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Armor/AFV: Vietnam
All things Vietnam
Hosted by Darren Baker
Ken Burns, PBS
namengr
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 11:48 AM GMT+7
Was just wondering if any of you were watching the PBS series on Vietnam? My friend and I are having a tough go of it for different reasons and time frames. He is an early war and I am a late war vets and things are very confused for both. Hope it explains some things for younger people and maybe for older ones too. Wayne
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 12:15 PM GMT+7
Wayne, I haven't been watching it, (I shut off my cable years ago, and found I didn't want to add the equivalent of another car payment to get it back) does it do a good job of explaining the war in your opinion? I thought Mr Burns did a good job with the Civil war, and WW2 programs, but with this program there are many more (or ANY as far as the civil war series was concerned) veterans who are still around to see it. I'm very interested to hear your opinions.

And thank you and your friend, and all the combat vets for your sacrifices, its almost 50 years late in coming for your thank you, but it is still heartfelt.
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 01:43 PM GMT+7
I watched a couple episodes - the timeline is very confusing. Although it generally follows events from the beginning it throws in a bunch of later stuff which seems more of an afterthought, or filler. Still, I've been learning a lot about the Kennedy years and politics in Viet Nam at the time.

Jim
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 01:47 PM GMT+7
So far it's really good. I also don't like the flash-forward thing he is doing.
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 02:08 PM GMT+7
This Viet Nam War documentary is very different from the Civil war and other documentaries he has produced. If you have a lack if historical interest, it may be hard to follow. The narration helps but the subtitles are critical to understanding the scenes. Remember, this documentary is made for another generation. Boomer and Generation X viewers already have memories or opinions of the war. I believe it is very good so far. I think it may get better. It will likely draw comparisons to recent events in American history.
As far as modeling goes. I am certain we will see images that will inspire us. Please go to D.C. and visit the Wall.
Wayne, thank you for posting this topic.
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 02:25 PM GMT+7
I remember seeing the Civil War series in 1991. Everybody else did, with the Gulf War threatening to turn hot at the time. One newspaper columnist complained that it was longer than the war itself.
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 02:28 PM GMT+7
I've been watching the series and hanging onto every visual, spoken word, and sub-titles. For me, the film clips, still photography, and excellent narration bring back many memories of those tumultuous times.

I'm not a Vietnam Vet — merely a child of the Sixties. After high school, I was shipped off to Newark, NJ for my military physical, where I was classified 4F due to bad eyesight. They must've wanted me real bad, as I recall the Orderlies checking my vision at least three times to make sure I wasn't BS-ing! ... Anyway, that's my story.

To all that have served and to all whom are currently serving. ... I thank you.

Very respectfully,
—mike
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 03:18 PM GMT+7
I watched one episode, and had trouble with it (not Ken Burns or the way he presented it, but me). Did OK and went thru the point man getting tagged from the right after checking his left. Then they took everything home with a box of his personal things. I felt like a vulture gazing at a kill. One of the absolute worse things was having to inventory a kid's personal items. Burns took it lightly in his presentation. Still for a non combatant or even a guy in the rear it was probably OK.

One thing I'm glad Burns did was to interview the Vietnamese in a "non" political atmosphere. He did it well. I never hated the Vietnamese people in the bush. Always felt they didn't want to be there anymore than I did.

I doubt I'll be watching the show much as it's old history for me. Yet I recommend it for you all. BUT! Make sure you take what's said with some thought.
gary
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 03:59 PM GMT+7
John Smith: Since it's on PBS, it's broadcast over the airwaves. No cable is needed. Any TV has a built in digital antenna that can pull the signal for you (yep, that still operates!)

I've seen 1 and a half episodes. What was startling to me was hear of the breadth and depth of the civil war aspect of the struggle among the various Vietnamese factions.
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 04:27 PM GMT+7
I never realized how f***ed up the political situation in South Vietnam was until seeing this. I had read a lot about the fighting but not a lot about the politics that lead up to it. I was born in December of 1965 and my earliest memories were the planes and helicopters coming back to the airport in the early 70s as I played in the sand box at my uncles house next to the National guard base. My fascination with planes and armor grew from this to the plastic addiction I have today. God bless all our Vets!
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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 05:28 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

I never realized how f***ed up the political situation in South Vietnam was until seeing this. I had read a lot about the fighting but not a lot about the politics that lead up to it. I was born in December of 1965 and my earliest memories were the planes and helicopters coming back to the airport in the early 70s as I played in the sand box at my uncles house next to the National guard base. My fascination with planes and armor grew from this to the plastic addiction I have today. God bless all our Vets!



Best way to describe the government of South Vietnam was how corrupt it was. You had two basic classes of folks there. Rich and dirt poor. The dirt poor didn't really care all that much about who was in power because they suffer either way. Then you and the ARVN. Most were just as bad, but there were a few units that were tough. Yet never enough of them. Seemed like the further east you went the more screwed up everything was. Out west it was a constant fight to survive, and the ARVN out there were fairly good. It became a scenario similar to cowboys and Indians.

"Charlie don't get no R&R", and his reward was an extra chunk of fish in his rice. No matter how you look at it, one has to give this man his due respect even though you know you'd kill him at two in the morning today. Guy's in the bush lived by a code; a very strong code with few words. Always knew the NVA did as well. When I stepped off the skid of a slick, I knew somebody planned on tagging me, just Like I knew I would tag him. Had to be that way as your job was to keep two and three alive. That was code! Guys that had hate in their heart usually suffered because they lost respect to the other guy's ability to kill him. You learn to plan your moves in the fashion Charlie thinks.

You soon learn you'd kill for the can of bean & Winnies, or even fruit cocktail. You looked ugly, and stunk, but could hump 75lb. all day long without a whimper. Never got close to anybody (well you always had two or three close guys, and the rest were in the way). Always seemed to know what was going to happen even if it didn't. By the eighth month you were starting to distrust most everybody for not carrying their load.

Now I wonder if Burns will do the funny stuff and the crazy things we did to make life go on with a grin. I'm a betting man he'll never mention a short timer's party, or drinking hundred degree beer! Bar room brawls were a form of exercise, and you never turn anybody away (no matter where they came from). I was there when the kids drove the 48 thru the beer hall because they wouldn't serve them! I still laugh when I remember it.

Foggy in mountains
gary
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 02:00 AM GMT+7
I have been watching the series and so far I gave high praise. I believe its a 10 part series and tonight will be #4.

It starts from the end of World War II, through the French and their defeat, and then where the US takes over.

It is narrated well, and their are interviews from all sides. Burns I think tried to make a very well taken point on the conflict that the US never really grasped. While we were trying to fight communism and the communist boogeyman, the US really didn't understood that the conflict was not really about the spread of communism and was more about the end of the colonial era. Ho Chi Minh apparently tried very hard to reach out to the US, and even went so far as to request help all the way back to the truman presidency, but many times memos and communique never reached DC, mostly on purpose

I think what may have confused people for the first 2 episodes was that it goes over the early starts of the conflict and then it will flip to a 1 minute clip of an american serviceman and his story every so often. I think that was done intentionally by the writers to keep the audience still engaged while they were trying give you the early background and roots of the conflict.

Last nights episode finally got into the 1965 and 1966 and the initial US build up. Tonight I think will be 67 through 68 and Tet.

If you havent watched it, I suggest you do, it is very well done
Removed by original poster on 09/20/17 - 07:03:36 (GMT).
namengr
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 02:06 AM GMT+7
I've been to the Wall twice, right after it was finished and again on Veteran's Day of the next year. Wayne
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 02:10 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

I watched a couple episodes - the timeline is very confusing. Although it generally follows events from the beginning it throws in a bunch of later stuff which seems more of an afterthought, or filler. Still, I've been learning a lot about the Kennedy years and politics in Viet Nam at the time.

Jim



Jim I think this was done on purpose to keep the audience engaged while giving you the backdrop of the conflict. when something about history is narrated, and in particular in this case before the US became fully involved it can become monotonous to the audience. By doing these short 2 minute US GI interview bursts it keeps the viewer engaged
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 02:16 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

So far it's really good. I also don't like the flash-forward thing he is doing.



Yea I see where it can be confusing, but again I think this was done on purpose to keep the viewer engaged. Getting a history lesson can be somewhat boring or monotonous.

I think now that the episodes are now in 1965 and the full blown US combat involvement, we will see less if any of the flash forward spots.
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 03:29 AM GMT+7
Yep the average citizen didn't care who was in power but with us there it placed them in the middle. With us gone life as they knew it would return.

Phan Rang-1969

Tony lee
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 04:35 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Was just wondering if any of you were watching the PBS series on Vietnam? My friend and I are having a tough go of it for different reasons and time frames. He is an early war and I am a late war vets and things are very confused for both. Hope it explains some things for younger people and maybe for older ones too. Wayne



Im taping it , I dont know if Ill ever watch it .took me 45 years to put it in the back of my mind , never forgotten. Im a Vietnam late war vet also . Da Nang 71 72 , . How are they portraying us ? as criminals or heroes ? In 72 I landed in Seattle . we were greeted with protesters calling us all sorts of foul names. back then you were allowed to wait right near the gate of the arriving flights. a woman threw one of those industrial ash tray / trash bin at us . I was soaked in cigarettes and brown water. the cops told US to keep moving ! now were heroes ... go figure . Thats why we say welcome home to each other , no one else said it to us . probably wont watch it !
jvazquez
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 04:50 AM GMT+7
I could completely understand from someone who was there and lived it not wanting to watch it.

I'm a child of the 80s born in the late 70s so I only know it through history, and all the clips and movies through the years.

Luckily enough time has gone by where we all can look back and reflect on this conflict, one that defined and altered our history. Watching this also validates the fact that history almost always repeats itself. We almost always fall into the trap of following our supposed leaders down the same paths to destruction.



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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 05:27 AM GMT+7
I'm watching it too, & have the whole show queued to record too. I was born in '75 so too late to have any personal memories, but lots I picked up from my dad (VN vet & cold warrior) as well as others. I also have a history degree, but plenty in here that I didn't know about, or interesting to get a "refresher" on the conflict.

Damon.
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 07:53 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

I watched a couple episodes - the timeline is very confusing. Although it generally follows events from the beginning it throws in a bunch of later stuff which seems more of an afterthought, or filler. Still, I've been learning a lot about the Kennedy years and politics in Viet Nam at the time.

Jim



Jim I think this was done on purpose to keep the audience engaged while giving you the backdrop of the conflict. when something about history is narrated, and in particular in this case before the US became fully involved it can become monotonous to the audience. By doing these short 2 minute US GI interview bursts it keeps the viewer engaged



perhaps the audience needs to understand that day to day combat become monotonous after three months. You had two basic classes of combatants. Ones that slept on a warm dry mattress and those that didn't. Rank meant nothing, and after awhile service branch meant very little. We all had the same goal; getting on the freedom bird alive.
gary
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 07:53 AM GMT+7
The access to voices from the North and the Viet Cong, as well as South Vietnamese, makes it invaluable for understanding the conflict. Americans tend to reduce the war to simple "we could have won/it was unwinnable," ignoring the plain fact that IT WAS A CIVIL WAR. The lack of those voices at the time made us commit some egregious and serious blunders; without them now, understanding the war is simply impossible.

One salient example is the attack known as LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley which was immortalized in the outstanding book We Were Soldiers Then... And Young by journalist Joe Galloway (who was present) and General Hal Moore, who commanded two battalions of the 7th Air Cav. Both the book and the subsequent movie with Mel Gibson focus on the American soldiers fighting for their lives against what turned out to be a much-stronger force of VC and NVA regulars than intelligence had indicated.

But the show interviews several surviving soldiers from the other side who reveal how, despite horrific 7-1 casualties against, they learned how to fight against America's superior firepower by "getting so close you can grab the other guy by his belt buckle." Never mentioned in Galloway's book or the movie is how a few days later, the NVA wiped out a force of US troops at LZ Baker nearby when they got in too close for close air support or artillery support.

Without that information, the student of history thinks "it was an unwinable war because we didn't DO the "right" things. Actually, the war was lost because we didn't understand what we had gotten into, the country's tortuous history, its long hatred of foreign invaders, and the conflicting goals of its various factions.

While it's true that Americans were appalled at the carnage of the war as it ground on, we tend always to see things through the lens of our own experience. The war was much larger than simply North vs. South or Communists vs. non-Communists, with many elements that didn't even concern us, such as the Buddhist monks self-immolating over what were issues that had little to do with the conflict.
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 08:00 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Was just wondering if any of you were watching the PBS series on Vietnam? My friend and I are having a tough go of it for different reasons and time frames. He is an early war and I am a late war vets and things are very confused for both. Hope it explains some things for younger people and maybe for older ones too. Wayne



Im taping it , I dont know if Ill ever watch it .took me 45 years to put it in the back of my mind , never forgotten. Im a Vietnam late war vet also . Da Nang 71 72 , . How are they portraying us ? as criminals or heroes ? In 72 I landed in Seattle . we were greeted with protesters calling us all sorts of foul names. back then you were allowed to wait right near the gate of the arriving flights. a woman threw one of those industrial ash tray / trash bin at us . I was soaked in cigarettes and brown water. the cops told US to keep moving ! now were heroes ... go figure . Thats why we say welcome home to each other , no one else said it to us . probably wont watch it !



I was lucky! I landed at the AFB right outside FT. Lewis in a foot of snow on the last day of February 1969. (Got off the plane and kissed that snow (it was about 28 degrees). No protesters at eleven PM! About a minute later we were throwing snowballs and laughing. The on crap I caught was some REMF Corporal telling me to get a haircut. I looked in eyes and told him "if your big enough then cut my hair". He left.

gary
trickymissfit
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 08:03 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

The access to voices from the North and the Viet Cong, as well as South Vietnamese, makes it invaluable for understanding the conflict. Americans tend to reduce the war to simple "we could have won/it was unwinnable," ignoring the plain fact that IT WAS A CIVIL WAR. The lack of those voices at the time made us commit some egregious and serious blunders; without them now, understanding the war is simply impossible.

One salient example is the attack known as LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley which was immortalized in the outstanding book We Were Soldiers Then... And Young by journalist Joe Galloway (who was present) and General Hal Moore, who commanded two battalions of the 7th Air Cav. Both the book and the subsequent movie with Mel Gibson focus on the American soldiers fighting for their lives against what turned out to be a much-stronger force of VC and NVA regulars than intelligence had indicated.

But the show interviews several surviving soldiers from the other side who reveal how, despite horrific 7-1 casualties against, they learned how to fight against America's superior firepower by "getting so close you can grab the other guy by his belt buckle." Never mentioned in Galloway's book or the movie is how a few days later, the NVA wiped out a force of US troops at LZ Baker nearby when they got in too close for close air support or artillery support.

Without that information, the student of history thinks "it was an unwinable war because we didn't DO the "right" things. Actually, the war was lost because we didn't understand what we had gotten into, the country's tortuous history, its long hatred of foreign invaders, and the conflicting goals of its various factions.

While it's true that Americans were appalled at the carnage of the war as it ground on, we tend always to see things through the lens of our own experience. The war was much larger than simply North vs. South or Communists vs. non-Communists, with many elements that didn't even concern us, such as the Buddhist monks self-immolating over what were issues that had little to do with the conflict.



good post, and well said!
gary
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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 08:34 AM GMT+7
I just watched the first episode and except for the flash forward scenes - which I don't get- it was spectacular. Learned a lot about the history of Viet Nam and the awful treatment by the French of the Vietnamese citizens. It is also stunning to see how close we may have come to actually supporting Uncle Ho in his drive for independence. Another well done historical series by Ken Burns.