① Vietnam War Quotes

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Vietnam War Quotes

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Magnificent Storyteller Soldier Reveals What He Saw In Vietnam

He was involved in a number of fire drills around the Berlin Crisis of He recounted his experiences with the Soviet guard and his views on military history in his book About Face. After completing an associate of arts degree at Los Angeles Harbor College , [8] and completing additional courses at several other colleges, in , Hackworth graduated from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in history , after which he attended the Command and General Staff College. When President John F. Kennedy announced that a large advisory team was being sent to South Vietnam , Hackworth immediately volunteered for service. His request was denied, on the grounds that he had too much frontline experience, and that others who had seen less fighting or none should have an opportunity to acquire experience in combat.

In , he deployed to Vietnam as a major. He served as an operations officer and battalion commander in the st Airborne Division. In November , he founded the platoon-sized unit Tiger Force to "outguerrilla the guerrillas". However, after Hackworth was promoted out of Vietnam, the unit began a string of atrocities and war crimes , with U. Army investigative records and interviews by The Toledo Blade estimating the unit eventually killed hundreds of noncombatants. Hackworth quickly developed a reputation as an eccentric but effective soldier, becoming a public figure in several books authored by General S. Following a stateside tour at the Pentagon and promotion to lieutenant colonel , Hackworth co-wrote The Vietnam Primer with Marshall after returning to Vietnam in the winter of —67 on an Army-sponsored tour with the famous historian and commentator.

The book advised counter-insurgency fighters to adopt some of the guerrilla tactics used by Mao Zedong , Che Guevara , and Ho Chi Minh. Hackworth described the strategy as "out-G-ing the G. However, both his assignment with "Slam" Marshall and his time on staff duty at the Pentagon soured Hackworth on the Vietnam War. One aspect of the latter required him to publicly defend the U. Even with his reservations concerning the conflict, he refused to resign, feeling it was his duty as a field grade officer to wage the campaign as best he could. Hackworth was assigned to a training battalion at Fort Lewis , Washington, and then returned to Vietnam to lead elements of the 9th Infantry Division , turning his theories about guerrilla warfare and how to counter it into practice with the 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment Infantry in the Mekong Delta , an underperforming unit made up largely of conscripts which Hackworth transformed into the counter-insurgent "Hardcore" Battalion Recondo from January to late May Hackworth next served as a senior military adviser to the South Vietnamese.

His view that the U. Army was not learning from its mistakes, and that South Vietnamese ARVN officers were essentially corrupt and ineffective, created friction with Army leadership. In early , Hackworth was promoted to the rank of colonel , and received orders to attend the Army War College , an indication that he was being groomed for the general officer ranks. He had declined a previous opportunity to go to the War College, and turned down this one, as well, indicating his lack of interest in becoming a general and demonstrating his discontent with the war and the Army's leaders. Hackworth's dissatisfaction ultimately culminated in a television interview with ABC.

On June 27, , he appeared on the program Issues and Answers and strongly criticized U. The interview enraged senior U. Army officers at the Pentagon. He subsequently retired as a colonel. Senior Army leaders investigated Hackworth, who avoided them for several weeks. He was nearly court-martialed for various allegations during his Vietnam service, such as running a brothel, running gambling houses, and exploiting his position for personal profit by manipulating the scrip in which soldiers were paid and the limited U. Ultimately, Secretary of the Army Robert Froehlke opted not to press charges, deciding that Hackworth's career accomplishments outweighed his supposed misdeeds, and that prosecuting an outspoken war hero would result in unneeded bad publicity for the Army.

Hackworth returned to the U. He also made regular television appearances to discuss various military-related topics, and the shortcomings of the military. His commentary on the psychological effects of post-traumatic stress disorder , based on his own experiences in overcoming it, resonated with disabled veterans. Hackworth, through his Newsweek articles, questioned Boorda's longtime wearing of two bronze "valor pins" [19] in the Navy, the "V" device was worn on certain decorations to denote valor in combat or direct combat participation with the enemy on his Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal service ribbons, generating much controversy.

Boorda committed suicide before he could be interviewed by Hackworth, who had received at least one Army Commendation Medal and other decorations with the "V" device from the U. Army in the Vietnam War in the Army, the "V" device denoted valor in combat only. The Navy reviewed the matter and determined afterwards that the two "Combat Distinguishing Devices" Combat "V"'s that Boorda had worn on two of his uniform service ribbons since the Vietnam War and until almost a year before Hackworth's and Newsweek's intervention, were both unauthorized despite the fact Boorda and some others serving on Boorda's destroyer had been given verbal authorization for the devices by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt during the war.

Hackworth interviewed a number of officers and enlisted soldiers, reinforcing his historical tenure as a seasoned combat veteran of previous wars and as a well-known and respected journalist. Hackworth appeared on countless televisions and radio talk shows and formed his own website, Soldiers for the Truth , continuing to be the self-proclaimed voice of the "grunts" ground troops until his death. Many of his columns discussed the War on Terrorism and the Iraq War and were concerned with the policies of the American leadership in conducting the wars, as well as the conditions of the soldiers serving. Hackworth continued the column until his death from bladder cancer in May Associates believe that his cancer was caused by exposure to Agent Blue [20] a defoliant used in Vietnam , and are lobbying the United States government to have the substance labelled a known carcinogen like the more famous Agent Orange.

Hackworth died on May 4, , at the age of 74 in Tijuana , Mexico, as he was searching for alternative treatments for his bladder cancer. His remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Hackworth earned over 90 U. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. On 7 February , Major Hackworth's unit was assigned the mission of relieving elements of a friendly rifle company which had been pinned down for four hours. Upon arriving at the beleaguered unit's position, Major Hackworth moved forward, by himself, to conduct a reconnaissance of the area. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he moved across an open field through small arms fire, crossed a bridge which was raked by intense hostile machine gun fire, and ran across another open field through heavy fire to the embattled company's position.

Major Hackworth then crawled to within twenty meters of the insurgent positions in the face of heavy machine gun fire. Upon completion of his reconnaissance mission, he returned to his command post and again, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led the attacking force across the bullet swept fields to the insurgent positions. He then led a group through intense fire to a position only forty meters from the opposing force's battle positions. From this point, under fire for approximately six hours, Major Hackworth calmly and effectively maneuvered his units to close in on the entrenched and determined Viet Cong.

Continuously, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he exposed himself to intense fire to personally inspire and direct the attack. As one of the attacking units began to falter, without hesitation, Major Hackworth left his position to rally the attackers and lead them into the Viet Cong positions. During the final phase of the attack, Major Hackworth again exposed himself to heavy fire in order to direct an air strike on the Viet Cong. Major Hackworth's extraordinary heroism and gallantry in action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

Lieutenant Colonel Hackworth distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during the period of 23 to 25 March as battalion commander while his unit was engaged with elements of two Viet Cong battalions. After one of his companies came under attack from a numerically superior hostile force, Colonel Hackworth landed his command and control helicopter amid heavy enemy fire to resupply the unit with ammunition and to evacuate casualties. Remaining with his forces on the ground, he led a patrol in pursuit of the withdrawing enemy and, after learning the enemy's withdrawal plan from a captured soldier, directed the insertion of other elements of his battalion into blocking positions.

As the conflict developed into a large scale battle, he again took to the air and flew through intense anti-aircraft fire to adjust artillery fire and direct the movement of his men. He repeatedly landed to coordinate with his ground commanders, lead assaults against hostile positions, and evacuate casualties. When a friendly scout element sustained several casualties and became pinned down near the communist emplacements, he disembarked from his helicopter to maneuver through the hostile fusillade and assist the wounded men to his aircraft.

When he had insured that the injured were being evacuated, he adjusted supporting fire on the enemy fortifications until the enemy was soundly defeated and their weapons and supplied confiscated. Lieutenant Colonel Hackworth's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. Hackworth threatened to sue CBS and requested a formal audit of his military records. In response to the military audit, the executive producer of CBS News sent a letter to Hackworth that stated: [25]. The Army's audit of its records has determined that the Army made an administrative error back in , when it reissued your medals and awards.

The Army has thus verified what we reported as your explanation of the matter. As far as we are concerned, the Army audit makes clear that you did not at any time wear or claim any military honor not actually issued by the U. Army, based on its official records, including the service record you signed and dated. At the same time, CBS continues to believe that our reports did not state or imply that you knowingly wore or claimed decorations not issued by the U. Army and that any such inference drawn from the reports would be mistaken. Similarly, we do not believe our reports in any way equated your conduct with that of the late Admiral Boorda's.

Indeed, as we believe we made clear in our reports, by all accounts you are a man who has shown extraordinary heroism in your service to our country, and has deservedly been awarded many of the nation's most coveted awards for valor. In , Hackworth was asked about the controversy in an interview with Proceedings. In the interview, he stated: [26]. On the Raiders' tenth mission, the regimental commander awarded every trooper the Ranger Tab. When all this fell out after the Boorda story, I immediately had my records audited. And they reflected that I was awarded the Ranger Tab.

It was on my official records; it's not something I claimed falsely. Let me tell you how the regulation reads now. Thus, the award of the tab did not meet the s criteria. I take all the blame. All the guys in the 27th Raiders got the Ranger Tab, but they were not Rangers. When the Boorda story exploded, people were looking for chinks in my armor. So I'm a defrocked Ranger. As it turned out, though, in the Army's vetting of my record, they found I had ten Silver Stars, not nine.

People were hearing a very different Cronkite than they had become accustomed to. Up until that point, Cronkite had avoided expressing any personal opinions on-air. He suggested to the viewers that the only way that the war would end would be to negotiate. American troops eventually started to return home as Vietnamization and negotiation eventually took center stage. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

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