CORDS: Winning Hearts and Minds in Vietnam

CORDS: Winning Hearts and Minds in Vietnam

By Al Hemingway
9/18/2006 • Interviews, Vietnam

In May 1967 an organization known as CORDS—Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support—was formed to coordinate the U.S. civil and military pacification programs. A unique hybrid civil-military structure directly under general William C. Westmoreland, the COMUSMACV, CORDS was headed by a civilian, Ambassador Robert W. Komer, who was appointed as Westmoreland’s deputy.

CORDS pulled together all the various U.S. military and civilian agencies involved in the pacification effort, including the State Department, the AID, the USIA and the CIA. U.S. military or civilian province senior advisers were appointed, and CORDS civilian/military advisory teams were dispatched throughout South Vietnam’s 44 provinces and 250 districts.

One such senior adviser was then Lt. Col. Philip Bolté, U.S. Army. Upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in October 1950, 2nd Lt. Bolté reported for duty with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea. That November and December, Bolté participated in the Eighth Army’s retreat from North Korea, where he and his fellow soldiers “went 100 miles north and 200 miles south, for a net loss of 100 miles.” Wounded in action, he was taken to Japan for treatment. Years later, he would tell his soldiers in Vietnam, “If you have a choice to go to a cold war or a hot war, take the hot one!”

Retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of brigadier general, Bolté was interviewed by Al Hemingway in 1994 about his experiences with CORDS.

Vietnam: When did you arrive in Vietnam?

Bolté: In December 1967. I was assigned as a province senior adviser in Quang Tin province, I Corps section of South Vietnam. Tam Ky was the capital.

VN: What were the duties of a province senior adviser?

Bolté: My assignment was to advise the province chief in military operations, pacification efforts and civil affairs, which was virtually everything in that province.

VN: Who was the province chief at that time?

Bolté: My counterpart was Lt. Col. Haung Dinh Tho. He was later promoted to colonel. On my staff, I had a deputy sector adviser who was a lieutenant colonel. In addition, I had a military adviser for each of the staff members in intelligence, logistic, operations, etc. On the civilian side, I had a civilian deputy province senior adviser. Under him were refugee advisers, a Chieu Hoi adviser, two logistics advisers, an engineer adviser, etc. Two American Red Cross representatives were there also, and I supported them, although they were not under my command. We also had a military province hospital assistance team. Although they were a U.S. Navy unit, they were attached to me. In fact, a Seabee detachment located in Tam Ky was building a new province hospital.

VN: Sounds like a real ad hoc group.

Bolté: Oh, it was. We also had Marine Corps CAPs in our AO. Their headquarters were in Da Nang, and they were under the control of the III MAF. However, the RF and PF they worked with were commanded by my province chief.

VN: Talk about confusion.

Bolté: It really was. But things got done. I had a Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office adviser, a Marine lieutenant colonel on loan to the State Department and operating as a civilian involved in province communication efforts—handing out leaflets, coordinating the media, showing films to the public, that sort of thing. There was a bunch of Koreans building a province maintenance shop to maintain province official vehicles. All this was part of the advisory program. The facilities we built are probably being used by the Communists today.

VN: In Quang Tin province how many districts were there?

Bolté: Let me explain: Provinces are like states, and districts are similar to counties in those states. Under the districts were the villages and hamlets. Each district had a headquarters and a district chief. Each of the districts had an advisory team commanded by a major. They were all military personnel because the area was never that pacified. In Quang Tin, we ostensibly had five districts. Three were situated along Highway I and were basically friendly. Another one was a little farther west, and it, too, was friendly. However, it was isolated. This district had been cut off for four years, and it could only be resupplied by air. The adviser there was, in fact, a Special Forces captain not under my command, but we worked well together. The fifth district was farther out to the west, and it was nothing more than an outpost and did not have a permanent advisory team. So you see, nothing was simple.

VN: Explain the function of the CORDS program.

Bolté: At the top of the command structure was the ambassador to South Vietnam, who at that time was Ellsworth Bunker. General William Westmoreland worked for him. Now Westmoreland headed MACV, and he had two deputies: a military one and another for CORDS. So the structure was integrated from the top. In I Corps, where Quang Tin province was located, there was the III MAF commander. When I arrived there it was Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Cushman. His civilian deputy at the time, who just happened to be a former ambassador, was my immediate superior.

VN: You fell under a Marine command. Sounds a bit strange.

Bolté: Well, Cushman, in addition to being in charge of all the Marines in Vietnam, was also responsible for all the advisers in the III MAF area, which coincided with the Vietnamese I Corps—the northern five provinces. In fact, he was the adviser to his Vietnamese counterpart, Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Lam, the I Corps commander.

VN: Did each corps in Vietnam have the same type of structure as you just described?

Bolté: Yes, with the exception of IV Corps, because we did not have that many American troops stationed down there. It came under II Field Force, which also was responsible for III Corps.

VN: So CORDS successfully integrated the command structure.

Bolté: Pretty much, with the exception of the CIA. I don’t think they ever got them under their wing. Ambassador Komer had told me I was in charge of everything that was not Americal Division in Quang Tin province. Well…I started pushing the CIA around, and the next thing I knew the CIA representative from III MAF and my immediate superior came down to meet with me. The CIA representative accused me of trying to run the CIA. I said yes, because Komer told me I was to run everything. With the obvious acquiescence of my boss, he told me in no uncertain terms, “You’re not to run the CIA.” It was then I realized that I had been playing baseball using football rules. We were never able to solve the CIA problem; although the Tam Ky team was generally easy to get along with.

VN: Because of the many clandestine activities the CIA became involved in, the agency just ignored your chain of command?

Bolté: That’s right. For example, I wanted to pool our helicopters and airplanes, but they were against it. But I got back at them…I broke their motorcycle.

VN: That must have been frustrating. Say, for example, you were conducting an operation or program, and you didn’t realize they were operating in the same area.

Bolté: It was really more of an administrative problem than anything else. I simply tried to streamline things, as with the helicopters. They, of course, had Air America, and my military helicopter support came from Da Nang. They wanted to remain separate.

VN: Robert Komer had a unique nickname, “The Blowtorch.” I take it he had an aggressive personality. What kind of person was he?

Bolté: He did have an aggressive personality, no doubt about that. He was a hard charger. My only criticism of him was that he tended to sometimes wish away problems. For example, if he couldn’t get the people in Saigon, say the Vietnamese Joint Chiefs of Staff, to issue some order to the province chief, he would try to get it done through the advisory chain. Well, there wasn’t anything that province chief was going to do, no matter what I told him, if he didn’t get the word from Saigon. He just would not do it. This notwithstanding, Komer had a difficult task to perform, and he did it well.

VN: There were 44 provinces in South Vietnam. That had to be quite an arduous job?

Bolté: The overall job was certainly tough. How difficult it was in any one province depended upon how pacified the province was. In some, there would be a civilian running it with a military deputy. In I Corps, however, to the best of my memory, there was only one civilian province senior adviser.

VN: I take it then Quang Tin province was not pacified?

Bolté: Oh, Lordy, no! You took a chance when you drove across Tam Ky at night. And this was the capital! All the bridges along Route I had PF/RF guard detachments on them. The enemy would sneak in periodically, kill and wound the PFs and RFs, and try to blow the bridges. In fact, on three occasions while I was there, we had serious assaults on Tam Ky itself. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, the VC actually entered the province capital complex. We even killed a couple of them in the province chief’s office! That was only a few weeks after I arrived there.

VN: What a welcome to Vietnam!

Bolté: On the morning of January 2, when I arrived to assume my duties as the senior adviser, the Ly Tin District capital near Chu Lai had just been hit pretty hard. That was a precursor to Tet. Four weeks later, we were attacked.

VN: What happened the night the VC hit Tam Ky?

Bolté: We held. The Seabee detachment’s lines were assaulted because they were located near the province capital complex. The province chief remained in my command bunker throughout the night. I later heard through the grapevine that he was criticized for this. However, it made sense to me to stay there because we were able to maintain good communications throughout the battle. The province chief’s home was located right near the capital complex; if he had stayed there he would have been run out of it for sure.

VN: You mentioned earlier that you had a Chieu Hoi adviser. Did you get many enemy soldiers surrendering?

Bolté: We had a steady stream of them. There was a nearby camp where they were kept and trained. When the Chieu Hoi program director felt that they were “re-educated” enough, he’d release them sometimes to be assigned to military or paramilitary units. We also had a big prison in Tam Ky where the bad guys were incarcerated.

VN: What were some of the success stories of the advisory effort?

Bolté: We made progress in feeding refugees, building schools, improving roads, etc., but providing security was critical. We were able to expand the area under government control and establish defensive positions and, quite often, obtained help from the Americal Division’s 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, in whose area of operation we operated. We conducted cooperative operations, such as placing one of the squadron’s platoons in support of ARVN infantry in a particular area we felt was a high risk. I mentioned earlier that Tam Ky was attacked three times while I was there. Once was, of course, Tet. Another was in the early fall of 1968. I happened to be with the province ARVN cav unit when we ran right into a major NVA force. We engaged them, and I called for assistance from the 1st Squadron, 1st Cav. Later, when I was commanding the 1st Squadron, 1st Cav, we fought another large enemy force. I committed a bunch of ACAVs and tanks, and together with ARVN infantry, we clobbered them. When the battle was over, we counted 110 confirmed kills. This was on the outskirts of Tam Ky. It appeared as if the NVA were preparing to mount an assault on the capital itself.

VN: Luckily you were able to discover it.

Bolté: That’s because we had the 1st Cav operating in our province as well as ARVN, RF, and PF units. The 1st Squadron, 1st Cav, was an overwhelming force. Any enemy infantry battalion that ventured out of the mountains to fight them was crazy. They were extremely mobile. And their firepower was awesome! Just one platoon consisted of seven ACAVs (these ACAVs normally had two M-60 and one .50-caliber machine gun) and three M-48 tanks (equipped with a 90mm main gun, plus an M-60 and a .50-caliber machine gun). The squadron had nine of these platoons in the troops, plus an air cavalry troop of 27 helicopters.

VN: How did you get along with your counterpart, Lt. Col. Tho?

Bolté: Fairly well, although we did have arguments occasionally. For example, at one point, the assistant division commander (ADC) of the Americal Division was offering Tho all kinds of support without my knowledge.

VN: What kind of support?

Bolté: The ADC would respond to Colonel Tho’s request for, say, a couple of truckloads of barbed wire. However, the Vietnamese had plenty of barbed wire. Well, it was my job to make certain that my counterpart’s logistic system worked properly, and not have him bumming supplies from the Americal. Part of the problem was that some of the Vietnamese were selling all the extra supplies.

VN: On the black market?

Bolté: Yeah! Also, we had an ARVN engineer unit assigned to Tam Ky whose duties included maintaining Highway I. However, they didn’t do anything! There was a U.S. unit already doing that. Instead, this ARVN engineer unit was selling its services to the highest bidder. It was very frustrating. So…I would lean on the province chief and push him to get his people to function properly. Then, when he learned I was telling the Americal not to give him any more supplies, he got angry with me. Another part of this particular problem was the fact that the U.S. military chain of command was urging U.S. units to help the Vietnamese with supplies.

VN: There were allegations that the South Vietnamese government was riddled with corruption. How much of it did you encounter in Quang Tin province?

Bolté: It was everywhere. I had a Vietnamese assigned to me as an interpreter-driver. I discovered that when I was away, he would sell rides in my jeep. In essence, he provided a taxi service in town using my jeep! Quite a few Vietnamese officials were crooked.

VN: In your experiences, was this practice unusual?

Bolté: It was accepted. They felt that skimming 10 percent off of the top was all right. I was told once that the position of province chief cost 16,000 U.S. dollars. So if someone wanted to be one, he had to pay the Vietnamese corps commander that sum to get the job. Then, to get a return on his investment, he had to be involved in corruption somehow.

VN: Did you ever ask your counterpart if he had to pay to get his job?

Bolté: No. He probably would have laughed and told me that’s the way life is. Why else would someone want to be a province chief? It’s their way of operating. Maybe they just have it more structured than we do in this country.

VN: After nearly a year of advisory duty, you were offered the command of a unit. However, you had to extend your tour of duty six months in Vietnam. Why?

Bolté: At that time, I had spent nearly 20 years learning how to be a battalion commander. Now that my opportunity had arrived, I didn’t want to lose it. That’s why I accepted command of the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, and extended my tour. I also thought I could do a better job because of my advisory experience. Fortunately, as I have mentioned before, the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, operated in my AP. I felt I had a better understanding of the war and knew the Vietnamese in Quang Tin. When I was squadron commander, the province chief wouldn’t hesitate to call and suggest a joint operation.

VN: Maybe if other battalion commanders in South Vietnam had had the opportunities you had, it might have proved beneficial.

Bolté: If we ever had to fight a war like that again, and I was in a position of authority, that’s the first thing I’d do. Before anyone got to command a U.S. unit, I’d have him wallow around as an adviser to learn what the war was all about.

VN: What kinds of operations did you conduct with the Cav?

Bolté: The typical ops. Everyday I would send two or three platoons out on a sweep to see if the NVA were coming out of the mountains to steal rice or if we could uncover a Viet Cong operation or obtain intelligence from the villagers. They probably would have done this more often if not for these sweeps. Unfortunately, we found nothing most of the time and lost some people to mines. We had an attrition problem.

VN: Were the villagers classified as pro-VC?

Bolté: I think most of the villagers in Quang Tin province were just indifferent to the politics of the war around them. They merely wanted to be left alone. The VC would enter their villages at night to steal their food and proselyte them. Once you left the flatlands and headed west toward the mountains, there were very few villages there. The isolated district town I spoke of earlier had been cut off for four years was finally accessible when we ran an operation to open the road. As I said earlier, the adviser there was a Special Forces captain. We had worked well together when I was the senior adviser until, sadly, he was killed when the town was attacked one night. The other remote outpost district southwest of Tam Ky would get assaulted periodically. It was one of these political situations in which we didn’t want to concede another district.

VN: What are your feelings when you reflect on Vietnam today?

Bolté: I don’t think we fought the war well; it just was not managed properly, and most of our people did not understand it. I think what we did in the Korean War was much better. That is, the Korean army was put under direct command of U.S. officers, and they were ordered what to do. If we had done this with the South Vietnamese, showed them how to organize and run an army, it might have made a big difference. I’m sure people would have hollered and screamed for a couple of years, but in the long run, it would have been done correctly. I really believe that someday history will show that Vietnam was a noble gesture on the part of the United States. We did not have any territorial ambitions. We went to south Vietnam to help the government fight Communism, although we didn’t help them as well as we should have.


Al Hemingway is a former senior editor of Vietnam Magazine. For further reading, see: Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975, by Philip B. Davidson; The United States in the Vietnam War, by Don Lawson; and The American Experience in Vietnam, by Clark Dougan and Stephan Weiss.

This article was originally published in the February 1994 issue of Vietnam Magazine. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Vietnam Magazine today.

38 Responses to CORDS: Winning Hearts and Minds in Vietnam

  1. R. Clemons says:

    Very candid interview. I was there for most of this (67 – 70)working with CORDS in Tam Ky and all that I can say is that the comments were well stated but truly candid.

    Well Done.

  2. B. Boyd says:

    Good interview …. CORDS remains an untold, unrecognized part of the USVN effort. I was refugee advisor in Kien Giang province in IV Corps at the time John Vann headed the effort in the Delta.

    • Henry M. Goff says:

      I was stationed in Rach Gia in the Kien Giang Province from Nov. 1968-1969 with the Phoenix Program. I am trying to complete my claim for PTSD and Agent Orange. I would appreciate any info or books I can use as references as I can’t remember places and dates. Thank You

  3. Pete Saquella says:

    I am not sure if anyone can help me or not. My father served in Vietnam from70-71 with CORDS. I have no other real information just bits and pieces that contradict each other. I am trying to get a picture of what his tour of duty was like, where he served, what he did etc. If you have any suggestions please email me. I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Bruce Kinsey says:

      Pete –

      I keep a small database of people who served with CORDS – where they were, what they did, etc. Give me more details about your dad and I’ll see what I can find,

      Bruce Kinsey

  4. robert branson says:

    Good interview. I was a district senior advisor (DSA) in BaXuyen, MR IV under Coal Bin Willie Wilson from ’71 ’till the end in ’73. As the general mentioned, in MR IV–the DELTA–we had few US assets which was both plus and minus. Truly, the CORDS concept had great potential both then and now, but I think the next iteration should be distinctly separate with it’s own mission and internal resources. That would take a MAJOR rethink/reorganization, but it could work if we have the fortitude. Opinion, having operational control of the Vietnamese troops would have had an even more disastrous result…they knew how to fight, just had little to fight for.

  5. Dick Roller says:

    Aloha Robert Branson,

    Worked for JPV and WW from mid 69 to Jul 70. Was Chief of JPV’s Field Operations Division, CORDS, IV CTZ Got caught between the two very different personality types on many occasions When I followed JPV’s instructions, WW would chew me a new one and when I complied with WW’s directions, JPV would straighten me out. Long story short, that was the best year of my military career. I departed RVN loving both of those two very fine, worthy men.

    I have the understanding from reading your 24 Sep 09 posting that when JPV departed IV CTZ for II CTZ, WW was promoted to DEPCORDS for IV DTZ. Is this correct?

    Am pleased to learn that you knew WW as Coal Bin Willie. Have been chatting with a couple of MACV-types at the Counterparts website and they had learned about him from old retired NCOs, the same way I did. Even though CBW was old brown-shoe Army, his fame carried forward well into the black-shoe Army.


    Honolulu Dick

    • Bruce Kinsey says:

      Dick –

      I am writing a book about people who served, as I did, in the paciification program. I knew John Vann, but not as well as you did. I’d like to hear from people who knew him. Please get in touch with me.


      Bruce Kinsey
      CORDS I, Long An

    • Rick Spencer says:

      I would love to hear info on Coal Bin. I am his sister’s eldest grandson and never met him. I know the word “beloved” will never be applied to him (from what I gather, most found him and ornery S**), but it is part of my family’s history I would love to pass onto my Mom.

  6. Bill McKay says:

    I was MACV (ASA) and assigned to a cords team. I am just trying to find the patch that we had on our uniforms.
    Any info wold be greatly appreciated…

    • Bruce Brooks says:

      Bill, I saw your comment on a patch you had on your uniform when you were with MACV (ASA) assigned to a CORDS Team. I have a Beret Flash attributed to a CORDS Team 48 worn by team members in Binh Tuy Province in the 1972-73 time frame on a dark brown beret. It was made of camouflage material with a black outer border. Do you have any knowledge of CORDS Team members wearing berets with this type of Beret Flash? Did you get any response to what type of patch that you had on your uniforms?

    • Jerry says:

      Hello, I was searching the internet trying to identify a “camo” flash from my late uncle’s estate militaria collection. As it turns out, with the help of several vets I was able to identify the flash as a CORDS team 48. It is camo with black border, although I also have several variations.

      I will be listing this flash on eBay this weekend and I thought you might be interested. Please email for more info and/or picture of flash.

  7. […] (Eric Wolf, Joseph Jorgensen, Marshall Sahlins, and many others), concerning Project Camelot, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), and the Phoenix Program. Indeed, the AAA’s first statements on ethical research date to […]

  8. Kwang-Ho Chun says:

    I worked with CORDS in Nha Trang from Sep. 1971thru Jan. 1974
    as a member of KOPREM(korean preventive medicine Team)Team.

    • Bruce Kinsey says:

      Mr. Kwang-Ho. –

      I’m compiling the recollections of pacification advisors and would like to hear from you. I have too little material on medical assistance programs, and nothing on Korean assistance. I would like to hear from you.

      Bruce Kinsey

  9. John Naveau says:

    I was there from 72-75

    Met a young SF Capt Joe Dressler (Not sure of spelling)
    I lived at 77 Rue Pasture and drove a PEA Green Ford Falcon.

    Would like to hook up with Joe or any other hanger on types that hung out downtown.

  10. John Johnson says:

    I served as Team Leader of MAT IV-5 under CORDS in 1968-1969 in Kien Hoa Province. At that time A.L. Kotsebue (FSR-4, Retired Air Force O6) was the PSA.

  11. terry coleman says:

    I was an adviser to the Vietnamese Social Welfare chief from 1969-1971 in Quang Tin Provence in the town of Tom Ky.I’d love to hear from anyone who was there.

    • Bruce Kinsey says:

      Terry –

      I’m compiling the recollections of pacification advisors (including a couple from Tam Ky), and would like tohear from you.

      Bruce Kinsey

      • Robert Whitfield says:


        I was Cold Bin Willie’s personal pilot in IV Cords. When Mr. Vann was transferred he took his pilot with him. CBW selected me as his pilot. He gave me an apartment on the top floor of the “Coords Hotel” and I kept my Bell Ranger parked on the roof. I was only with him a few months. But, watched as he ripped up one commander after another. However, he never spoke a cross word to me…Hell, I was just a “flying jeep drive”.

  12. Charli Osborne says:

    Hi there,

    Brilliant interview! Just wondering, I’m from the UK, doing my A level history coursework and was wondering if anyone would be willing to get in touch over their experience of winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese? I would be extremely grateful. Thanks.

    • terry coleman says:

      I might be able to fill you in on my experience in Vietnam.
      I was an adviser in the Pacification Program 1969-1971.
      Terry Coleman

  13. John navesu says:

    I will try to reply to all of you ASAP
    I am having trouble with my hand held

    John Naveau
    703 774 6694

  14. david decker says:

    My dad, Capt David W Decker served in CORDS and with phoenix and I have been trying to find out anhything about his work over in Nam. I was there myself in 1968 in the seabees.

    • Bruce Kinsey says:

      Dave –

      Best book on the much maligned Phoenix pprogram in Mark Moyar’s “Phoenix and the Birds of Prey”.

      • Bruce Brooks says:

        Bruce, as a side note to the Phoenix Program (aka. Operation Phoenix) I photographed two Vietnam War patches that were in the Yankee Air Force Museaum in Ypsilanti, Michigan that were contributed by a 5th Special Forces Group officer. There was one encased in clear vinyl with a pocket button hanger and one not. The design was the same design as the WW2 Southeast Asia Command shoulder sleeve patch. That was of a Phoenix bird rising from the flames. The bird was black, red flames on a yellow circle background with a silver outer border. Do you have any knowledge of Special Forces Group Advisors wearing this patch on a pocket hanger that were assigned to the Phoenix Program?

  15. "Oz" Caldwell says:

    I served in MRIII and MRIV for three years. Knew John Paul Vann and Wilber “Coalbin Willie” Wilson well. If I can help, let me know.

  16. casey gresey says:

    I worked for CORDS as a clerk 1st briefly in Danang in the I Corps RF/PF Advisory Hdqs Staff and then for two year on Team 16 from Aug 69 to Aug 71. I vaguely recall Mr. Terry Coleman. I believe he was a civilian adviser. I am only in contact with 1LT George A. Ikeda who also served on Team 16 as the adjutant and I worked for him for about year from Aug 1970 until he left sometime in the spring 71. Unfortunately, my recollection of R. Clemmons is even more vague. Although I suspect he was a civilian adviser as well.

    • Terry Coleman says:

      Hello Casey,
      Yes, I worked for USAID as a refugee adviser in CORDS.
      I lived in a CORDS compound in Tom Ky the provincial capital
      of Quang Tin province.
      It would be great if we could communicate and see if we remember each other.
      I (hopefully) have attached a photo of me in the compound.
      Terry Coleman

      photo –

  17. Chuck Printz says:

    I am trying to find information on the \US State Dept\ attorneys or legal advisors assigned to MAC/V 1965-1972 approximate. I am having a difficult, if not impossibe, time confirming that attorneys actually had an in-country presence with military cover. Anyone with comments will be appreciated. S/ Chuck Printz.

  18. […] back to the historical lessons that the armed humanitarians learned from Vietnam-era programs like CORDS or brutal counterinsurgencies like Algeria. Should it set off alarm bells that the relevant history […]

  19. Sp4 John O'Dell, 1/14 Arty< Chu Lai says:

    I was an artillery liaison at Ly Tin from Feb. to Aug.,1968. The MACV commander was Maj. Robt. Norse (Nourse?) He called me about 20 years ago to say he was writing a book on MACV. I cannot find even his name anywhere on the net. Does anyone know about Bob or his book? Thanks.

  20. Robert Branson says:

    Rick: I’m writing a treatise about the \bitter end\ in VietNam–\Coal Bin Willie\ was an integral part of that memory. E-mail me at mrbob_branson@Yahoo; I’ll be glad to relate those memories and a few slides to boot. Cheers, Bob

  21. BW says:

    I really believe that someday history will show that Vietnam was a
    noble gesture on the part of the United States. We did not have any
    territorial ambitions.

    That is an aspect of the conflict that has been practically forgotten somewhere between My Lai and the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. The postwar narrative has been one-sided in that the communists have not released their archives on the war, and never will. Making matters worse, the 1960’s liberal narrative that the war was an evil adventure by the United States has been the version dominantly accepted by most of the world and too many people in the U.S. itself. And none of those who chirp about how ‘bad’ America was in Vietnam bother to stop and wonder why the communists in Vietnam won’t allow balanced historical inquiry into the events of the war.

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