Monday, July 18, 2005

Vietnam Facts

100 things to know about the Vietnam War

1. There were 58,148 American deaths in Vietnam.
2. The number of hostile deaths was 47,378 Americans.
3. The Vietnam War was the longest war in U.S. history.
4. The Vietnam war was extremely controversial.
5. In a protest at Kent State University 7 people were shot.
6. A great book about Vietnam is The Things They Carried
7. The U.S. was fighting on the side of the South Vietnamese.
8. The U.S. was fighting to stop Communist spread from North Vietnam.
9. The U.S. president for most of the war was President Nixon.
10. Approximately 12,000 helicopters saw action in Vietnam.
11. 8,744,0000 GIs were on active duty during the war.
12. Non-hostile deaths were 10,800 Americans.
13. 91% of Vietnam veterans say they are glad they served.
14. 74% of Vietnam veterans say they would serve again even knowing the outcome.
15. 11,465 of the men who served in Vietnam were younger than 20.
16. The number of North Vietnamese killed was aproximately 500,000 to 600,000.
17. The war destroyed 50% of Vietnams forest cover.
18. 20% of agricultural land was destroyed.
19. The U.S. officialy entered the war in 1964.
20. The war ended in 1975.
21. Vietnam Vets were 9.7% of their generation.
22. 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam era.
23. 2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam.
24. Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960-1964.
25. 7,484 women served in Vietnam.
26. 17,579 married men were killed in Vietnam.
27. 88.4% of men who served in Vietnam were Caucasian.
28. 10.6% of men who served in Vietnam were black.
29. 1% of men who served in Vietnam belonged to other races.
30. 64.4% of the dead were Protestant.
31. 28.9% of the dead were Catholic.
32. 6.7% of the dead had a different religion our none.
33. 79% of the men who served in Vietnam had a high school education or better.
34. 76% of the men sent to Vietnam had middle/working class backgrounds.
35. 97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably discharged.
36. 87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem (McCaffrey Papers).
37. 82% of veterans believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.
38. 75% of the public agrees
39. Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482.
40. The peak troop strength was on April 30,1969.
41. The Vietnam war is the most misunderstood war in U.S. history.
42. Vietnam veterans are less likely to be in prison.
43. Only .5% of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
44. 85% of Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to civilian life.
45. Vietnam Veterans personel income exceeds that on non-veterans by 18%.
46. The Domino series was accurate.
47. The ASEAN countries stayed free because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam.
48. 1 out of every 10 Americans who served in vietnam was a casualty.
49. Medvac helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions.
50. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted.
51. Less than 1% of Americans wounded who survived the first 24 hours died.
52. 304,000 Americans were wounded in Vietnam.
53. 2.59 milliion Americans served in Vietnam.
54. The average age of those killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.
55. 50,274 Americans were enlisted for Vietnam.
56. Average age of enlisted soldiers was 23.37.
57. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year.
58. After Vietnam the Phillipines, Indonesia, Malasia, Singapore, and Thailand managed to stay free of communism.
59. During the Vietnam War the national debt increased by $146 billiion.
60. 6,598 officers served.
61. The average age of officers was 28.43 years.
62. 91% of Vietnam veterans say they are glad that they served.
63. 74% of Vietnam Veterans said they would serve again knowing the outcome.
64. 1,276 warrant officers (NCOs) served.
65. The average age for warrant officers was 24.73 years.
66. 11,465 Americans serving in the war were less than 20 years old.
67. From 1957 to 1973 the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 South Vietnamese.
68. From 1957 to 1973 the National Liberation Front abducted 58,499 South Vietnamese.
69. National Liberation Front death squads focused on leaders that included schoolteachers and minors.
70. The number of North Vietnamese killed was approximately 500,000 to 600,000.
71. Amputations or crippling wounds were 300% higher in Vietnam than in WWII.
72. 75,000 Vietnam veterans were severely disabled.
73. The Tet '68 offensive was a major defeat for the VC and the NVA.
74. Two thirds of the men who served in VIetnam were volunteers.
75. Eight nurses died in Vietnam.
76. One nurse was killed in action.
77. Vietnam Vets were 9.7% of their generation.
78. Five men killed in action were 16 years old (the youngest killed).
79. One man killed in action was 62 years old (the oldest killed).
80. 70% of Americans killed in action were volunteers.
81. 86% of Americans killed in action were white.
82. 12% of Americans killed in action were black.
83. 2% of Americans killed in action were other races.
84. AH-1G helicopters flew 1,038,969 hours in Vietnam.
85. UH-1 helicopters flew 7,531,955 hours in Vietnam.
86. The number of Reservists killed was 5,977.
87. The number of National Guard who served was 6,140.
88. The number of National Guard who died was 101.
89. The Marine Corps drafted 42,633.
90. Amputaion and crippling wounds were 70% higher than in Korea.
91. 76% of the men sent to VIetnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.
92. 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations.
93. 90% of VIetnam vets who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country.
94. Vietnam was reunified under communist control in 1975.
95. In 1976 Vietnam became known as teh Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
96. The average lapse time between wounding to hospitalization was less that one hour.
97. Agent orange was used in Vietnam to burn down weeds.
98. Agent orange continues to cause birth defects and other diseases.
99. The Vietman War was the turning point for Communism.
100. The last man was drafted on June 30, 1973.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Race Riots within the military! My Story ( the moderator )

In 1964, President Johnson signed the civil rights Act. Not long after, I saw a black sailor get murdered in an Enlisted Man's club ("The Sky Club") at Subic Bay, PI. I didn't know who the black sailor was but the white sailor who stabbed/slashed him in the throat bunked right across from me. All hell broke loose on board the aircraft carrier I was attached to, the Bon Homme Richard CVA 31. A fight erupted in the club and mushroomed into a severe riot that moved aboard ship. The Marines and Shore Patrol were called out but were unable to gain control until the early morning. During that time, the EXO was knocked out in hanger bay 1 as gangs of blacks and whites were hunting each other below decks. I have spent the last 38 years with the vision of this horrible event. What was the family of the black sailor told? Would the murderer ever be brought up on charges?

While researching this Aug 64 death and riot, I discovered other riots that happened in 1966 and 1967 where two other black sailors were murdered. Another shocking and well documented of these riots was the "Kitty Hawk Incident" in 1972. All of these events started in that same EM club in Subic Bay, PI.

The incident I witnessed, to my knowledge, has never been made public but I have provided proof that it did from other shipmates.

The intent of this site is to create a place for others to step forward with their stories. I am in the process of writing about my experience and would like other veterans stories to add to it. I call it "The War within the War"

Friday, October 29, 2004

Racial Incidents Onboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) 1972.

THE "KITTY HAWK" INCIDENT , see the complete report as archieved in the Navy Department Library, select it under "Links" on the left )

On February 17, 1972, the attack carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk departed San Diego for its sixth combat deployment to Southeast Asia. After several extended periods of combat activity, the ship put in to the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay, the Philippines, for replenishment of war materiel and a week of rest and recreation for the crew. The ship's company had just recently become aware of the fact they would return to the combat zone after this rest period rather than return home as scheduled. This rescheduling apparently was due the incidents of sabotage aboard her sister ships, U.S.S. Ranger and U.S.S. Forrestal.

On the tenth of October, a fight occurred at the enlisted men's club at Subic Bay. While it cannot be unequivocally established that Kitty Hawk personnel participated in the fight, circumstantial evidence tend to support the conclusion that some of the ship's black sailors were involved since 15 young blacks returned to the ship on the run and in a very disheveled condition at about the time the fight at the club was brought under control.

The following morning the ship returned to combat, conducting air operations from 1 to 6 p.m. There were 348 officers and 4,135 enlisted men aboard. Of these, 5 officers and 297 enlisted men were black.

The first confrontation

At approximately 7 p.m., in October 12, 1972, the ship's investigator called a black sailor to his office for questioning about his activities in the Subic Bay. He was accompanied by nine other black men. They were belligerent, loud, and used abusive language. Those accompanying him were not allowed to sit in on the investigation. The sailor was apprised of his rights, refused to make a statement and was allowed to leave. Shortly after he left a young messcook was assaulted on the after messdeck. Within a few minutes after that, another young messcook was assaulted on the forward messdeck. In each instance, this same sailor was on the scene.

The first indication of widespread trouble aboard ship occurred at about 8 p.m. A large number of blacks congregated on the after messdeck, one of two enlisted dining areas. A messcook alerted the Marine Detachment Reaction Force. During the ensuing confrontation between the Marines and black sailors, the corporal of the guard, the only person carrying a firearm, attempted, or appeared to have attempted to draw his weapon. In any event it was not drawn. This incident appears in the testimony, at least in retrospect, to have been one of the more inflammatory events of the early evening.

At this point the Executive Officer (XO), a black man, arrived on the after messdeck, ordered the Marines to withdraw closed off the hatches into the messdeck area, and, in company with the ship's senior enlisted advisor, a white master chief petty officer, remained inside with the black sailors. As the XO attempted to calm the crowd, the Commanding Officer (CO) entered the area behind him. The XO unaware of the CO's presence, continued to address the crowd. The XO urged all to calm down, asked the apparent leaders of the group to discuss their problem in his cabin, and assured the group that the Marines had been sent below. After an hour or so of discussion, the XO, feeling that the incident was over, released the men to continue about their business.

The CO, having noted the hostile attitude of the group being addressed by the XO, left the area and instructed the Commanding Officer of the Marines to establish additional aircraft security watches and patrols on the hangar and fight decks. The Marines were given additional instructions by their CO to break up any group of three or more sailors who might appear on the aircraft decks, and disperse them.

Confrontation on the hangar deck

As the XO released the group of blacks with whom he had been talking, the major portion of them left the after messdeck by way of the hangar deck. Upon seeing the blacks come onto the hangar deck, the Marines attempted to disperse them. The Marines at the moment were some 26 strong and, trained in riot control procedures, they formed a line and advanced on the blacks, containing them to the after end of the hanger deck. Several blacks were arrested and handcuffed while the remainder, arming themselves with aircraft tie-down chains, confronted the Marines. At this point, the ship's CO appeared and, moving into the space between the Marines and the blacks, attempted to control the situation. The XO, upon being informed of this activity, headed there, arriving in time to see a heavy metal bar thrown from the area of the blacks land near and possibly hit the CO. At this point, the XO was informed that a sailor had been seriously injured below decks, so he departed. The CO, meanwhile, ordered the prisoners released and the Marines to return to their compartment while he attempted to restore order personally.

Marauding bands

The XO, after going below, became aware that small groups, ranging from 5 to 25 blacks, were marauding about the ship attacking whites, pulling many sleeping sailors from their berths and beating them with their fists and chains, dogging wrenches, metal pipes, fire extinguisher nozzles and broom handles. While engaged in this behavior, many were heard to shout, "Kill the son-of-a-bitch! Kill the white trash! Kill, kill, kill!" Others shouting, "They are killing our brothers." Understandably, the ship's dispensary was the scene of intense activity with the doctors and corpsmen working on the injured personnel. Alarmingly, another group of blacks harassed them and the men waiting to be treated.

The XO was then informed by at least two sources that the CO had been injured or killed on the hangar deck. Not sure of the facts but believing the reports could be true, the XO made an announcement over the ship's public address system ordering all the ship's blacks to the after messdeck and the Marines to the forecastle, thereby putting as much distance between the two groups as possible.

Conflicting orders

The CO, still on the hangar deck talking to a dwindling number of the black sailors, was surprised and distressed at the XO's announcement. At this point he was still unaware of the various groups of black assaulting their white shipmates in several different areas of the ship, and he was, obviously, neither dead nor injured. He headed for the nearest public address system microphone, found the XO there, held a brief conference with the XO, and made an announcement of his own to the effect that the XO had been misinformed and that all hands should return to their normal duties. The announcements by the CO and XO, occurring around midnight, were the first indication to the majority of the crew that there was troubled aboard.

The final confrontation

The blacks seemed to gravitate to the forecastle. Their attitude was extremely hostile. Of the 150 or so who were present, most were armed. The XO followed one group to the forecastle, entered and, as he later stated, he believed that had he not been black he would have been killed on the spot. He addressed the group for about two hours, reluctantly ignoring his status as the XO and instead appealing to the men as one black to another. After some time he acquired control over the group, calmed them down, had them put their weapons at his feet or over the side, and then ordered them to return to their compartments. The meeting broke up about 2:30 in the morning and for all intents and purposes, the violence aboard Kitty Hawk was over.

The ship fulfilled its combat mission schedule that morning and for the remainder of her time on station. During this period Kitty Hawk established a record 177 days on the line in a single deployment. After the incident senior enlisted men and junior officers were placed in each berthing compartment and patrolled the passageways during night-time hours to ensure that similar incidents would not recur.

The 21 men who were charged with offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and who requested civilian counsel, were put ashore at Subic Bay to be later flown to San Diego to meet the ship on its return. The remaining 5 charged were brought to trial aboard the ship during its transit back to the United States.

A total of 47 men, all but 6 or 7 of them white, were treated for injuries on the night of October 12-13, 1972; three required medical evacuation to shore hospitals while the rest were treated aboard the ship.

Gangs and Violence Aboard the USS Kitty Hawk 2002 !

From "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson

"According to one 1999 report, the rate of incidents of domestic violence in the military rose from 18.6 per thousand soldiers in 1990 to 25.6 in 1996. During the same period, such incidents within the overall population were actually on the decline. Some studies suggest that the rate of domestic violence in the military is two to five times higher than amour civilians. It seems likely that the Fort Bragg killers' experiences in Afghanistan had some effect on their inclination toward violence. Shortly after the murders, Newsweek reported in detail on Special Forces and Eighty-second Airborne troops in Afghanistan behaving toward unarmed Afghan civilians in an extremely brutal manner. For example, the soldiers took turns photographing one another holding a rifle to the head of an old Afghan man as he begged for his life on his knees. One report said that the soldiers of the Eighty-second Airborne were so indisciplined that they undid "in minutes six months of community building."
The military is aware of the problem. The Marine Corps canceled its 2002 annual meeting of snipers, to be held at its Quantico, Virginia, base at the end of October, because the entire District of Columbia area was then being stalked by a sniper, who turned out to be an army-trained marksman. During the same month, on the other side of the country, another sniper, a Gulf War veteran who had served eleven years on active duty and had received training in an elite Ranger unit, shot and killed three nursing instructors on the campus of the University of Arizona.
In September 2002, the navy made public a significant series of incidents involving the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, which has its home port at the Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo, Japan, and served in the Arabian Sea in 2001-02 during the initial assault on Afghanistan. In August 2002, the carrier returned to Japan, where a series of crimes committed by its crew members led to the sacking of the captain for losing control of his ship and its personnel.
On August 11, a petty officer assaulted and robbed a sixty-eight-year-old Japanese man and was arrested by the Yokosuka police at the gates of the naval base. Two days later, a nineteen-year-old crew member was arrested for a carjacking after attacking a forty-three-year-old Japanese woman sitting in her automobile at a traffic-light. Ten days later, Japanese customs officers arrested a Kitty Hawk officer as he attempted to smuggle a kilogram of marijuana from into Japan through Narita Airport.
The publicity in Japan was devastating. Vice Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, relieved Captain Thomas Hejl and brought in Captain Robert Barabee from a cruiser, the US Seattle, to restore some measure of discipline. (On February 13, 2003, Captain Barabee’s superior officer, Rear Admiral Steven Kunkle, head of the Seventh Fleet's Carrier Group Five, organized around the Kitty Hawk, was himself relieved of his command for having "an improper relationship with a female naval officer."
In reporting on the troubled Kitty Hawk, two British journalists uncovered institutionalized conditions of racism on the ship similar to those that caused race riots on the same vessel during the Vietnam War. Roland Watson and Glen Owen wrote of their reactions on visiting the aircraft carrier, "Boarding [the ship] is like entering a time warp back to the former Deep South. In the bowels of the carrier, where the crew are cooped up for six months at a time, manual workers sleep dozens to a room. Most are Black or Puerto Rican, paid $7,000 to $10,000 a year to work in the broiling temperatures of the kitchens and engine rooms. As you move up the eleven segregated levels towards the pilots' quarters beneath the deck, the living quarters become larger, the air cooler, and the skin tones lighter.
Officers exist in almost total ignorance of the teeming world beneath them, passing around second-hand tales of murders, gang-fights, and drug abuse. Visitors are banned from venturing down to the lowest decks, which swelter next to the vast nuclear-powered engines.... Access to the flight deck, which buzzes with F-14 and F-18 aircraft taking part in exercises, is banned for all except the flight crew." Such situations are commonplace throughout the armed services. In Korea, for example, soldiers have organized their own racial gangs, the NFL ("Niggas for Life") for African Americans, the Wild Ass Cowboys and Silver Star Outlaws for whites, and La Raza for Latinos.
Under these conditions, recruiting and retaining enough people to staff all the outposts and ships of the empire is a full-time job, and the military has become extremely creative in finding ways to lure young men and women into signing up. A standard ploy by recruiters is to obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of students in a community's high schools and flood their homes with unsolicited mail, phone calls, prowar videos, and T-shirts emblazoned with slogans. The message is aimed at parents as well as students and stresses the benefits of serving in the armed forces, including possible help toward a college education. When the recruiters get an interview with a prospect, they are obliged to ask whether he or she has ever smoked marijuana. According to many reports, if the student answers yes, they just keep asking the same question until the answer is no and then write that down."

From "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson (pages 108-09)