Welcome to Charlie Company

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Welcome to Charlie Company website.  This site is dedicated to the fine men that served with Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972.

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Post-War Effect on the United States

In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.  As General Maxwell Taylor, one of the principal architects of the war noted “first, we didn’t know ourselves.  We thought that we were going into another Korean War, but this was a different country. Secondly, we didn’t know our South Vietnamese allies… And we knew less about North Vietnam.  Who was Ho Chi Minh?  Nobody really knew.  So, until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves, we’d better keep out of this kind of dirty business. It’s very dangerous.”

Some have suggested that “the responsibility for the ultimate failure of this policy [America’s withdrawal from Vietnam] lies not with the men who fought, but with those in Congress…”  Alternatively, the official history of the United States Army noted that “tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues, strategies, and objectives.  Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure… The…Vietnam War…legacy may be the lesson that unique historical, political, cultural, and social factors always impinge on the military…Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict, understanding the enemy’s strategy, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies.  A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long, bitter war in Vietnam.”

U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that “in terms of military tactics, we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war.  Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail.”  Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that “the achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion.”

Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale, sustained bombing.  As Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted, “If anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn’t do the job.”  Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective.  As he remarked, “I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented.”

The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation. The North’s leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years.  They had defeated the French, and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying, “You can kill ten of my men for everyone I kill of yours…But even at these odds you will lose and I will win.”

The Vietnam War called into question the U.S. Army doctrine.  Marine Corps General Victor H. Krulak heavily criticized Westmoreland’s attrition strategy, calling it “wasteful of American lives… with small likelihood of a successful outcome.”  As well, doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces.

Between 1965 and 1975, the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars). This resulted in a large federal budget deficit.

More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War, some 1.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam.  James E. Westheider wrote that “At the height of American involvement in 1968, for example, there were 543,000 American military personnel in Vietnam, but only 80,000 were considered combat troops.”  Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II, but ended in 1973.”

By war’s end, 58,220 soldiers were killed, more than 150,000 were wounded, and at least 21,000 were permanently disabled.  According to Dale Kueter, “Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger.  Of those killed in combat, 86.3 percent were white, 12.5 percent were black and the remainder from other races.”  The youngest American KIA in the war was PFC Dan Bullock, who had falsified his birth certificate and enlisted in the US Marines at age 14 and who was killed in combat at age 15.  Approximately 830,000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.  An estimated 125,000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft, and approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted.  In 1977, United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full, complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers.  The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action, persisted for many years after the war’s conclusion.

Hanoi Jane

Jane Fonda, long called Hanoi Jane by anyone who actually remembers the 60’s in anything other than a drugged out haze, has been voted the top American Traitor in an independent news poll.

The results of the poll, which will air on a new reality series to be titled “Sell Out,” had Fonda beating out such other famous people as Benedict Arnold, the Rosenberg’s, and Aldrich Ames.

Retired Colonel Robert C. Flagg of the United States Marine Corps was upset by the news. “Of course Hanoi Jane was a huge traitor and one of the biggest bitches ever born. No one doubts that. Her actions in Vietnam got a lot of our men beaten, tortured, and killed.  I’m upset, however, but the use of the word favorite to describe her actions. How can you have a favorite criminal?”

Much of the response to Jane Fonda’s selection for the award, however, was positive.

Members of the Hollywood community came out in support of Ms. Fonda and lauded her on her latest accomplishment. Said one agent, “this is almost as significant as her seven Oscar nominations and two wins. Jane is such an accomplished woman and this just shows the diversity of her talents. I’m ready to wet myself in adoration of her talents and achievements. She’s always been such a huge star, and this is another achievement for her.”

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC (sometimes) stated that “I’m going to have to have this woman in my studio for a one on one, sit down interview. This is just fantastic! When a living legend is voted to something like this over people who have been dead for over 200 years and who appear in all of our history books, it just to shows how great and significant her acts were! I’m honored and humbled just to be able to speak to her.”

President Barack Obama, in congratulating Fonda on her accomplishment said “this… is another… great American… in our history… who has succeeded… in her goals… and is a model… for us to follow… in our current wars.” (Note: with the slow moving teleprompter and his stammering speech patterns, it took twenty minutes for him to deliver this sentence.)

Michael Moore said that he plans to film his newest documentary about the sacrifices of this “poor little American girl from humble beginnings who made herself into somebody and triumphed over a bunch of malicious lowlife soldiers of a repressive military and government (even if the war was escalated by JFK).” In a salute to her first Oscar nominated film, and in reference to her Vietnam War actions, he plans to call the movie “They Shoot Babies, Don’t They?”

Jane Fonda could not be reached for comment. A personal secretary said that she was tied up for the next few days. She said that her schedule included shopping at an Ikea store to get some things to decorate caves in Afghanistan. Afterwards, she was supposed to fly to North Korea to assist the son of Kim Jong IL in christening his new yacht.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

What is a Firebase?

The nonsoldier doesn’t know what a firebase is and to explain it I went to the internet to get some information.  So here is the story:

A fire support base (FSB, firebase or FB) is a military encampment designed to provide indirect fire artillery fire support to infantry operating in areas beyond the normal range of direct fire support from their own base camps.

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An FSB was normally a permanent encampment, though many were dismantled when the units that they supported moved. Their main components varied by size: small bases usually had a battery of six 105 millimeter or 155mm howitzers, a platoon of engineers permanently on station, a Landing Zone (LZ), a Tactical Operations Center (TOC), an aid station staffed with medics, a communications bunker, and a company of infantry. Large FSBs might also have two artillery batteries, and an infantry battalion.

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A major innovation of the Vietnam War was the fire support base. Because there were no well-defined battle lines, fire support of maneuver units could not always be accomplished from secure, behind the line positions or from major base areas. Often, positions had to be secured in enemy-dominated territory.

By late 1966 the usual procedure was to establish fire support bases containing headquarters elements, medical facilities, and other support activities, as well as supporting light, medium, and sometimes heavy artillery. Setting up such bases became the routine opening phase of search operations. For example, the beginning of Operation JUNCTION CITY, 22 February-14 May 1967, included a drive by the 1st Infantry Division to open a road northward through War Zone C for the purpose of establishing fire support bases from which the maneuver battalions would operate and receive their artillery support.

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These early bases were often attacked by North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces, as they made ideal targets for enemy offensive actions. Eventually, because of the enemy’s inclination to attack such installations, fire support bases were established for the express purpose of decoying the enemy. In these instances, sophisticated target detection means including radar, sensor devices, and infrared night sighting devices were used to give warning of the enemy’s approach.

This combination proved to be eminently successful, and large numbers of attacking enemy forces were destroyed in several such battles at little cost in friendly casualties. The decoy concept was further expanded to include the deployment of fire support bases to facilitate screening of suspected major enemy avenues of approach.

A Right to Serve in the Military

Trey Gowdy just said a few things about the military in response to a stupid question from a CNN reporter about the ban of transgenders. He nails it!

Nobody has a “right” to serve in the Military. Nobody. What makes people think the Military is an equal opportunity employer? Very far from it.

The Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short. Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for missing or additional fingers. Poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth. Malnourished? Drug addiction? Bad back? Criminal history? Low IQ? Anxiety? Phobias? Hearing damage? Six arms? Hear voices in your head? Self-identify as a Unicorn? Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair? Can’t run the required course in the required time? Can’t do the required number of pushups? Not really a “morning person” and refuse to get out of bed before noon? All can be reasons for denial.

The Military has one job. War. Anything else is a distraction and a liability. Did someone just scream “That isn’t Fair”? War is VERY unfair, there are no exceptions made for being special or challenged or socially wonderful. YOU change yourself to meet Military standards.. Not the other way around. I say again: You don’t change the Military… you must change yourself. The Military doesn’t need to accommodate anyone with special issues. The Military needs to Win Wars.

If any of your personal issues are a liability that detract from readiness or lethality… Thank you for applying and good luck in future endeavors. Who’s next in line?

Bizarre Intelligence

Cockroaches – Gross facts and information!

Cockroaches are so hardy that they can even live nine days without their heads before they starve to death.  But, you knew that, right?

For those who think nothing good ever comes from cockroaches, during the Vietnam War, the U.S. used cockroaches to detect farmers who were doubling as Communist guerrillas.

First, suspected Vietcong guerrilla meeting places were sprinkled with synthetic female cockroach pheromones.

Then, questionable Vietnamese farmers were made to walk slowly past cages containing male cockroaches. If a farmer had visited the meeting place earlier, the female scent on him would make the male cockroaches react. I bet you didn’t know that, right?

Factoids about America’s Vets

A Revealing Profile

  • 22.7 million were living as of Sept. 30, 2010
  • Average age of all was 60
  • 39.1% of vets were 65 and older
  • 1.4% were under age 25
  • 60% lived in urban areas
  • 26% of those 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Purchasing power of all totalled more than $1 trillion annually
  • Annual median income was $35,402 (compared to $25,559 for the population as a whole)
  • 20% were purchasing or starting a business, or considering these options

Source: delivermagazine.com, August 2011