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TOPIC: My experiences in the Vietnam war

My experiences in the Vietnam war 23 Jul 2019 22:20 #1

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My Experiences in the Vietnam war


A couple of members mentioned my military service in Vietnam in another thread. So, I decided to start my own thread on it.

I was in the 1st Marine Regiment of the first Marine Division for the first half of my tour, then transferred to a C.A.G. (combined action group) south west of Danag for the second half of my tour.

I Served in Vietnam from 68-69 in a place about 8 miles so. Of Danang known as, ‘dodge city’ (google it) Dodge city was a staging area from which the North Vietnamese communist used to launch attacks on Danang. It was a hot spot. Always something going on there. SHTF almost 24/7

My military occupation was “0300’, which is infantry. I was just a common rifleman. The occupation was nicknamed ‘grunt’ the name suited the job. A grunt got the shit end of everything. You had to hump gear and munitions everywhere you went. And when someone got hit, you were stuck carrying his bloody gear on top of your already overloaded body. Being a grunt was the lowest of the low. You got fuked with all the time. It was the US marine Corps most replaceable occupation.

I’ve seen things during my tour of Vietnam. Things that others would would consider, war crimes. Which I never took part in but, knew of others who did. Things like raping women, shooting prisoners, that sort of thing.

Here are my credentials……

capital one bank branch hours

From top left to the right is...Vietnam service medal,The Cross of Gallantry medal, Vietnam Campaign medal, National Service medal, Combat Action medal, and The Purple Heart Medal.

If I detect some interest in this thread, I will add to it. If not, I will let it die on the vine
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Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2019 21:23 by Flare.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 23 Jul 2019 22:46 #2

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Ice Cream in a compound off of HWY 1. Christmas Day 1968 I am the guy in the far right in the picture. The black guy next to me, Williams, I believe was his name? A short time after this picture was taken, he stepped on a booby trapped artillery shell and lost both of his legs. The white guy next to him, I hear, got killed, but I don't know the details


Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2019 22:58 by peacenik.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 08:48 #3

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Wow....... won't be many of you old timers left soon.

I was just thinking recently of how when I was young there were survivors from world war 1 and world war 2.

Soon there won't be any more of the ww2 lot either. My great uncle was a decorated squadron leader in the far east theatre. Didn't lose a single man.


War is a racket but I can't help but be impressed by people like you experiencing and surviving these terrible things.

It's like having your name written on a page of human history.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 12:42 #4

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"The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance"- Prof. Douglas Pike, University of California, Berkeley

US troops near Da Nang 1965




"Washington locked me into a defensive strategy, thereby preventing me from bringing the war to a swift conclusion"- Gen. William Westmoreland
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2019 12:46 by Ugh.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 20:41 #5

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Truthspoon wrote:
Wow....... won't be many of you old timers left soon.

I was just thinking recently of how when I was young there were survivors from world war 1 and world war 2.

Soon there won't be any more of the ww2 lot either. My great uncle was a decorated squadron leader in the far east theatre. Didn't lose a single man.


War is a racket but I can't help but be impressed by people like you experiencing and surviving these terrible things.

It's like having your name written on a page of human history.

Thanks!

Yeah, when I first started going to the Veterans hospital, there were plenty of WW2 vets. Now, even the Korean War vets are thinning out.

More and more, I see a younger crowd from the Afghanistan war.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 21:09 #6

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Ugh wrote:
"The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance"- Prof. Douglas Pike, University of California, Berkeley

US troops near Da Nang 1965




"Washington locked me into a defensive strategy, thereby preventing me from bringing the war to a swift conclusion"- Gen. William Westmoreland

It's true, everytime the US gained ground and it looked like America would win the war, we had the 'Paris peace talks' and America walked away a looser. Towards the end of the war, the enemy was loosing so bad, they were using 12 and 13 year old kids to fight their war. Politics should never, ever be allowed to trump military professionals.

Before America got involved in Vietnam, the French were there and the French government fuked over the French military horribly. At one point the French government refused to resupply it's own troops so as to appease the communist in the French government. I can think of nothing more treasonist than sending troops to fight in a foreign land and and then deny them the munitions to defend themselves.

Every French politician should have been dragged by the hair to a public square and executed.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 21:34 #7

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I avoided having Vietnam War experience by remaining in the UK when I got drafted. Been here ever since. Not a war i could see any sense in fighting as an american. No disrepect to Peacenik intended, you did what you saw as right. The only book I ever read about Vietnam was Michael Herr's Dispatches - some of the material found its way into Coppola's Apocalypse Now film. A good read - tho it is anti-vietnam war.


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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 21:59 #8

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Voltaire wrote:
I avoided having Vietnam War experience by remaining in the UK when I got drafted. Been here ever since. Not a war i could see any sense in fighting as an american. No disrepect to Peacenik intended, you did what you saw as right. The only book I ever read about Vietnam was Michael Herr's Dispatches - some of the material found its way into Coppola's Apocalypse Now film. A good read - tho it is anti-vietnam war.

I don't have any less respect for anyone who didn't go to Vietnam. It was a personal choice. I respect anyone who exercises personal choice.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 22:28 #9

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This picture bugs me.

I assume it's some rear echelon position near China beach? But I don't see the iconic Monkey Mountain which should be there?

Notice the white tee-shirt, the polished bloused, boots. Everything to clean to be a front line position.

Where I was, wearing a white tee-shirt was foolish. Snipers loved guys with white tee-shirts (easier targets)Then operating a radio on top of that, is like painting a target on yourself. Snipers usually have several targets to choose from at one time. They will go for the most important person. Radio-men, officers, demolition experts, are all prime targets.

The best thing you can do is act like you are of least importance. Being a common ordinary rifleman like myself was usually your best bet.


Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 00:28 by peacenik.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 24 Jul 2019 22:57 #10

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I believe this to be a partial areal view of the compound (lower left part of the picture)where we were eating ice-cream in post #2 ? As far as I know, Hwy 1, was the only paved road outside of the city?


Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 00:34 by peacenik.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 12:05 #11

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peacenik wrote:
I don't have any less respect for anyone who didn't go to Vietnam. It was a personal choice. I respect anyone who exercises personal choice.

If I'd been drafted I'd probably have gone thinking it'll be a like a free holiday and a great adventure with hardly any danger, duh...
I e-mailed Huey pilot Robert Mason a few years ago and he said the same sort of thing--

Me- When you joined the army to be taught to fly helos, Nam hadn't yet flared up bigtime, but suppose the war was raging, would you still have joined up knowing you were going to get sent there and shot at?

Mason- "It probably wouldn't have made any difference. I remember seeing a Newsweek magazine which showed a helicopter crew chief in Vietnam (1962) with a couple of captured VC. I recall thinking how advanced we were compared to the Vietnamese. How dangerous could it be? I think that goes for most of my comrades. You just can't see the danger when your of a certain age. Until you get there."

Me- When you got to Nam and began getting shot at, did you ever think "What the hell have I got myself into?", and feel any resentment towards yourself, the Army and the world in general, or did you take it philosophically and just decide to ride out your tour without complaining?
Mason- "I complained all the time. I was the worse team player you can imagine. I did the job, but I bitched the whole way.
Best wishes, Robert Mason"


Mason


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Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 15:15 by Ugh.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 13:16 #12

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Regarding whether or not the Vietnam war was won by the US, to me it looks like this:

There wasn't a territorial strategy, or some other means to measure victory, so the strategy became 'kill more of them than they of us' so body counts were taken after battles and smaller patrol shootouts etc, victory was determined by counting more enemy that had died than your own soldiers, I guess the counters usually felt for the sake of moral to tweak the numbers in their own favour.

Beyond that there didn't seem to be much of a war strategy, even though the overall goal was to defeat Communism in the region, and of course there would be battle and survival tactics but a measurement of success didn't seem to be forthcoming besides the body count victories.

I met some US air force guys that lived in the same town as me around the end time of Vietnam, they shared an RAF base near by, this is what they use to say ''it was like a gunfight rather than a mission.''
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Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 13:22 by Frothy.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 15:17 #13

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Uncle Ho called out Uncle Sam-



Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 15:18 by Ugh.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 19:54 #14

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Frothy wrote:
There wasn't a territorial strategy, or some other means to measure victory, so the strategy became 'kill more of them than they of us' so body counts were taken after battles and smaller patrol shootouts etc, victory was determined by counting more enemy that had died than your own soldiers, I guess the counters usually felt for the sake of moral to tweak the numbers in their own favour.

Yeah, some were obsessed with body count. Mostly the high brass. The body count had to be right. There had to be more dead gooks in proportion to dead Marines. If not you had to go back out there and make it right. I am sorry to say, many dead farmers were counted as enemy in those body counts.War really does bring out the worst in people.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 20:06 #15

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Ugh wrote:
Uncle Ho called out Uncle Sam-




Uncle Ho was wrong. We lost the war politically not militarily. There was a steady stream of enemy solders surrendering to our side even as far back as 1969. There were no Americans surrendering to there side.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 20:16 #16

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The Explosion
When you’re moving through enemy territory (called, ‘the bush’) with others as a unit, you move as a formation, with the central part, being the command post (CP) The CP was the brain or heart of the formation.

The CP incorporates the communications, Intelligence, attachments, special ops, and things like that( all the important folk :yupgrin:). The formation is intended to protect the CP from enemy fire as the formation moves across the bush.

Other parts of the formation are the front of it called, ‘point’, the sides of it, known as, ‘flank’, and of course, the rear.

So, unless you were part of the CP, you were walking as, point, Right or Left flank or the rear. The formation was like a giant organism. It had a head, a tail, and two sides. The formation formed a loose circle with the CP in the center.

Then when you stop, you form a perimeter. Around the CP. So, whether the formation was moving or stationary the CP was always protected by this encirclement.

When stationary, your back faced the CP and your weapon was pointed toward the bush.

On this particular day, the formation had stopped. There was about eighty of us, right in the middle of dodge city. We were settling in, eating chow, relaxing.

The CP was having some sort meeting they were circled around a gunnery sargent who was lecturing them on something. We paid them no mind.

Then suddenly K-BOOM there was a HUGE explosion that threw mud high in the sky and the mud came down on us. We were covered in mud.

The worst possible thing had just happened. The gunnery sergeant had a large live mortar round he was instructing those in the CP how to defuse it. He dropped it and it blew up. It was a perfect storm with maximum casualties. They were all huddled around that sergeant and the mortar.

We were in the middle of dodge city with no leadership. The leadership had just blown themselves up. all that 'protecting the CP' crap went up in smoke when that mortar hit the ground.

The sad part about it was we had a ‘blow in place’ order for all unexploded ardenceordance. Meaning, when you find any kind of unexploded ordnance, you blow it up when you find it. Everyone knew this. It was a stupid thing to do, not blowing the shit up, and it caused a useless
waste of life.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2019 20:44 by peacenik.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 25 Jul 2019 21:02 #17

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peacenik wrote:
Ugh wrote:
Uncle Ho called out Uncle Sam-




Uncle Ho was wrong. Uncle Ho talked a lot of shit. We lost the war politically not militarily. There was a steady stream of enemy solders surrendering to our side even as far back as 1969. There were no Americans surrendering to there side.

The vast majority of Vietnam were ignorant farmers who couldn't be swayed either way. It wouldn't have made any difference to them if they lived under communism or capitalism, They knew they would be tilling the fields just like forefathers did for thousands of years.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 27 Sep 2019 17:49 #18

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This has been a good read.
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 27 Sep 2019 19:31 #19

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Lux Interior wrote:
This has been a good read.

Thanks Lux!
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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M experiences in the Vietnam war 27 Sep 2019 21:26 #20

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One of the most dangerous things in Vietnam, other than the enemy it's self, was a 2nd lieutenant. A 2nd lieutenant is someone who has just graduated from officer training school. They are usually arrogant. Book smart, but dumb on everything else.

We had a 2nd LT who had just arrived and took leadership of our platoon.

This 2nd LT did dumb things, like wear his Lieutenant bars on his clothing for all to see. He wore a white tee shirt under his camos, he would shout orders while standing on a mound. We tried to tell him, you just don't do those things because of snipers. Snipers were everywhere in Dodge city.

Snipers love to kill officers.

But the 2nd LT wouldn't listen. He couldn't stand the idea of enlisted men telling him anything.

Everyone knew he was going to get zapped, so everyone stayed as far away from him as possible. Guys started making bets on how long he would last?

It didn't take long. One day he was standing on a rice patty dike, giving orders wearing his white tee shirt, and his 2n LT bars glistening in the sun.

A gook sniper fired a three round burst that took out the 2nd LT and the marine he was giving orders to.
Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.” ~ Chuang Tzu
Last Edit: 27 Sep 2019 21:27 by peacenik.
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