Bill Laurie here -Viet Nam Veteran. '71-'72, MACV, returning as civilian with DoD from '73-'75.
Your Kontum website was forwarded by another VN Vet, an army nurse - Maureen 'Robbie' Robinson.
Your website hit two white-hot raw exposed nerve endings: one, information on one of my best friends ever, Tim Conry, whose rescue attempt was cited in website. I've never really gotten over Tim's loss, nor should I. Have emailed the people involved, thanking them from the bottom of my heart for their rescue attempt. I do mean bottom of my heart. My soul. Some wounds do not heal -- ever.
Second: 'setting the record straight.' The utter fatuous sewage being fed to our high school and college students is inexcusable. I give talks to both groups. I've examined the texts they read, finding them utterly useless. I was in about 18 of former RVN's 44 provinces. Language trained. I worked with VN people and military; from rice paddies to JGS (RVN Pentagon). I learned from them, learned their history, and could bloody well see what bastards the communists were. Irony in all this is I first went to Viet Nam as a 'closet dove,' pretty much believing the swill spouted by Cronkite and all the other shallow-minded dimwits, the infantile slop reported by the media. I didn't turn into a 'hawk' necessarily, but rather a badger or, in SE Asian context, a mongoose: 'leave me alone and we'll be fine; hurt or kill me or mine and I'll rip your flesh to the bone.' Don't like being this way. Don't like, even more, what the Hanoi Nazis did and are doing.
Yes, I am all to familiar with the often cited foibles and weaknesses of RVNAF (Republic of Viet Nam Armed Forces, of which the army -ARVN- was only a part). I am also familiar and have direct knowledge of some of the finest damn people anyone could imagine, and always ignored by the bastard news media. 7th ARVN division; 18th, 23rd and the 1st. The 7th, 18th and 23rd, at one time, weren't very good, in fact they were terrible. They got better however. A lot better. Also, the RVN Marines and Airborne. Hau Nghia RF in '72 offensive. In a seldom reported key battle, the Hau Nghia RF, alone and with minimal Tac Air (diverted to An Loc), humiliated three NVA regiments in the '72 offensive they chewed them up and on and on and on. I'd sign on to go to the dark side of hell with any of them. Pay money to do it. Had they been provided the weaponry the damn Soviets and Chicoms provided Hanoi, things would have been different.
There is no way to under-estimate the effect of aid cutbacks from '73 on. It was obscene -- disgusting. I'll send you, in separate mailing, text of presentation I gave to Texas Tech Viet Nam Center conference a few years ago. No, I won't apologize or ignore anyone's flaws or problems, yet I will not, nor should anyone else, ignore and deny the positive aspects, which are verifiably true.
Better quit now. Reading about Tim, at this wee hour in the morning, has my head spinning.
If I can be of any help in your welcome and appreciated 'setting record straight' project please let me know. If you'd like, I can send references from other VN vets and scholars.
Stay well, stay at it, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting this website up.
Bill Laurie <firstname.lastname@example.org >
USA - Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 17:32:31 (PDT)