National Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29)


by John Bugnolo, ©2019


(Mar. 30, 2019) — In 2017, President Donald Trump established March 29th of each year to commemorate this day to the 2.7 million veterans who served our country from the advisers (US Army Rangers) sent under President Kennedy in 1960/61 through the escalation under President Johnson, to its conclusion under President Nixon.

I had the wonderful experience of meeting three veterans during my military career in the US Army National Guard (October 1983 to October 1989). In 1986 when deployed in “Operation Team Spirit to Korea” as a PFC in the 279 Signal Corps (72E10) out of Huntsville, Alabama, I met a man who served in a Water Purification Unit during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He survived his two-year duty but mourned the loss 18 years later of his younger brother, who succumbed to a drug overdose during his action in the front lines. He told  me it was a horrible way to go!

The second man I met was at Fort Drum, NY, home of the 10th Mountain Division in 1988. I was a member then of 1/102 Field Artillery Massachusetts National Guard (13E2 MOS) out of Danvers, MA. He was a front-line combat grunt (11?) and suffered from what is known today as PTSD. Under a novice 2nd lieutenant, a napalm strike was conducted on his unit while being overrun by the Vietcong. This poor man could not hold a job in civilian life because of the traumatic incident. It was only by the grace of the Massachusetts ARNG that he had a job on a permanent basis. It was probably not much on a sergeant E5 pay grade.

I did not learn the story of the third man I met in my professional career at the end of my service in the Massachusetts ARNG since we did not discuss the war.  It was a horrible time with unrest here at home such as that at Kent State by the Marxists at colleges around America.

I was an E5 (Sergeant 1/102nd Battery “A” Field Artillery Massachusetts Army National Guard) with the final military occupational skill (MOS) of 13E20 Cannon fire direction specialist (1989) — 2nd in the class at Fort Sill Artillery School April 1984, Fort Sill, Oklahoma and a 72E10 (Communications Specialist) with 279nd Signal Division in Huntsville, AL 1986 with an 80 passing grade (promoted E3 to E4) on the MOS test.

I attended Boston University from 1978 to 1981, graduating with a BS/BA in Finance. At that time the politically-correct colleges/universities had withdrawn the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Program) from their campuses to protest the war in Vietnam. It was offered only by Northeastern University, which visited, but due to conflicts with class scheduling at Boston University it was impossible attend.

I believe the stories of the unsung members of the US Army and Marines who were on the ground need to be heard.  Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers,” along with John  Wayne’s “Green Berets” portrayed the valor and courage of the men of that time.

2 Responses to "National Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29)"

  1. John Bugnolo   Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 2:34 PM

    Dear OPOVV , you were betrayed not by the American People but by the likes of

    Walter Cronkite strongly influenced the politics and outcome of the Vietnam War. In 1968 the Communist forces in South Vietnam, facing defeat, staged massive kamikaze attacks on U.S. positions in Saigon and elsewhere during the Chinese New Year celebration called Tet. This suicidal “Tet Offensive” was a military disaster that cost the lives of 100 Communist fighters for every American killed

    But as a top Communist general said years later on the Public Broadcasting Service documentary series Vietnam, those on the left in the American press turned this Marxist military defeat into a political victory for the Communist side!

  2. OPOVV   Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 6:24 PM

    In 1965, during a major firefight, it was our job to provide artillery support for a bunch of Marines who were being over-run, and when they needed us the most, it became silent. I stormed the headquarters and blurted, “How come we stopped firing?”

    The answer was, “Because we reached our quota.” I could’ve been Court Martialed for not respecting military protocol and the chain of command, but I was just lucky that day.

    Vietnam was nothing more than a petri dish for weapons and tactics tests (perfecting the M-16 and helicopters as cavalry), herbicides and pesticide tests, and to volunteer Yours Truly on a humanitarian mission where I had to use a knife to survive.

    !7-years of nightmares was my price, plus wrecked relationships strewn along the way.

    I certainly didn’t see anything great about it: the valor and courage was the price one paid to stay alive. The government let us down and so did the anti-war idiots back home. It became my belief either we fight a war to win or we go home, but we weren’t fighting to win and we weren’t going home.

    If the energy of the anti-war protesters were directed to actually help the South Vietnamese by going after Uncle Ho, it all might’ve worked-out pretty good for the little country, who really got the short-end of the stick when we turned tail and ran, leaving them at the mercy of a bunch of, well, how would you feel if our Left Wing Obama and Hillary supporters and those with Trump Derangement Syndrome were in charge?

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