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Jan 10 12 3:58 PM

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Prompted by Rolando's amazing stories and that I've just started to learn about the Vietnam war in my History course at school I thought it would be great to hear some of the accounts from veterans themselves.

I'd eventually like to use them as historical sources in exam questions and essays etc but I thought that these accounts from people who were on the ground when it happened would add something more to the history.
I have a couple of questions:
When did you serve in the RVN?
With what unit and performing what role?
What was your experience of the War and the Cold War in general?

Any help greatly appreciated from anyone
Gary Owen
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rolando

In Country

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#1 [url]

Jan 10 12 5:40 PM

OK, Dan. Here goes.

My tour was from Dec. 1966 to Dec. 1967.

I was Chief Computer, Fire Direction Control in the Mortar Platoon for Co. D, 2/7th Cav, 1st Air Cav. I did the computations and calculations for the mortar squads and directed the fire missions. Less than 2 years before that, I was attending college with a student deferment, but it was canceled when they had the big call ups in late 1965. I was inducted shortly after, was sent to Ft. Hood, Texas for Basic Training, Advanced Infantry Training and assigned to Hq Co., 1st Bn. 41st Infantry (Mechanical), 2nd Armored Division.

After almost a year at Ft. Hood, I received orders for Vietnam and went to the 2/7th which was stationed near Phan Thiet. I think my group was pretty much the replacements for the last of the survivors of the Ia Drang. After the Ia Drang, the 2/7th was at Pleiku, Bong Song and a couple of other places before Operation Byrd. I believe Operation Byrd commenced in Phan Thiet around Aug. 1966. I spent my whole year in the Phan Thiet area during Operation Byrd.

From shortly after arriving in VN, I wondered why we were there. My impression was that the people didn't want us there, although the public we dealt with was always cordial and showed no animosity. (Of course, many of them were VC as well.) It was just a feeling that we got from them. However, we only did our jobs and what we were told to do and usually didn't philosophize too much about the war. When the U.S. came up with the Vietnamization program, we all thought that it was never going to work. Generally, our goal was to complete our tour and go home.  That was what we lived for.  When I got home, I could understand the protests against the war, but did not understand how guys were draft dodgers or how the tactics the radical elements were employing were going to help. The attitude that people had towards soldiers and vets was always a mystery to me. I was glad when we finally pulled out of Vietnam. We had lost too many good men and I didn't think anything better was going to get accomplished than what we already had.  I moved on and went ahead with my life and didn't talk too much about my Vietnam service except with my brother, who had also served there, and family and friends whom I knew were sympathetic.

At my age and now back home, I never thought too much about the Cold War.

Hope that helps.

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#3 [url]

Jan 11 12 1:48 AM

Dan remember, that what you learn from the vets and your own research are likely to be more reliable than what you're taught. Certainly when i was at school i had to correct my teacher several times on key favts about Vietnam, it didn't go down too well but i didn't agree with our teacher (who had spent the 60's as a hippy protestor) teaching it inaccurately and from a biased point of view. The attitude then was it didn't matter as it was never mentioned in exams- that year it was the basis of the essay question and accounted for 25% of our final mark, more than a few people in my class thanked me for correcting the teacher!

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bigpete

In Country

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#4 [url]

Jan 15 12 12:53 PM

My Gramp was in the Berlin Air lift if you what any info on that.
He was in the 13th/18th hussars.

s/sgt 1st Squad I LOVE BEER, CIGARETTES AND WAR FILMS!

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#5 [url]

Jan 15 12 4:16 PM

Yeah Glen I still have to correct my teachers that It wasn't a black and White war, there was a lot more to it then what they teach us. Yeah Pete I'd be really interested in that as it was one of the few direct stand offs between NATO and the USSR.

Gary Owen!!!

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bigpete

In Country

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#6 [url]

Jan 15 12 4:30 PM

Not only was it one of the few but the first stand off.
Any qestions you have about what Gramp did i'll be happy to answer. He died about 6 years ago but i did spend alot of time with him talking about it. I have his army photo album and  there is some pics of berlin at the time.


s/sgt 1st Squad I LOVE BEER, CIGARETTES AND WAR FILMS!

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#7 [url]

Feb 1 12 1:24 AM

Hiya Dan,
Don't know if you would be interested, my dads polish, he was telling me about what it was like being occupied by the germans during the war, he was 14yrs at the time and telling me how each month the germans would come along and take one of his brothers, he had 5 brothers, he never saw them again, then because he was the youngest he was the last one to be taken, he was basicly told either he joined the german army or they sent him to germany to work, he lied about his age, so it made him to young to fight, so taken to germany he was, he was made to worked for a baker, who used to beat him most of the time, in the end he ran away, managed to get to the allied lines and joined the polish tank corps, at the end of the war he was demobbed in scotland, he tryed to trace his family through the red cross, but they couldn't find them, so with no family left in poland  he decided to stay in the UK, hope i didn't bore you guys to much, cheers, Chris.  

3rd bn, 503rd abn inf, 173rd abn bde, airborne all the way.

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#8 [url]

Feb 1 12 2:13 AM

Some years ago i went to a chip shop near Bradford,and on the wall ,behind the counter i noticed a small pic of  soldiers  ,Germans in SS cammo pattern smockes and zelts  ! ,when i asked the shop owener the significance of the photo he remarked in a thick yorkshire twang ( with a slight german accent),that they where "old chums" from the army (which army he did not mention!).
i latter looked this up and a whole boat load of a SS german regiment had come to the UK to escape the russians,and had settled in the north of England!

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#10 [url]

Feb 1 12 1:52 PM

Cheers Chris that's a great story and I have a very similar story to that German in the chip shop within my family
Thanks for the info guys
Dan

Gary Owen!!!

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