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new imageWinning the Peace Vietnam Style-- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
Men loading weapons in vietnam from the book Rhymer in the Sunset
(Rhymer in the Sunset)
Agree or Disagree?

U.S. military officials say American troops have killed at least ninety-seven enemy combatants in Iraq this week alone during operations aimed at rooting out die-hard supporters of Saddam Hussein.

Seventy were killed in an assault on what the U.S. Central Command calls a "terrorist training camp" northwest of Baghdad. Then another twenty-seven were killed north of the Iraqi capital.

A Central Command statement says the troops killed four attackers after being targeted with rocket-propelled grenades in the town of Baghdad. It says U.S. forces then pursued the rest of the group with armored vehicles and helicopter gunships, killing another twenty-three attackers.

These are headlines that will continue to haunt us in the days, months and years ahead. We are in a totally no win position. The best we can do is put seasoned troops like the Special Forces on the ground and hope for the best.AN UPSIDE

I guess I've moved to the point where I think that the only possible upside is that finally we have shown the world that if you mess with us, we're coming after you; and, truly that is no small thing and in the big picture no telling what it means.

We are in the MidEast loony bin.

In Vietnam, our enemy was so different and we didn't have the world staring at us endlessly. I see these microphones stuck in the faces of these young troops and shutter.

Yesterday, I watched this Lt. being interviewed--awful. He was looking at his feet, couching his words, trying to say the right thing. This is not his job.

The support for the troops during the Iraqi war was nothing short of miraculous.

Even Congress with no sons or daughters in the military seem to speak with a bipartisan mantra, “let’s don’t debate the reasons for going to war. We’re there now and we support the troops. There’ll be plenty of time for that when it is over.”

Vietnam resonated in an entirely different way. When we first went to Vietnam, there was this great support for the troops. I read all kinds of heart-warming stories, even wrote a few myself. When the support soured, it penetrated to the soul.

During Vietnam, the military miscalculated many things, not the least of all how the media could lie and skew things and always go for the story and not the truth.

Not that Vietnam was a good war, it was pretty sorry to say the least.

What it was, however, was a war and the troops deserved the public’s support then as it is getting now.

What I’m seeing is a waning of support. The attention span even of those Americans, who care, is short. What it bodes for the future of our soldiers in Iraqi is up for grabs.

The situation is not going to get better for the foreseeable future. Can we stay the course? We stayed for 10 years in Nam. Let’s don’t make the same mistake.

new imageGoodBye Fred Ellis, We Will Miss You
A Brother in Arms-1/501st Company
by Gary M. Joyner
Picture of Vietnam Soldier with helmet taken from Rhymer in the Sunset
On Thursday, June 12th, Fred Ellis - D 1/501 passed away. Earlier this year he was diagnosed as having multiple cancers and the prognosis was not good. Unfortunately the doctors were right.

Fred arrived in Vietnam in Dec 1967 with the original 2nd Brigade and served as an RTO with D 1/501. He eventually made his way to HHC 1/501 as a radio operator in TOC and extended his tour for six more months.

In May 1969 Fred was serving in TOC on LZ Professional during the start of operation Lamar Plain. In the early days of the operation the CO of B 1/501 was killed and his RTO severely wounded. The CO of TOC, Cpt Gay, assumed command of B CO and took Fred with him as RTO. Both were seriously wounded the next day. It was Freds third purple heart and the end of his tour in Nam.

Fred will be cremated and plans for a special ceremony to be held in a week or two on Chicago's south side (his home turf) have not yet been announced. If you would like more info send me an email and I'll let you know as soon as I get the word as to when and where.

Fred was a real character, funny, wild and just plain crazy at times. A typical combat vet and just another "grunt." He had really begun to warm up to the reunion scene the past few years and he will be missed at Kokomo this year. Another "Brother In Arms" has soared.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Casualties 180+

flag spacer Actual combat deaths. Total number of American soldiers killed in battle

WW1-53, 402-length of war, 19 months

WWWll-291,557—3 years and eight months

Korean War-33,741—3 years and one month

Vietnam-47,414—8 years and nine months

Gulf War 1-148—officially, Jan-Feb 91

Gulf War ll– 129+ (officially) March-April, 2003

Source, NY Times

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Many Photographs of Viet vets Courtesy of Alpha company,
1st Battalion, 501st Website
All-non-related military topics are courtesy of the 1st Congregational Church Newsletter and its contributers

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