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Old 11-09-2011, 06:56 PM
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Thought it was worth posting this link here for those of you who might be interested in this 3 part series - Vietnam in HD - on the History Channel. It's showing currently and I hope they'll schedule reruns. First hand accounts and footage...Vietnam in HD - History Channel
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:52 PM
Location: Texas
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I've watched both episodes of it so far and it's just the standard fare, so far as i'm concerned.

In the first place, telling the story of a 15 year war in three, two-hour segments (interrupted by who knows how much commercial time) is a pretty ambitious undertaking, one bound to fall woefully short. In such a short time, only some highlights can be approached and then only by focusing on a few "representative" battles. But, I don't think they're even doing that well.

In the first place, it leans heavily on the recall of senior officers and NCO's. There's nothing wrong with that, but the leaders and the followers see war from an entirely different perspective. Tonight's episode did at least focus on at least one Private.

More importantly, to me, is that their footage doesn't fit the story being told. For instance, while a voice over is talking about Marines on the way to Khe Sanh, the video shows a plane load of U.S. Army 25th Division soldiers. They intermingle Marine and Army footage fairly frequently, indicating they don't know the difference. They also use footage from a lot of different place, and different time frames, to tell the story of a specific battle. It may seem like a minor issue to most, but for me, it makes their narrative suspect. If they can't get the footage right, how good is their story?

So, far, though my chief complaint is that they're focusing the whole program on the more well known big battles and that's going to give viewers a skewed vision of what the war was like. Hamburger Hill, Dak To, the Ia Drang, Khe Sanh and Hue were the exceptions, not the rule of the Vietnam War.

Most soldiers deployed there never fought a great, major engagement, even those in the Infantry or other combat arms. The more common experience was endless, mind-numbing days of patrolling and short, violent ambushes or skirmishes. That went on for weeks or months on end and, if they stumbled into a big battle, it didn't account for but a small fraction of their total time in Vietnam. To ignore that reality does a disservice to the truth and leaves an impression that the war was as intense as WWII. In most cases, it was not. When it was hot, it WAS intense, but in those long, endless other days, it was banal and boring. Then again, I don't know how a film maker could capture that without putting his audience to sleep.

One more thing: So far, they've said virtually nothing about the experiences of the great majority of soldiers in Vietnam who drove the trucks, handled the supplies, guarded the major bases, serviced the air craft, handled the reams of paperwork or patrolled off-shore in the China Sea. It's as if they never existed and every soldier in Vietnam was locked in mortal, close-quarters combat from the day he got there until the day he left. It just wasn't so.

I'm waiting to see the next episode because it will be about the time I was there, during the period of troop withdrawals, rising opposition to the war and the Paris peace negotiations. Most "histories" of the war skip right over that period, when we were still out there in the bush, still fighting, people back home had forgotten it was going on, and concentrate their story-telling on the peace efforts and what was happening back in "the world." Let's see if they even acknowledge that American's were still being killed, still carrying on the fight, after everyone else had left it behind. I'll be surprised if they do.
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:22 AM
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I've been watching it and IMO, it's very interesting since I didn't know the entire reason why we were there in the beginning and how things escalated. I was there in early 1969 with a Destroy Escort Group out of San Diego. The destroyer I was on did get fired upon by 50 calibur machine guns on the shore, but nothing even came close to hitting us. Except for the Naval 5" gun bombardment that we did at Yankee Station and the "plane guarding" we did for a carrier (Kitty Hawk), we didn't see the REAL action that those on the Delta river gun boats and those on land seen. However, I am darn glad that I was in the Navy!
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:47 PM
Location: Tampa, FL
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set the TIVO after watching a few minutes of it - lots of commercials (TIVO will help take care of that w/ the fastforward button)......hope to learn something from the series
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