In the Country
The pictures on this page are Thumbnails. To see a larger version, click on the
Vietnam was a beautiful country and Saigon was often referred to as the "Paris of
the Orient" before the war. Most of the people were friendly and most just
wanted to be left alone and not be bothered by either us or the VC. Any struggle for
independence or maintaining of the status quo is not really a struggle for
"freedom", but a struggle for power. One side wants to stay in control of
that power and another side wants to put them out so they can have it. That is the
essence of a civil war. In between are those people who get shafted by both sides.
Here are some pictures of the countryside, villages, and Saigon. All the
pictures are "thumbnails". To see a larger version, double click
the small picture.
|If I recollect correctly, from our basecamp
there was Binh Hoa, Long Binh, and than Saigon. Binh Hoa was a town of a couple
thousand, I believe. Long Binh was a huge logistics base for the military in the
southern part of South Viet Nam. The famed LBJ (Long Binh Jail) was named after the
initials of the president at the time Lyndon Baines Johnson.
|This is Cholon, the Chinese section of
Saigon. A lot of the money was in this part of Saigon. Much of this section
was torched during the Tet Offensive. The Vietnamese, even the North Vietnamese
despised the Chinese. Vietnam as a whole country in its millenium of existence had
only had 200 years of rule by its own people.
|This is a bus stop in Saigon and the men in the
yellow robes are Buddists Monks.
These are some ladies at the bus stop. Although they are wearing western dress,
many of the women wore a more traditional ao dai (I know I got that wrong), something like
a black pajama style pants suit under a flowing light white gown.
|We're going through the outskirts of Saigon
|We're going across the Saigon River here.
Notice the shanties over the river and the somewhat nicer homes up on the hill.
Saigon is just like any other city in the world. A downtown, old city, suburbs, nice
neighborhoods, and rundown ones. There are mom and pop stores and big department
stores. I went to one of the department stores. It was owned by the president
or his family and on one of the floors there was farm implement products for sale with the
stamp "Donated by the People of the United States to the People of South
Vietnam". So much for helping out an impoverished country from the Commies.
bottom picture is some sidewalk shops in the less affluent area of the city.
|This was one of the hospital ships docked in
Saigon. Although inland, Saigon was a major port. If I could remember the name
of the ship, those of you who remember the C.A.R.E. commercials of the '60's would recall
the name (On July 2, Rep. Sid Bondourant saw this picture and told me the name was
"Sanctuary". Sid, from Grenada was a navy doctor and flew in rescue
helicopters off the coast of North Vietnam rescuing downed pilots).. When I was in
the field about 30-45 miles south of Saigon, the city would come under frequent attack and
no supplies would get out to us. Heck the rear echelon people would hole up in their
hotels and bars. We would take our jeeps and 3/4 tons complete with machine gun
turrets and M-79 grenade launchers speeding down to the docks to "requisition"
what we needed right off the ships.
||This is a little blurry as we were traveling in a
jeep. This is a Catholic School in Saigon. Much of the city was Catholic as
most of the Catholics fled the north after the partition. A large part of the
outlying areas were Buddists. As you might imagine, also, the schools were formed by
French clergy. Vietnam was a French colony until 1954 and the fall of Dien bien phu
and I know a spelled that incorrectly. On a number of our patrols, we ran across
French speaking rubber plantation owners. They were pretty much left alone as they
paid tribute to the Viet Cong and we had little need to bother them. I did set up a
headquarters in one of the rubber plantation villas late one night....Okay, we (well I
since I was reading the map) were lost in the jungle and came up on it. We got some
sleep that night.
||This is a look through the fence at the
governmental "palace". I suppose this is what the Communisits would call
the "decadence of society". The whole area around the palace was attacked
during Tet, 1968. I was there for that. We were really in a defensive mode
||I believe this was one of the many modern
apartment buildings that housed our rear echelon people. This was also hit during
||This is kind of your mom and pop motel.
Click here to go to scenes from the countryside