National Vietnam War Veterans Day

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National Vietnam War Veterans Day Image One

I’ve posted for Veterans Day on November 11 and POW/MIA Recognition Day, the third Friday in September. Today is the national acknowledgement of the final pull-out of US troops in South Vietnam, ending our direct involvement.

From National Day Calendar:

[…] Veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S.military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. Returning Veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrive on American soil. There were 58,000 killed, never to return. National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes the military service of these men and women who answered the call to service their country when she needed them. They didn’t make the decisions to go to war.

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced legislation in 2017 to honor Vietnam Veterans with a day on the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam. President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Day Act on March 28, 2017, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on March 29 for those who served.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day Image Two
Photo Credit: history.com

From The History Channel:

[…] in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam and, the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war and, the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.

Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops [left] South Vietnam as Hanoi [freed] the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam. […] before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire and, by early 1974, full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year […].

On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces.

Addendum
I live with a Vietnam Seabee Veteran. He was in-country at Camp Haskins, Red Beach, Da Nang harbor during Khe Sanh, Tet and the Battle of Hue. Thankfully, he was not directly affected but, he was nearly blown out of a guard tower when the USMC Da Nang Air Base was attacked in January 1968. He keeps a wad of shrapnel and an empty grenade in the office as a reminder of what nearly got him. He’s told me stories of returning home and being flipped off by civilians. He was never spit on, like some stories I’ve heard but, he certainly wasn’t welcomed back. ~Vic

9 thoughts on “National Vietnam War Veterans Day

    badfinger20 said:
    March 30, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Protesting the war is one thing…but blaming and showing hostility to soldiers was just stupid and uncalled for.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 30, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      When you have a media that makes sure that everyone is saturated with “baby killer” stories and no such thing as an Internet to refute the narrative…you get brainwashed nutjobs attacking people.

      Sound familiar?

        badfinger20 said:
        March 30, 2019 at 3:24 pm

        Oh yes it does. Hippies get blamed but I don’t think all of them did it…. just the uninformed…

    floatinggold said:
    March 31, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    It’s tough to read the last bit. I’m sorry he had to go through this (the coming back part).

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 31, 2019 at 11:15 pm

      When he went to Vietnam, he was prior military. His mother signed him into the Fleet Navy Reserves at 17 when he dropped out of HS. He spent two years in the Reserves, training to be a Corpsman on board a very old WWII Destroyer (USS Robinson). When he finally entered the Navy as active duty, they assigned him to an Oiler (USS Canisteo) but, neglected to tell him where the damn thing was. He spent three weeks being sent to Charleston, then Norfolk and, then, finally, a civilian, Brooklyn shipyard. When he arrived, the OD told him he had been listed as AWOL. He showed him his paperwork where the Navy had dragged him up the Eastern Seaboard looking for their own damn ship. The OD told him “We’ve already go two Corpsmen. You are, now, part of the deck force.” And, just like that, the Navy, with their own screw-ups, wiped out two years worth of Corpsman training and turned him into a Bosun’s Mate (deck ape). He spent two years on the oiler and was part of the Cuban Blockade.

      When Vietnam geared up, he tried to re-enlist. He actually WANTED to go (scratching head). He WANTED to be a River Rat (PBRs…you know, the Swift Water Navy, the same bunch that called John Kerry out on his bullshit). The dumb ass prior service recruiter told him they wouldn’t take him back with the same rank. They would strip him of one stripe. Ken said “Forget it.” and walked out. A Marine recruiter stopped him and, told him to go back and ask about the Seabees. So, he did and wound up a Seabee. He was sent to Rhode Island to be “reacquainted with military life” (i.e., we’re gonna fuck with you to see if we can push you out, it being Vietnam and all…). Off to Vietnam he went when he joined an old, re-activated Seabee Battalion from WWII.

      Fast forward, oh, 45+ years… I’m digging thru his military paperwork and discover something. I used to work for The Texas Veterans Land Board so DD214s were very familiar to me. Looking over his one and only DD214 (he swore he only had one), I realized that (1) it wasn’t his first and (2) when he went to the prior service recruiter, HE WAS STILL ON CONTRACT. The PSR didn’t bother to look at his record. He could have been taken back into the Navy with his rank intact. Once, again, the Navy screwed up but…it probably saved his life. Ken was still swearing he only had one DD214…until I sent off for his records with the Archives. He never knew he had a previous DD214 nor did he realize that the PSR had altered the trajectory of his life. He was much safer as a Seabee, running with Marines, than a Brown Water Navy guy. PBR operators had a high risk of death by snipers.

      So, when he came back from Vietnam, he’d been in the Navy doing different things. He wasn’t JUST a VN Vet. The civilians flipping him off didn’t phase him as he was prior service, not a young buck. He just flipped them off, right back.

      Then, he went into a 30+ year career in law enforcement.

        floatinggold said:
        April 1, 2019 at 9:23 am

        Not surprised to hear he is/ was in law enforcement. It makes sense. “He just flipped them off, right back.” YAS!

        A fascinating story. Stripping him of his rank? Insane. But you’re right – it seems like it all went the way it was supposed to.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          April 1, 2019 at 2:56 pm

          Same thing happened to my ex-Marine (yes, Lord…I have been swimming in the Dept. of the Navy since I was 15). He went in, in 1975, went thru ‘Vietnam training’, is considered ‘Vietnam Era’ but, never went there. He did time at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, his group was involved in the Mayaguez incident (Koh Tang Island), the Korean axe murder incident and he was an Embassy Guard in Bamako, Mali, Africa. After four years, he got out and went to college after being told that the CIA wouldn’t touch him without a degree (that was where he was headed). After college, he went back to the CIA but, by then, there was a government hiring freeze (early 80s). He tried to re-enlist but, the Marines wouldn’t give him HIS rank back. He wound up in the Army (with his rank intact) for three years, lived in Germany and they sent him to Intelligence school. He hated the Army and tried the Marines, again. THIS time, they let him in, overjoyed that the Army had given him INTEL training. He did 13 years active and 17+ years in the Reserves. He retired in 2006 but, didn’t see his pension until 2016 (retire from the Reserves and you have to wait for your pension until you are 60; active duty gets it immediately).

          The military is a PITA…on SO many levels.

            floatinggold said:
            April 2, 2019 at 9:15 am

            So I see. Both the PITA and the swimming.
            Fascinating story and curious info.

    […] THE HINOEUMA! […]

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