Tag Archives: 90th replacement

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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Photographer Dickey Chapelle

Chaplain John McNamara of Boston makes the sign of the cross as he administers the last rites to photographer Dickey Chapelle in South Vietnam Nov. 4, 1965. Chapelle was covering a U.S. Marine unit on a combat operation near Chu Lai for the National Observer when she was seriously wounded, along with four Marines, by an exploding mine. She died in a helicopter en route to a hospital. She became the first female war correspondent to be killed in Vietnam, as well as the first American female reporter to be killed in action. Her body was repatriated with an honor guard consisting of six Marines and she was given full Marine burial.

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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Incineration of Excrements


The Sanitization of Latrines

A Place for Reflection, for Contemplation

I was sitting there minding my own business when I heard a strange noise beneath me. I glanced down between my legs, and could see daylight and a face staring upward. Needless to say I was a bit startled, and I think that made two of us! It was mama-san pulling out the waste container from the back side of the latrine. These containers were usually sawed off fifty-five gallon drums and its contents were burned nearby with the help of either gasoline or kerosene.

The US Government typically hired local village people for this task.

I recall having that detail just once when I first got in ‘Country’ either at 90th Replacement or First Team Academy and that was enough…

This photo was taken on the west side of the ‘Blues’ hooches.
The containers located behind these two Charlie Troopers were used for waste disposal.

Photo by Chris Bussells

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The Chieu Hoi Program


Psychological Operations

At 90th Replacement in Long Binh I saw my first Viet Cong or perhaps I should say former Viet Cong. I was a FNG (F**king New Guy in Country) and I saw him when I walked into a latrine. There he was squatting (not sitting) over a latrine seat sort of what they were accustomed to in the jungle. He still had on black pajamas, so I knew he was relatively new in the Chieu Hoi program.
I must admit I felt a bit uncomfortable…

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The men pictured here are former Viet Cong. Under the Chieu Hoi program, they abandoned the Communist side and were outfitted to fight for the government in Saigon. (1970)

Front:

Back:

Jesus Angel Martinez from Spain emailed the two above pictures of a leaflet he has in his possession.
Many thanks for your contribution Jesus!

The Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) program was the biggest and most expensive psychological operation (PSYOP) campaign of the 10-year Vietnam War.

Leaflet # SP-2141 depicts a mother crying over the image of her dead son, killed while fighting. The leaflet is designed to encourage enemy soldiers to rally to the government side before being killed in battle. PSYOP records indicate that 15 million copies of this leaflet were prepared in December 1967 and forwarded to Da Nang, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Bien Hoa, and Can Tho. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

We cry for the dead
We are bitter because of the Communists
have destroyed our families.
When will mothers and children be reunited?

The text on the back explains all the advantage of rallying:

EACH RETURNEE WILL RECEIVE FROM THE GOVERNMENT:

1. Good treatment.

2. Citizenship papers.

3. Health care at the “Open Arms Center.”

4. A Reunion with his family.

5. 30 Piasters for food each day.

6. 200 Piasters pocket money each month while living at the “Open Arms Center.”

7. Reward for returned weapons – 500 to 7,800 Piasters.

8. Two suits of clothing valued at 1,000 Piasters.

9. 1,000 Piasters for transportation to go home.

10. Help in finding a job.

11. Returnees living in the “Open Arms” village will receive: cement, metal roofing material, 10,000 Piasters for building costs, 2,000 Piasters for furniture, and a six-month supply of rice.

U-10 aircraft disbursing leaflets

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