Saigon and the Countryside
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In the Country

The pictures on this page are Thumbnails.  To see a larger version, click on the picture.

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.

binh hoa.jpg (25473 bytes)


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.
cholon.jpg (31863 bytes)


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.
Monks in Saigon.jpg (28442 bytes)

viet bus depot with girls.jpg (25246 bytes)


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.

going through saigon.jpg (24170 bytes)


We're going through the outskirts of Saigon here. 
viet saigon along river.jpg (24204 bytes)

viet sidewalk stores.jpg (31643 bytes)


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.

The bottom picture is some sidewalk shops in the less affluent area of the city.

vietnam hospital ship.jpg (17785 bytes)


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. 


viet catholic school.jpg (31750 bytes) 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.


vietnam fence palace.jpg (47950 bytes) 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 that week.


vietnam tet apartment.jpg (38321 bytes) I believe this was one of the many modern apartment buildings that housed our rear echelon people.  This was also hit during Tet.



vietnam shop in cholon.jpg (27255 bytes) This is kind of your mom and pop motel.

Click here to go to scenes from the countryside







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