Visitor Mail Thread
3/15/2004 - Bruce Obermeyer, Derby, KS writes ...
Suggested Event -- Ceasefire in Vietnam
I guess someone forgot to tell the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Rouge that the Vietnam war ended with the "ceasefire" in Vietnam on January 31, 1973.
I departed for Vietnam in mid November, 1972 -- two weeks after the birth of our son. Our daughter was three years old. A few years ago, I wrote a poem to describe my year ( http://www.opaobie.com/promisekept.html ). I was stationed at Da Nang but was transferred to Nahkon Phanom, Thailand, in December 1972. I watched the man who now shares a cubicle with me at work fly right over our base leading some of the B-52 raids on Hanoi and Haiphong during Linebacker II in December 1972.
Throughout January and even after January 31, 1973, our squadron continued to fly unarmed reconnaissance missions over Laos (can I say that?) looking for 300 tanks that had come down the Ho Chi Minh trail and over Cambodia supporting the efforts by the Laotian, South Vietnamese, and Cambodian governments to repel the invaders. Missions were also flown from our operating location at Ubon, Thailand. Less than a week after the ceasefire, on February 5, 1973, one of our planes was shot down over Saravane, Laos, with all eight men onboard lost. Another plane suffered major damage from antiaircraft artillery in April 1973. I continued to fly missions until my tour ended in November 1973. For a ceasefire, there certainly was a great deal of shooting going on below us.
Although a few rare incidents are documented, and they were quickly dealt with, I never witnessed a single atrocity committed by an American during my tour, but I saw the results of the atrocities committed by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge and the Pathet Lao. It sickened us to watch Communist gunners zero in on the huge Red Crosses painted on the Theater in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia, that was used as a hospital and orphanage. We felt helpless watching as they would let the supply convoys come within sight of the city and then sink them and blow them away as added sadistic torture to the starving and wounded expecting relief. We didn't have to see any movies about "The Killing Fields", we saw them firsthand from the air. Our squadron continued to fly missions until May 5, 1974, when our last mission was flown. The rest is history. In fact, our history is recorded at the EC-47 History Site -- http://www.ec47.com/
Many of us spent our free time helping the Chaplains work with local and foreign missionaries. They even had "God Squad" license plates on their jeeps. My undergraduate degree is in physics, and we shared our expertise and taught skills to adults and children alike. We often worked with orphans and tried to share some semblance of family with them, being "Big Brothers" or substitute dads and telling them about our families waiting for us back home. We even entertained them with music and read stories to them. We even provided housing, food, clothing, and school money out of our own pockets for as many of the children as we could, and one boy even lived right in our hooch while he attended school downtown. We called him "Joey". My wife and I still have the audio tape of our three year old daughter reciting the 23rd Psalm from memory that my wife sent to me during that year. I still have an audio tape of religious songs several of us made during our free time. I missed the taping session because I was flying a mission the day they recorded it, but they made sure I got a copy. Ordinary airmen, marines, sailors, and soldiers, not "monsters created to kill wantonly" as the "Vietnam Veterans Against the War" tried to label us, were the driving force behind that effort.
Many of the locals with whom we worked thanked us for our "sacrifice" and for spending time with them that we could have spent relaxing. We were humbled to be allowed to be able to minister to them, and it was great therapy for us as well as them. The thought of mistreating them in any way never crossed our minds. If anything, it buttressed our resolve to protect them and free them from the oppression of the Communists. Where were the correspondents to record this aspect of the history? The most common observation or concern we shared with each other was "those could be our own kids, and these could be our own towns someday". Especially at Da Nang, our maids would even warn us not to go out on nights when rocket attacks were planned for our base. Some days they would simply leave early and tell us we ought to stay inside that night. They knew because some of their family members had been impressed into the forces launching the attacks with the demand either to launch mortars and rockets, or the Communists would kill their family members. Why didn't the historians report on that? One of my favorite missionaries, his wife, and his four year old son were the only survivors of a mission group slaughtered in Laos by the Pathet Lao. Why didn't historians and news correspondents report the atrocities committed by the Communists?
Like I said, I guess someone forgot to tell the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Rouge that the Vietnam war ended with the "ceasefire" in Vietnam on January 31, 1973. Maybe they forgot to tell the historians, too.
Bruce Obermeyer, former Captain, USAF
361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron, EC-47s
This webpage is dedicated to Vietnam Veterans
10/19/2004 - Amber, Washington, DC writes ...
Finally, something that puts this war back
into perspective. For so long, we’ve had the
negative attributes of this war pounded into
our heads. Suicide bombings, beheadings,
Iraqis taking to the streets denouncing “the
occupation,” and the list goes on. Upon
seeing this movie, however, the real reasons
for taking out Saddam Hussein resurfaced.
Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Murderous
Reign of Saddam Hussein is a refreshing
alternative to the negative press the war has
I was shocked to see that 1.3 million Iraqis
were murdered at the hands of this despot,
who did nothing more than squander the
country’s incredible wealth on himself and
his repugnant sons. Mass graves, gas
bombings, torture chambers, these were all
the norm in Iraq before the invasion. This
being the case, it is clear that Iraqis are
infinitely better off now that this man is no
longer a threat to them.
Do yourself a favor: go to http://
www.wmddvd.com/ and read more about the
film. If anything, it will reinforce your views
that something incredibly positive has
occurred as a result of the invasion
10/21/2004 - Amber, washington, DC writes ...
Another great film to check out...
Has anyone seen links for this? Amazing;
simply amazing. When I saw “Fahrenheit 9/
11” this summer, I remember leaving the
theatre wondering how Michael Moore got
away with his lies and when right-minded
people would have a rebuttal. Well, here it is.
“Celsius 41.11” is a perfect response to
Moore’s “documentary,” in that it exposes
just how divided the anti-war activists are
and how they really missed the message
from the war. Example: on the trailer, some
woman is talking about how she would want
a dictator who gives her free healthcare or
free education. Great, but what about living
in fear of torture or execution, or not being
able to speak your own opinion, or being
forced to live in poverty as your “benevolent
leader” squanders all your money on himself
and his repugnant sub-human sons? I’m sure
this is just one example out of many in this
film. I urge everyone to take a look at the site
and check out the trailer: http://
www.celsius4111.com. If anything, it will
make it even more apparent that Moore and
other liberal blowhards really got it wrong.
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