Category Archives: Vietnam

Hun Reunion


Posted by  lex, on April 16th, 2011

The Collings Foundation has a new war horse in the stable, and gave an old war horse a ride in her.

(05-14-18 – the video was embedded – here is the link – Ed )

Col. Day had 5000 hours in his log book, and 4500 of them in fighters before he volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam. He stood up the first “Fast FAC” squadron to fly high risk forward air control missions, and was shot down on his 65th sortie up north. Badly injured in the ejection, he nevertheless managed to evade his captors and cross the DMZ back in to South Vietnam, becoming the only American POW to escape from North Vietnam. Recaptured by Viet Cong just miles from a US base, Col. Day spent five years and seven months as a guest of the Hanoi regime, who broke his body but not his spirit.

He is the only person ever to have been awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross.

I hope you enjoyed the flight, colonel. And a tip o’ the tam to the Collings Foundation for setting it up.

Editors Note – 05-14-18 I wrote about the Misties awhile back. An amazing group of pilots. 

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The Soldier and the State

Posted by Lex, on August 5, 2010


Add the name “Lavelle” to the roll that includes KimmelShort and McVay:

During the summer of 1972, official Washington was dragging Air Force Gen. John D. Lavelle’s name and reputation through the mud. Multiple investigations by the Pentagon and Congress concluded that the four-star commander had ordered unauthorized bombing missions in North Vietnam and then tried to cover them up. He was demoted to major general and forced to retire, in disgrace.

Lavelle maintained his rectitude until his death, saying he was acting on orders. Nearly four decades later, it turns out he was right.

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50 Years Ago

Just read an essay in the WSJ by Patrick Buchanan, entitled With Nixon In ’68: The Year America Came Apart.

I am a Baby Boomer, having come into the world in 1950. In fact, I arrived supposedly 3-4 weeks early as my father got called up for Korea and according to my mother, she was so upset – it was chaotic – she went into labor early.

Personally I delineate the 1950s era and the 1960s era with the Kennedy assassination. That was one of those dates where you could say there was a “before” and an “after”. With all of the scares of the Cold War, America seemed to have lost her innocence November 22, 1963.

There was the “Free Speech Movement”  at Berkeley starting in 1964. With riots, which became familiar in the 60s.

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Reflections on the ARVN

Posted by Lex, on June 30, 2009


Might be useful as American combat soldiers fall back to rural encampments in Iraq and take on a support and training role.

Might not. Cultures vary.


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Not welcome

Posted by lex, on July 17, 2008


The Great White Up distinguishes between fled conscripts and volunteers with second thoughts:

A U.S. Army deserter who fled to Canada three years ago was deported July 15 to the United States, marking the first time a resister to the war in Iraq has been removed by Canadian authorities…

During the Vietnam War, up to 90,000 Americans successfully won refuge in Canada, most of them to avoid the military draft.

Boot ‘em all to the curb as quickly as possible once they are “repatriated.” They are scarcely worth the processing time and effort of those who know how to keep their oaths.


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Golf Outing

By lex, on November 14th, 2011

Few things are as uninteresting to the non-golfer – or to the avid golfer, for that matter – than the details of someone else’s day on the links. I will spare you, therefore, the story of my thunderous drives, precision wedges and deft putting strokes, the ones that took me to the relatively pedestrian score of 84 (with two penalty strokes on 17 for an out-of-b0unds tee shot that veered wildly left and I’m practically certain that a flaw in the wind took it).

Not even going to mention it.

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So Far, A Balanced Documentary



I was among the last of the draftees to be inducted during Vietnam.

September, 1972, which was the 2nd to last group to be drafted. December was the last group.

I can remember getting up at 04:00 with my father taking taking me to the pickup point for the bus to take us to the induction center in Oakland.   Those of us going had to wade though 100s of protesters all chanting that we didn’t have to go.

But we went.

In a bit of bureaucratic irony the Army ended up sending me to Germany, but for the intervening 45 years (this month) I’ve had my own thoughts on the subject.

I believe that this is a subject that will forever divide my generation, the effects which are still around today.

It is a subject that has been difficult not to politicize, so I started watching the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam with some trepidation.

Having just finished the 2nd episode, I have to say so far I have been pleasantly surprised.

Episode 1 dealt with the end of WW2, the French trying to reassert their rule in the area, and the rise of the Viet Minh.

Episode 2 tonight took us through 1963, and the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. At the age of 13, I remembered the circumstances, but I got a lot of background added this evening.

If you can see it, I’d recommend it.

I’ll be interested how they cover the Tet offensive in 1968.

So far the program seems to present the history in an objective manner.

On your PBS station.


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