Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics Part VI
The answer from Part V on the young girl may surprise you.
Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972, was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.
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.
Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam. The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. (Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a renowned expert on the Vietnam War)[Westmoreland] This included Tet 68, which was a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.
THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID after the U.S. Congress cut off funding. The South Vietnamese ran out of fuel, ammunition and other supplies because lack of support from Congress while the North Vietnamese were very well supplied by China and the Soviet Union.
Facts about the end of the war: The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam.
The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.
How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides’ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. [1996 Information Please Almanac] The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. [1996 Information Please Almanac] There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. [1996 Information Please Almanac]
POW-MIA Issue (unaccounted-for versus missing in action)
Men like U.S Navy Lt. Mike McGrath who was 27, spent almost six years in North Vietnamese prisons, enduring torture and beatings before he was released in the spring of 1973 with nearly 600 men whose plight united a nation, otherwise bitterly divided by the drawn-out war.
Politics & People, On Vietnam, Clinton Should Follow a Hero’s Advice, contained this quote about Vietnam, there has been “the most extensive accounting in the history of human warfare” of those missing in action. While there are still officially more than 2,200 cases, there now are only 55 incidents of American servicemen who were last seen alive but aren’t accounted for. By contrast, there still are 78,000 unaccounted-for Americans from World War II and 8,100 from the Korean conflict. “The problem is that those who think the Vietnamese haven’t cooperated sufficiently think there is some central repository with answers to all the lingering questions,” notes Gen. John Vessey, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Reagan and Bush administration’s designated representative in MIA negotiations. “In all the years we’ve been working on this we have found that’s not the case.” [The Wall Street Journal]
Women – The Forgotten Soldiers
Between 1962 and 1973, according to the Veteran’s Administration statistics, approximately 11,000 women served on active military duty in Vietnam. Nurses made up approximately ninety percent of the women serving in Vietnam.
One of the servicewomen decorated was First Lieutenant Sharon Ann Lane, who was posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross and the Bronze Star for Heroism. She died from shrapnel wounds following a 1969 rocket attack on the hospital where she was working. She was only one of many that was placed in harms way. Under horrible conditions our military nurses worked to save our combat warriors. Some of these hospitals were on the front lines of combat. One location was called Cu Chi that served the local Vietnamese and our troops. Cu Chi was overrun by the Viet Cong, and we discovered they had tunnels beneath their base camp.
- Part 1 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics
- Part 2 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics
- Part 3 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics
- Part 4 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics
- Part 5 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics
- Part 6 – Vietnam War Its History Its Statistics Part VI