Vietnam PBS Series

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Vietnam PBS Series

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sep 19, 2017, 10:15 pm

Anyone watching the series? Pretty good. May be off topic but no Nam groups that I saw.

sep 19, 2017, 11:14 pm

Agreed. Quite good.

sep 28, 2017, 8:21 pm

For me the Vietnam series has been particularly fascinating and revealing, because for a full year I was in training as part of the semi-secret Air Assault Division (Test), which the powers that be felt necessary to organize if it ever did become necessary for the USA to enter the Vietnam conflict ... that is, apart form the few "advisers" then quietly stationed in Vietnam. Having seen graphic pictures (in LIFE, and elsewhere) of what was happening made our military purpose all too obvious, and strongly suggested why we had been culled from US military groups scattered around the country.

My feelings about our possible involvement in Vietnam were more than ambivalent, and I early felt it necessary to consider my options, if ever we were ordered to go to Vietnam. Fortunately for me, I was honourably discharged long before our Division was shipped to Vietnam.

Over the next ten years (and more), the work I was doing shielded me from almost all television and radio broadcasts, and so I knew almost nothing concrete about what was happening, either in Vietnam or in the United States. It's almost as though the ten years between 1964 and 1976 never existed.

When I happened to meet Lady Bird during the late 1960's, questions or concerns I should have had about Vietnam never really entered my mind.

Now, the nearly two weeks of seeing and hearing what was really occurring has disturbed me more than I might have been at the time, had I been on top of current events. Dating from long before the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" ... and Resolution, I was always deeply opposed to our involvement in Vietnam, but it's amazing both how close I was to events, and ... at the same time ... how far.

I was up in a Huey Helicopter, practicing firing guided missiles, when President Kennedy, the man who draughted me into the military, and who was my Commander, was shot and killed in Dallas.

My one guided-missile buddy in the Air Assault Division, was B Marx, who is related to Daniel Ellsberg's wife, Patricia.

After I left service, the CEO of our firm became intimately acquainted with Mamie Eisenhower, who assured us that we could "trust" Nixon.

Somehow I never bought that story, but the full extent of Nixon's lies and shenanigans only became known much later.

I just thank God I have lived to see this series, because seeing it confirms in me my hunches about people in power ... whether they be civilian or military. I only wonder how I might have reacted had I known at least some of the facts.

Redigerat: okt 1, 2017, 6:20 pm

>3 Rood: Very insightful post, I was still eligible for the draft when the war ended. By that time the media had hold of many of the dirty facts and few people wanted anything to do with Vietnam. This was difficult to work through when your parent was in WWII.

I sat in a class of a Viet Vet at that time and he has just published a book on the Vietnam Memorial which was featured in the last of the Ken Burns series.

A review of the book A Rift in the Earth at the link.

okt 1, 2017, 7:17 pm

A first cousin of mine from Portland, Oregon, did go to Canada. Today he is an artist, living in Vancouver, BC.

One day, back in the 70's, I opened a copy of THE NEW YORK TIMES to find a full page story about American draft resisters living in Canada, an article which profiled my cousin and his experiences. I sent the page to my parents, but my mother was so embarrassed by the action of her nephew that she never mentioned it. I have no doubt she burned the article so no one else would see it.

I can only imagine what my parents would have thought had I made a similar decision, as going to Canada was one of the several options I was considering. I believe it might have killed them.

okt 1, 2017, 8:22 pm

Would your parents have been okay with your napalming a bunch of Vietnamese?

Just trying to get a sense of what sort of "values" we are talking about here.

okt 3, 2017, 4:09 pm

I very much doubt it, Lola, but then I was opposed to every facet of the war before it was a war, so they need not have worried about me and napalm. I would have been either in the brig, after being courtmartialed, or safely in Canada. Funny I knew about that option long before Tonkin Bay.

The amusing part of this whole scenario is the fact that while at Fort Benning I was named our Company Reenlistment NCO. I can honestly say that I never tried convincing *anyone* to reenlist.

However, one of the young Lieutenant Huey Helicopter pilots stopped me one day to inform me that I had convinced him not to reenlist, which has always puzzled me, because we grunts seldom spoke to officers unless they addressed us first. However it happened, convincing him to leave military service was one of my greatest military triumphs. I probably saved his life.

okt 4, 2017, 12:03 pm

It's terrible that anyone is made to weigh between being a "traitor" and killing--terrible given how many make the wrong choice.

okt 5, 2017, 1:51 pm

Does the series focus more on military events (who did/destroyed what and when) and decisions (when to invade, when to leave, when to...etc.), or more on the whole "right/wrong/national guilt" angle? If the former, I would probably watch it, but if the latter, I'm already well acquainted with the general American opinion of the war and wouldn't benefit from it.

okt 11, 2017, 12:53 pm

>9 St._Troy: The series goes “way” into decisions of “when to invade” etc. by direct quotes and interviews of the decision makers - of all sides.

Just try an episode if available, extreme care and detail in the documentation of everything.

nov 7, 2017, 1:35 am

>1 DugsBooks: I am not at all being critical of your posting your original comment in this group, especially since you got plenty of interest. Due to your "may be off topic" comment, however, I just thought I would let you know that there is also a more general Military History group here:


p.s. Everything I've heard about the series has been very positive, but I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it, as I haven't wanted to start soaking in that history again. I do occasionally read a book on the subject, however. I turned 18 the final year of the lottery, although by then they had stopped actually drafting anyone. I would not have gone.