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Thread: March 29, 1973, The End

  1. #1

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    March 29, 1973, The End

    There is an old saying or maybe its a song title but its' "A LONG TIME COMING". ON this day 45 years ago the U S withdrew the last combat troops from Vietnam. It was a long time coming for sure, either about 10 years or 15 depending on how you measure. Our involvement began all the way back about 1958, then we had military advisers there about 1960 under JFK and then LBJ sent troops to escalate in 1963. Finally the Peace Accords were signed in Paris in Jan 1973 and the U S kept its word and withdrew troops and NVA kept its word and released American POWs. I think both sides just got tired of it, and when they finally got around to the peace talks, it became a simple matter to end it. S Vietnam was not part of these talks, and would fight for another couple of years but no real chance to defeat the north. At the start of the war a U S general had said we should win in 6 months to a year. Ho Chi Minh said we will fight as long as it takes for 30 years if needed. The peace in 1975 ended for them either 30 years of war, with a defeat of the French in 1954 or all the way back 35 years when they were our ally against the Japanese. The North tarnished themselves with their abusive treatment of U S POWs, but for sheer effort and determination the V C/NVAwould have few equals. The P O W issue was big during the war, and still is,but one interesting fact is how few there were, I think 541. There are about 65,000 still missing from Korean and other wars.I think the POW issue was a big propaganda mistake by the north and hardened opinion against them. We lost 58,000 killed the cream of our young men, another 250,000 or so wounded and the losses to Viet Cong or NVA were 2 to 3 million, many of them civilians. This war was when I grew up, joined the Air Force and has been the biggest event of my life. It has effected so much of life even here in America. Amazingly the Vietnamese dont seem to hold a grudge about what we did, you can visit there as many have done, even vets and buy Nike sneakers or an Apple phone right there in Hanoi. We still have some vets today suffering from effects of agent orange. There is a saying for the Holocaust of wwii, "Never again" and this could certainly apply to this war also. The man who taught me to fly a warbird had 65 missions in A6 Intruder. He was a type A for sure, but toold me frankly how scared he was the first time launching off the carrier at night in imc weather to bomb the Ho Chi Min trail. He survived it. I learned to fly a fighter, but I was not a fighter pilot. Much of the war for the U S was an air war from helicopters to F4s to B52 s and we had such an advantage but the ground troops were still the finishing agent.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 03-31-2018 at 12:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    Welcome Home brother - I spent my 1972 in country with the U S of Army, Quartermaster Corp- came home with all my limbs but feel that a part of my soul stayed.

    "We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHICAGORANDY View Post
    Welcome Home brother - I spent my 1972 in country with the U S of Army, Quartermaster Corp- came home with all my limbs but feel that a part of my soul stayed.

    "We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
    May God bless you all.

  4. #4

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    Randy, one small correction to your post, it should read "we are the UNwilling. I think particularly in 1972 when there was no longer even a pretense of winning, that no soldier was volunteering to go to that war, and if you did it was smart to keep your head down and hope to get home.
    As for leaving your soul there, you put that just right. I'm glad I didnt have to go and Im glad I didnt do anything that I'm ashamed of. I have an aviation friend, not real close, but somewhat of a friend. Turns our his Dad was at My Lai, we were together when he told me that. I didn't ask any details, or any questions at all he didn't offer any, what was there to say? I like to think that if I had been there then, I wouldn't have fired, maybe could even have done some good. Im 99% sure, but there is always that little doubt. Calley's company had taken a beating from the Viet Cong, lost 50 men or so in 2 months and was scared and fear makes anger.One who did a lot of the shooting stepped on a mine the next day. Last yer at Oshkosh over dinner with a friend who is a well known and award wining warbird restorer to EAA, and a polite, kind of quiet guy, he told me he's been a door gunner in helicopters there. I didnt ask for for any tallies, bu he said he's been shot down 3 times. He was not really gung ho on the war, but his Dad was an ace in the Pacific so he followed that path.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 04-04-2018 at 10:20 AM.

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