America is becoming more and more enamoured of it’s former warriors than ever. Each day reveals a new commission, a new museum showing or another commemorative gun from one of those outfits that advertises in American Rifleman. This month they’re pushing the longest barrelled .45 Thompson you never saw on the Indochinese peninsula. That thing’s begging for a hacksaw at the foregrip.
Member Tombo of the USS Long Beach Marines, sent me this very interesting link to the War. As most know, I viewed this close up from 64-73 first as an Air Force brat and lastly an enlisted man. I watched as a lot of my school friend’s dads went off to Nam and never came home. A lot.
The synopsis was that we were going to fight the war Detroit style. X numbers of hand grenades, bombs and bullets would be produced and it would require X number of each to erase the bad guys. To be safe, the Defense Department over-ordered by a margin of .00002% to allow for exigencies. The exigencies had eaten up everything by Fall 1966 and shortages of everything were beginning to surface, Large amounts of assets were pulled into the black hole from other theaters while we geared up for a real “war” as opposed to a “police action”.
Materiel needs began to stabilize by 1968 just after Tet. And then popular opinion began to drive the discussion. This brief piece confirms what I always felt over there. Every CBU-26, every MK-82 and every canister of nape had to have an address to send to if you expected to keep procuring it. Senator Fulbright’s remark toward the end seems to be the signal moment in what critics prior to now have genuinely felt were shortcomings in strategic far thinking caused earlier by McNamara and the Grand Poobahs of Fort 5 Sides.
LBJ’s prompt response to the USS Turner Joy fiasco was pronounced and misguided. It accelerated a war we were ill-prepared to prosecute. Up until then our Special Ops guys out of Fort Bragg enjoyed it for training purposes and MACV was an early winner in funding requests. The Montagnards were in high cotton because they’d traded in their muskets for M-1 carbines. RVN’s indigenous “Indians” suddenly became a cutting edge military outfit under our SF tutelage. Much like our Hmongs up in Laos under Gen. Vang Pao, they initially enjoyed broad support and training. All this came crashing down when we left. Both tribes have since been decimated, hunted to earth and a concerted effort made to eradicate them which has ensued for decades. That’s probably the downside to SF training a force with no allegiance to anyone but their benefactors.
One is compellingly drawn to the same set of circumstances in Afstan and Iraqiville. Our government is sounding the all clear as the NVA tanks roll into Cholon again. Substitute Karbala or Kabul and Kurds in lieu of Hmong if you will, but chieu hoi is in full swing. America’s finest field grade and senior enlisted cadre are being boarded out or RIFed. Generals who do not toe the party line are discovering their pink slips in their paycheck. This does not bode well. Used to be every fifty or so years we needed that wake up call to restore our reputation overseas and restore our military might. You can feel the Rip Van Winkle effect beginning anew.
Just imagine what this will look like a year or five from now. A bunch of gay drone operators demanding Officer Flight Pay, Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medals and the right to unionize and strike.
Speaking of Montagnards, here’s a preview of the the present I’m sending to Bruce back in Geee-orgia. He never got to play up country so he missed the weekend outings to the Pleiku Flea Market. These Montagnard crossbows were hot sellers in 70 when I went through. These were the ceremonial ones and much larger than the ones we shot Budweiser cans with at night after work.