marc anderson, Vietnam veteran
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
I was a radio relay and radio telephone operator from October 26, 1966 to October 27, 1967 in the 1/27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi. We spent 29 days/month forward. Mostly I was one of three men who relayed radio messages from "forward, forward" positions back to base camp. On occasion, when radio telephone operators (those who carried radios on their backs for infantry commanders) were wounded or killed, I would be fill in until a permanent replacement arrived from the states. Mostly, I carried a radio for one of the Company Commanders (of a rifle company.) Those assignments lasted from a few days to a few weeks. The rest of the time I was set up in forward artillery bases, which were relatively safe.
The first helocopter I got on was shot down, as was one a few months later, and I was in around 100 fire fights. Most were minor sniper actions. Some lasting several days.
I can't add to poigncy of what has already been said here. I would like everyone to ask MPR to keep this site open longer. Why not for a year or so?
I just spent a month in Viet Nam with my 20 year old daughter Jan. and Feb. Making that trip is one of the very best ways to help the Vietnamese. Round trip air fare is about $1,100. Nice rooms are $40 or less. It is perfectly safe everywhere. We traveled from the Delta, through Saigon, Da Nang, Hue, and to Ha Noi. (We also spent a week traveling across Cambodia, which is still a very sad place. Ten minutes after our arrival in Phom Phen, I witnessed a self-immolation.)
I'm going back again this winter. They have truly forgiven and moved on. I wish I could figure out how to do that. I have nothing but contempt for the US Government and always will.
A couple weeks in Viet Nam will add meaning to your life. Contrary to what Westmoreland said, I found the Vietnamese to have very strong family values (children usually live with their parents until they marry and the divorce rate is about 5%.) They are humble, clean, hard working, positive, friendly, gregarious, affectionate, respectful people.
When you get home you'll notice how much whining and complaining Americans do. Non-stop, over everything and nothing. Over there, the less one has, the less one complains.
Going to Viet Nam you can kill two birds with one stone. You get to see Viet Nam and you can be treated rudely by French people for 1/10th the cost of going to France.
Anyway, the food is great, the bargains are great, the people are wonderful, the country is beautiful and we almost obiterated the whole place.
Tell you congressperson to stop punishing them.