Category Archives: Infantry OCS

Our Vietnam War Dead

These are the men of 60th Company, OC 504-68, who were killed in Vietnam. We graduates of that 1968 class of Infantry Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, commemorate them each Memorial Day.

One graduate:  1LT Jacob Lee Kinser.

Two Tactical Officers:  CPT Reese Michael Patrick and 1LT Daniel Lynn Neiswender.

Four drop-outs:  CPL Sherry Joe Hadley, SP4 Reese Currenti Elia Jr., SP4 Robert Kendrick Chase, and PFC Jeffrey Sanders Tigner.

Kissing up to Code Pink

Some of my former co-workers, now also retired, periodically wax nostalgic about the snooze biz. I’m not nostalgic about it in the least, and can get downright irritable when I remember how it turned into the Leftist suckup news media that is pounding Trump, just like it enabled the Bush 2 haters and spent so much ink and paper kissing up to the lunatics of Code Pink

Undeserved credibility back then went to CP every time they held a “protest.” Some hapless reporter (including myself more often than I like to remember) was dispatched to “cover” their nonsense and lies. And if you tried to write objectively or included too many quotes from their critics, you got beaten back. As one editor told me in excising same from one of mine: “This is THEIR story.”

A President Trump will bring them back to the streets, I’m sure, and back to the pages of the snoozepapers, which are now struggling to pay the light bill. But it will be worth it to see the CP apoplexy. I hope they yell their pink selves hoarse and turn red. They already are Reds, politically, of course.

Who were, as an OCS friend’s WW2 veteran father once said, “the same as Nazis but in crappier uniforms.”

R.I.P. Joe Bol

joebol

Joe Bol, friend, OCS classmate, rare reader and occasional commenter here, passed on to the next world Wednesday, from complications of multiple medical problems. Adios, Joe, see you again on the turnaround and may our next incarnations not include a thankless political travesty like the Vietnam War.

Via his adopted son Joseph Bol.

UPDATE:  Obit for Joe with updated photo. Pity for the misspellings and the usual military ignorance of our non-serving, self-centered fellow citizens. Thus he is credited with a Bronze Medal for Vietnam, as if he had been competing in the Olympics. It’s Bronze Star Medal, of course. Nothing at all about where he went to school or his occupation after the war. I don’t know the former but, IIRC, he was an accountant for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which promotes professional athletics, horse racing, etc.

Hoi An, the colonial Williamsburg of Vietnam

HoiAn

Another from OCS bud Jay Fortun. My old stomping ground of Hoi An (first half of 1970) was a major stop on the ancient Europe-to-China sea route around Africa called the Silk Road. As such the seaside town of about 120,000 today has long had warehouses and villas built by Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese.

My Advisory Team 15’s compound was believed to have been built by the East India Company. Subject of one of my short stories in Leaving The Alamo and more in my novel The Butterfly Rose.

Hanoi is now promoting the little port for tourism, including building hotels, and Jay says the crowds of foreigners show it’s working. Even UNESCO is in on the act, branding the core area of about five by five city blocks a historical preservation site.

Uncle Ho

UncleHo

My OCS buddy Jay Fortun spotted this poster on his recent father-daughter trip to old South Vietnam.

Saigon fell 40 years ago today

BN-ID971_TURNER_M_20150429150249

Most of my OCS classmates still consider the American war in Vietnam to have been a misguided intervention in a civil war. For my part I saw both confirmations and contradictions of American policy and practice, making me an outlier even among my peers. Let alone with scumbags like John Kerry, single-handed author in 1973 1971 of the baby-killer myth that still dogs some of us.

This photo goes with a WSJ opinion piece backing the still-disputed policy position that we were helping our South Vietnamese allies fight aggression from North Vietnam. You could, of course, call that a civil war, as well, since they were cousins. Although the war’s persistent critics tend to see the civil war in terms of the black-pajamaed Viet Cong, who were mainly Southerners.

My South Vietnamese militia companies in the northern part of South Vietnam in 1969, however, rarely fought the VC. Most of the time we were in contact with small units of uniformed North Vietnamese Army soldiers who generally inflicted more casualties on us than we did on them.

The WSJ piece also resurrects the idea that “historians generally agree” we were winning the war in its last years of our involvement before the Democrat congress (with the acquiescence of a Republican president) decided to bow to the anti-war protesters (people like Kerry and our probable next president Hillary Clinton) and cut and run.

I presume these historians base their conclusions on Pentagon statistics, some of whom were collected by young lieutenants like me in what was called the Hamlet Evaluation System. The monthly HES reports were supposed to measure civilian loyalty to the Saigon regime which was taken to be a metric of who was winning. My own reports were deemed too negative by my superior and were rewritten to reflect command optimism though only I had visited the hamlets in question. So I discount the claims of winning, at least in 1969, while agreeing that we were fighting aggression more than we were a civil war.

Does it matter after forty years? The WSJ author (a two-tour Army officer who went back as a civilian to help evacuate South Vietnamese orphans) says it does because it’s weakened U.S. standing in the world. It’s hard to see how it could be any weaker with our Little Barry as president. But we may not have had him at all without the cut-n-run four decades ago. We certainly would not have Mr. Baby-Killer himself for a U.S. Secretary of State.

As for us alleged baby-killers, we all became eligible for a shiny new medal in the early 1990s. The citation says that by countering Communist agression (North Vietnamese, VC, Russian, take your pick) we helped win the Cold War. How’s that for irony?

Another VA scandal looming

When the most recent VA atrocity, the “waiting-list” scandal, broke last year, His Earness’s party designed a solution to the problem in which nineteen veterans of America’s wars had died waiting months for an appointment at a VA clinic or hospital.

The new $10 billion Choice program was supposed to let veterans avoid waiting lists by choosing private doctors at VA expense—those docs, anyhow, who are willing to put up with the delayed payments and costly paperwork of the federal bureaucracy. Many docs have long shunned Medicare and for the same reason now are trying to avoid Obamacare.

I got my Choice card in the mail a few months ago, one of 8.6 million sent out since November. Having private insurance, I didn’t need it and not wishing to take the slot of some other veteran who did, I didn’t return the form to activate it. I threw away the card. Which was just as well because I seemed not to qualify, anyhow, not living at least 40 miles from a VA clinic. As usual our corrupt political class and their news media cronies trumpet their solutions while hiding the fine print.

Apparently it wouldn’t have mattered if I had lived at least 40 miles from a clinic: “A recent Veterans of Foreign Wars survey on the Veterans Choice Program found that ’80 percent of the 1,068 survey participants who reported that they either lived 40 miles from a VA medical facility or could not be seen by VA within 30 days said they were not afforded the choice to receive non-VA care.'”

Now Wormtongue appears to be backing off the Choice program entirely, by moving some of the allocated $10 billion to help shore up the VA system. Which figures. The VA health system has long been an unfulfilled promise to many veterans, one further stressed in the past two decades by forcing career-military retirees to use it.

As an old Infantry OCS pal of mine, who worked for the VA after the war, told me: When applying for anything from the VA you should treat the multitude of requested form submissions as a hobby. With luck you’ll eventually get somewhere. Maybe.

It’s good for some. Mrs. Charm’s Navy career retiree father refused to go anywhere else for treatment of his lung cancer. My Air Force retiree father wouldn’t have stepped foot in it on a bet. Pity that pols have always preferred lying to telling the truth and that Mr. Hope & Change is just another member of the mendacious pack.

Via WSJ.