1617b – (Deja Vu all over again) 101st Vietnam Vet’s tale leads to greatness  

101st Vietnam Vets Howard Catley and Bill Demby

101st Vietnam Vets Howard Catley and Bill Demby

Episode 1617 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about two outstanding Vietnam Veterans who served with the 101st Airborne Division. The story appeared in the Venice, Florida Gondolier and was titled: Venice man spent two years in Vietnam. It was submitted by Don Moore who is a Sun Correspondent.

One of the Vietnam Veterans was Howard Catley who went to Vietnam in 1969 immediately after his graduation from the University of Rhode Island. He was assigned to the 3rd of the 187 Infantry as a platoon leader.

In the story he described his experiences in the field engaging the enemy in I Corps. He tells about the time he was wounded badly enough to be medevaced back to the base camp. On that notable flight his crossed path crossed with a wounded infantryman who had lost both his legs in an enemy attack.

On the flight back to the base camp the wounded soldier told Catley he was going to be a professional basketball player when he got home. The two did not see each other again until twenty years later. The wounded soldier was Bill Demby who not only survived that day in Vietnam but went on to play basketball and become an inspirational speaker.

The Celebrity Talent International website says this about Bill Demby:

“Bill Demby serves as proof that a major disability doesn’t mean the end of the line in athletics. Demby lost both his legs from the knee down when the truck he was driving in Vietnam was hit by a rocket. An avid competitor before his injury, he found that participation in sports gave him the self confidence he needed to move on in other areas as well. Demby joined the Achilles Track Club, an organization of physically disabled athletes, and was soon competing as a wheelchair athlete in marathons and 10K races. In field events, Demby holds the national amputee record in the shot put, discus, and javelin, has competed with the U.S. Amputee Athletic Association. He is a certified ski instructor for the National Handicapped Sports and Recreation Association and regularly teaches at its Handicapped Learn to Ski Clinics. Demby became one of the original testers of a new artificial limb called the Seattle Foot, originally developed for the U.S. Veterans Administration.“

CLICK HERE for more information about Bill Demby.

After his service in the US Army, Howard Catley returned home to Rhode Island and served as a teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School. He spent 31 years teaching and 27 years as head football coach at the school.

Listen to episode 1617 and discover more about two outstanding Vietnam Veterans who served in the 101st Airborne Division.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

1625b – (Another Golden Oldie) North Korean pilots in Vietnam War

North Vietnamese fighter flown by North Korean pilot.

North Vietnamese fighter flown by North Korean pilot.

Episode 1625 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about North Korean fighter pilots’ participation in the Vietnam War. The story appeared on the National Interest website and was titled: North Korean Fighter Pilots Battled American Jets over Vietnam. It was submitted by Sebastien Roblin. He has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States.

It is a well known truism of the Vietnam War that aerial combat was a big component of the conflict. The vast array of aircraft used by the forces supporting South Vietnam ranged from small recon helicopters all the way up to the B-52 bombers.

American aircraft often ventured into North Vietnamese skies to take the war to the north where much of the support for the war in the south was being generated. The most sophisticated war planes in the US inventory along with its highly trained pilots were sent in to destroy the North’s ability to continue the war.

The North Vietnamese needed help in countering the American aerial offense. The common assumption was that the Russians came to the aid of their Marxist comrades. What we have discovered from the featured story, North Korea contributed assistance by making available 96 of their best fighter pilots to the war.

Apparently things did not go swimmingly for the fellow commie countries. Here is what North Vietnamese pilot Dinh said of the North Koreans: “They kept everything secret, so we didn’t know their loss ratio, but the North Korean pilots claimed 26 American aircraft destroyed.  Although they fought very bravely in the aerial battles, they were generally too slow and too mechanical in their reactions when engaged, which is why so many of them were shot down by the Americans. They never followed flight instructions and regulations either. “

Listen to episode 1625 and discover more about the participation of North Korean fighter pilots in the Vietnam War.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

1615a- (From Memory Lane) This Vietnam Vet is blessed by God  

Vietnam Veteran Charley Burress of Huntsville, Alabama

Vietnam Veteran Charley Burress of Huntsville, Alabama

Episode 1615 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Vietnam Veteran Charley Burress of Huntsville, Alabama and how he was blessed by God. The Story appeared in the Redstone Rocket and was titled: Business leader feels blessed about wartime experience.  It was submitted by Skip Vaughn Rocket editor [skip.vaughn@theredstonerocket.com].

Charley Burress is another prime representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation – one as great as any that ever answered the call of duty from its country. The vast majority of those veterans not only served their country in a difficult during the Vietnam War but when they came home they continued serving their country in a wide array of pursuits.

Burress is a native of Huntsville and was drafted 1969. He spent 13 months in Vietnam serving in a MP unit in the Saigon area. Unfortunately while there he had to deal with a racist 2nd Lieutenant company commander from Iowa.

He overcame that challenge and returned home and in 1979 established Kudzu Productions, Inc. It is a creative media communications company that provides video production and post production for corporate, government, defense contractors and ad agencies around the world. His company also maintains stock footage library of Huntsville & Madison county scenes plus military stock. His company also has created many good jobs for the Huntsville area.

Throughout his entire adult lifetime he has tried he best in all his pursuits to be guided by Biblical guidance. That practice has paid off for him in life and business and he is not shy about sharing his beliefs with others.

For too many reasons to count Charley Burress is a truly outstanding representative of  the Vietnam Veteran Generation. When one looks at his life and accomplishments it makes them realize America is better off because of people like Charley Burress.

Listen to episode 1615 and discover more about Vietnam Vet Charley Burress and how he was blessed by God.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2435 – The Road to Tchepone – Operation Lam Son 719

The Road to Tchepone

The Road to Tchepone

Episode 2435 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the challenges of Operation Lam Son 719 that took place back in 1971. The featured story comes from the Warfare History Network. It is titled: The Nightmare Mission into Laos: Operation Lam Son 719 and was submitted by William E. Welsh in May of 2015.

The story subtitle reads: During Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese raid into the Laotian panhandle, commanders learned first-hand how tenacious the North Vietnamese could be.

Your podcaster has vivid memories of the Operation. He participated in the action from start to finish.  It played out over six weeks starting in the first part of February, 1971. The higher ups, including South Vietnamese President Thieu. U.S. President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, General Creighton Abrams came with a plan to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with a strike up north.

This followed the invasion of Cambodia back in April of 1970. Due to the fact that invasion caused so much distress by the anti-war crowd, it was decided to have only South Vietnamese troops participate in the invasion on the ground. The U.S. would provide air support with U.S. Air Force assets and U.S. Army helicopters.

It was a good plan in theory. It called for South Vietnamese mechanized troops to advance 40 kilometers on Route 9 from Khe Sanh to the village of Tchepone where they would conduct a sweep of the two base areas. South Vietnamese rangers would be helicoptered to fire bases north and south of the dirt road to provide flank security. The United States would furnish fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to conduct air strikes and resupply the ground forces.

Unfortunately for the 16,000 South Vietnamese participating in the strike, they were met by 36,000 thousand North Vietnamese troops who moved into the area to engage the South Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese infantry was backed by armor, as well as 122mm and 130mm guns that pounded the firebases. The South Vietnamese column on Route 9 never made it to Tchepone.

Listen to episode 2435 and discover more about the challenges faced by the South Vietnamese Army in Operation Lam Son 719 back in 1971.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 2434 – A French take on the Paris Peace Accords signed on January 27, 1973

US opposition reps signing the Paris Accords, 27 January 1973. © AFP [RFI]

US opposition reps signing the Paris Accords, 27 January 1973. © AFP [RFI]

Episode 2434 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the stops and starts and the final signings of the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 2023.  The featured story is titled: Fifty years since the beginning of the end of the Vietnam war and was submitted by Dr. Jeffrey Guterman.

The story appeared on the RFI website. RFI is a French news and current affairs public radio station that broadcasts worldwide in French and in 13 other languages. RFI is broadcast on 156 different FM frequencies, via medium and short wave relays, on 30 different satellite signals throughout the world and also on the internet and dedicated apps. RFI is also broadcast across the globe via more than 1400 partner radios.

According to the story byline, on 27 January 1973, all the protagonists in the protracted Vietnam conflict, the Ten Thousand Day War, agreed to end hostilities, and signed the Paris Accords. That did not stop the fighting.

The writer, Dr. Guterman describes how the rocky road to peace that began on 13 May 1968 led by Le Duc Tho, special adviser to the North Vietnamese communist regime, and US National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger.

The recalcitrant North Vietnamese negotiators continued to delay the process and make more unreasonable demands. In addition to that situation, wartime events continued to change the dynamics of the peace talks.

For instance, there was the Tet Offensive where the Vietnam Cong and North Vietnamese Army suffered a terrible losses but victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat with the help of Walter Cronkite, et al. Then there was the invasion of Cambodia that stirred up all the anti-war protestors back home. Add to these events Operation Lam Son 719 where the South Vietnamese Army invaded Laos with the help of American airpower.

In December of 1972, the North Vietnamese negotiators were getting a little horsey and refused to go forward with the talks. A perturbed President Nixon executed Operation Linebacker II where waves of B-52 bombers carpet-bombed Hanoi and Haiphong. The Northern negotiators saw the light and the Accords were signed on January 27, 1973.

Listen to episode 2434 and discover more about the stops and starts and the final signings of the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 2023.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2433 – Vietnam Vet Dwight Birdwell’s war story and the Medal of Honor

Vietnam Vet Dwight Birdwell

Vietnam Vet Dwight Birdwell

Episode 2433 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Vietnam Vet Dwight Birdwell and how he ended up being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Birdwell is another one of those tremendous representatives of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation, one as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from their country. When the vast majority of those Veterans came home from Vietnam, they were older, wiser, stronger and better able to deal with adversity than their non-Vietnam Veteran contemporaries. Many continued to serve their country in a wide of variety of pursuits.

Birdwell is one of those who continued service to country in the field of the law. He showed his true colors in Vietnam during the first hours of the Tet Offensive in 1968 as a member of Troop C, 4th Cavalry, 25th Inf. Division.

His citation read as follows:

On 31 January 1968, when Birdwell’s unit raced to defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base, which was under attack during the Tet Offensive. Troop C was the first American ground unit from outside the airbase to respond to the attack. When Birdwell’s tank commander was seriously wounded, Birdwell took command and placed intense fire on the attacking People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces until his ammunition was expended. He then retrieved an M60 machine gun and continued firing at the PAVN until the weapon was damaged by PAVN fire, which also wounded Birdwell. With disregard for his own safety, he ran through a hail of PAVN fire to get more ammunition for his men from other damaged vehicles.

After his time in Vietnam, Birdwell graduated from the University of Oklahoma law school and became an attorney. He eventually rose to become the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Listen to episode 2433 and discover more about the powerful story of Vietnam Vet Dwight Birdwell and how he ended up being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2432 – Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords

Hofstra History Professor Carolyn Eisenberg

Hofstra History Professor Carolyn Eisenberg

Episode 2431 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature an interview produced by a friend of this podcast Andy Pham. The interview will explore the background behind a soon to be published book titled: Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger and the Wars in Southeast Asia. The author, Hofstra History Professor Carolyn Eisenberg, will discuss the history of the book thesis in the interview. Lubna Z. Qureshi will serve as the interlocutor.

The book Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger and the Wars in Southeast Asia interweaves Nixon and Kissinger‘s pursuit of the war in Southeast Asia and their diplomacy with the Soviet Union and China, the on-the-ground military events, and US domestic reactions to the war

It incorporates the most wide-ranging, thorough use of declassified documents and tapes on the Vietnam War and US relations with the Soviet Union and China to appear to date  and utilizes substantial, original interviews with Vietnamese participants in the war

It is timed for the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference that agreed to US withdrawal of all troops and advisors from Vietnam, withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia, and a ceasefire throughout Vietnam.

Carolyn Woods Eisenberg is a Professor of US History and American Foreign Relations at Hofstra University. She is the author of the just published Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Wars in Southeast Asia. A previous history, Drawing the Line: the American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-49, won the Stuart Bernath Book Prize of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations and the Herbert Hoover Book Prize and was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Book Prize. Her analysis has appeared in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Fox, and C-SPAN. She has been a consultant to several members of Congress and is legislative coordinator for Historians for Peace and Democracy.

Listen to episode 2432 and discover more about the powerful soon to be published book titled:  Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger and the Wars in Southeast Asia authored by Hofstra History Professor Carolyn Eisenberg.

Recommended Reading

Fire and RainBuy Now

Use coupon code AAFLYG6 and receive a 30% discount on your purchase.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2099 – (Blast from the Past) Arsenic and Agent Blue in Vietnam

Operation Ranch Hand

Operation Ranch Hand

Agent Blue (Asia Times)

Agent Blue (Asia Times)

Professor Kenneth Olson, PhD Professor Soil Science, NRES, ACES, University of Illinois

Professor Kenneth Olson, PhD Professor Soil Science, NRES, ACES, University of Illinois

Episode 2092 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a report about the use and effects of Agent Blue in Vietnam. It was submitted by Kenneth R. Olson, PhD Professor Soil Science, NRES, ACES, University of Illinois and Larry Cihacek, PhD Professor of Soil Science, North Dakota State University. The report was titled: Agent Blue: Arsenic Based Herbicide Used in Southern Vietnam during the Vietnam.

Excerpts of the report follow:

The U.S. Department of Army’s Chemical Corps Biological Laboratories initiated a major program in 1952 at Camp Detrick, Maryland to develop both the herbicide formulations and aerial spray equipment for potential deployment in Korean Conflict.

Larry Cihacek, PhD Professor of Soil Science, North Dakota State University.

Larry Cihacek, PhD Professor of Soil Science, North Dakota State University.

The Agent Blue, precursor reagent, cacodylic acid, was formulated by military scientists at Fort Detrick in 1957.

The destruction of the South Vietnamese rice crop using an arsenic-based herbicide known as Agent Blue during the American Vietnam War (1965-1972) was not a secret, however it received little attention in the United States.

Republic of Vietnam and United States militaries began destroying food crops (rice) in November of 1962 primarily via helicopter aerial applications in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands of Southern Vietnam.

Spraying of Agent Blue, the arsenic based herbicide, on 250,000 acres of mangrove forests and about 750,000 acres of rice paddies just before rice harvest time resulted in the destruction of the standing crop and rendered the land contaminated with arsenic.

Today arsenic contaminated rice and groundwater are growing concerns as neither naturally occurring arsenic nor anthropic arsenic have a half-life and cannot be destroyed.

Water soluble arsenic primarily leaches into the soil root zone and the groundwater or is carried by floodwater into adjacent waterways.

The health of 15 million Vietnamese people living in the Mekong Delta is at risk from the combination of anthropic (man-made) and natural arsenic in drinking water and food supply.

Listen to episode 2092 and discover more about the legacy of our use of Agent Blue in Vietnam and the terrible effects it had on the Vietnamese people.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2092 – (Golden Oldie) The Agent Blue Legacy of Vietnam

Agent Blue (Asia Times)

Agent Blue (Asia Times)

Professor Kenneth Olson

Professor Kenneth Olson

Episode 2092 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the use and effects of Agent Blue in Vietnam. The featured story appeared on July 12, 1971 in the New York Times. The story was titled: ‘Agent Blue’ in Vietnam and was submitted by Arthur H. Westing.

Professor Kenneth Olson, one of the leaders of the Merry Band of Retirees, brought the featured story to this podcaster’s attention.

The Merry Band of Retirees is made up mostly of retired college professors who are using their talents to analyze the effects of our use of chemical agents during the American Vietnam War. To date, their primary attention has been devoted to Agent Orange, the most notable of the rainbow chemicals.

Recently they have turned their attention to Agent Blue. That lesser known member of the ‘rainbow of death” herbicides has received less scrutiny than the others. Because of their attention the New York Times, 50 year old story was discovered. The writer, Arthur H. Westing, presents an excellent recap of how the herbicide was applied and its effect on the Vietnamese people and the Viet Cong.

Agent Blue’s primary mission was to eliminate the food supply of the Viet Cong fighters. Westing reported that: “The United States has been destroying growing crops in South Vietnam since November 1961 as part of its “resource denial” program. This is accomplished largely by the aerial application of an aqueous solution of sodium dimethyl arsenate, “Agent Blue.”

Classified studies performed for and by the U. S. in 1967 and 1968 revealed that food destruction has had no significant impact on the enemy soldier. Civilians, in contrast, did and do suffer.

Listen to episode 2092 and discover more about the legacy of our use of Agent Blue in Vietnam and the terrible effects it had on the Vietnamese people.

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment

Episode 2431 – Mark Moyar authored great new book about the Vietnam War

Mark Moyar

Mark Moyar

Episode 2431 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a recently published book about the Vietnam War by Mark Moyar. It is titled: Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965-1968. This book is the second in a series by Moyar that examines aspects of the Vietnam War.

The first in the series was titled: Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965. It shows that South Vietnam was a vital interest of the United States by utilizing an analysis of international perceptions and power. Sadly it contends that President Lyndon Johnson had at his disposal several aggressive policy options that could have enabled South Vietnam to continue the war without a massive US troop infusion, but he ruled out these options because of faulty assumptions and inadequate intelligence, making such an infusion the only means of saving the country.

Moyar’s second book in the series,Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965-1968, goes counter to accepted ideas about the War. He rejects the standard depiction of U.S. military intervention as a hopeless folly; it shows America’s war to have been a strategic necessity that could have ended victoriously had President Lyndon Johnson heeded the advice of his generals. To come to these conclusions in his book, Moyar utilized a treasure trove of new sources, many of them from the North Vietnamese side.

Mark Moyar has an impressive resume. He holds the William P. Harris Chair in Military History at Hillsdale College. His past academic appointments include the Kim T. Adamson Chair of Insurgency and Terrorism at the U.S. Marine Corps University and fellowships at the Joint Special Operations University and Texas A&M University. During the Trump administration, he served in the U.S. Agency for International Development as the director of the Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation.

Listen to episode 2431 and discover more about the powerful new book about the Vietnam War by Mark Moyar titled: Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965-1968.

Recommended readingTriumph RegainedBuy Now online or

Call 1-855-203-7220

Use coupon code “vetnews”

and receive a 30% discount on your purchase.

More Recommended Reading

Triumph Forsaken

Buy Now

Posted in Podcast Episodes | Leave a comment