My First Experience With South Vietnamese People

911

Well-known member
Location
USA
On our first patrol along the Mekong River, we diverted up one of the deltas. When we came to a small village of people, our Sgt. ordered us to search the huts and confiscate any weapons we found. We were also to look for booby traps and check for trapdoors in the ground (flooring).

After we had finished searching everything and everyone, we were given a 5-minute smoke break while the Lt. and Sgt. spoke to one another. I didn’t smoke, so I was on guard watching for the usual. As I surveyed the people who were kind of just standing around watching us watch them, I saw a lot of children, but no toys. I thought to myself, “I wonder what these kids do all day?” As I looked at the people, their faces had a look of hopelessness and distraught. I felt very sorry for all of them and even pitied them. I wanted to give them everything that I had, including the little bit of money that I had on me. I reached into my pack to see if I had anything they may be able to eat. All I had were some rations, no candy. My buddy, who later in the tour was shot, had a small bag of Lifesavers, the fruit kind. He took them out of his bag and gave them to the kids. The kids kind of smiled, but the grown-ups faces never changed expressions.

We found or saw very little food. Hardly any clothing and certainly nothing for the kids. As we walked away, I again found myself wondering, “What will become of these people? Will they live?”
 

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fmdog44

Well-known member
Location
Houston, Texas
Civilians suffer in all wars but al we see in movies is combat casualties. Look as the mass migrations in South America, The Middle East, and Africa. Then when the war ends, then what for the civilians?
 

squatting dog

Well-known member
They come from a completely different culture for sure. The few civilians I saw were always working. (tending rice paddies, working rubber tree's, making bamboo furniture, repairing the straw hut roof etc.) The only time I saw children playing, it was with some rhino beetles, (the ones with what looked like a snapper horn on their head). The rest of the time, it was work, work, work. I saw those beetles snap a pencil like it was a pretzel. o_O
 

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norman

SHOT AT, BUT MISSED
Location
USA
My son n law served in Vietnam and one afternoon as I drove by their house there was a large hand painted sign in the yard that read Chickens For Sale and he was sitting on the front porch with his rifle. I turned around and went back and ask about the sign. My daughter said the chickens were getting in the garden and he was shooting them when they did and she said just leave him alone and I did. He received his discharge after the war and was spit on and called names when they disembarked in California. They were not allowed to defend themselves. He never spoke of the war, but we were fishing one time and we saw a leach in the water and he commented that he had taken his knife and scraped them from his legs before. He did not like Vietnamese people and made fun of their dialect. You are blessed that you survived and I am sure the scars of war are embedded in your memory.
 

911

Well-known member
Location
USA
Original Poster
My son n law served in Vietnam and one afternoon as I drove by their house there was a large hand painted sign in the yard that read Chickens For Sale and he was sitting on the front porch with his rifle. I turned around and went back and ask about the sign. My daughter said the chickens were getting in the garden and he was shooting them when they did and she said just leave him alone and I did. He received his discharge after the war and was spit on and called names when they disembarked in California. They were not allowed to defend themselves. He never spoke of the war, but we were fishing one time and we saw a leach in the water and he commented that he had taken his knife and scraped them from his legs before. He did not like Vietnamese people and made fun of their dialect. You are blessed that you survived and I am sure the scars of war are embedded in your memory.
I know the feeling. I finally arrived home on a Saturday morning. It was a long ride back to the states; almost 2 days. I was ride hopping as much as I could. Anyway, after all the hoopla was over with, my best friend invites me along to a party. I found a pair of jeans that still fit and a Marine sweatshirt.

When I walked into the party, the guy throwing it told me that I had to change my shirt or leave, so I left. As I was leaving, I told him, “You and your boyfriends have fun tonight.” That was wrong, but it was the best that I could do at the spur of the moment.
 

911

Well-known member
Location
USA
Original Poster
Back in the day, we heard a story about a Naval ship with sailors standing on the deck and were returning home from Vietnam had garbage and paint dumped on them as they passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. True or not, I don’t know. I was never able to confirm the story.
 

squatting dog

Well-known member
Trade, When my rotation came due, I was helicoptered from a firebase, and set on a civilian plane going home. Still in my jungle fatigues. We landed in San Francisco where I was met with an angry mob of unwashed who called me baby killer and shouted lots of nasty obscenities. The same thing in Oakland, so, as I was never spit on, I was greeted with lots of hostile people.
 

Llynn

Active member
Location
Washington State
Never received any grief when coming back to the States, but several years after I got off active duty I had a funny incident. It was a Reserve weekend and I and another Petty Officer were having lunch in a cafe. We were in uniform minding our own business when two counterculture warriors approached and started loudly berating us. We stood up, grabbed our visitors and hauled them out the door. They ended up reclining in the shrubs outside. When we walked back in to resume our lunch, we got a hand of applause from our fellow diners.
 
When we landed at Norton AFB in August of 71 the only thing waiting for us was a line of Taxi cabs looking to make $15 bucks a piece to drive us into LA. Airport. Then from LA I got a standby flight back to Philadelphia. I was in my 1505's the whole time. Nobody paid me any mind at all, one way or the other. Personally I think a lot of these spitting hippie stories are just propaganda by people who want to make the anti-war movement look bad.

I did get some negative feedback for being a veteran back in 2003 when I was protesting the run up to the Iraq war. I had made a home made sign that read "Vietnam Veteran Against the War". I had one fat old guy call me "Saddam's buddy". And then this other little runt came up and got in my face and said "It's because of guys like you that we lost the war". So I asked him where he had served and of course he had never been in the military at all, but he said he "knew a guy" who had. He's lucky I didn't kick his ass right there.
 

Lochkelly

Active member
Location
Charleston, SC
Anyone here ever in Vinh City in the Nghệ An Province? That's where we adopted our son in 1998. Spent a couple of weeks in Hanoi and several days in Ho Chi Minh City before heading to Bangkok to get his visa from the US embassy there.
 

Don M.

Well-known member
Location
central Missouri
I spent virtually all of 1967 in Thailand...and those people were quite nice and friendly. Those in the rural areas seemed quite poor...except for those who had businesses catering to the GI's. I visited Bangkok on several occasions, and found that to be a beautiful city....especially the ornate Buddhist temples. I finished my 2nd enlistment just before Christmas...and stayed on the base to watch a USO show with Bob Hope on Christmas eve...then, flew out on the 26th to Travis AFB near San Francisco, where I got my formal discharge, and made it back home to Denver where we all celebrated Christmas a few days late. At no time did I experience any "protesters"....that activity started up well after I finished my tour of duty. I cannot imagine why Anyone would have insulted any returning military....especially those who had to go through a year of Hell in the jungles of VietNam. Such protests would have been more appropriate if they had taken place in Washington, DC....IMO.
 


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