4:38 | Mac Armstrong took certain things away from the Vietnam War. The shortcomings that the U.S. faced during this conflict helped to inform future conflicts that we were involved in.
Keywords : Colin Powell lessons lessons of war Vietnam strategy plane Desert Storm George H.W. Bush agreements textbook execution
Mac Armstrong tells of his upbringing in Louisiana and his decision to join the ROTC at Louisiana State University. While stationed on the West Coast, a comical series of events led him to meet his wife.
Mac Armstrong remembers time during training as they prepared to go over to Vietnam. While flying over the jungle, Armstrong and his partner had a hairy encounter that was resolved by some quick thinking on his part.
While managing equipment in the Air Force, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong with the various aircrafts. Learning from these mistakes was essential for them in going forward.
A Chinese soldier managed to return an Air Force Class Ring back to the family of the fallen soldier, Pat Wynne, who Mac Armstrong knew from his time in Vietnam. This gave them closure on how he passed while flying over North Vietnam.
Mac Armstrong recalls his time working in the Pentagon during Desert Storm and some of the decisions that they had to make. Having to navigate the intricacies of the Middle East during that time period was difficult but Armstrong and his team but they did an efficient job.
Mac Armstrong took plenty away from the mistakes made during the Vietnam War. These are the lessons that he implemented while in the Pentagon during Operation Desert Storm.
Nineteen and invincible, newly minted helicopter pilot Ed Zielinski was singing on the 26 hour flight to Vietnam. Assigned to work with a Korean unit, he began to familiarize himself with the area he was based in, determined to be the best pilot there.
When getting the orders to join his Combined Action Platoon, Doc Groulx thought through the idea of helping his wounded soldiers make it home alive and decided it was worth it. Making relationships with the Vietnamese people was essential to their success as a group.
There were booby traps galore in the Mekong Delta where platoon leader Albert Watson served most of his tour. His unit managed to avoid any injuries from them until they were sent north into the jungle, where they were tougher to spot. The men had to be cross trained because of the constant rotation of troops. You had to be able to step into another role to cover for someone who was no longer there.
Lt. Tom Blake had a Kit Carson scout in his platoon and the former Viet Cong was good at getting information from the locals, but, after the My Lai incident, cooperation was hard to come by. The tragedy occurred in the same area and Blake felt the fallout in his civilian encounters.
After his initial aviation training, Dick Dyer was sent to Fort Rucker, where he learned to pilot Hueys, the Bell UH-1 helicopter used by the Army. He knew he was slated for Vietnam and he was prepared for that. What he was not prepared for was his father's reaction.
Before they deployed to Vietnam, the transportation unit got brand new 5 ton trucks, which were loaded on a ship while the men flew over on a cargo plane. Bill Patterson will always remember the heat and the smell that greeted them on the tarmac at Bien Hoa.
The Koreans didn't speak much English, at least to him. They would point to a map and helicopter pilot Ed Zielinski would take them there. On one mission, he had to set down and wait. This gave him an unexpected opportunity to utilize his Texas quick draw skills.
Daily life at camp and during warfare always came with complications for Hauner and his division. Though his division wasn't explicitly an infantry division, they did a lot of the same tasks that infantry did, making them learn quickly.
The radio operator said that a Bravo Report had come in. What's a Bravo report? Company commander Paul Van Riper was wondering but the main thing was that an NVA regiment was on the move. Before it was over, the Marines had a good haul of enemy arms and intelligence.
It was the defining moment of his life. Mike Waugh was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and he has some insightful observations on the way the war was fought, the reasons it was fought that way, and the legacy it holds today.
Army brat Ed Zielinski had always been fascinated with flight. As a child he just knew he would lift off on a windy day with a long coat for wings. So when the draft loomed he decided he would try to fly over the rice paddies rather than slog through them.
His feeling was that we needed to be involved in Vietnam to stop the spread of Communism. Citadel cadet Joe Bruckner knew he would be going to the war. He recalls his training experience, especially the sobering night ambush exercise.
As the war went on, Ron Rutowski felt the culture and morale of Vietnam change for the Vietnamese and for the Americans. In an effort to create an outlet of peace for Viet Cong defectors, they began a pamphlet program to let them know how to effectively surrender should they want to.
After his first Vietnam tour, helicopter pilot Mo Erkins served as an instructor at Fort Rucker. He went back for a second tour, this time moving from Hueys to Chinooks. Assigned as the Executive Officer, he established communication with the parents of avery man under his command and used his university training in counseling to keep professional relationships good.
Joe Bruckner describes his daily life as an advisor to a Vietnamese unit, his relationships with his counterparts, and the environs he worked in. There were Montagnard villages in his area and he had a high regard for those people, who were mistreated by both the French and the Vietnamese.
To Tracy Sheils, Vietnam was not a bad thing and it had a noble purpose, stopping the spread of Communism. He had to go home in civilian clothes to avoid any trouble and it did not sit well with him. Neither does the prosecution of Americans such as Lt. William Calley.
Helicopter pilot Dick Dyer was sent to pickup supplies from a ship in the Mekong Delta, but when he approached, the call sign and frequency he was given for contact elicited no reply. Circling the ship, he saw other helicopters land and take off so he went on in. Then he got an earful.
It was like heaven when he saw the Golden Gate bridge. He had made it through his Vietnam tour. Omer McCants went home to Alabama, reunited with his wife, and reported to Fort Rucker for his next assignment. When he eventually prepared to leave the military, a corporal processing his paperwork asked him a fateful question.