100 – Tonkin Gulf Incident Post Mortem

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President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mack Payne, vietnam veteran news

President Lyndon Johnson announces that the U.S. will retaliate against North Vietnam for Gulf of Tonkin Attacks, August 4. 1964

This episode closes out my look at the article by John Prados titled Gulf of Tonkin Ambiguous Push to War. This episode is titled the Post Mortem and its conclusion is that the National Leadership at the time was a little loose with the facts surrounding the Tonkin Gulf incident involving the USS Maddox. If makes you wonder if the government always lies to the American people. It looks like it is still going on today when you look at current events like Ben Ghazi, the IRS Scandal and the most bald faced of all – “you can keep your doctor.”

Lying government officials must be stopped or else we may end up rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell.

099 – USS Maddox – Tonkin Gulf Incident

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USS Maddox in Gulf of Tonkin, Mack Payne, vietnam veteran news

USS Maddox in Gulf of Tonkin

This episode is the third edition of the article by John Prados titled Gulf of Tonkin Ambiguous Push to War. It seems there was a little confusion in the messages from the NSA and other sources that were getting to the decision makers in Washington. It makes one wonder what exactly was going on and why. Was it simple human error or some other nefariously evil intention on some one’s part. You decide.

098 – John Wells Conversation About Agent Orange

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John Wells, Veterans Advocate, vietnam veteran news, Mack Payne

John Wells, Veterans Advocate

In the previous episode John Wells, the executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. talked about what he was doing in Washington to promote HR-543, the bill designed to help Vietnam Era Veterans suffering from Agent Orange.

It gets even better in this episode. After the formal interview we continued to chat about related issues and John brought up some very interesting observations he has gained over the years in his work of securing veterans rights.

So, sit back and listen and I think you will be enlightened by John’s comments.

Also John provided this website where anyone can track any bill before Congress. Go to https://beta.congress.gov and insert the bill number – in this case HR 543.

John Would also appreciate any support you could provide his organization the Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. which is a non-profit that helps many veterans.

For more about his organization or to make a donation please go to www.militaryveteransadvocacy.org

Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc.
PO Box 5235
Slidell, LA 70469-5235
985-641-1855
985-649-1536 (fax)

097 – John Wells Report From DC

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John Wells, Mack Payne, Vietnam Veteran news

John Wells in Washington

In this episode John Wells gives us a current report on the status of HR-543, the bill that is intended to provide assistance to victims of Agent Orange and their families. John retired as a commander from the US Navy and he went on to become an attorney and today is the Executive Director of the Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. He resides in Slidell, LA but he spends a lot of time in Washington, DC advocating for veterans issues.

John says the best thing supporters of veterans and HR-543 can do now is contact their congressperson and ask them to support the bill. He states that phone calls are good but a written letter in support of the bill carries more weight with the law maker.

He also provided this website where anyone can track any bill before Congress. Go to https://beta.congress.gov and insert the bill number – in this case HR 543.

John Would also appreciate any support you could provide his organization the Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. which is a non-profit that helps many veterans.

For more about his organization or to make a donation please go to www.militaryveteransadvocacy.org

Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc.
PO Box 5235
Slidell, LA 70469-5235
985-641-1855
985-649-1536 (fax)

096 – The Gulf of Tonkin Story – Part 2

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John Prados, Mack Payne, vietnam veteran news

John Prados of the author of five books on Vietnam. He is a contributing writer to the VVA Veteran.

In this episode we will continue looking at John Prados’ article “Gulf of Tonkin – Ambiguous Push To War” that was in the VVA Veteran Magazine. John Prados is an analyst of national security based in Washington, DC. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Political Science (International Relations) and focuses on presidential power, international relations, intelligence and military affairs. He is a senior fellow and project director with the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Prados heads the Archive’s documentation projects for Vietnam and for the CIA, is co-director of the Iraq project, and assists with the Archive’s Afghanistan project.

He has written many books including Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975. That may shed a little light on the tone of this article I am featuring in several episodes. His article gives a fascinating look at the “back office” events that led up to President Johnson making the decision to greatly increase America’s commitment to the Vietnam situation.

095 – The Gulf of Tonkin Story

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.