833 – Mike Scruggs points to big mistake number 12 of the Vietnam War

Stan Laurel with a Vietnam decision maker expression. Vietnam Veteran News, mack payne

Stan Laurel with a Vietnam decision maker expression.

In the previous episode we talked about the “Moving Wall” Vietnam Memorial being staged for an appearance May 11-15, 2017 in Gadsden, Alabama. All in the North Alabama area are encouraged to go and visit the Memorial. They will see a replica of the Monument in Washington DC displaying the 58,300 names of the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Vietnam War. Most all visitors to the Memorial are overwhelmed by the enormity of the grief caused by the those untimely deaths.

Due to the monumental heartache wrought by the Vietnam War it is imperative for all in this country to examine that harsh episode of our history so as to minimize the probability of a recurrence of such catastrophic events.

Mike Scruggs, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Air Force Vietnam Veteran Mike Scruggs

Air Force Vietnam Veteran Mike Scruggs has written extensively about the Vietnam War. Recently he wrote a column for The Tribune Papers of Asheville, North Carolina titled: The Biggest Political Mistakes of the Vietnam War. In the piece he talked about big mistake number 12 our leaders committed in that war. That opinion will be featured in this episode.

Scruggs believes our leaders running the war did not understand that both Marxist and  Islamic doctrines resort to truces only to build up strength to defeat the enemy.  Those doctrines allow only three reasons to negotiate:

  1. To consolidate a victory.
  2. To stave off defeat.
  3. To open a new front.

The actions of President Johnson and Robert McNamara lead one to believe they either did not comprehend Marxist doctrine or they did not have the wherewithal to deal with the challenge.

President Nixon understood the challenge but Scruggs argues he was hounded by a hostile media and Congressional opposition to the point of coercing him to settle for an imperfect agreement with the Communists. The Paris Peace Accords eventually led to the North taking over the South.

One of the short comings of the deal for us and our South Vietnamese allies was the allowing of 220,000 NVA troops to remain in the South after the agreement.

Let’s hope succeeding leadership of our country takes note of mistakes made in the Vietnam War and does not repeat them. We do not want any more memorials in Washington with 58,000 names of fallen heroes etched on its black walls.

Recommended Reading:

The Vietnam War, Truths the Media Never Told You, vietnam veteran news, mack payne


832 – Vietnam War ‘Moving Wall’ coming to Gadsden, Alabama

vietnam moving wall, vietnam veteran news, mack payne


After all these years America is finally beginning to see it’s Vietnam Veterans as the heroes they truly are. Across this great nation from coast to coast and border to border celebrations are being conducted in towns large and small recognizing the service of Vietnam Veterans and issuing them the thanks and recognition that was due them many years ago. On behalf of myself and all the other Vietnam Veterans, it is better late than never and we appreciate it greatly.

In this episode one of those appreciation events will be featured. It was described in a story found in The Gadsden Times titled: Vietnam War ‘Moving Wall’ coming to town and was submitted by Benjamin Nunnally a Times Staff Writer. Nunnally told how the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association is planning on bringing the Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the monument in Washington, to Gadsden, Alabama on May 11-15. The Moving Wall will be on display at the Convention Hall at 344 S 1st St in Gadsden.

In addition to the appearance of the Wall, the city plans to dedicate its 12th Street between Meighan Boulevard and Interstate 59 as the “Vietnam Memorial Parkway,” and the “Vietnam Veterans Honor Bridge” on Alabama Highway 77 in Southside to honor its Vietnam Veterans.

To help defray the expense of bringing the Wall to Gadsden, Sheriff Todd Entrekin will donate time from his officers and volunteer staff, including the reserve unit and chaplain team, to ensure security at the monument, without a charge to the association.

According to John Graham, chairman of the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association, an additional $9,000 needs to be raised to make the event a reality. All who care about honoring Vietnam Veterans no matter where you live are encouraged to make a contribution to the Association.

To make a contribution, send a check with the word “Wall” on the memo line to  the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association, 342 S. First St., Gadsden, Alabama 35901. You can call 256-467-4042 for more information.

831 – Texas Vietnam Vets mark Tet Offensive

Tet Reunion, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

More than 600 Vietnam veterans and their families took part in the 30th annual Tet Reunion on Saturday at the Taylor County Expo Center.(Photo: Dan Carpenter/Special the Reporter-News)

Psychologists tell us it is good for people to get together and talk in order to reduce stress and bad thoughts vibes. About 700 Vietnam Veterans and family members took that advice to heart recently. They got together at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, Texas to reminisce about the Tet Offensive and other things. The event was reported on in The Abilene Reporter-News with an article titled: Veterans share stories at Tet Reunion that was submitted by Dan Carpenter in a Special to the Reporter-News.

Carpenter told about how thirty years ago retired Marine Sgt. Major Troy Hensley and eleven of his friends got together and started the Tet Reunion. The purpose of the reunion was for Vietnam Veterans who experienced the Tet Offensive in Vietnam that took place in February of 1968 to gather and share stories about the event.

Over the years attendance at the reunions continued to grow that now upwards of 700 veterans and family members attend the events. Hensley who lives in Wingate, Texas tells about the times Vietnam Veterans meet at the Tet Reunion who haven’t seen each other for decades react. After the shocked looks all they can do is hug each other. At this year’s reunion in addition to reminiscing about the Offensive there was a POW/MIA ceremony, a 50th anniversary Vietnam War pinning ceremony and a mock USO show, which culminated with the playing of “God Bless the USA,” while everyone waved miniature American flags.

The Tet Offensive was memorable in that it was the first time the Viet Cong and NVA forces made coordinated overt attacks on all the towns, large and small, in the country. What was a major defeat for the Communist forces was turned into a tremendous victory for the forces of darkness, the Communists. This unusual turn of events was heralded in by none other than the most trusted man in America – Walter Cronkite. Go figure!

Tet Reunion, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Hats from all branches of service were on display at the 30th annual Tet Reunion on Saturday at the Taylor County Expo Center. (Photo: Dan Carpenter/Special the Reporter-News)

830 – Ted Durante celebrates his time in Vietnam

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Ted Durante displays a hat on January 21, 2017, commemorating his time with the Navy as a Seabee in Vietnam during the war. He strived to embrace the positive aspects of his experience and warmly remembers his time working with Vietnamese sailors and builders to provide shelter and infrastructure of their families.

In this episode Mack Payne, the podcaster, will be sharing a “feel good” story with the listeners about an upbeat Vietnam Veteran named Ted Durante from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Gayle M. Irwin wrote a story about Ted for The Casper Star Tribune titled: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ted Durante, Cheyenne.

Ted served in Vietnam with the Navy Seabees. His time in country was a little unique in that he served a full twelve month tour all in the same calendar year. He got to Vietnam on the first of January of 1971 and his plane ride home on December 31 arrived at Oakland, California at the stroke of midnight just in time for the planeload of returnees to see a massive fireworks display as they landed.

As a result of his experience of working summer construction jobs during high school in Cheyenne, he decided to opt for the Navy Seabees when he joined the military to beat the draft. He had another ulterior motive in entering the military and that was to qualify for the G.I. Bill. You can tell from that Ted was person of wisdom beyond his years.

In Vietnam he was assigned to a small team of advisors and Seabees that was tasked with building housing for Vietnamese Naval personnel and their dependents. Ted came away from that assignment with a great deal of satisfaction and respect for the Vietnamese people.  He put it this way: “The South Vietnamese people, sailors and their families are just like all the rest of us – they’re fathers, they’re brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles … they raise families just like we do.”

After his hitch in the Navy, Ted went to college then went back to working in construction where he put his knowledge of building as a Navy Seabee to work. He did that for eighteen years. In 1989 he became a civilian construction inspector and quality controller for the Department of Defense. He worked at F.E. Warren Air Force Base for 23 years. He stayed in the Naval Reserves after his active duty in Vietnam.

He retired in May 2012 but he still serves the military by volunteering with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. He now serves as the state chair for the ESGR committee, and he helped plan the 2015 Wyoming Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event.

Durante remains upbeat about his Vietnam experience. Hope you enjoy listening to his story on the podcast.

Ted Durante, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Ted Durante helps Vietnamese sailors unload concrete block form a US Navy truck to build housing.

Ted Durante, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Ted Durante leans against a supply truck alongside a nervous Vietnamese soldier, Durante was driving a supply truck toward DaNang to procure construction materials when the vehicle broke down on a bridge. He quickly had to convince the South Vietnamese bridge guards that he wasn’t trying to ambush them of blow up the bridge – a common tactic of the Viet Cong guerrilla warfare.

Ted Durante, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Ted Durante spent the first half of his tour near a South Vietnamese military base that often endured mortar strikes. Traveling on the nearby river was unsafe, so some of the boats were outfitted with defenses, such as the M60 machine gun pictured.


829 – Florida Congressman files new Agent Orange bill


Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Leroy Foster being interviewed by WFLA Channel 8 Investigative Reporter Steve Andrews.

Recently in the great State of Florida in the city of Lakeland three entities came together and produced something hopeful. The story about this interesting coming together is described in a story on WFLA News Channel 8 of Tampa, Florida titled: Lakeland veteran fights to get out the truth, honored by Congressman and was submitted by Channel 8 Investigative Reporter Steve Andrews.

Party of the first part was retired Air Force Master Sgt. Leroy Foster. For thirty years he has been trying and fighting to expose the truth about the ravages of Agent Orange, the infamous herbicide that was used extensively during the Vietnam War. Today Foster is beset with five cancers and 28 auto-immune diseases that are suspiciously similar to those caused by exposure to the dioxin found in Agent Orange. The problem for the Air Force retiree is that he served at Andersen AFB on Guam during the Vietnam War so he is excluded from receiving Agent Orange benefits. He did not have “boots on the ground” and in addition to that the VA asserts the dastardly herbicide was never used in Guam. The problem is that Foster helped apply thousands of gallons of a weed killer that came packaged in 55 gallon drums with orange stripes and was labeled herbicides by Dow Chemical. In other words it appears the VA is lying about the subject of the use and presence of Agent Orange in Guam during the Vietnam War, to Foster’s detriment.

Party of the second part to this story is WFLA TV’s Target 8 Program. In January reporter Steve Andrews interviewed Foster and brought his story to light. Foster said this about the WFLA reporter: “You guys are giving people with no voice, a voice, and you’re giving them hope that they’re being heard.” Andrews reporting for Target 8 led to the EPA launching an investigation.

The third party to this story is Congressman Ross. After hearing Foster’s story he was moved to file a bill in Congress he calls the “Foster Act.” Specifically it is known as HR-809 and its purpose is to expand Agent Orange treatment and benefits to veterans who served in certain areas of Thailand, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and for good measure he is including the Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans into the mix.

828 – Rancho Cordova, California to honor Vietnam Era Vets

Rancho Cordova, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

The City of Rancho Cordova will honor all Vietnam War-era Veterans with a recognition event on Thursday, March 30th from 7-8 p.m., at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive.

When Vietnam Veterans came home from that war many times they were treated like yesterday’s garbage. It was quite a letdown from their expectations. After serving and surviving a year in Vietnam where they endured tough circumstances as they battled a determined and elusive enemy in a challenging environment they had high expectations of a big welcome home from country and loved ones. Unfortunately those expectations of a big welcome home replete with parades, barbecue events and lots of yellow ribbons failed to materialize.

Vietnam Veterans were treated as if they were a stranger knocking on our collective door in the middle of the night and there was no answer from their country inside and their words were not heard. It was a terrible thing to endure for the veterans.

Thank the good Lord, America is a great nation and finally the day is dawning for a new appreciation for its Vietnam Veterans. The nation is at last beginning the see its Vietnam Veterans as the heroes they are. An effort by the Department of Defense known as the 50th Year Commemoration of the Vietnam War is leading the way in encouraging the holding of events to honor the veterans. Following the lead of the DOD Program events are being held across the country.

In this episode one of those events that will honor Vietnam Era Veterans will be highlighted. A press release in The Carmichael Times titled: Rancho Cordova Is Honoring Vietnam Vets from the City of Rancho Cordova tells about the occasion. The City of Rancho Cordova will honor all Vietnam War-era Veterans with a recognition event on Thursday, March 30th from 7-8 p.m., at Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive.

All who were members of the armed forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 are invited to attend the event. Each veteran in attendance will be presented with a lapel pin and proclamation as a lasting memento of the nation’s gratitude. All qualifying veterans in Central California are encouraged to attend along with all those who would like to show their support and respect for those veterans.

More information for the event and reservations can be obtained from City Clerk Mindy Cuppy at (916) 851-8721 or mcuppy@cityofranchocordova.org.

827 – Vietnam Vet Darnell Childress appreciates Navy experience

US Navy Vietnam Veteran Darnell Childress, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

US Navy Vietnam Veteran Darnell Childress

In this episode to the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast another outstanding representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation will be featured. His Name is Darnell Childress and he served in the US Navy. Recently a friend of this podcast, Skip Vaughn, editor of the Redstone Rocket, wrote a piece about Darnell. It was placed in the Redstone Rocket website theredstonerocket.com. It was titled: Vietnam-era veteran loves Navy colors.

The gist of the story is that military service is beneficial and even more so military service in Vietnam. In Vaughn’s story Darnell tells how the Navy provided him with stability in life when he was a young man looking for direction. He decided the Navy could provide what he was looking for in life.

The learning process for Darnell came soon after his induction into the US Navy during boot camp at Orlando, Florida. He said “Four weeks of it was straight to hell, Yeah, buddy, they were breaking you in then.” The Navy quickly transformed Darnell the troubled teenager from the Edmonton Heights area in Huntsville into a man.

Darnell summarized his philosophy as follows: “You can’t take a hill by standing at the base, talking about it, you’ve got to go up the hill and take it. It’s the structure and the belief that it’s in all of us to overcome any obstacle that’s put in our way, but you know the most important thing is that the military always teaches you this uniform is not just to make you better as a person but it’s to make America better as a country.”

Darnell is one of the reasons history shows the Vietnam Veteran Generation is as great as any out there. For instance, 97% of them received honorable discharges, they maintained lower unemployment rates and earned 20% more than their non veteran contemporaries.

826 – Vietnam Vet Jim Gorman named hometown hero

Jim Gorman, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Jim Gorman holds a plaque and check he recently received for being selected as a People’s Bank Hometown Hero. Pictured, from left, are Candace Frump with People’s Bank, Highland County Veterans Honor Guard member Dwight Reynolds, Gorman, Honor Guard members Bill McCarty and Jerry Wilkin, and Amanda Hall, People’s Bank Hillsboro branch manager.

2.7 Million Americans put on a uniform and went off to serve their country in Vietnam. The vast majority of them served their country well in war and peace. 97% of those who served in Vietnam received an honorable discharge. The records show they were better people as a result of their time in country. Vietnam Veterans had lower unemployment rates and earned on average 18% more than their non-veteran contemporaries. They were less likely to go to prison and they did not have higher drug usage levels than non vets.

In is estimated that of the 2.7 million who served in Vietnam, 850,000 are still with us today living the good life. Jim Gorman, one of those Vietnam Veterans still with us today was recently named a hometown hero in Hillsboro, Ohio. A story about him and his award was in The Times-Gazette of Hillsboro, Ohio. It was titled: Vietnam veteran selected as a Hometown Hero and was submitted by Jeff Gilliland.

Gilliland said in his piece that “Gorman should have never been sent to Vietnam. He probably never should have been wounded and suffered through months in hospitals and other issues.” It seems that back in 1968 Gorman was a 19 year old sole surviving son whose father had died four years prior. He had taken over management of the family farm and was supporting his mother and four sisters. Apparently the local draft board figured they needed him more in Vietnam so he was drafted and sent off to fight in Vietnam.

On March 8, 1969 he was wounded in action and had to suffer through numerous surgeries during his recovery. Unfortunately the Army lost track of him for a while along with his shot record. As a result his pay was held up for two months and he had to repeat all his shot inoculations. Through all that he kept his sense of humor and positive attitude.

He came home and continued to serve his country as a farmer and postal service employee. He joined every veterans organization he could and continued serving. He was recently recognized for his service when the People’s Bank of Hillsboro presented Gorman with a Hometown Heroes Award along with a check for $500. He immediately donated the $500 the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard.

Jim Gorman is an excellent representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation.

825 – Vietnamese immigration comparison exposes hypocrisy


Refugees, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

This episode will deal with immigration to the USA. Currently there is much consternation afoot throughout the nation and in other parts of the world that was kicked off by an order from President Trump. The dastardly thing he did was carry out a campaign promise. Specifically he put into effect a six week temporary hold on immigration from seven countries former President Obama declared as most likely to spawn terrorists intent upon harming this country and its citizens.

That action has put opposition politicians (primarily Democrats) in a tizzy. It even brought the minority Senate leader Senator Schumer to tears and caused George Soros to loose his professional protestors to do their havoc raising activities.

Dealing with refugees is an important function of government. It is eye opening to examine how previous refugee crises after crises have been handled. Unfortunately for the naysayers in the current refugee maelstrom, history is proving them to be nothing more than a bunch of pathetic hypocrites.

There was an observation about refugees in The PowerLine blog titled: The left’s view of refugees, then and now posted by Paul Mirengoff. He took a look at the rush of refugees after the Vietnam War. Mirengoff pointed out in his post that some of the same players engaging in the vituperation of Trump’s immigration policy were singing a totally different tune when it came to Vietnamese refugees.

Governor Jerry Brown of California and Joe Biden of foot in the mouth fame were a part of the left wing objection to letting in Vietnamese trying to escape Communist tyranny in their home country. Apparently they were unhappy about letting in the Vietnamese people who had the audacity to fight against the saintly “Uncle Ho Chi Minh” and his murderous cohorts.

In the current refugee crises the same pack of jackals who railed against accepting Vietnamese refugees are all in favor of admitting hordes of refugees from the middle east that contain those who want to do harm to Americans and our way of life. I don’t recall every hearing Vietnamese refugees making the same threats.

Listen to the podcast and you decide. Your comments are welcome.

824 – Vietnam Vet Lawrence Ashton honored in Fayetteville

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Lawrence Ashton, a Vietnam War veteran, salutes a Marine as he receives a welcome home pin Saturday. A paver in his honor was placed in front of the Iron Mike statute at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.

In the two previous episodes of this podcast the stories of two fallen heroes of Vietnam were featured. The stories had to do with the families of the veterans who did not come home finding “closure.” One was about Gerald Woods who flew with the Comancheros of the 101st Airborne Division. He died on a mission to extract a CNN team in Laos. He remained were not recovered so the family was never able to close the book on their loss until something wonderful happened that brought them closure (see what that was in episode 822).

The other story was about an Air Force pilot, Robert Russell Barnett, who died on a bombing mission in Laos. As with Woods his remains could not be recovered at the time due to terrain and hostile people in the area. Much to the family’s relief after many years of searching enough of his remains were recovered that enabled them to have a burial ceremony for their loved one lost in war.

In this episode a living Vietnam Veteran will be highlighted. His name is Lawrence Ashton. He not only is still living but he is still married to the same woman who bore him seven children. Last Saturday, his wife and all seven children sprung a surprise on him at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The event was covered in a story in The Fayetteville Observer titled: Vietnam War veteran honored at Airborne & Special Operations Museum By Steve DeVane Staff writer (devanes@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3572).

DeVane tells how the family brought Ashton who is a Vietnam Veteran that served both in the US Marine Corps and the US Army to the museum for a visit without telling him he would be honored in a special ceremony. He was surprised to discover a paver stone bearing his name was being dedicated. It made his day. Get the whole story in the podcast episode.

If you know a special veteran you would like to honor, an excellent way to do that is with a paver stone dedication at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. CLICK HERE to discover how that can be done.