Bob Hope    Downtown    In the Field    Long Bien    On the Road    Training   



Epilogue

Long Bien Army post was the largest military post in the world at that time.  Ton Son Nhut was similar to that, but was an Air force Base.  Although large, both would regularly come under attack by either rockets or mortars or both, not to mention periodic ground assaults.  By late in 1968 we had things pretty well under control, so ground assaults were rare.

Contrary to popular belief, we didn't actually lose the war.  We allowed the folks in Washington to run things from the White house and the congress (sound familiar...), so we simply decided not to win. That may seem like semantics to you, but it's essentially what happened.  I know, because I not only took part in it, I filmed and recorded much of it.

Unfortunately, the politicians settled for keeping things in check.  By the late sixties and early seventies that's precisely what had happened. Don't get me wrong, things were far from perfect and people were still dying, none-the-less things were pretty much in check.  The aggression continued, so we couldn't take credit for a full victory, but then again neither could the North Vietnamese.

Then, while I was in Vietnam, President Nixon started something called "Vietnamization.". Essentially, we were supposed to train the South Vietnamese in our fighting techniques and how to use our equipment.  The plan was for them to take over the fighting and allow us to withdraw.  Many of the pictures on these pages were taken of the very same type of "Vietnamization" training.

Obviously, things didn't ultimately work out the way the President had hoped.  We trained the troops as  best we could, but they just weren't ready (or willing) to fight on their own.  So, as we were withdrawing, the North Vietnamese were taking over even before we could leave.  They definitely were ready, because our last troops had trouble even getting out of Saigon.  Undoubtedly, you've probably seen the pictures of those last moments - it was awful.

Looking back, I guess I have mixed emotions.  I'm proud to have volunteered and to have served my country, but am angered by some of the things that I've learned or that have happened since.  I don't want to rehash everything yet again, so I'll just leave you with this. Regardless of the outcome, I still hold the folks who served, and who are currently serving in our armed forces, in the highest regard.  I find it appalling that Mr. Clinton chose to literally ignore these folks.  Actually, completely ignoring them may have been better.  He seemed to go out of his way to hurt them or at least make life more difficult. I seriously doubt that Mr. Gore would have done any better, so I'm glad he's not the president.

President Bush seems headed in the right direction. It will be nice to have a president who we can be proud of once again. That is if the idiots in congress let him finish the job. They screwed up in Vietnam and it looks like they're trying to do it again. Best of luck Mr. President!...Hal