1118 – Friendly Vietnam invites US aircraft carrier for tea

Jim Mattis - Ngo Xuan Lich, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich before reviewing and honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Episode 1118 of the Vietnam Veteran News will feature a story about the first visit to Vietnam by a US aircraft carrier since the end of the American Vietnam War. A story titled: US to send first aircraft carrier to Vietnam since war from the Associated Press appeared in The New York Post.

The AP story described how the idea of having a US aircraft carrier visit Vietnam was first raised last summer of 2017 when Vietnamese defense chief Ngo Xuan Lich met U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon. It appears the higher ups on both sides approved the visit invitation. It looks like a US aircraft carrier will make a stop at the port of Da Nang in March of 2018 for the first time since 1972. This will be another step in the warming relationship between the former adversaries.

Of course the big concern about the visit is how will China react to this poke in the eye Vietnam is delivering to their big neighbor to the north by inviting an aircraft carrier from the imposing US to come for a visit through the contested South China Sea.

The Chinese will probably do no more than a little black rhino huffing and puffing. They are not stupid. They know the Vietnamese can put a hurt on them a la the 1979 border war they fought together and they know they have become the primary Wall-Mart supplier and they do not want to interrupt that lucrative business deal.

Notice the term “lucrative business deal” being used when talking about China. That is another indication communism in both Vietnam and China is dead but they don’t know what to do with the corpse.

Listen to episode 1118 of the podcast and get the whole story about the first US aircraft carrier visit to Vietnam since the end of the American Vietnam War.

1117 – Another Vietnam War first – it was televised


Vietnam War being televised, Vietnam Veteran  news, mack payne

The Vietnam War being televised.

Episode 1117 of the Vietnam Veteran News will feature one of the factors that made the Vietnam War unique up to that time in our history. Vietnam was the first televised war in our history. Madie Ward wrote a piece for  the website National Archives – Pieces of History titled: Vietnam: the First Television War. She works at the National Archives and Records Administration which is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives.

In her article she not only describes the phenomenon of the “televisionization” of the Vietnam War but also the effects it had on the American people. She talked about the point raised by Lyndon B. Johnson when on April 1, 1968, the day after he announced that he would not run for reelection. He wondered what effect those vivid scenes have on American opinion.

For instance he asked what would have happened if cameras had been on the scene when American and allied forces were pushed back to the Pusan perimeter in the Korean War; or in the Battle of the Bulge when the Americans were being overrun by Germans forces or when our Air Force was shot down that day in June 1942 off Australia. Would American public opinion demand we get out of those wars?

It is an interesting point to ponder. Maybe we should consider the old truism: you should not watch sausage being made when it comes to televising the horrors of war. In the Vietnam War public opinion turned against the war after the in-depth coverage of the Tet Offensive even though it was a tremendous defeat of the enemy forces.

Listen to episode 1117 and discover more about Vietnam being the first televised war and the effects of that coverage.

Here are two examples of war news coverage. The first is from World War II the second is from the Vietnam War.

CLICK HERE for a sample of news coverage in World War II.

CLICK HERE  for a sample of news coverage of the Vietnam War.


1116 – A refreshed look at the results of the Vietnam War


Operation Linebacker II, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Vietnam Operation Linebacker II veterans recall their experiences from the Vietnam Conflict at Linebacker II commemoration event at Barksdale Air Force Base. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Episode 1116 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature an event that was recently held in Shreveport, Louisiana that provided a refreshed look at the outcome of the Vietnam War. The purpose of the event was to commemorate the  Vietnam War Operation Linebacker II. Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Elder and Gary Joiner, contributed to an op-ed in The Shreveport Times titled: Revisiting lessons from the Vietnam Conflict that covered the event and its proclamation.

The event took place at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport so it is looked at through the eyes of Air Force Vietnam Veterans. The participants discussed how the War was resolved with the Paris Peace Accords. It was pointed out that the Vietnam War developments occurring at the time were crowded off the news headlines by the Watergate investigation and its ramifications for President Nixon.

They pointed out how critical the use of air power was in tipping the scales just in the nick of time to save the day. In December of 1971 peace talks in Paris between the major combatants were going on at a lukewarm pace. On Dec. 13 the North Vietnamese walked out of the talks. President Nixon was desperate to find a way out of the War with “peace and honor.”

He was desperate because the war-weary Congress was going to cut off all funding for the War when they returned from their Christmas break. To speed things up with the North Vietnamese he loosed the dogs on the north. He let the military do what was necessary.

The US Air Force initiated Operation Linebacker II. It lasted for eleven days starting on December 18. B-52 bombers flew 729 sorties, and U.S. Navy and Air Force fighter-bombers flew 1,000 sorties. They dropped 20,370 tons of bombs on North Vietnam and the results were jaw dropping.

Listen to episode 1116 of the podcast and discover what those results were and the whole refreshed look at the outcome of the Vietnam War.

 B-52, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

A B-52 bombing North Vietnam during Operation Linebacker II

1115 – Sense of humor helped this Vietnam Vet make it through


Thomas Cone, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Vietnam Veteran Thomas Cone

Episode 1115 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight a story about a Vietnam Veteran, Thomas Cone, who got through his time in country with the help of a strong sense of humor. Skip Vaughn wrote the story titled: Alabama native walked point for infantry unit about this Vietnam Vet for the Redstone Stone Rocket where he is the editor. He can be contacted at skip.vaughn@theredstonerocket.com

Cone’s story is the 153rd in a series of articles Vaughn is writing about Vietnam Veterans as part of the DoD’s 50 Year Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War. Vaughn is the author of the book Vietnam Revisited.

Cone enlisted in the Army in 1966 as the draft was looming over his budding civilian career after his graduation from the Columbia Military Academy, in Columbia, Tennessee. Before he knew it he was walking point with the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam. His first tour in Vietnam included the Tet Offensive. Cone recalled the attacks in the offensive as “Sometimes daytime (attacks), sometimes just at night, very sporadic. But when it happened, it was ferocious.”

Cone made this remark about that assignment: “Walking point was where your life expectancy is 12 seconds. And I did that for a whole year.” That statement epitomized his take on life. He used that attitude toward life throughout his military career which lasted twenty years, two months, 17 days,” according to his wife. He stated this when asked about his length of service: “Not that I counted. My wife did. Wives know all that stuff.”

He served in the Military Police for the balance of his career after his time in Vietnam.

Listen to the episode number 1115 and get the whole story about Thomas Cone and how he used humor to get through his time in Vietnam performing one of the most dangerous jobs in the War.

1114 – Smithsonian report on the Tet Offensive and F-100 jets


F-100D Super Sabre, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

A North American F-100D Super Sabre drops a napalm bomb near Bien Hoa, South Vietnam, 1967. (U.S. Air Force)

Episode 1114 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the Tet Offensive of 1968 and the critical role played by the F-100D Super Sabre in that eruption of violence and killing. Alice L. George, Ph.D., an independent historian with a special interest in America during the 1960s wrote the story for The Smithsonian website titled: This Fighter Jet Turned the Tide During Vietnam’s Decisive Tet Offensive.

She included mention of a F-100D Super Sabre that is curated at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia that was a participant in the Offensive. She went on to describe how the Super Sabres became primarily a ground support aircraft as it eschewed its original design purpose of tactical nuclear fighter jet. It was the first jet used by the US in Southeast Asia and was used in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970. It
flew more sorties than any aircraft during the war.

Dr. George used a description of the Super Sabres as an introduction to her story’s look at the Tet Offensive and its results. The 50th anniversary of the Offensive is rapidly. Her story byline tells the whole story. It reads: Fifty years ago, America won this huge battle, but lost the war.

The Tet Offensive kicked off in a big way in late January of 1968. The Viet Cong and NVA attacked all the provincial capitals of the country including all the large cities and many US military facilities. What started out as a well coordinated nationwide assault quickly turned into a military defeat of great proportions.

Listen to episode 1114 and discover more about what Dr. Alice George has to say about the Tet Offensive and the role played by F-100 jets in the melee.

1113 – Jim Mattis and the latest Vietnam update


Jim Mattis, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

In this Oct. 30, 2017, file photo, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on “The Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Administration Perspective” on Capitol Hill in Washington. A half century after the Tet Offensive punctured American hopes for victory in Vietnam, Mattis is visiting the former enemy to promote closer ties. Mattis will be in Vietnam just days before the 50th anniversary of the Communist offensive on Jan. 30-31, 1968, in which North Vietnam attacked an array of key objectives in the South, including the city of Hue. Manuel Balce Ceneta, File AP Photo

Episode 1113 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will focus on the activities of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis during his visit to Vietnam. Also covered will be  recent events occurring in the developing positive relationship between the former combatants in the American Vietnam War. A story by AP National Security Writer Robert Burns recently appeared in The Wichita Eagle titled: 50 years after key Vietnam battles, Mattis seeks closer ties.

Burns stated in his article that “Secretary Jim Mattis is visiting the former enemy in search of a different kind of win: incremental progress as partners in a part of the world the Pentagon has identified as vital for the United States to compete with China and Russia.”

Whenever an American official visits Vietnam to discuss how to deal with the growing menace of China pushing its weight around the South East Asia area it is difficult to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room specifically, The American Vietnam War.

Ironically Secretary Mattis will be in Vietnam during the 50th anniversary of the infamous Tet Offensive. That event is credited with finally turning a majority of America public opinion against the effort in Vietnam to stem the tide of communism in Southeast Asia.

It was a military defeat of Biblical proportions for the North Vietnamese. All their military objectives failed. They lost over 50,000 KIA, other than Hue, they held no city or town more than two days and the infrastructure of the underground Viet Cong was destroyed.

Despite the military failure for the North Vietnamese, the American media turned it into a defeat for the Americans.

The consequences of the Tet Offensive and other Vietnam War related issues haunts any meeting of American and Vietnamese officials.

Listen to episode 1113 of the podcast for more on what Secretary Jim Mattis is doing in Vietnam and how the relationship between the two nations is developing.

1112 – Khe Sanh Veterans remember


Khe Sanh, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

US Marines at the Battle of Khe Sanh.

Episode 1112 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight what Khe Sanh veterans are doing to commemorate the 77 day battle that took place 50 years ago. There was a story about their plans in The Military.com website titled: Khe Sanh Veterans Mark 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Battle.

Individual commemoration events are happening across the country while a national remembrance is being planned to held in Washington DC this coming August. The battle started on January 21, 1968 and ended on July 9, 1968. According to historians 6,000 US Marines went up against 100,000 NVA fighters.

The NVA had a twofold mission when they attacked the Khe Sanh Combat Base located in an isolated plateau in the northwestern corner of South Vietnam on that January 21. Their first aim was to create another Bien Dien Phu for the Americans. Bien Dien Phu was the climactic battle in 1954 where the Viet Minh defeated an isolated French outpost. The resulted in the French pulling out of Indo-China and the creation of North and South Vietnam.

That mission was a failure. The US did not leave Vietnam until 1972 after the Paris Peace Accords were agreed to by the warring sides. The second mission of the NVA at Khe Sanh in 1968 was to create a diversion for the Tet Offensive that began on February 1. That turned out to be a big failure for the NVA. The Tet Offensive was a catastrophe for the North Vietnamese militarily. It turned out to be a huge public relations coop for the North.

A heavy price was paid by the North in the Battle of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive. Some estimates put their losses at 100,000 KIA.

The Marines have every right to be proud of their performance at the Battle of Khe Sanh.

Listen to episode 1112 of the podcast to get the full story about the Khe Sanh veterans plans to commemorate the 77 day battle.

1111 – John Meyer Special Forces Vietnam Vet to speak in Sarasota


John Meyer, vietnam veteran news, mack Payne

Decorated Green Beret John Meyer

Episode 1111 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about John Meyer of Oceanside, California who will be the keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Florida Fun Shoot to be held in Sarasota, Florida on February 15, 2018.  The event is a sporting clays event held in the Sarasota / Bradenton Florida area in late winter each year. Over $250,000 has been raised over the past four years in support of our veterans.

Lee Williams, the topic editor of The Herald-Tribune in Sarasota wrote a story about the happening titled: A secret warrior’s secret war in Laos. In it he described John Meyer’s background as a member of the Spike Team Idaho for 19 months. The team was assigned to  the highly classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam — Studies and Observations Group, which was better known as MACV-SOG or simply SOG.  The SOG was classified top secret until the 1980s.

Meyer was as a team leader in the SOG and served in the “secret war” in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam from 1968 through 1970. It was a hazardous line of work and they left a lasting impression on the enemy with their 158:1 kill ratio. The team’s missions consisted of wiretapping enemy communication lines, blowing up fuel lines, installing electronic ground sensors, other intelligence gathering and “POW snatches” — capturing an enemy soldier and bringing him back for interrogation.

After the War Meyer spent a career in the newspaper business and remains very active in veterans’ affairs.

CLICK HERE for more information about Operation Patriot Support’s Fifth Annual Florida Fun Shoot.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Florida Fun shoot on February 15. 2018 where John Meyer will be the featured speaker.

Listen to episode 1111 and get the full story about John Meyer. his speaking event in Sarasota and his adventures with the SOG.

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

Tet Offensive, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

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

Billy Moore, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

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.