Of peace on earth, goodwill toward men

Here is a Christmas card the soldiers were issued that they used to send home to friends, family, and, in this case, a friend’s family:

xmas062

The preprinted portion inside the card reads: May the Peace and Happiness of Christmas be yours today and throughout the New Year from The First Team.

xmas2063

For more on Christmas in Vietnam:

Please watch the following youtube video which is a collection of photos captured by American soldiers who served in Vietnam and depicts how they celebrated the season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX-OWGxuIwM

And of course Bob Hope’s 1967 USO Christmas Special from Saigon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzOsLRT7d5c

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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John Wayne and the Cult(ure) of Movies

Here is my response to a comment posted by Robyn Riley on the About page of my blog who asked, for reasons of “post graduate research”: Did your dad grow up watching John Wayne movies? Do you know if he thought Vietnam was going to be like what he had grown up seeing in the movies?

My reply:

The short answer to your question is that John Wayne had no impact on my dad.

Now here’s the long answer. We discussed the Vietnam War all the time and not once did John Wayne factor into the conversation. Growing up my dad liked the following television shows: Perry Mason; The Wild, Wild West; Rawhide; and the Andy Griffith Show, and he was a fan of Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson movies.

My dad was not a one-dimensional, fictional character come to life fighting the good fight in a staunchly anti-communist movie such as The Green Berets. He was well aware that war, no matter how it’s packaged, is still war. My dad was drafted, he didn’t volunteer and he most certainly did not want to go to war. His grades were poor and so believing that college wasn’t an option he got married in 1966 hoping that would help him avoid the war; six months prior he had received notice from Selective Service.

Admittedly, John Wayne was a beloved actor whose movie, The Green Berets, espoused the ideals of General MacArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country” speech but the movie opened in theaters the same month my dad returned home from Vietnam. And besides my dad was an isolationist.

A Tribute to Veterans by Jerry Calow

Jerry originally posted this in the comments section on the About page and I thought it deserved its own post. Thank you Jerry for this wonderful tribute!

I wrote this song to pay Tribute to All Veterans and

would be pleased if you choose to post this in His Honor.

I Thank you and God Bless!

A Tribute To Veterans

In Vietnam, Korea and World Wars Past
Our Men Fought Bravely so Freedom Would Last
Conditions Where Not Always Best They Could Be
Fighting a Foe You Could Not Always See:

From Mountain Highs to Valley Lows
From Jungle Drops to Desert Patrols

Our Sinewy Sons Were Sent Over Seas
Far From Continue reading

CIA & FOIA & POW/MIA! Oh My!

POW Nurse

I found this amongst my dad’s Vietnam stuff. The text reads: Renate Kuhnen, 27, a West German nurse, was taken from a Kontum hospital overrun by Viet Cong in a raid this week in the South Vietnamese city. She is still missing. (Source: Des Moines Register, 7 March 1968) She was captured 3 March 1968 when coming to the aid of several patients during the attack by the VC. She was freed a year later. (Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 10 March 1969)

She was a fortunate one. Current statistics on the Vietnam War from the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office: 1,655 US personnel listed as POW/MIA as of 19 Sep 2012. While the National League of POW/MIA Families lists 1,661 missing and unaccounted-for as of 1 Aug 2012. The discrepancy results from the recently identified remains of 5 U.S. military personnel, although by my math that still leaves a discrepancy of 1. Last Friday, 21 September 2012, marked National POW/MIA Recognition Day; a day set aside to honor and remember those who never came home. The DPMO office has a motto: Keeping the Promise.

I grew up watching movies such as Missing in Action and Rambo and the conspiracy theorist in me entertained the idea that Continue reading