Return to Vietnam
NOTE: I put this up on Jul 8. Today is the 9th ( believe) If you are if you know a Vietnam Vet, please let them know that we did good, we did real good. I have never had any "feelings" of my service in Vietnam, that is repressed guilt or the such. But, it is now 6 days since returning and I feel as if a tremendous burden has been lifted off of me. I have on more than one occasion apologized to Vietnamese I have met over the years for what we did to their country.
But, since coming home from this second visit, I just feel the we--the American Soldier--did win the "Hearts and Minds" of the people. Please, let a vet know--the American Soldier--accomplished what was asked of him or her.
I would ask that if you do not look over the site, please read "Final Thoughts" and pass it on to a Vet.
P.S. For the purely tourist out there, look at the Can Tho Market site.
The beginning of the original site follows:
On June 24, I returned to Vietnam for seven days. Hoping to find our 9th Division Base Camp and a few of the Bridges built by the First Platoon, Charlie Company, 15th Combat Engineers, 9th Infantry Division, I discovered much more than I anticipated. Forty-two years ago I went to Vietnam (1966) a 19 year old platoon leader. Forty years ago, I came back a very changed person.
On this and the following pages you will find a number of pictures divided into "chapters" on our visit. Most will come with a narrative. I would urge you to read "Final Thoughts" written a couple of days after my return home. A synopsis of the paper would read: "The American Soldier Finally Won the Hearts and Minds of the Vietnamese People"
I will readily admit that I am not one to go around preaching God and Country and I would not want anyone to take my thoughts as the United States is "the chosen one". But, there is no denying this is a great country and I am blessed to be one of its citizens.
For the casual reader, enjoy "the trip". For veterans of The War--rest in the knowledge that we--the American Soldier--got it right.
Here's how the following pages are set up:
"Setting Up the Trip" explains how a Combat Engineer Platoon is organized. Following that are my anticipatory thoughts written for the Clarion Ledger. I had plan to do the "tourist thing" and see some of the places I served. I came away with much more than I had expected.
Ho Chi Minh City and Area has pictures of our Hotel and some of the many sites around the city. This site includes a subchapter on local markets. You think Wal Mart has everything under the sun--wait 'til you see these pictures from pots and pans to skinned rats, they have it all.
The Consulate and "The Roof" were the most awe inspiring moment of the trip. Here was a plaque to this killed at the embassy during Tet, '68 and a goose bump moment watching our Flag wave in the breeze.
Long Binh and Bear Cat--the first was once among the largest supply and administrative areas in the war zone. The Ammo Supply Point there was the largest above ground ASP in the world. Bear Cat was home to the 9th Infantry Division
Into the Delta is a look at our trip to Can Tho, the largest city in the Delta and two hours from Cambodia. It took us 5 hours to go 150 miles, traffic was horrendous (and always is). Also at this site are separate sub chapters for Can Tho City and The 100's year old river market.
The Bridge at Tan Tru was not only a life changing week for me 41 years ago, but also set the theme for what we would learn from the visit.
Miscellaneous is a look at restaurants, people, and the site of a Viet Cong victory that brought the USA into the war full scale and full time.
Final Thoughts is the last piece I wrote about the trip when I returned home. I am not a God and Country speech maker, but this trip is summed up by saying, "The governments screwed it up. The American Soldier, though, got it right and it shows after 40 years. I thank God through an accident of birth for allowing me to be a citizen of the United States.
Blogs and Emails--While in Vietnam i sent emails to 1300 people on my list and blogged for the Clarion Ledger. If you wish to be added to my list, email email@example.com
The Maps below give a good idea where we were. Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City was our base at the Rex Hotel. From there we went to Bear Cat to the northeast, Tan An to the south, and then further south through My Tho, crossed the Mekong River and onto Can Tho at the bottom of the map. The second map is my operational map.
Below is a copy of my last operational area map. This would have been in a plastic sleeve. On the back were my artillery preselected firing points. This is Tan An and surrounding areas. Tan An is on the left. The flag represents Charlie Company, 15th Combat Engineers, 9th Infantry Div. If you follow that road out of Tan An going north towards Saigon, you come to the first right hand turn. Take it and follow the roads to the second flag at Tan Tru. This represented the location of my platoon where we support the 2nd/60ths Infantry, 9th Division. Now follow the road headed northeast for 1.5 kilometers (klicks) and you come to Tan Tru 2 (circled in black). Look closely at the right followed by a quick left and then the river in the hamlet. Remember these directions for a later chapter. Across this river was built "The Bridge".