March 2007 Pictune
Special Edition:
Honoring: Our Forgotten Veterans




"Goodnight Saigon"
Billy Joel





History

The Vietnam War was a military conflict in which communist forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV or North Vietnam) and the indigenous National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, (also known as the Viet Cong), "Victor Charlie" or "Charlie" for short, "VC" or "Cong") fought the anti-communist forces of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN or South Vietnam) and its allies - most notably the United States (U.S.) - in a successful effort to unify Vietnam into a single independent, communist state.

It is also known as the Vietnam Conflict, the Second Indochina War and, in the U.S. colloquially, as Vietnam, The Nam or simply Nam. Vietnamese communists often referred to it as the American War or Khang chien chong My (the Resistance War Against America). The chief cause of the war was the failure of Vietnamese nationalists, in the form of the Viet Minh, to gain control of southern Vietnam both during and after their struggle for independence from France in the First Indochina War of 1946-1954.

The Vietnam War was the longest military conflict in United States history. U.S. involvement lasted from 1965 to 1975, claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and left another 304,000 wounded. Veterans who returned from service in Vietnam were not as fortunate as their predecessors. Due to the unpopular nature of this particular war, its soldiers did not receive a ticker tape parade, or the thanks of a grateful nation. They were forced to assimilate back into society as best they could and pretend it was all okay.

So…Larry, Don and Phil, we hope its not too late for us to say we are proud of your service to our country.

 


Thank You, and Welcome Home!



Off The Wall

"I guess that we were the only generation of soldiers where killing in a war was not acceptable to our peers. Whether we as individuals did it or not didn't matter. When we got home we were all baby killers in their eyes. We listened to the anti-war music of our time and sang along, we saluted each other with the victory sign knowing that it now meant "peace." It left us all very confused and wondering what we really meant as one gun truck passed another."

"We were not very popular back home, so we tried to ignore the fact that we were there. We found it difficult to be both proud and ashamed at the same time. All we wanted was to go home, find ourselves a nice lady and forget that it ever happened."

"There are many memories and stories that fade in and fade out. No matter how hard we try to assimilate ourselves into new lives...there are always those memories that we've had nearly 40 years to remember and 40 years to try and forget. It doesn't matter who you were or what you did, but one thing for sure is that Vietnam was not a fun place to be or to come home from."

Plh / 2007



Vietnam Veteran's Terminology and Slang:

BRING SMOKE: to direct intense artillery fire or air force ordnance on an enemy position.

CENTRAL HIGHLANDS: The Central Highlands, a plateau area at the southern edge of the Truong Son Mountains, was a strategically important region of South Vietnam throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly one million people, primarily Montagnard tribesmen, lived in the 20,000 square miles of the Central Highlands in 1968. The region was economically known for its production of coffee, tea, and vegetables.

CHARLIE, CHARLES, CHUCK: Vietcong--short for the phonetic representation Victor Charlie.

COOK-OFF: a situation where an automatic weapon has fired so many rounds that the heat has built up enough in the weapon to set off the remaining rounds without using the trigger mech. This was common in the 50 cal., and the only way to stop it was to rip the belt.

DINKY DAU: Vietnamese term for "crazy" or "You're crazy."

DUSTOFF: a nickname for a medical evacuation helicopter or mission.

ELEPHANT GRASS: tall, sharp-edged grass found in the highlands of Vietnam.

GRUNT: a popular nickname for an infantryman in Vietnam; supposedly derived from the sound one made from lifting up his rucksack. Also Ground Pounder or Crunchie.

HOT TOC: hair cut.

HUEY: nickname for the UH-series helicopters: "utility helicopter."

HUMP: to slog around on foot.

IN COUNTRY: Vietnam

JESUS NUT: main rotor retaining nut that holds the main rotor onto the rest of the helicopter!!!! If it came off, only Jesus could help you.

LIGHT UP: to fire on the enemy.

LO DUN: land mines.

M-16: nicknamed the widow-maker, the standard American rifle used in Vietnam after 1966

PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON: Douglas AC-47/DC-3 , Spooky Squadron Gun Ship

ROCK 'N' ROLL: firing of weapons on full automatic.

ROUND EYE: an American girl

SHORT, SHORT-TIME, SHORT-TIMER: individual with little time remaining in Vietnam. An expression which indicated you were close to your Fini Flight and the Freedom Bird. In your last couple of weeks, you were so "short" you were invisible.

SNOOPY: this was a mission flown often in Nam (129th Assault Helicopter Co.). One ship flew at tree-top level, trying to draw enemy fire from hidden troops (this was "Snoopy"). The second ship (at high elevation) would then observe where the shots came from and dive and attack. These were Snoopy Missions.

SLANT EYE: a Vietnamese or Asian girl

STARLIGHT: night-vision telescope, used by snipers and basecamp defense troops to see in the dark.

(THE) WORLD: the United States Any place outside of Vietnam.


"Daddy's Home"

We all have them. Those memories....indelible impressions which are so infused with emotion and personal meaning that they exist on deserted islands within our minds for as long as we exist.

Based on my adult knowledge of timelines in the 60's, this had to have occurred in about 1969, when I was around four years old.

I was in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee with my aunt Cathy and my grandmother, who was feeding one of the street parking meters. They had brought me downtown to window shop and keep me occupied for a couple of hours. Unknown to me, my father had just returned from duty in Vietnam. I didn't understand until years and years later that he had been awake for days, traveling across the world. As he trekked through each airport closer and closer to home, he was subjected to increasing disgust and hostility on the part of an ungrateful, politically charged public.

Cathy was the one who spilled the beans--let the cat out of the bag when my four year old acute hearing picked up "the father" out of an otherwise generic, droning adult conversation. "The Father" was CathySpeak--what she hoped was indecipherable code for "her dad". My mind raced and I instantly knew. My Daddy was home!!!! An argument and scuffle ensued. I was...let's call it, a strong willed little girl. Nothing would do until they took me to him--NOW. Cathy and Mamaw must have given up, exasperated and worn down.

Excitement built on what was probably a 20 minute ride back to my grandparent's house. My little legs flew to the doorstep, into the house and up the three stairs to the first bedroom on the left. I opened the door and there he was! I don't remember his face, his weariness, or even what he said. My heart pounding, I rushed into the room and was scooped up into two strong arms......my Daddy was home.

Shellie Rhodes / 2006

 

 




The VietNam Veterans Memorial
The Wall - USA



 
"Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another."
Vietnam Veterans of America
http://www.vva.org/


©ontherhodes.net | 2008 | all rights reserved | email