095 – The Gulf of Tonkin Story

US Leaders, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran News

House Speaker John McCormack, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Gen Earl Wheeler, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk study a top secret map of the Gulf of Tonkin, August 3, 1964.

Hundreds of thousands of American’s lives were affected by the decisions made after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Over 50,000 made the ultimate sacrifice in the war that followed. This episode will begin a series of episodes where an article by John Prados in the VVA Veteran Magazine will be serialized.
The article tells the back office story of how the decisions were made to get the US and its allies into a war in Vietnam that would change the lives of millions.

094 – How The AC-130 Destroyed At Least 20 Vehicles Per Night During Vietnam War

AC-130 Spectre Gunship, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

AC-130 Spectre Gunship firing on the enemy.

As it is in any war the participates are always on the lookout for a new weapon that will help them defeat the enemy. The Vietnam War was no different as both sides were constantly trying new things that would give them the edge over the adversary. The North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong clients resorted to more primitive measures to fill in the gaps not covered with the modern weapons provided by their primary weapons donor – Communist China and the USSR. The US and its allies did the same with many new weapons of war.

One of the more interesting was the US Air Force’s gunships. They were cargo aircraft such as the C-47, C-119 and C-130 that were converted to gunships. These aircraft had lethal weapons like mini-guns, chain-guns, 20mm guns, Bofors and even 105mm cannons mounted so as to fire out of the side of the aircraft as it slowly circled the target. They were very impressive firing platforms with the AC-130 Spectre being the most fearsome. They were highly effective in disrupting the flow of supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

This episode tells the gunship story.

093 – Fort Polk – A Key Vietnam Training Site

Fort Polk, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran News

Fort Polk Entrance

Fort Polk, LA is the Rodney Dangerfield of US Army posts. It gets no respect but it should be recognized as one of the most important and effective training sites in the US Army’s inventory or real estate. More soldiers trained at Fort Polk for duty in Vietnam than any other Army Post. For that reason, Fort Polk will be featured in this episode. You will see that every time the storm clouds of war appeared on the horizon Fort Polk was called on to help train soldiers for war. It is a great training location and deserves a salute from every Vietnam War Veteran.

092 – B-52s at Okinawa Kept Secret

092 - B-52s at Okinawa Kept Secret, mack payne, vietnam veteran news

A B-52 bomber flies over the U.S. military’s Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture in May 1976. | KYODO

B-52s were an important part of the US military effort during the Vietnam War. Up until recently it was assumed the B-52s were based out of Guam and Thailand but recent disclosures of Japanese diplomatic documents reveal the bombers flew out of Okinawa also. It is also interesting to note the documents revealed there was an agreement between the US and Japanese governments to keep it secret. It was feared the local residents would revolt if they know bombers from their soil was dropping bombs in Vietnam.

091 VVA – We Won the War – Ask Robert McNamara about his Numbers

Robert McNamara & Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara at a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This episode features a look and commentary on an article from Forbes Magazine byJonathan Salem Baskin. Baskin describes the methods used by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to manage the Vietnam War from a marketing perspective. The main point of the article is that you have to take into account more than just numbers in decision making. The human factor must be incorporated into the decision making process or you will more than likely be doomed to failure.

090 VVA – Johnny Payne and The Vietnam Moving Wall – Dublin, GA

Johnny Payne, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran News

Johnny Payne telling the Dublin, Georgia Rotary Club about the upcoming Vietnam Moving Wall event to held in Dublin August 14-17, 2014.

In this episode Johnny Payne of Dublin, Georgia will tell about the event he is chairing where the Vietnam Moving Wall will be on display from August 14 -17, 2014 at the Carl Vinson VA Hospital in Dublin. He details the program from start to finish. It will include everything from a 300 member motorcycle escort to inspiring speeches. All in the area are encouraged to attend this memorial service for the more than 50,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War. More information is available from Johnny at (478) 689-5035 or via email at jlpayne9@bellsouth.net.

089 VVA – A Memorial to Vietnam Vet Richard “Dick” Forrey


Richard "Dick" Forrey, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran News

This episode will be a memorial to another Vietnam Veteran who has ridden off into the sunset. His name is Richard “Dick” Forrey and he recently passed away in Greentown, Indiana, a small community just east of Kokomo in the great heartland of America. Richard was another one of those solid citizens of this wonderful land who answered the call when their country needed help. He went forward and gallantly served his country in war and then came home and continued to serve as a bedrock citizen in his community, state and country.

088 VVA – Texans Raise Money for War Dogs

Vietnam War Dogs, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

101st Airborne Division Troopers scout with a war dog.

Recently the Rover Oaks Pet Resort in Katy and Houston, Texas held a month long donation drive to support the U.S. War Dogs Association. Steve Smith, president of Rover Oaks Pet Resort ran the show in conjunction with Ron Aiello, Vietnam War veteran and president of USWDA. More than $10,000 was raised to support the Association.

I am familiar with the tremendous contribution war dogs made to the Vietnam War effort but was unaware they have been used by the U.S. Military in wars since World War I. In all these wars the dogs were highly effective in helping the military.

087 VVA – Feel Good News

087 VVA - Feel Good News, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

. Lowe’s employees help fix Michael Sulsona’s wheelchair while he looks on.(Photo: Courtesy of Michael Sulsona via NBC)

This episode features three feel good stories about Vietnam Vets. The first story by Jeffrey Donovan, a TODAY contributor is about some Lowe’s employees at a store on Staten Island who helped repair a Vietnam Vet’s wheel chair. The Vet Michael Sulsona had been trying for years to get a new chair from the VA to replace his old one that was falling apart. Once the news got out about the act of kindness performed by the Lowes people the VA immediately and miraculously presented Michael with a new chair.

Cowra Vietnam Vets, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Tom Humphries and Bruce Holt raising money for the Cowra Hospital Oncology Unit.

The next feel good story is about some Vietnam Veterans raising money for an oncology clinic at the local hospital. This act of kindness is happening in the little town of Cowra. It is located in New South Wales, Australia a few miles west of Syndey. If you are in the vicinity, go by and buy a few tickets. The prizes are delicious Australian meat.

Marineland, vietnam veteran news, mack payne


The third feel good story is about an event honoring Vietnam Veterans in Marineland, Florida. An organization called GratitudeAmerica is conducting its second annual event to honor veterans. There will be kayaking, equine therapy, massage, tai chi and a trip to Marineland, the attraction, said John November, Gratitude America’s executive director.

086 VVA – Burn Pits – Another Agent Orange Situation?

Gulf War Burn Pit, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Gulf War Burn Pit

This episode features an article by Jordain Carney for the National Journal and it tells about the unfolding situation with the effects of burn pits used in the Gulf Wars on US service members. It sounds eerily like the story of Agent Orange in Vietnam where veterans had to fight for years to get compensation and assistance for the illnesses and death caused by the Monsanto and Dow Chemical herbicides. Carney cites Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Bob Corker for making initial efforts to determine if there is a valid cause for government assistance to Gulf War Veterans. She also described Rep. Tim Bishop’s efforts to the Department of Defense to start procedures to determine the effects of burn pits. Tom Tarantino, the policy director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is also mentioned as a strong advocate for Gulf War Veterans.