Thursday, February 25, 2010


The men who fought in Vietnam have been maligned in many ways. The people who were opposed to the war were adept at making up falsehoods to degrade and try and bring shame to some of americas finest young men. I have stood up for myself and my brothers whenever I had the opportunity. That is the purpose of this post. To voice my opinion about one of those wrongs. I will discuss other issues in later posts.

One of the falsehoods was that the american soldiers committed many atrocities against the Vietnamese civilian population. Granted, there were a few isolated cases. But, the majority of the time the american soldier treated the people with respect. If anything it was the viet cong who were committing the atrocities. They were ruthless in there attempts to get the civilian population to bend to thier will. And would stop at nothing to achieve thier goals.

My unit became familiar with, and friends of, the people in the small villages we would pass thru on our daily patrols. On several occasions we would mourn the loss of some of these people who were butchered by the viet cong because they befriended us.

I would like to relate one story that is not as horrific but heart wrenching nontheless. We had to guard one of the bridges near one of these villages and would check the people who traveled over it. One day a young boy showed up and hung around our post. He wore a glove that was tied on his right arm, where his hand should be. You could tell that he didn't have a hand as the glove was limp. His name was Trang and he was friendly and outgoing. He became our little buddy and we would make sure he was supplied with chocolate bars and c-rations. One of the guys even gave him one of his marine corps hats. Trang was proud of that hat. We never asked him about the hand,we just treated him like he was a normal kid. After a week we were replaced by another squad and went back to patroling the areas villages. Back at the basecamp I questioned our vietnamese interpreter about Trang. He said that before we had moved into that area, the viet cong had gained control of the village. Trang's father was the village cheif, and he had stood up to the viet cong and told them to leave. They drug Trang out in front of his father and the other villagers and took an ax and shopped his hand off. They threatened to do the same to the child of everyone in the village if they didn't support them and give them whatever they wanted.

I still have a lot of respect for Trang and the way he tried to be a normal person. It took courage for him to befriend us. He was specail. Knowing him and what he had been thru made us better soldiers.

I would like to know why the picture above, of a marine corpsman giving aid to a vietnamese child didn't see any air time while some of the other negative stuff wound up on americas tv screens. X.


  1. As this happened before I was even born, I can't even really imagine. I have nothing but respect for our nations' soldiers, even if at times I question the people directing the armies. It's not a path I would follow, but I respect it nonetheless. And you know, I got respect for Trang as well, because, well... he WAS a normal person, even if he suffered from extraordinary circumstances... and much love to you guys for treating him as such.

  2. Oh, what a story. Oh, I do remember the Viet Nam war so well. Actually, it was the first war I was really old enough to remember...and it was the first war that was broadcast on television. How I remember coming home from school and night after night watching those grisly scenes on television. I commend you and those who fought alongside you.

  3. I cannot thank you enough for what you and your brothers and sisters did and still do on a daily basis for the rest of us. I may not always support or agree with what our leaders do, but that has no bearing on those who choose to serve their country, and you have my utmost and highest respect because I know that I personally could never stand up and make that sacrifice. I know that public opinion on wars and politics has at times came back to swing against the soldiers who are only doing their duty and I will always maintain this is a serious wrong. I've had many conversations with soldiers who fear my personal opposition to war means I do not support them and this could not be further from the truth.

  4. I am amazed at the strength that so many of other countries have who endure so much. Especially the children. I am thankful for what the men and women do each day in the name of defending our country. As for vietnam, I will not begin to say I understand it entirely yet the manner in which the men and women were treated as they returned was nothing more than shameful. At a time of great need so many were shunned. A simple thank you seems so little and far from enough. Yet that is all I can give.

  5. Thank you for protecting and serving for our country.

    My father is a Vietnam vet among a few other wars and he has told me some stories similar to yours. It just breaks my heart to hear them. Trang was lucky that you guys treated him so well. He probably remembers all of you fondly.

    And the horror stories you talk of are part of the reason I refuse to watch the news. I am tired of hearing the bad when I know there is more good going on than the bad. But good doesn't make for good tv according to program directors.

  6. Thanks everyone. I wasn't seeking praise. Just trying to set the record straight on one of many issues about the Vietnam War. I have a different opinion today about the justification of that war. At the time I thought it was the right thing for me to do, since I am decended from a long line men who went off to fight for thier country. It's a tradition in my family. The main point in my post was about Trang's ability to adjust to the what he had indured. He had a brave spirit. X.