, what I always get is that you are…you internalize that, and just make it worse.

    You got back. Agent Orange has not claimed you…yet. You are not a quad or paraplegic. And you have a computer. Life could be worse.

    I videod my first WOT KIA last January, a Marine. He had two weeks left and stepped on a mine. The wife had already rented a beach house for a week. I was notified on short notice and was able to get cleared to video.

    These things are always hard to shoot with no rehearsal or coordination to get the positions and angle that you need for meaningful footage, and not be in the way. But everything fell together. I had a perfect 45 degree angle of the wife, father (Nam Marine) , and mother who was just a wreck.

    I got all of their pain and suffering with closeups, and it is just devastating footage…the most emotional even I have ever shot. When it was over I was crying more than the mother. The widow did not get over here to look at it for six months. The father says he is not ready to relive it by watching…and they all told me to never send the mother a copy.

    I don’t share this with you to say your problems don’t matter…but maybe to help you endure the extra pain and suffering of ‘why me, why me?’ I should have been dead many years ago. And whenever I get really unhappy about something, I pull that out of the back of the brain closet…and it really makes me feel better.

    You might want to try it. You made it back. And all those who did not would be happy to swap places with you.

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