One of my Mike Company 3/1 brothers-in-arms, Joe Wadlow, who fought in the battle reminds us all that "Forty years ago today at 7:15 AM we lost nearly our whole first squad during what was to become the infamous 'Tet Offensive'. I'm sure each year on this date we all take a moment out of our day and remember those who were near and dear to us and remember them in our prayers."
But it was unexpected and our itel failed us... badly. In the end, the "US defeat" was actually carried out by the anti-war politicians and the leftist press who spun and propagandized The Tet Offensive for maximum benefit.
Despite Tet '68 being remembered as a defeat and used by the left as a two-word assessment of the entire 10 year-war, the exact opposite was true. We killed an estimated 85,000-100,000 VC and PAVN troops and broke their back... after Tet the VC were never again an effective fighting force.
We and our Allies (Australian, South Korea and New Zealand) lost approximately 3,000.
The horrendous NLF/PAVN casualties quickly began to tell. The fact that there were no apparent military gains made that could possibly justify all the blood and effort just exacerbated the situation. During the first half of 1969, more than 20,000 communist troops rallied to allied forces, a threefold increase over the 1968 figure.
In April 1969 COSVN (communist HQ which controlled the war effort in the South) issued Directive 55 to all of its subordinate units: "Never again and under no circumstances are we going to risk our entire military force for just such an offensive. On the contrary, we should endeavor to preserve our military potential for future campaigns."
The news media coverage had the opposite effect on me. It solidified my decision to postpone my last two years of college and OCS to drop out and enlist. I was determined not to miss "my" war... shouldn't have worried, there was still plenty to go 'round.
Bash the Vietnam Veterans has started anew....
San Fran Chronicle has resurrected a February 2000 story just in time to sucker punch GOP presidential candidate John McCain:
"McCain Criticized for Racial Slur: Says he keep using term for ex-captors"
Yeah, he called 'em "gooks" and he pointedly reserved the term for his Hanoi Hilton captors... inhuman, little, five-foot nothing, f'ing sadistic beasts who tortured and murdered American POWs.
Good; I will too. And I have much less reason to than he does.
In our pathetic, feminized, silly little era we have forgotten the sacrifices and heroism in Vietnam... hell, we've forgotten 3,000 people vaporized on 9/11.
... and some Americans get all weak in the knees about pouring water on someones head to make them think they're drowning.
Gawd forbid someone would get their blood up in a world where real men must take other mens' lives to preserve their own.
I refer the editors and reporters of the Chronicle to another real man:
Tom Moe (a supporter of McCain) was captured by the gooks in 1968... the following is from his article in Notre Dame Magazine:
-- During a single session I sat on a stool in the same position 24 hours a day for 10 straight days.
-- For the first nine months of my captivity, and sporadically later, I didn't see, hear or talk to another American.
-- We perspired so much our skin became waterlogged, looking like pale cheese, a crumbling coat of slimy flesh often festering with rash and fungus.
-- When I refused, I got to serve as a stress reliever for about 20 guards -- each took his turn beating me to a pulp. They pounded me for six or eight hours. By then I was getting pretty shaky.
-- They brought in a guard who sported the only leather boots I ever saw in North Vietnam. I don't know what they told him, but he looked like he wanted to kill me. He looked insane, his eyes wide open, and he practically jumped up and down when they turned him loose on me. He began by kicking me in the back with all the strength he could exert.
-- As I passed out, thinking I was dying, I remember thanking God that we had made a stand against this kind of society.
-- Maybe there is something to that old saying about pain purifying, but I would not prescribe the treatment.
---After 85 combat missions Thomas Moe was captured in North Vietnam in January 1968; he was released in 1973. Two years later he earned a master's degree from Notre Dame, where he eventually served as professor of aerospace studies and commander of the Air Force ROTC program. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel in fall 1995.
The Oakland (aka crime-ridden armpit of the world) International Airport did not break any laws or regulations when it denied 200 Marines and soldiers access to the passenger terminal during a layover last year from Iraq to the troops' home base in Hawaii, the Transportation Department says."
"The Sept. 27 layover was the last stop for fuel and food, but the troops, who were returning from a tour in Iraq, were denied access to food and bathroom facilities."
Get this... airport officials were were worried that the flight's ground staff could not provide "an adequate level of escort and control of such a large group of military personnel in or around the terminal area."
There was also concern about "storage and safeguarding" of weapons as well as screening of these suspicious young men and women.
And we complained about being spit on.