617- We left a mess in Vietnam

Project RENEW, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

A Project RENEW explosive ordnance disposal team finds and safely removes 710 rounds of 37-mm armor-piercing projectiles from an abandoned scrap yard near the Rockpile, the former observation post of U.S. Marines from 1966-1968, on May 11, 2016. Courtesy of Project RENEW

In this episode we will talk about one of the many messes we left in Vietnam. In the estimation of the writer the biggest mess we left over there is the Agent Orange legacy. A legacy of sickness and deformed children. Another mess we left in country was that of unexploded ordinances. Many of the bombs dropped did not go off when they hit the ground but they still could pack a punch if disturbed. As a Cobra gunship pilot, the writer observed many cluster bombs being dropped by our Air Force and wondering if all those fireworks bomblets were going off. According to a story in the Stars and Stripes titled: Death from war-era bomb highlights challenge that remains in Vietnam submitted by Erik Slavin they did not all explode upon impact.

Unexploded ordinance is not a major problem for the Vietnamese. It is not as threatening as say an invasion by China but it is a headache that will not go away without a little help. The Stars and Stripes story reports that “In 2004, 34 people died and 54 more were injured by war explosives in Quang Tri province, according to RENEW statistics. In 2015, three deaths and four injuries were attributed to such explosives.”

Chuck Searcy, is a Vietnam veteran and international adviser for Project RENEW, which coordinates with Quang Tri government and international nongovernmental organizations to clear munitions, assist victims and support post-clearance development. He said this about the situation: “A lot of veterans and American citizens feel we have a moral obligation to try to bring closure to these issues,”

Searcy said this about the situation: “It’s time to wrap up the effort and try to really put in place systems that will allow the Vietnamese to deal with these issues, and manage them in the best way possible in the future. That’s the best contribution the U.S. could make. We seem to be focusing in that direction — and it’s the right thing to do.”

Many Vietnam Veterans feel more effort should be made to find the whereabouts of our POWs and MIA remains. What is your opinion? Feel free to state your opinion on the subject.


617- We left a mess in Vietnam — 3 Comments

  1. Was at Firebase Sarge, overlooking Dong Ha Mountain. Lots of agennt orange was dropped at thebase of thee mountain… alot of ordinance fell on trail that Viet Cong would use as we could see the DMZ and the North Vietnamese Flag from the top ofour position… Every day a group of ARVN would walk d
    own the mountain and put white sheets over the Viet Cong. that were killed I still remember even to this day actually seeing the guys get blown up. Sgt Brian A Leon TDY/With the 101st 1968 69 70

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