United States Leaves Saigon (Vietnam)

Lead: In late April 1975, the American war in Vietnam, representing 15 years of sacrifice of both blood and treasure, came to an end.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: FLASH MARTIN TO SCOWCROFT PLAN TO CLOSE MISSION AT ABOUT 0430 APRIL LOCAL TIME. DUE TO NECESSITY TO DESTROY COMMO GEAR, THIS IS LAST MESSAGE FROM EMBASSY SAIGON.

 

Dedication of Vietnam Memorial

Lead: In 1982, the nation dedicated the Vietnam War memorial in Washington. It became one of the ways healing over the war came to America.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The war in Vietnam divided the United States, politically, philosophically, and socially. Yet many, indeed 58,000 warriors, paid the ultimate sacrifice in support of America’s fight for the independence of South Vietnam. In the late 1970s, the nation moved to recognize their sacrifice. Even as the war, the memorial was a source of controversy. Out of 1420 submissions, that of Yale student Maya Lin was selected. It was strikingly different from other memorials. A v-shaped wall of black stone with the names of the dead carved in chronological order, it lacked the heroic sculpture of other monuments. This choice aroused powerful opposition which argued that it was an inappropriate honor. The sometimes vicious and personal criticism of Lin was so intense that her name was ignored when the memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982.

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Last Full Measure – Gulf of Tonkin Incident – II

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On August 2, 1964 USS Maddox, a destroyer on intelligence watch in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam, was attacked by three enemy torpedo patrol boats. Maddox destroyed the boats, but narrowly escaped a triple torpedo spread launched before the boats were sunk. The destroyer was ordered to remain on station as an assertion of freedom of the seas and two days later, now joined by another destroyer, USS Turner Joy, the whole scenario seemed about to repeat itself. Maddox’s radar picked up three enemy boats that seemed to be closing fast in an attack pattern. Commodore John Herrick, commander of the patrol, radioed for air support and soon both ships and planes were pounding away at the approaching bogies. There was no unimpeachable evidence that an attack command had been broadcast on enemy frequencies as there had been two days before, there was no evidence of debris after the engagement and no real evidence that the three contacts actually attacked the Maddox and Turner Joy. Nevertheless, officers and crew of the two ships certainly felt they were under attack and acted accordingly.

Last Full Measure – Gulf of Tonkin Incident – I

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Of all the controversies of the Vietnam War, none has generated as much heat as that surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August, 1964. It represented the tipping point of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. From that seemingly innocuous dust-up flowed a vast increase in American engagement, ultimately American withdrawal, and, most would say, American defeat.

Tet Offensive – III

Lead: In the early morning hours of January 30, 1968, communist forces began attacking the major cities of South Vietnam. In the end they lost the Tet Offensive badly, but it really didn’t matter.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: By 1967 the second war in Vietnam was in gridlock. NVA defense minister Vo Nguyen Giap, encouraged by Ho Chi Minh, planned one masterstroke with all the forces the north could muster. He planned it for the Tet holiday in January, 1968 but Giap’s plan depended on absolute surprise. Getting 80,000 troops in place to attack was a logistics nightmare for the relatively primitive northern army and therefore, Giap planned a series of diversionary attacks to draw allied troops away from the cities. Loc Ninh, Dak To, and especially the isolated U.S. Marine outpost at Khe Sanh came under severe pressure. The U.S. took the bait and shifted its resources despite the fact that intelligence indicated an enormous enemy buildup.

 

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Tet Offensive – II

Lead: The urban offensive during the Tet holiday in 1968 revealed serious miscalculations. Some were North Vietnamese. Some were American.

                 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

               Content: By 1967 the second war in Vietnam was not going well for the communists. The regime in Saigon was not that popular. Its support was tepid but it had a very powerful ally in the United States. President Johnson, determined not to lose another country to communism, had committed large numbers of combat troops to the theater. Neither Viet Cong nor North Vietnamese regular troops could compete with U.S. military firepower, mobility or logistical support.

 

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Tet Offensive 1968 – I

Lead: At the end of January 1968, Viet Cong and NVA regular forces launched powerful attacks against South Vietnam’s cities. For the allies the Tet offensive was at once a great victory and a great defeat. 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Almost from the moment of partition of Vietnam in 1954 and the departure of the colonial French, the communist regime in the North began organizing the second Vietnam War. North Vietnam established a network of political and military operatives in the south known as the Viet Cong. This organization  recruited indigenous sympathizers and conducted low level partisan guerilla warfare aimed at destabilizing the government of South Vietnam and the work of the south’s principal ally the United States.

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