Open thread: April 30, 1975

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It was April 30, 1975 - 32 years ago - that South Vietnam formally surrendered to the north to end the disastrous Vietnam War. George Bush was busy drinking and snorting coke. Dick Cheney was on yet another draft deferment. And Pat McHenry wasn't even born. No wonder that bunch of losers has no idea what they're doing to our country.

Sure hope this week is better than last.

Comments

George McGovern's letter

If this has been seen here already I apologize...but this is a must read...on your topic.

I quote in part:

In the war of my youth, World War II, I volunteered for military service at the age of 19 and flew 35 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. By contrast, in the war of his youth, the Vietnam War, Cheney got five deferments and has never seen a day of combat — a record matched by President Bush.

Go here for the article in the LA Times

SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

Thanks, Stan

That can never be read too many times.

McGovern was the first candidate I ever worked for.

George Bush was busy

George Bush was busy drinking and snorting coke. Dick Cheney was on yet another draft deferment. And Pat McHenry wasn't even born. No wonder that bunch of losers has no idea what they're doing to our country.*A

And Newt was getting another deferment for working on his PHD in Congo midget Imperial history at Tulane University. Years later, he apply this principle and educational effort when he demanded that we blow Belgrade off the map. We did, as we did blow the Chinese media Information Center into the Belgrade River.

If my republican new age math is correct, Patty McHenry life was just getting started by the Iranian Hostage problem. No wonder his knowledge of military history stops at 1978 and he believes in blowing Iran off the map.

Issues Forum at Wake Forest Monday night

The Wake Forest College Democrats will sponsor a critical political issues forum at Wake Forest University at 7 pm, Monday April 30, at Carswell Hall Room 111. The general public is invited.

Political leaders from North Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District will discuss issues and answer questions crucial to the 2008 election, among them political organization, health care, and American foreign policy. WFU Democrats will question the panelists, and questions will also be taken from audience members.

Hayes McNeill, Western Task Force Chair for the NC Democratic Party, will present the political background of Western North Carolina, and Fifth District Chair David Crawford will introduce the panel. WFU College Democrat Zahir Rahman will facilitate the program

Panelists will include the following: Ashe County Commissioner Gary Barber, Wake Forest Divinity student Ryan Eller, WSSU Communications Director Roger Kirkman, Winston-Salem architect Mark Glen and Ross Smith ,Debate coach Wake Forest University, Cort Bennett, Winston- Salem businessman.

For more information on this event, please contact Delmas Parker at
delmasparker@triad.rr.com

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Ah, April 30.... what a day....

My day started about two days before, when it became pretty clear that we were going to have to at least leave the embassy grounds for a time, and possibly forever.
There are an amazing number of things that have to be done to prepare an embassy for evacuation. The sheer number of classified papers which had to be burned, as shredders were not fast enough in those days, and there was not a single computer there, IIRC, was phenomenal. I mean there were vaults of stuff which went back 30 years.
Books of codes.
Casualty reports from the war.
Personal effects shipments.
Troop deployments.
Stupid things which should have been destroyed long before.

There was also the quite surreptitious attempt to notify various outlying "Persons of Interest" that the balloon was going up. Since the city, and most of the surrounding countryside was, well, chaotic at best, we had a lot of firefights in alleys, hallways and courtyards of old french buildings as we followed our list of notifications and such.

So the day came. We did not yet know if we were just moving to Phnonm Penh, or Danang, or just across town to another compound at Tan Se Nuht Airbase. I don't think anyone knew at that point. Certainly not anyone at my level.

Then it was time. People found out. There are no secrets in a capital facing surrender. They started with the rich and powerful, who, of course knew when to run. Then their assistants and staff. Maids, concubines and out-of-wedlock offspring. Neighbors who were observant.

I forget how many people crammed the street in front of the embassy, but as the crowd grew, so did interest from everyone who had ever even said hello to a GI in the past 20 years, and they came too.

The gate became a disaster. People were climbing up on each other over the 15-foot wall. We would chase them down, pick them up and toss them back over usually. Some who were not as lucky were shot.

At some point, the crowd became, as the AP says... agitated. Gee, I wonder why?

Helicopters began landing on the roof, and the word came down, we are out of here, and won't be back... but don't tell anyone.

Yeah, that worked well.

More another time. I guess.

I've seen the video, Ash

and the fictionalize accounts. But, still, reading your words makes it fresh. I can't even imagine what that was like. I can't even imagine what it's like right now, this very minute for the soldiers and citizens of Iraq. What memories are being created that will need to be told 30 years from now . . .

Then it was time. People found out. There are no secrets in a capital facing surrender. They started with the rich and powerful, who, of course knew when to run. Then their assistants and staff. Maids, concubines and out-of-wedlock offspring. Neighbors who were observant.

. . .

The gate became a disaster. People were climbing up on each other over the 15-foot wall. We would chase them down, pick them up and toss them back over usually. Some who were not as lucky were shot.

 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Wow.

I have chills from reading your account. Amazing. How do humans get through things like this? How did you?

_____________
The Den
My darling girl, when will you understand that 'normal' isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

It took a long time

It is only in the past few years I have been able to understand this, and other things.

August 1969 Danang Vietnam

In Febuary 1969, I was 16 years old and went to a Marine Corps recruiter with a friend who wanted to get information. The recruiter asked me if I wanted to go in on the "buddy plan" with my friend. I told him I was only sixteen years old. He said "That wasn't the question". "Do you want to go in with your buddy? I can fix it".
That Sturday we were on the yellow footprints at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (Boot Camp) in San Diego. Three months later I was in Danang Vietnam. I arrived there 3 days after my 17th Birthday (18 was the minimum age to be in Vietnam)..

Anyway, about two weeks later I was sitting in a bunker while NVA rockets were raining down upon us. Later that day I managed to get in to see the Sergeant Major and told him I was only seventeen. ..... and he said

"Okay Private Adame, If I understand you right, you want to go home now because somebody tried to hurt you and mommy needs you at home. Is that right?" "Yes Sergeant Major", I said.

"Okay Private Adame, said he, heres the deal. You get to go home,...after we court martial you here in Vietnam, and that should take about six months..., then you will go to the brig...,here in vietnam, for about six more months....Then we will dishonorabley discharge you....Then you can go home.....OR!....You can turn around right now, get out of my office and get back to your unit and this conversation never happened!"

I was out of his door before he could finish the sentence and twenty two years later, at my Marine Corps retirement party, I shared this story and expressed my gratitude to that un-named Sergeat Major who probably never gave our conversation a second thought.

If I had not been where I have been in my life, or had not done the things I have done in my life, I do not know what I would have become. What he did was actually wrong, but, in my individual case, it worked out for the best as far as I can tell.

My twenty two years in the Marine Corps made me what I am, whatever that is, for better or worse. What that Sergeant Major did was wrong, but I am grateful for that moment in my life. That moment plotted my future.

Semper Fi.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

These crazy people...

Link

Former state Sen. Patrick Ballantine, who was the GOP nominee for governor in 2004, is considering running for lieutenant governor next year.

All I have to say, is that if his campaign is going to be built around lies like :

"Our governor may be the only governor in the entire country that has raised taxes every year he has been in office," Ballantine said.

Then I would be excited to give him a good raking over the coals. Whoever wins our nomination is going to be battle tested and popular. Be warned Patty Sr.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Tried to get Hubby to write something

for BlueNC's Vet Day, it's still hard for him to talk about it, but this is what he has told me over the years.

In 1975 he was in the Air Force, stationed at Utapo Air Base in Thailand. He was in Law Enforcement, yet was "volunteered" for a number of missions. He loved Thailand and still talks about going back for a visit one day. The people were kind and gentle and shared what little they had.

One of the translators invited him over for a grand meal being prepared by his many wives for his birthday. Hubby said he never asked what they were eating, he just ate. Before eating, some Monks came in to bless the house and day, chanting went on hubby says, for a long, long time. He was lulled to sleep or maybe it was a trance, but said that someone clapped their hands and it sounded like a bomb blast. It startled him back to reality and the Monks were gone.

April of 1975 thousands of babies and children were being airlifted out of Vietnam. On April 4th, a C-5A Galaxy crashed while landing killing many on board. Hubby was volunteered to go in and bag the bodies. He has a hard time talking about this one and still wakes up, to this day from nightmares of the scene.

At the end of April, he was again "volunteered", this time to be a tail gunner on a C-130A to evacuate Americans and any Vietnamese who were able to get to the planes. Since the planes were being fired at during landing and take offs, they preformed combat landings which were tight circles. He went in about three times took on as many (sometimes more) as the plane could hold, flew them to the Phillipines and returned to do it again. As a tail gunner, he was strapped in at the back door and sometimes looked straight down at the ground. On one of these trips, he saw an American flag lying on the runway and picked it up, we still have it.

The last trip in they were not able to land as many Vietnamese were flying in planes "appropriated" from where ever they could so they could evacuate their own family and friends. That last day they flew over the city and could see the North Vietnamese marching in. He later found out that the military reported that his plane had been shot down. Understandably there was much chaos and quite a few planes were destroyed. On their way back to Utapo, when the pilot contacted the base, he was told this and set the record straight.

In May of 1975, the SS Mayaguez was captured by the Khmer Rouge in the Gulf of Siam and the crew were held as prisoners. Air Force Security personnel from Udorn Air Base were to rendezvous with Security personnel from Utapo and then were to fly to Cambodia to rescue the Mayaguez crew. While flying down from Udorn, it was believed that the CH-53 strayed over Laos Air Space and they were shot down. Hubby was volunteered for this mission, but after the Chopper was shot down, the mission was given to the Marines.

Once, while on duty at Utapo, he came in to the office and noticed the alarms were blinking behind the dispatcher. There was no sound, so they thought it was some kind of malfunction, but Hubby went to check out the building anyway. It was a top secret building, a PMLL (Precision Measurement Electronic Lab), where they kept the cameras and developed the films from U-2 spy planes. When he got there, he said what looked like a disturbed ant pile. The Thais were running to their trucks to get away. He immediately started chasing them and got on the radio to alert the front gate where they were heading. They were shooting at him and he was shooting back. He said a week later, he was in a bar downtown drinking with these same guys as if nothing happened.

For his service, he was awarded two Accomodation metals, one with an oak-leaf cluster. He got out after 8 years in service. He would have continued his service, and become a lifer, but the crap that went on soon left him disillusioned. He still talks favorably about the military, even to the point of encouraging our children to serve. Our daughter was in the ROTC during High School, but life chose a different path for her. Our son has always been a free-spirit and has never wanted to be part of the "Military Machine".

Sorry this is so long, once I started, couldn't keep it short and sweet.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Long and sweet

is just fine, sweetie pie. So glad you wrote this for hubby.

Give him a extra hug today

from the other LC
_____________
The Den
My darling girl, when will you understand that 'normal' isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

I've been trying for a long time

to get him to write about it to no avail. He'll tell a bit of a story, so it took me a while to get the facts straight.

Also, I think they were Commandation medals, not Accomandation metals, my bad.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

And my father

had been back safe in the US for over a year already despite being shot at by the bad guys for 5+ years.

Was your dad in Vietnam

in '69 thru '74?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

And a little in '68

n/m

I think

that we need to sponsor a field trip for some of these national pundits. just a quick weekend in NC for Cook, Cizilla, some of the writers at The Hill etc. The idea that saying Brad's district is easier to hold than Lampson's is nothing more than Democratic bluster is absurd. Kerry winning a house district by a slim margin might not be a big deal in some states, but here its a huge indicator that Brad's seat would be as safe an open seat as they make. Right now there are zero credible Republicans and 4 credible Democrats looking to run for his seat if he does jump in.

Oh, and Dole isnt a second tier target.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Good idea

I used to soak in DC punditry as though it was relevant and thought through and accurate. Now it mostly seems comical and shockingly uninformed.

Except for the money thing, I kind of like them being clueless about North Carolina.

Dole is a second tier target ... until Brad or Roy jumps in

But yeah, Kerry vote can be off by 6 points either way. In strong Republican districts, Kerry beats underfunded dems, in strong Dem districts, incumbent beats Kerry. They're full of it.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

you forgot

in swing districts both types beat Kerry.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

you forgot

Poland

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks