Episode 1038 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be the expression of an opinion about the current move to expunge everything and anything from American life and society that offends anyone not a member of the white majority of this country. Recently, yours truly, the Vietnam Veteran News podcaster made a sojourn back to the home of his parents and other various forebearers in Southeastern Alabama – Ozark to be exact which is not far from Fort Rucker, The U.S. Army Aviation Center.
My visit to the area included visiting three cemeteries in the Skipperville area where I could trace my lineage back to my great-great grandfather Absalom Payne who was the first family member to settle in the area as a young man in the late 1820s. Dale County is still to this day populated by both maternal and paternal family members who descended from those original settlers. And by the way, they were too poor to have owned slaves. After the civil war they adopted the attitude expressed by Nathan Bedford Forrest – “we were born on the same soil, we breathe the same air and we work the same land, why can’t we live together as brothers and sisters?”
It was a pleasure talking with relatives and reliving old times. An additional factor that made the visit memorable was the fact that I went through a portion of my Army flight training at nearby Fort Rucker. Visiting there brought back many interesting memories as I struggled to master the art of flying Hueys.
As I prepared to depart at the end of the visit I mentioned to a local that I had been assigned to Fort Rucker many years ago. The person casually stated that I should enjoy that name while I could because there was talk they were going to change the name of the post because it bore the name of Edmund Rucker. He fought on the losing side in the Civil War, most notably with Nathan Bedford Forrest at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. Next to the Little Bighorn Battle it was the worst defeat ever administered to a US Army force in battle.
Ever since the Charlottesville dustup the offended have been moving to remove all traces of anything associated with the South from view. They are even going after the ten US Army installations bearing names of Confederate personages. In the opinion of this Vietnam Veteran that would be a big mistake. It would rip apart a big piece of this nation’s heritage. Many Americans served at the ten posts with Confederate related names and these names make up a big part of their of their Army service. Most remember their experiences rather than the actions of those like Braxton Bragg, Henry Benning or John Bell Hood.
A message to America – man up and save the names of all Army posts.
Listen to episode 1038 for more on this subject.
Episode 1037 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight another opinion of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War. Doug Bradley is a Vietnam Veteran who served as an information specialist stationed at Saigon in 1970, the same year he was drafted into the Army. He was interviewed by Scott Smith of the Big Ten Network where Bradley talked about his opinions about the documentary. The interview was featured in a story on the Big Ten Network website and was titled: Wisconsin vet and musicologist Doug Bradley talks about what Ken Burns’ Vietnam War miniseries gets right by Smith.
After Bradley left the Army in 1972 he has worked on behalf of veterans and has written two books about the war. His first book, DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle offers fictionalized accounts of rear echelon personnel. He co-authored along with Craig Werner the book We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, explores how music wove through the experience of those who served. Today he lectures and teaches lessons of the war through the music and media of the time in a course called “The U.S. in Vietnam: Music, Media and Mayhem.
BTN LiveBIG asked Bradley the following questions:
- Are there themes or similar stories that people that you served with all cite?
- There’s this widely accepted canon of Vietnam-era songs that come up often: Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Creedence. Mostly white rock bands, aside from Jimi Hendrix. But I’m curious about songs or artists that were descriptive of the war experience for black or Native American or Latino soldiers.
- Why is it that music, in particular, seems to be a really instructive way to reveal the history of a particular time?
- For students taking this class now, this was more than 50 years ago. Is music a way to help them contextualize this and not have them think of it as history, but as something that has current resonance?
- Is there a lesson from war that we keep forgetting or has been left unexplored?
Listen to episode 1037 of this podcast to discover Bradley’s thought provoking responses.
Episode 1036 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be an expose of the stark truths behind the intentions of the producers of the epic documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The writer Phillip Jennings has dared to tell the truth about the documentary and its message. He laid out his position in a story he wrote for the New York Sun titled: Justifying Betrayal of Vietnam Emerges as the Raison d’être Of Ken Burns’ Film on the War.
Jennings began he piece with this bold statement: “The only positive thing I can say about Ken Burn’s documentary on the Vietnam War is this — if it is the best the left has, we may blessedly have heard the last of them. The arguments Mr. Burns presents are weak, biased, and insulting. The documentary is scripted to evoke sorrow and moral indignation over what was presented as American error, ineptness, and lack of moral purpose.”
He shredded the five pillars of the liberal view of the war that are:
- There was moral equivalency between the U.S. and Communist forces, and the goals and objectives of the respective governments.
- President Johnson and General Westmoreland accomplished nothing.
- The wars waged in Laos and Cambodia are irrelevant and were just part of the “civil war” in South Vietnam.
- South Vietnam was so corrupt that the North was a viable alternative.
- America was not and has never been exceptional.
Listen to episode 1036 of this podcast Vietnam Veteran News and discover the real story about US involvement in the Vietnam War.
It is highly recommended you get and read a copy of Jennings book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War. In his book he reveals the truth about the battles, players, and policies of Vietnam one of the most controversial wars in U.S. history.
Episode 1035 will revisit a topic raised back in episode 797 of this the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast. Joe McDonald will be forever linked to the Vietnam Era through music. His iconic song “The ‘Fish’ Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag” was the premier Vietnam War protest anthem yet it was a favorite of many Vietnam military personnel. Recently the seventy five year old semi-retired rocker spoke with Patrick Sauer of the New York Times about his accidental stardom. The meeting and the thoughts of Joe McDonald were described in an opinion piece by Sauer in the New York Times titled: Country Joe’s Obscene Truths.
Sauer reports that the accident that led to his rise to stardom as a singer of anti-war songs occurred in 1969 at the monumental Woodstock Music Festival in upstate New York. Carlos Santana was having some delays in getting on stage with his band so the emcee grabbed a performer hanging around backstage to go out and kill a little time. The performer, McDonald, was reluctant to go on stage because he was scheduled to play later in the day but he decided to go on when they presented him with a Yamaha FG 150 guitar tied with a rope in lieu of a strap.
McDonald performed eight songs and the audience showed little interest in any of the numbers. His tour manager suggested he sing his new song he was saving for his performance the following night. The singer walked back out, alone, and called to the masses, “Give me an F!” Suddenly the crowd of half a million rose to their feet and joined in Country Joe McDonald’s antiwar war cry, chanting along from the opening expletive all the way to the “Whoopee! We’re all going to die” capper.
Listen to episode 1035 and discover more about Country Joe McDonald and his famous song.
In episode 1034 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast a special program in Wyoming for special veterans will be highlighted. Hunting with Heroes was set up in 2013 by two Army veterans. One was Dan Currah, a Vietnam Veteran who served in country in 1968-1969. He has been a hunter for 50 years. The other was Colton Sasser a Wyoming native and US Army veteran, wounded in action in Afghanistan in 2012. He has been hunting for 10 years. They believe that getting veterans together to shoot big game is one of the best ways to build friendships and ease lingering pains.
Their Hunting with Heroes program was covered in a story in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle titled: Shooting Blind: Weekend hunting brings disabled veterans together by Austin Huguelet, a writer for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Huguelet described how blind Vietnam Veteran Jerral Brasher with the help of his friend and fellow Vietnam Vet Gordon Benton bagged a pronghorn antelope on a plain in Wyoming. The two were taking part in the Casper-based Hunting with Heroes nonprofit program that gives more than 100 disabled veterans from across Wyoming and the country the chance to hunt each year in the Cowboy State.
In addition to a weekend highlight of big game hunting the veterans are treated to a western dinner each night and will go fishing with the Cheyenne chapter of Project Healing Water Fly Fishing.
The Hunting with Heroes and Healing Water Fly Fishing projects should be highly commended for the work they do for our veterans and they should be fully supported by a grateful nation.
CLICK HERE for instant access to the Hunting with Heroes website and discover how to apply for a hunting trip or help out with a financial donation or land use offer.
CLICK HERE for more information about Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., which is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities.
In episode 1033 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast the story about a brave Vietnam Veteran who served four challenging days in Laos will be featured. On October 27, 2017 former Army medic Gary “Mike” Rose will go to the White House and accept the nation’s highest military’s award. He plans to dedicate his Congressional Medal of Honor to the memory of all the Americans who served in Laos during the Vietnam War.
A story about Rose titled: The Next MOH Recipient Plans To Accept Medal On Behalf Of Everyone Who Served In Laos During Vietnam appeared on The Task and Purpose website. It was submitted by Sarah Sicard, a writer for the website. She describes how in May of 1970, Rose who was the only medic with a 136 man force that was dropped off in Chavane, Laos to conduct Operation Tailwind. The operation lasted four days and had the mission of providing a diversionary action for another CIA operation being carried out further north in Laos.
Chavane is located about 100 miles due west of Tam Ky and a little south west of Da Nang. The force consist of Vietnamese Montagnard fighters, members of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), and Army Special Forces.
The raiders were in contact with opposition forces the entire time they were in Laos. Rose’s actions during the operation were very commendable. He worked continuously, day and night to treat the wounded which numbered more than half the force. For his actions he is belated being awarded the CMOH.
Since the war in Laos was not supposed to be happening according to the official government line, it 28 years before Rose’s bravery was acknowledged.
Listen to episode 1033 of the Vietnam Veteran New and discover the wonderful thing Rose intends to do with his award.
Episode 1032 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be devoted to the memory of Lt. Donald R. Judd of Genesee County, New York. He died on a lonely mountain numbered 1338 on military maps near Dak To in Vietnam.
Judd’s life was featured in The Burns and Novick epic documentary, The Vietnam War. The fourth program titled, “Resolve,” told the story of Donald R. Judd, an outstanding young man who grew up in the Alexander community of Genesee County and attended Notre Dame High School in Batavia. As he matured he showed the obvious promise that earned him an appointment to West Point Military Academy. He graduated from that highly regarded institution in 1966, and within a year found himself assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Kontum Province as they chased the elusive North Vietnamese Army. On June 22, 1967 the NVA found them and proceeded to cut his platoon to pieces.
In an oped for the New York Times Burns and Novick said they hope to persuade Americans to take a “long, hard look” at the war. The continued with: “If we can unpack this enormously complicated event, immerse ourselves in it and see it with fresh eyes, we might come to terms with one of the most consequential, and most misunderstood, events in our history and perhaps inoculate ourselves against the further spread of the virulent disunion that afflicts us.”
As a part of their “unpacking process” they decided to feature Judd’s story. It is a powerful story that is in stark contrast to those of the cowards like deserter, Jack Todd who ran away from serving their country in Vietnam and renounced their citizenship to became Canadians.
Listen to episode 1032 of the Vietnam Veteran News and discover the story about a brave and outstanding young man from Genesee County who served and died in Vietnam for his country.
Episode 1031 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature an examination of one of the pathetically ineffective strategies utilized by our top national leadership in the execution of the war in Vietnam. A story found in The Atlantic Monthly titled: The Computer That Predicted the U.S. Would Win the Vietnam War pretty well sums up the situation. It was provided by Alexis C. Madrigal, a staff writer at The Atlantic. He’s the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.
The story ties in with something this podcaster has been pondering lately while observing the ubiquitous I-phones everyone seems to have these days. Everywhere you look people have their noses glued to their devices. They seem to walk around in mesmerized states following whatever info their device provides. I realized the devices could be something George Orwell’s Big Brother of 1984 infamy would appreciate. With them the government could utilize I-phones to control the population. The wide spread use of I-Phones is preparing the people to readily accept directions from their devices. It would not be a difficult thing for the government to slide into the data flow being fed to a receptive population with controlling instructions. No doubt, members of the Tri-Lateral Commission already have this under consideration and George Soros is funding the program – be on the alert.
Madrigal’s story fits in with this line of thought. In it he describes how the high up managers of the Vietnam War did their best to quantify the war with numbers that could be input into computers which would provide answers to the questions raised by the war they were running in Vietnam. This effort was initially started by Robert McNamara, the whiz kid systems expert from Ford Motor Company who was serving as the Secretary of Defense at the time. The numbers game did not work for the Johnson war administration yet Richard Nixon picked up where McNamara left off when he became president in 1969.
Listen to episode 1031 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast and discover the reason for the futility of trying to reduce the Vietnam War to an analysis of numbers.
Episode 1030 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be a revisit to one of the most distasteful features of the entire American Vietnam experience. It has been addressed in several previous episodes of this podcast. Its egregiousness demands it be aired again. The use of Agent Orange is the issue featured in this episode. It is dedicated to the memory of John Bury who recently passed away after a long battle with several Agent Orange related cancers.
He worked tirelessly right up to his death in his efforts to obtain equity in VA Agent Orange benefits for his fellow compatriots in the Blue Water Navy that served off the shores of Vietnam. The VA refuses to recognize any relation between the Agent Orange related diseases they are suffering from and their service offshore even though the Australians have demonstrated there is a definite connection between the two. It is the belief of this writer the US is denying responsibility for the Blue Water Navy veterans’ conditions because it would open the government up to more claims of Agent Orange harm from anyone passing through the international water offshore from Vietnam.
The trials and tribulations being faced by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans pales only slightly in comparison to those being faced by many in Southeast Asia. Jason Von Meding And Hang Thai wrote an article that appeared in the Conversation website that was titled: How U.S. chemical warfare in Vietnam unleashed an enduring disaster. It describes the “never ending catastrophe” large areas of Southeast Asia are experiencing as a result of the unbridled use of the notorious defoliant Agent Orange during the American War in Vietnam.
Listen to episode 1030 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast and discover what American use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War fifty years ago is still doing to that country and its people to this day.
Episode 1029 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will bring to you a unique perspective of The Vietnam War documentary. It comes from Thanh Tan, the daughter of refugees from South Vietnam who escaped from the workers’ paradise known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1978. She was born in Olympia, Washington and today lives and works in Seattle as a multimedia editorial writer For KOUW.
She has viewed the Burns and Novick documentary The Vietnam War twice. Once in preparation to interview Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for the “Second Wave, her new podcast about American stories with connections to Vietnam. She viewed the 18 hour epic historical saga a second time with her father to gauge his reactions.
Thanh summed up her father’s comments about the program along with her own in an opinion piece she provided for the New York Times titled: What Do Vietnamese-Americans Think of ‘The Vietnam War’? She explained that she was emotionally exhausted by the experience. The fact she was born after the war had ended she discovered like it or not, the Vietnam War is her war, too.
At first she was genuinely surprised by the strongly negative reactions by some of her fellow Vietnamese-Americans to the film. After the first edition of the ten program series, social media lit up with comments like: This is fake news! The producers are Communist sympathizers! It makes the South Vietnamese look bad! It’s another patronizing film made by two white people!
As for her personal feeling about the show, she stated: “I can definitely say I know more about this war now than I did before. I felt gutted at times – a mix of disbelief, anger and profound disappointment in humanity, American foreign policy, and the egotistical leaders who inflicted extreme violence on innocent people.”
Watching it with her father who was a former ARVN officer and listening to his comments added another layer of complexity to the event.
Listen to EPISODE 1029 of the Vietnam Veteran News and discover what Tranh Tan has to say about the program.
CLICK HERE for access to Tranh’s podcast – Second Wave.