Jack Heslin,

Good to talk to you again. I am glad you and Doug understand the situation. I never went to Laos but I worked for CCC. Our mission was to put in barriers of heat sensors along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Back to the war story. Col. Dat and Mr. Vann gave up their lives for our freedom. However, I wonder if it was true that Col. Dat depended on Mr. Vann for the B52 air strikes and that he used General Mac Arthur's strategy…… but he didn't have the power and was totally depending on Mr. Vann. If it's true I am released, no more wondering and I will let the wounds heal themselves and if it's not true I rest my case.

Again, thank you for sharing this with me, and thank you for your service.

Regards, A Vietnamese Soldier

REFLECTIONS: Many of us, at the time, did not have confidence in the Vietnamese military leadership to effectively conduct the combat operations at the scale and intensity we were facing. I remember looking at Tan Canh from the air and thinking no depth - how will they defend it if it really gets hit hard. Many rumors about tanks in the area were disregarded by Mr. Vann - he wanted proof. I remember in February '72 flying down the valley west of "Rocket Ridge" in an OH-58 with a G-2 officer at 500 ft looking for tank tracks and trying to get shot at. (I know - stupid) I remember the Cav reports saying they had seen tanks. Col. Dat was not a strong leader but there was no way Tan Canh could have withstood a determined tank assault - even with the NVA poor tank-infantry tactics. Was Mr. Vann at fault? Others can answer that question. I think John P. Vann was an extraordinarily brave man and a good strategist but a poor tactician. Massive fire-power from the air that was incredibly effective, coupled with Vietnamese soldiers willing to stand against the enemy, saved the day.

Next Reflection

Return to Index