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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Quotes

You can kill ten of my men for everyone I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.

–Ho Chi Minh to the French, late 1940s

You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.

–Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.

–John F. Kennedy, 1961

This is not a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity.

–Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

Tell the Vietnamese they’ve got to draw in their horns or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.

–Gen. Curtis LeMay, May 1964

We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.

–Lyndon Johnson, Oct. 1964

We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.

–Ronald Reagan, 1964

We should declare war on North Vietnam. . . .We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.

–Ronald Reagan, 1965

I see light at the end of the tunnel.

–Walt W. Rostow, National Security Adviser, Dec. 1967

The war against Vietnam is only the ghastliest manifestation of what I’d call imperial provincialism, which afflicts America’s whole culture–aware only of its own history, insensible to everything which isn’t part of the local atmosphere.

–Stephen Vizinczey, 1968

Let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.

–Richard M. Nixon, 1969

I’m not going to be the first American president to lose a war.

–Richard Nixon, Oct. 1969

This war has already stretched the generation gap so wide that it threatens to pull the country apart.

–Sen. Frank Church, May 1970

By intervening in the Vietnamese struggle the United States was attempting to fit its global strategies into a world of hillocks and hamlets, to reduce its majestic concerns for the containment of communism and the security of the Free World to a dimension where governments rose and fell as a result of arguments between two colonels’ wives.

–Frances Fitzgerald, 1972

We believe that peace is at hand.

–Henry Kissinger, Oct. 1972

You have my assurance that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam.

–Richard Nixon in a letter to President Thieu, Jan. 1973

If the Americans do not want to support us anymore, let them go, get out! Let them forget their humanitarian promises!

–Nguyen Van Thieu, April 1975

Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America–not on the battlefields of Vietnam.

–Marshall McLuhan, 1975

Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. These events, tragic as they are, portend neither the end of the world nor of America’s leadership in the world.

–Gerald Ford, April 1975

Vietnam was what we had instead of happy childhoods.

–Michael Herr, 1977

Some of the critics viewed Vietnam as a morality play in which the wicked must be punished before the final curtain and where any attempt to salvage self-respect from the outcome compounded the wrong. I viewed it as a genuine tragedy. No one had a monopoly on anguish.

–Henry Kissinger, 1979

It’s time that we recognized that ours was in truth a noble cause.

–Ronald Reagan, Oct. 1980

There is the guilt all soldiers feel for having broken the taboo against killing, a guilt as old as war itself. Add to this the soldier’s sense of shame for having fought in actions that resulted, indirectly or directly, in the deaths of civilians. Then pile on top of that an attitude of social opprobrium, an attitude that made the fighting man feel personally morally responsible for the war, and you get your proverbial walking time bomb.

–Philip Caputo, 1982

Above all, Vietnam was a war that asked everything of a few and nothing of most in America.

–Myra MacPherson, 1984

No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.

–Richard M. Nixon, 1985

Myths and Facts

Common Myths Dispelled:

Myth: Common belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 – 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.
Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. “The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans’ group.

Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.
Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia, a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.
Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.
Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

Myth: The common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.
Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America’s commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.
Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II. 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972 (shown a million times on American television) was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.
Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. “We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF,” according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc’s brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim’s cousins not her brothers.

P-38

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vietnam war-era P-38 can opener.  U.S. one cent coin shown for size comparison.

The P-38, developed in 1942, is a small can opener issued in the canned field rations of the United States Armed Forces from World War II to the 1980s. Originally designed for and distributed in the K-ration, it was later included in the C-ration.

DESIGN

The P-38 is known as a “John Wayne” by the United States Marine Corps, either because of its toughness and dependability, or because of an unsubstantiated story that the actor had been shown in an as-yet-unidentified training film opening a can of K-Rations. The can opener is pocket-sized, approximately 1.5 inches (38 mm) long, and consists of a short metal blade that serves as a handle, with a small, hinged metal tooth that folds out to pierce the can lid. A notch just under the hinge point keeps the opener hooked around the rim of the can as the device is “walked” around to cut the lid out. A larger version called the P-51 is somewhat easier to operate. The handle portion can also double as a flat-blade screwdriver.

Official military designations for the P-38 include “US ARMY POCKET CAN OPENER” and “OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I”. As with some other military terms, e.g., “jeep”, the origin of the term is not known with certainty; the P-38 opener coincidentally shares a designation with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane, which could allude to its fast performance. However, the P-51 can opener, while larger and easier to use than the P-38 can opener, also has a fighter plane namesake in the North American P-51 Mustang, which is faster and smaller than the P-38 fighter. One rumored explanation for the origin of the name is that the P-38 is approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) long. This explanation also holds for the P-51, which measures approximately 51 mm (2.0 in) in length. United States Army sources, however, indicate that the origin of the name is rooted in the 38 punctures around the circumference of a C-ration can required for opening.

P-38s are no longer used for individual rations by the United States Armed Forces, as canned C-rations were replaced by MRE rations in the 1980s, packed in plastic pouches. The larger P-51s are, however, included with United States military “Tray Rations” (canned bulk meals). They are also still seen in disaster recovery efforts and have been handed out alongside canned food by rescue organizations, both in America and abroad in Afghanistan. The original U.S.-contract P-38 can openers were manufactured by J.W. Speaker Corporation (stamped “US Speaker”) and by Washburn Corporation (marked “US Androck”); they were later made by Mallin Hardware (now defunct) of Shelby, Ohio and were variously stamped “US Mallin Shelby O.” or “U.S. Shelby Co.”

ADVANTAGES

The P-38 is cheaper to manufacture than a standard can opener, and is smaller and lighter to carry. The device can be easily attached to a keychain or dog tag chain using the small punched hole.

USAGE

The P-38 is easily used. First, the cutting point is pivoted to its 95-degree position, from its stowed, folded position. Then, for a right-handed user, the P-38 is held in the right hand by the flat long section, with the cutting point pointing downward and away from the user, while also hooking the edge of the can through the circular notch located on the flat long section next to the cutting edge. The can is held in the left hand, and the right hand is rotated slightly clockwise, causing the can lid to be punctured. The can is then rotated counter clockwise in the left hand, while the right hand rotates alternatively slightly counterclockwise and slightly clockwise, until the can has been rotated nearly 360 degrees and the lid is nearly free. The lid of the now opened can is lifted, most often with the P-38 cutting edge, and the P-38 is wiped clean, and the cutting point is rotated back to its stowed, folded position; then, the P-38 is returned to its stored location, whether that is dangling on a dog tag chain around one’s neck, or in one’s pocket if the P-38 is attached to a key ring. Left-handed users simply hold the P-38 in their left hand, with the cutting point aimed towards themselves, while holding the can to be opened in their right hand, while also reversing the sense of the cutting hand movements just described. By tradition, 38 cuts as just described were supposedly required to open a can of C-Rations.

TO OPEN CAN

Place opener on the can with rim of can inside the slot. Hold between thumb and forefinger and twist forward to puncture.  Repeat motion until can is open.

SIMILAR DEVICES

Standard issue “FRED” can opener of the Australian Defence Force.

A similar device that incorporates a small spoon at one end and a bottle opener at the other is currently employed by the Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Army in its ration kits. The Field Ration Eating Device is known by the acronym “FRED”.  It is also known widely in its derogative term, the “Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device”.

–Rumors have it that there is a secret P-38 society