Stolen Valor


Fake Warriors

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Whenever I see someone wearing A Vietnam Veteran cap I ask them who they served with in Vietnam. Nine times out of ten I get an answer that is legit and we welcome each other home.

It’s rare to come across a wannabe, but it happens. Some time ago, I walked up to a guy in a grocery store with a cap displaying Vietnam Veteran. As usual, I asked the guy who he was with. After some small talk, he confessed that he was on a ship heading to Vietnam, but for some reason, never made it’s destination. I turned my back for just a second and he was gone.

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On June 03, 2013, President Obama signed into law the latest version of the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a federal crime for people to pass themselves off as war heroes by wearing medals they didn’t rightfully earn.
The legislation passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities.

An earlier version, passed in 2005, was struck down in June 2012 when the Supreme Court ruled that lying about military heroics was constitutionally protected speech unless there was intent to gain some benefit or something of value by fraud.

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One of many

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Television Coverage of the Vietnam War


The First “Living-Room War”

I entered high school in the middle 60’s when the war in Vietnam was escalating at a rapid pace. Newspapers and magazines were plastered with photos and stories about our involvement in Vietnam. The top stories on the nightly world news were always about the war. Newsmen were often in the middle of the action reporting the horrors of war as it happened.

I enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduating from high school and was on the 120-day delay program before I would become active. The Navy never occurred due to an untimely event in my life. I then became eligible for the draft and I knew Vietnam would be my fate…

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John Hlavacek

In early December 1970, I had the privilege of meeting John Hlavacek a reporter/foreign correspondent for a midwest television station. I was no longer with the Charlie Troop Blues due to an injury on the greenline of Phuoc Vinh and was chosen to be our Troop mail clerk for the remainder of my tour.

John’s mission was to film and interview soldiers serving in Vietnam from the TV viewing area around Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE. He was putting together a program to be viewed as a TV Special during the 1970 Christmas Holidays. The families of the soldiers were notified by the TV stations ahead of times they could watch their loved ones when the program aired.

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Walter Cronkite

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Dan Rather

“I always want to emphasize, I felt honored — and I use the word measuredly — to cover American men and women in combat in Vietnam. Because, what everyone may think of the war — it may have been the wrong war and the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons — but the Americans who went there, went there for the right reason. They went there because they loved their country, and their county had asked them to go.”

-Dan Rather

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Morley Safer

There were more images of conflict and battles in Vietnam than any previous war. Many scholars consider Vietnam to be one of the most well documented wars in modern times. War reporters began to report on the bloody battles of the Vietnam War and the Washington politics surrounding it. The American people began losing faith in the war effort and the government. “Reports during the Vietnam War and images from the front line on television were crucial factors in turning public opinion against the war.

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The Truth about the Vietnam War


Did the United States win or lose the Vietnam War?

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In late 1972, South Vietnam and the United States were winning the Vietnam War decisively by every conceivable measure. That was the view of our enemy, the North Vietnamese government officials. Victory was apparent when President Nixon ordered the U.S. Air Force to bomb industrial and military targets in Hanoi, North Viet Nam’s capital city, and in Haiphong, its major port city, and we would stop the bombing if the North Vietnamese would attend the Paris Peace Talks that they had left earlier. The North Vietnamese did go back to the Paris Peace talks, and we did stop the bombing as promised.

Cease-Fire

On January the 23rd, 1973, President Nixon gave a speech to the nation on primetime television announcing that the Paris Peace Accords had been initialed by the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the Accords would be signed on the 27th. What the United States and South Vietnam received in those accords was victory. At the White House, it was called “VV Day,” “Victory in Vietnam Day.”

The truth is that our military won the war, but our politicians lost it. The Communists in North Vietnam actually signed a peace treaty, effectively surrendering. But the U.S. Congress didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

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General Vo Nguyen Giap

General Giap was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam
military. The following quote is from his memoirs currently found in the
Vietnam war memorial in Hanoi:

“What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing
of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder,
just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same
at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you
knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was definitely helping
us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the
battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!”

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Fall of Saigon

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Tri-City Military Vehicle Club


Military Vehicle Owners

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On my way home one day, I passed a guy driving a 1/4 ton Military Jeep on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick, WA. It was very much like the one I drove in Vietnam 44 years ago. I was curious where he got it.

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I met the driver of that jeep (Art Moore) at a Veterans group meeting shortly after. He is one of the founders of Tri-City Military Vehicle Club.

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He is involved in the Tri City Military Vehicle Club with his 3 military vehicles he takes to shows, parades and military events. He owns a 1951 M37 Jeep (Korean War), a 1946 (one year post WWII) Willy’s Jeep, and a 1964 Dodge M43 Military Ambulance. The TCMVC is a loosely organized club with no elected officers, no dues, just events for military vehicle owners to participate in. The club welcomes all Military Vehicle owners & friends in the Tri City (Kennewick, Richland, Pasco) and Lower Columbia Basin of Washington State!

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10894173826_ea3c30872b_bArt Moore was a Builder 2nd Class in the US Navy “Seabees” during the Vietnam War. He completed “A School” at Port Hueneme, CA in 1966 and worked his one year first duty station as a part of Public Works, US Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska. He served with CBMU 301 (Mobile Construction Battalian) for one year (Apr 1968-April 1969) in the I Corps, Vietnam. There he led a crew of builders up and down the north rivers and into jungle LZ’s building everything from out-houses to bank vaults. Dong Ha, Qiang Tri, CUA Viet, LZ Betty, LZ Nancy, Rock Pile and more were some of the assignments. Art’s final duty station was Public Works at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where he was honorably discharged to the US Navy Reserve in October 1969.

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Tri-City Military Vehicle Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tri-City-Military-Vehicle-Club/360725387365414

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Hardware Left Behind In Vietnam


Fuel tanks jettisoned by U.S. fighter jets

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Tactical jet planes heavily rely on the JP-4 fuel loaded on the external fuel tanks. However, the auxiliary fuel tanks represent an additional weight, additional drag, and they will reduce the aircraft maneuverability.

In real combat, external fuel tanks are jettisoned when empty or as soon as the aircraft needs to get rid of them to accelerate and maneuver against an enemy fighter plane or to evade a surface to air missile.

Several thousand drop tanks were jettisoned over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

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And here you can see what happened to some of those that were recovered.

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2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 51,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Bienemans


Devoted to Honoring Veterans

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Pat and Carol Bieneman

Rebecca and I attended the Charlie Troop 1/9th Blues reunion held at St George Island, FL. in October. It was my first reunion since returning from Vietnam 43 years ago.

The three day event hosted by Pat and Carol was filled with fun, laughter and tears. They started planning the event at least one year in advance and what a great job they did…

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Bieneman CP on Apalachicola Bay for the event-PERFECT!

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Pat & Carol’s wheels

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Back porch where many memories were shared.

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Apalachicola Bay

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Famous Island Landmark

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Many of the reunion attendees stayed here.

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Charlie Troopers attending the reunion

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Charlie Troop Blues 1965-70

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The wives attendance speaks for itself.

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Pete Guthrie (Blue) Jerry Duckworth (Blue India) 1968

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Pete Guthrie (Blue) Pat Bieneman (Blue India) 1968-69

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Rob Struck (Blue India) Mike LaChance (Blue) 1970

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PRC-25 Radio

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Pete Guthrie, Don Coshey, Jerry Duckworth

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Claude Singletary, Crae Carpenter, Phil Merritt, Pete Guthrie

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Gordon Jones, Gene Smith

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Claude Singletary, Pete Guthrie

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Jerry Duckworth and Phil Merritt sharing memories

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Walt “Titch” Titchenell, Don Coshey, Crae Carpenter

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Carol Bieneman, Jerry Duckworth, Pat Bieneman

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Pat updating his blog and posting reunion photos on Facebook. Sitting next to Pat is Wallace “Tich” Tichenell, Spc5 Red CE Gunner1965-66

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Indoor activity

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1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Landing on the Beach at Qui Nho , Souh Vietnam September 13th 1965

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Outdoor activity

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Final adjustments

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Titch scouting the waters

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If the decibel level on the porch friday night was any indication of a good time, I’d say the women had a “GREAT TIME!”

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Walt “Titch” and Mary Alice Titchenell at the Saturday night Buffet Dinner outside at Harry A’s

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Larry Banks (Delta Troop) displaying his pins

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Pat reading the names of the Killed In Action from October 1970 to April 1971

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KIA Table

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Three Soldiers Monument – Apalachicola, Florida

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Visit Pat Bieneman’s blog for more photos of this event.

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Icing on the Cake!

I sat next to 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, Andre Dawson “The Hawk” Chicago Cubs, 1987-92. We talked baseball on our flight from Tallahassee to Miami.

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