1110 – An Aussie view of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive

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A M107 175 mm self-propelled gun being fired in support of the US Marines at Khe Sanh.

Troy Lennon, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Troy Lennon of The Daily Telegraph

Episode 1110 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature the take of an Australian on the Siege of Khe Sanh, the Tet Offensive of 1968 and General William C. Westmoreland’s role in the affairs. Troy Lennon of The Daily Telegraph Wrote a story for the Perth Now – Sunday Times titled: US General Westmoreland left his reputation to the sappers round Khe Sanh that was published in the paper on January 19, 2018.

This particular story is featured because we are in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive that occurred during the Vietnam War. The official start date is cited to be February 1, 1968.

The Tet Offensive was a big deal from several angles. First, it was the first time in the America phase of the Indo-Chinese conflict that ran on from 1945 to 1975 that all the elements of the National Liberation Front (NLF) backed up by the NVA openly attacked metropolitan regions of South Vietnam. It turned out to be a loss of epic proportions for the North and their NLF confederates. They held no town or city for more than a day or so except at the City of Hue. There it took the US Marines and US Army 1st Calvary Division a few days to root out the murderous attackers. The attackers suffered the loss of over 50,000 fighters killed in action.

Secondly even though militarily it was a loss for the North it was considered a tremendous defeat for the US and the South Vietnamese. Another aspect of the Tet Offensive was the realization that the attack on the Marine base at Khe Sanh was only a diversion from the upcoming Offensive.

Make sure you listen to episode 1110 and get the full story from an Australian about the momentous Battle of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive of 1968.

1109 – Vietnam Vet machine gunner shows the way

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Vietnam Vet Billy Moore with his war time mementos.

Episode 1109 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Vietnam Vet Billy Moore of Meridianville, Alabama that has an important message for all Americans. The story was submitted to The Redstone Rocket by Skip Vaughn the Rocket editor. It is titled: Draftee becomes machine gunner in infantry unit.

Vaughn has written a book titled Vietnam Revisited that shares the personal stories of Vietnam Veterans. He continued telling these stories after being inspired by the DOD 50 Year Anniversary Commemoration Program. In 2015 he began interviewing Vietnam veterans and Vietnam-era veterans for the Redstone Rocket. The his latest story featuring Billy Moore of is the 152nd in the series of articles.

Billy Moore is another of those outstanding representatives of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation – one as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from our country. Not only did he serve his country in the Vietnam War but he came home and weathered the storm of attacks by misguided anti-war protesters to continue serving his country as a policeman in the Huntsville area.

Even though he was drafted in March 1968 he followed in the footsteps of his father and two uncles who were drafted and served in World War II. He was sent to Vietnam post haste after his basic and advanced individual training. There he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. He became a member of the Manchus – D Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment.

When he arrived in D Company he was assigned to carry a 25 pound M-60 machine gun because the previous machine gunner had been shot the day before. He carried an M-60 during his entire tour in Vietnam and found it was much safer that walking point or on the flank.

Listen to episode 1109 and discover Vietnam Vet Billy Moore’s story of service to his country in and out of the military plus his important message for all Americans.

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1108 – US Marine Vietnam Vet OK’d for CMoH per Tet Offensive deeds

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Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Canley, who has received a recommendation from Congress to receive a Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Hue City in 1968. (Image: Alpha Company web site)

Episode 1108 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast hill highlight the story about US Marine John Canley being approved to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Richard Sisk wrote the story that appeared on The Military.com website that was titled: Marine Gunny Gets Medal of Honor Nod for Battle of Hue Actions.

According to Sisk, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis backed a proposal put forth by Julia Brownley, a Congressional Representative from California to upgrade the Navy Cross awarded to John Canley, then a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Vietnam to the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Hue City in 1968.

Mattis stated he would provide his endorsement to the president as soon as Congress waived the five-year limit for recommending the Medal of Honor. In a show of rare agreement Congress did the right thing for this brave Marine. Brownley reported that the House waived the time limit on Dec. 21 and the Senate took similar action Thursday.

Canley was originally awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the Battle of Hue City in 1968. Now the only thing standing in the way of him receiving the upgraded award is a signature by President Trump. It is highly unlikely that will not happen due to the President’s high opinion of the nation’s armed forces members.

This action is coming none too soon. According to Brownley, the 80-year-old Canley, of Oxnard, California, who retired as a sergeant major and is reportedly battling cancer. It is important that the nation show its respect to this Vietnam Veteran with this award while he is still alive to see it.

Don’t miss listening to the complete episode 1108 and being enlightened by the story of the brave US Marine John Canley and how he earned a nod for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the Tet Offensive of 1968 in Vietnam.

1107 – Vietnam – the mother of all stimulus packages

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American contractors building a bridge across the Saigon River during the Vietnam War.

Mel Schenck, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Mel Schenck

Episode 1107 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight the tremendous logistics program created by the US to support the Vietnam War. Mel Schenck is an American architect who served with the US Navy in Saigon in 1971-72. He has lived and worked in Saigon, Vietnam, for the past 12 years. Recently he submitted a story titled: The Largest Military Construction Project in History to The New York Times that reviewed the logistical side of the Vietnam War in detail.

Schenck’s story flipped on the light switch in the dark room that houses the incredible story of how the Vietnam War US military machine was supplied with “beans and bullets.” Prior to the decision by US leadership to send a large military commitment to Vietnam it had been a French colony for a century. The main goal of the French in Indo-China was to exploit the region with little interest in building any infrastructure systems beyond what was necessary to extract whatever  products the country had to offer. In 1965 was in effect a basic rural country.

 Too often historians only look at the costs of the war in a zero-sum gain situation. The fact that the Vietnam War was one of the largest and most successful military economic stimuli in our history is ignored. It was often incorrectly stated that we were throwing away billions in an unwinnable war as if we were dropping off pallets of cash out of the rear of C-130 aircraft over the jungles of the former Indo-China countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The truth is we were metaphorically dropping pallets of cash to businesses here in the states that were producing what the military needed to pursue the War in Vietnam. More boatloads of cash went into building facilities in country to handle the freight.

Listen to episode 1107 and discover the tremendous magnitude of the logistical program that went into supporting the war effort in Vietnam.

1106 – Refugee Ich Nguyen gave immigration a good name

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Ich Nguyen was an officer in the Vietnamese Navy, and during the war he was sent to a concentration camp. He eventually fled Vietnam with his wife and son, made their way to Hartford and was granted political asylum. (Family Photo)

Episode 1106 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast highlights the story of Ich Nguyen, an anti-communist fighter during the Vietnam War and a refugee who made his way to America and left a tremendous impression following his untimely recent passing. A story by Anne M. Hamilton about him was published recently in The Hartford Courant titled: Extraordinary Life: After Suffering Of War, A Vietnamese Immigrant Lived A Life Of Faith.

The life of Ich Nguyen is closely connected with two hot topics that rage across the current news and editorial scene in America today. One has to do with the Vietnam War and one of its underlying speculative suspicions. The Ken Burns/Lynn Novick epic documentary The Vietnam War and the Tom Hanks/Meryl Streep movie The Post both make it appear the Vietnam War was only a vanity game played by several presidents who did not want to be tagged by history as being the one who lost Vietnam.

Ich Nguyen’s experiences put that notion to bed. He demonstrated we were there for a definite and worthwhile reason. We had to stand up to the growth of communism even though in the case of Vietnam it was being used as a tool in the struggle to reunite a divided country. Ironically the people on the side using the wretched bankrupt theory as a strategic lever were not happy with its principles.

The other current topic addressed by Nguyen’s life story is that of immigration. His contributions to his adopted country were impressively tremendous. This country is a better place due to people like Ich Nguyen. Properly administered and devoid of political machinations, immigration is a wonderful thing and should be encouraged.

It would be wonderful if the leaders of this country could engineer and administer immigration policies with the inspiration of Ich Nguyen in mind.

Listen to episode 1106 and discover the story of Ich Nguyen, an amazing Vietnamese refugee who gives immigration to this country a good name.

1105 – Phoenixville honors a Vietnam Vet’s memory

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John A. Polefka, Phoenixville, PA, died August 31, 1969 in Vietnam.

Episode 1105 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about a wonderful thing being done in Phoenixville, PA to honor a fallen Vietnam Veteran from their community. Writer Justin Heinze of the Patch staff wrote the story about the action found in The Phoenixville Patch titled: Phoenixville Classmates Honor Student Killed In Vietnam War.

John A. Polefka is the Vietnam Veteran being honored. He was a member of the class of 1968 at the Phoenixville Area High School. He joined the US Army as soon as he hit his 18th birthday and was sent straight to Vietnam after his initial training. On Aug. 31, 1969 he was killed in a rocket attack near Binh Long, Vietnam. Fellow members of the class of 1968 have organized a scholarship drive in his memory.

1968 Class President Chas Kopp said: “A group of classmates got together and really wanted to do something special and unique as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. Honoring John and, by extension, all those who have served, seemed like a really fitting thing to do especially as we also wanted to give a ‘hand up’ to graduating PAHS seniors who, as John did, intend to serve their country.”

Across the nation from coast to coast and border to border events are taking place where Vietnam Veterans are receiving belated gratitude and recognition for their service in that divisive War. What the good people in Phoenixville, PA are doing to honor one of their own fallen Vietnam Veterans shows tremendous caring and appreciation. They are setting a fine example for all to follow.

CLICK HERE  to make a donation to the scholarship drive that will honor the memory of John A. Polefka.

Listen to episode 1105 and discover more about John A Palefka and how he is being honored in his hometown of Phoenixville, PA

1104 – Machiavelli and the Vietnam War

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Niccolo Machiavelli

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Peter Lucas

Episode 1104 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about how something Niccolo Machiavelli wrote back in 1517 is still applicable to current events to this very day – even to the Vietnam War. Peter Lucas recently wrote a piece for The Lowell Sun of Lowell, Massachusetts titled: Breaking traditional norms of the presidency that explains how Machiavelli’s wisdom of yesteryear is still pertinent.

In 1517 the Italian political scientist wrote The Prince. It had to do with a protracted study of how to get and hold on to political power. His goal in writing the book was to describe how great men in government operated and the principles of orderly government in plain language.

Lucas chose one of Machiavelli’s arguments to show how the book still offers valuable guidance today. The principle he illustrated was Machiavelli advice for a leader that at times its “a very wise thing to simulate madness.” Lucas began his assertion by presenting the current situation with President Trump. Except for one particular news outlet all news agencies along with their confederates in the Congress have been calling the new president insane ever since he did something they all said could not be done – defeat Hillary Clinton.

As time goes by it appears more and more like Trump is playing all his critics like a fiddle by using the aforementioned Machiavelli principle. Apparently he is not the first president to use the tactic. President Nixon allegedly used it during the Vietnam War.

According to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff, the president stated this unusual proposal to help in ending the War: “I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, ‘for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button’ and Ho Chi Minh (the North Vietnamese leader) will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”

Listen to the entire episode number 1104 of the podcast to get the most out of Peter Lucas’ piece explaining how modern day presidents are using Niccolo Machiavelli’s idea on how to deal with opponents.

1103 – National Vietnam War Museum starts new project

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Dr. Jim Messinger stands alongside the Captain’s Gig which belonged to the Destroyer USS Semmes, (DDG 18). The vessel has become part of a restoration project at the National Vietnam War Museum. Lance Winter Weatherford Star-Telegram

Episode 1103 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight the latest project being undertaken by the National Vietnam War Museum. The Museum is beginning the task of restoring a donated captain’s gig. It is a vessel that was utilized during the Vietnam War Era aboard the Destroyer USS Semmes.

Lance Winter (lwinter@star-telegram.com) of the Weatherford Star-Telegram wrote a story about the announcement that appeared in The Weatherford Star Telegram titled: Restoration project begins on Captain’s Gig at National Vietnam War Museum. In his story it was noted that Dr. Jim Messinger, the treasurer of the NVWM, stated in the announcement the Museum is not just a tribute to Army aviation and its role in the War. He went on to say: “We intended to follow our mission statement which is to promote an understanding of the Vietnam War Era while honoring those that served.”

Listen to episode 1103 of the podcast and discover the whole story about the National Vietnam War Museum’s latest project of restoring the captain’s gig that was used on the USS Semmes for many years.

The Museum needs your help to continue its mission of helping the nation remember the Vietnam War and its veterans.

If you would like to donate time, money or even parts restoring the Captain’s Gig, contact Ron Chandler at 817-223-8926. Or email questions to: legionpost163@aol.com

Make checks payable to The National Vietnam War Museum, P.O. Box 1779, Weatherford, TX 76086 and indicate on the check that your donation is to be applied to the Captain’s Gig fund.

 Donors will be recognized as follows:

▪ Captain for a donation of $5,000.

▪ Be the OOD (Officer Of the Deck) $2,500.

▪ Or Master Chief Petty Officer for $1,000.

All donors will be recognized with a memorial sign near the restored boat.

Of course any amount will be accepted for the Museum, just be sure to send a note with your donation that specifies funds are for the Captain’s Gig if that is your desire.

1102 – Vietnam Vet Tommy Kimbel stays in touch with fellow vets

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Vietnam Veteran Tommy Kimbel

Episode 1102 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature Tommy Kimbel, a Vietnam Veteran who served as a member of the US Navy in Vietnam. He lives in Jackson, Missouri today and Skip Vaughn the Redstone Rocket editor recently submitted a story to The Redstone Rocket website titled: Navy veteran keeps in contact with battle buddies that described his service to his country during the Vietnam War and afterwards.

Kimbel’s story is being highlighted because he is an another excellent representative of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation, one as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from our country. What he has done through his entire life verifies the fact that when Vietnam Veterans came home from that war they were older, wiser, stronger and better able to cope the a wide array of life challenges.

When he returned home from the war, the way he and many other returning veterans were treated was shameful and a blot on this county’s honor. Kimbel was turned away when he tried to join the Veterans of Foreign War chapter in Scott City his home town. Later he was refused entry in the American Legion post in Jackson. Finally he was allowed to join VFW Post 3838 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where his father belonged, and he remains a member to this day.

Despite having to suffer the indignity of being shunned by patriotic organizations like the VFW and American Legion simply due the fact he was a Vietnam Veteran he persevered and continued serving his country and community in a variety of military and civilian pursuits.

Tommy Kimbel is another one of those Americans we should all be thankful for and they should always be appreciated for their service to their country.

Listen to episode 1102 and discover more about Vietnam Veteran Tommy Kimbel of Jackson, Missouri and how he has served his country.

1101 – Edward Lansdale and the Vietnam saga

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Edward Lansdale in the 40s.

Episode 1101 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature one of the most remarkable players to come out of the never ending Vietnam saga. The vehicle for this examination of Edward G. Lansdale’s role in the saga will be a story in The New York Times titled: The War That Never Goes Away that was submitted by Fredrik Logevall is a professor of history and international affairs at Harvard and is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.”

Logevall in the story is reviewing Max Boot’s new book, “The Road Not Taken,” that describes the career and opinions of Lansdale. Once the reader removes enough of the onion layers of Logevall’s piece it becomes clear America should be very thankful for citizens like Edward Lansdale.

He served his country quite well and produced highly valuable results throughout his career. He graduated from UCLA in 1931 and began a career in advertising and became quite proficient in the profession. When America entered World War II Lansdale who was already an officer in the reserves entered the US Army. Because of his experience in advertising was assigned to the propaganda arm of the service which later became the OSS. That gave him the opportunity to work as an intelligence officer under the notable “Wild Bill” Donovan. He was ideally suited for work because he possessed an unusual ability to relate to other people, he was imbued with a strong stereotypical American can-do optimism, he was impatient with bureaucracy and had a fascination with psychological warfare. It was here that he decided this type work would be his life’s work.

Listen to podcast 1101 and discover all the things Logevall had to say about Max Boots book about the exploits of Edward G. Lansdale, CIA operative extraordinaire.

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