The image above is just another night in "The Nam" with flares dropping down on the perimeter.


As we have often heard in the media and by word of mouth the Vietnam War was primarily fought by the Blackman , drafted high school drop outs and a bunch of under age kids.

The Department of Defense decided to look over all the information that they had about real Vietnam Veterans.

1 Here , from the Department of all statistics , is the cold hard facts of the Vietnam War

2 Additional Stats on Vietnam

3 The Myth of the Girl in the Photo

4 The Story of Kim Phouc and Trang Bang as reported by the Stars and Stripes magazine

5 Baltimore Sun Article , on 12/14/97 by reporter Tom Bowman about the Kim Phouc story

6 The untold story of My Lai , 30 years latter.

6a Awarding of the Soliders Medal to the Unknown heros of My Lai

7 Recently declassified documents about Trang Bang.

8 The Story on Kent State

9 A Story from the New York Times about the supposed use of Nerve Gas in Vietnam

 The stats were reported in  the VFW magazine March
93 which had a cover photo from the movie Platoon which depicted troops
leaving what was referred to as a Zippo raid.  The
caption at the top says 

 GIs Close the Curtain On Vietnam. 8,744,000
personnel on active duty from Aug 5 64 to March 28 73. 3,403,1000
including offshore support listed as Vietnam Vets. 6,484 women of which
6,250 were nurses.

Here is those statistics.

 Hostile deaths 47,359, non-hostile deaths 10,797. 8 nurses died with
one listed as KIA.

 Married men killed 17,539.
61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.

 State with greatest loss West Virginia 84.1 per 100,000 population. 
National average was 58.9 per 100,000.

 Wounded and hospitalized 153,329
 Amputation or crippling wounds was 300% higher than W.W.II and 70%
higher than Korea.  That means the severely wounded survived a lot
better because of Evacs.

 Draftees Vs Volunteers

 25% of the total forces in country were draftees 648,500 as opposed to
66% of the ones in W.W.II
 Draftees accounted for 30.4% 17,725 of combat deaths in NAM. Reservists
killed was 5,977. The National guard had 6,140 serve with 101 killed

Race and Ethnic background
 88.4% of the total in NAM were white 10.6% 275,000 were black 1% listed
as others

 86.3% of those who died were white, which includes Hispanics. 
12.5% 7,241 were black.
 1.1% were listed as other races.

 170,000 Hispanics served in NAM with 3,070 which was 5.2% of the total
died there.

  86.8% listed as KIA were white; 12.1% 5,711 were black and 1.1% other

  14.6% 1,530 of non-combat deaths were black.
 34% of the blacks that enlisted volunteered for infantry.

 Overall ,blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in NAM when the total
percentage of blacks  of military age was 13.5% of the population. 

 76% of the men going to Nam were listed as from low to middle class
working families with 3/4 of all families being above poverty level
 79% of the men had a high school or better education as opposed to 63%
for Korea and 45% for W.W.II

 Average age of a Vietnam Vet was 19 as opposed to 26 for W.W.II 
 97% of all Vets were honorably discharged.

 All this info came from those wonderful makers of statistical analysisthe Department of Defense.   


Suicide Reports

 In many of the stories and reports about Vietnam and Vietnam
veterans we hear about all the Vets that commited suicide. Please
look at this site about Vietnam Myths.



Myth of the Girl in the Photo

The Myth Of The Girl In The Photo
Ronald N. Timberlake   Copyright  November 1997
All rights reserved.

Anyone who read a newspaper last Veterans Day weekend is likely to have
seen one of the many articles about the American bombing of the village of
Trang Bang, Viet Nam, with the naked and terrified little girl running
toward the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.  Again this Veterans Day,
at least one network aired a documentary on the story.

It is a heart-wrenching photo, and is published with a heart-wrenching
story, but if a picture speaks a thousand words, most of the words
associated with this photo are false or misleading.

What is not true is the story itself.  It is a gross misrepresentation that
has become a myth that is repeated each Veterans Day.

Myth: Americans bombed Trang Bang, Viet Nam, and burned Kim Phuc, the girl
in the famous photo.

Fact:  As stated by the photographer himself, Nick Ut, and clearly shown on
film, the Viet Nam Air Force (VNAF) dropped the bombs that hurt Kim.  This
was witnessed and reported by UPI television correspondent Christopher
Wain, and also reported correctly in the 10 June 1972 edition of Stars &
Stripes, by noted correspondent Peter Arnett.

Other journalists who were not there, through assumption, sloppy work, or
malice, have since reported that the attack was by US aircraft, and have
further embellished the story recently.  Most of the commercials for the
recent A&E documentary, and indeed, the host on the broadcast, said that
the documentary would show "the American commander who ordered the
bombing".  That statement is not true.  No American commander had anything
to do with the bombing.

Myth:  The bombers attacked the village of Trang Bang.

Fact:  The fighters were actually striking outside the village, hitting the
fortifications of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops that had been
prepared just before and during the three day battle.  The village itself
was not the target of the air strike.

Myth:  Kim and her family were hurt when the Buddhist pagoda in which they
took refuge was bombed, and took a direct hit.

Fact:  Kim herself has stated that they left the pagoda, to run along the
road, when they were hit.  The pagoda was not targeted, and was not hit.

The "colored markers" she has mentioned were smoke grenades, used to
identify the friendly positions, and were not target markers.  They were
used by the South Vietnamese ground troops to show the location of their
own positions to attacking South Vietnamese pilots, not to indicate where
the bombs were to be dropped.

When Kim and the others, including ARVN soldiers, ran from the pagoda and
away from the village, the pilot of a Vietnamese fighter spotted them.  The
pilot saw people running toward the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN)
positions, where the journalists and photographers were also located, and
he saw weapons.  In a split-second decision to protect the ARVN troops from
what he saw as a threat, the Vietnamese pilot diverted from his target and
dove to attack the group, as reported by eyewitness UPI television
correspondent Christopher Wain.

Myth:  The fighting was conducted by or included American forces.

Fact:  Trang Bang, in June of 1972, was an all-Vietnamese fight, with ARVN
troops fighting their former and future countrymen, and requesting support
from their own air force.  American aircraft probably assisted with air
support at some time during the three-day battle, but Vietnamese were
fighting Vietnamese at Trang Bang, and when Kim was burned, it was they who
called for help from Vietnamese flown aircraft.  Even the photographer was
Vietnamese, although he later became a US citizen.

The only Americans involved were two advisors, one an infantry officer with
the troops at the scene of battle, and the other in an assistant
coordination assignment more than 80 kilometers away.  Both officers were
in positions with no command authority, and absolutely no authority over
Vietnamese troops or aircraft.

Myth:  A recent report stated that nerve gas was used in the attack.

Fact: American or South Vietnamese forces never used nerve gas.  The
canisters dropped by the VNAF fighter that injured Kim and her countrymen
were napalm, a type of jellied gasoline bomb that was developed by our
British allies in WWII, to knock out enemy troops in trenches and

Myth:  The bombs killed Kim's two brothers and two cousins.

Fact:  Two of Kim's cousins died from the bombs that injured Kim, but her
brothers were not killed.  The same bombs that burned Kim, also hit and
burned ARVN soldiers.  It should be pointed out that only one sortie, one
single bombing run of many those three days, was involved in the accidental

Myth:  The American commander or his staff officer ordered the bombing.

Fact:  There was no American commander at the scene of the fighting, no
American commander involved in supporting the battle, and no American
commander in the entire country who ordered that strike.  It was an
all-Vietnamese fight, conducted and controlled by Vietnamese.

The Methodist minister who came forward to accept Kim Phuc's forgiveness at
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day 1996, is a former American
officer, but was NOT a commander, and had no command authority.  He was a
low level staff officer on the staff of the US Army advisors, in an
assignment without authority even to directly coordinate actions with VNAF,
much less command, order, or direct any activity.

As the battle raged, he was working in a bunker in a secure area more than
80 kilometers from the fighting.  His own Commanding General and the
Operations Officer of the unit, both now retired General Officers, have
been questioned about the event.  They clarified that he had no authority,
capacity, or capability to order any Vietnamese aircraft to do anything,
and say it would not have been possible for him to do what he has claimed.

No one on the US staff, or even the Commanding General, could order the
VNAF to take any action whatever. The General has stated that if even he,
the commander, wanted to coordinate with VNAF, he had to go through General
Minh, of the ARVN.  The minor staff-officer-turned-preacher so publicly
grasping responsibility for the air strike was involved in only a
superficial manner.  His participation consisted of essentially a clerical
action, if he was involved at all.  His action could have included
absolutely no command or control, nor did he have the authority to hinder
VNAF control.  Reverend Plummer claims that his bosses are not correct.

That an Army captain on an Army staff would have been allowed to influence
a VNAF operation is further disputed by the US Air Force CHEKO Report
"Linebacker Operations".  Linebacker I ran from 10 May 72 –17 Dec 72.
Quotes page 20: Command, Control, and Communications:
"…The USAF criticized itself for not correcting an in-grown 'parallel
system', one in which U.S. Forces were off on their own conducting the war
and another in which the VNAF was doing essentially the same thing on its
own…   The parallel system continued to the end of Linebacker II…."

Myth:  That famous photo stopped the war.

Fact:  While it became an icon for the peace movement, by the time of the
photo in June of 1972, almost all US ground forces had already been brought
home from Viet Nam.  By March of 1973, after the signing of the Paris Peace
Accord, all US combat forces were out of Viet Nam.

The photo was embarrassing to the US government, but extremely damaging to
the South Vietnamese government.  It was a great propaganda tool for the
Communists, and may have done more than any other photo to prevent the US
Congress from allowing assistance to the South Vietnamese government when
North Viet Nam launched the full scale invasion of that country, in 1975.


Because it is a dramatic photo, but for more than any other reason, because
the handlers of the woman whom the little girl has become, arranged for her
to go to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on Veteran's Day of 1996, "to
forgive".  Did she know that the pilot who bombed her was one of her own
countrymen, and not an American?  Yes, she did.

Did Kim herself say that the pilot was American?  She does not have to.

She was introduced on Veterans Day by Jan Scruggs, the impetus behind the
Memorial, as having been burned in "an American ordered air strike".  If
you listen to her words, she is careful not to say the pilot was American,
but most people assume that since she went to our nation's capitol to
forgive him, the pilot must be American.  While she herself never says that
Americans bombed her, she is careful not to correct the impression given by
introductions, or narration during the documentaries, or previous
interviews and broadcasts.  The audience is encouraged to assume that her
injuries are from American action.

Even so, her trip of forgiveness to the Wall, would have been a one-time
story, if not for a man who has managed to insert himself into the tragedy.

The story of the Methodist minister, who tearfully passed the message, "I
am that man.", certainly encourages The Myth Of The Girl In The Photo.
Indeed, most of the stories since that day say far more about that
minister, with his guilt and forgiveness, than they say about Kim.  With
his claim to be the man who ordered the strike against the village of Trang
Bang, his subsequent self-admitted Godlessness and guilt, and his salvation
to become a minister of the Methodist Church, he has almost replaced Kim
Phuc as the central figure in the myth.  It would seem that it is not for
lack of trying on his part.

This "feel good" message of peace and forgiveness plays well to the
American willingness to forgive and forget, and it justifies and soothes
the collective conscience of those who were against American involvement in
that war.

It appears to be a politically sound strategy, which has resulted in Ms.
Kim Phuc being appointed an ambassador of goodwill for UNESCO, and the
formation of a foundation in the United States, to solicit money in the
name of this new Canadian citizen.

One might do well to ask for the rest of the story, before sending a check
of gratitude for anyone's forgiveness.  Ms. Kim's statements may be lovely,
but must be viewed with the realization that while she is free to insinuate
anything she pleases about the countries which give her refuge and support,
she cannot freely criticize the Communist government of her former
homeland.  While she lives in Canada, some of her relatives still live
under the Communist regime in Viet Nam.

Because of that, those who introduce Ms. Kim and the Kim Foundation cannot
place blame for the misplaced bombs on the Communists, who assaulted the
village, and used civilians for cover.  The words of the man who took her
famous photo - that if the Communists had stayed in the north, none of this
would have happened - will never be seen in a documentary about Kim.  Nor
would the Communists donate money, for they care little about this kind of

It is imprudent to offer to forgive the government of South Viet Nam, whose
forces conducted the battle to defend the village against the Communists,
because that government no longer exists, and cannot contribute anything
for the forgiveness.

Only the people of the Western Democracies, and the USA most of all, are in
a position to feel enough gratitude for this "forgiveness", because of
public perceptions of the myth surrounding this story, to respond with
their donations and support.  According to the producers of one
documentary, A&E, the donations flow in each time the story is aired.

I urge you to "Follow the dollar" on Kim's story, and ask yourself some
very relevant questions:

Why would those in charge of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial choose to have
Kim come to the memorial on a day that should be set aside to honor Viet
Nam veterans?
Was her "forgiveness" intended to honor veterans, or advance the cause of
certain interests, and elicit sympathy and guilt by making it seem that it
was Americans responsible for her injuries?
How could her story, especially as presented, reflect well on veterans or
our country?  Was her story really intended to honor the veterans of the
Viet Nam war, or was this entire presentation simply a marketing tool?
Just how "spontaneous" was the meeting at The Wall between Kim Phuc and the
Methodist minister, the two necessary ingredients in this recipe for
"forgiveness" and heart-warming publicity?
Do you believe this meeting was "God's work", or was pre-orchestrated by
someone else?  Would some of these questions be answered if it turned out
that some of the same people associated with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
are associated with or actually a part of the Kim Foundation?

Follow the dollar, and the trail will lead to answers.  Be warned that the
answers will not be comfortable for anyone who wants to believe in "The
Miracle At The Wall".  Although Ms. Kim may still be a victim, she
certainly is not being exploited by our country, or by honorable veterans.

Times have also improved for the Methodist minister.  During the year since
he came forward to share what he grasped as his responsibility for the
agony of the little girl, this minister of a small country church has
addressed more people than he had addressed in his entire life, prior to
that day at The Wall.  His public claims have given him a sort of celebrity
status within the church, and he is in demand as a speaker for his
"ministry of forgiveness".

The minister has stated that he has never sought publicity, but that
publicity sought him.  That seems odd, since he and Kim were involved in
setting up the meeting far in advance of Veterans Day.  It would seem that
since Kim Phuc knew that she would be meeting him that day, a man not
seeking publicity would choose to meet in a less public place than the
crowded Vietnam Veterans Memorial, on its busiest day of the year.

Instead, while maintaining he did not to want the publicity, they chose to
meet near the cameras and microphones of the media representatives there to
record Kim's offer of forgiveness, to the country and the men who did NOT
burn her.

Only the Canadian documentary crew participated in the initial meeting of
these two "victims", apparently in accordance with their contract with Kim.
 It was left to the mainstream media to seek out and "uncover" the story

The cooperation between the producers of the Canadian documentary, those in
charge of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a Methodist minister who seeks
"no" publicity, has resulted in a myth of epic proportions.  The story that
they and the Reverend made from this, has caused pain to the Vietnamese
poet who was originally the intermediary for the meeting, and for all who
know the myth for what it is.

Personal guilt is something borne sooner by some than others, and few could
deny the right to feel whatever personal responsibility one might care to
feel for having been even remotely involved in any way with this incident.

Personal responsibility, however, entails a personal forgiveness, and not a
contrived public confession that implies that the Myth Of The Girl In The
Photo is true.

To some, this seems to be a story where everyone wins.  For certain people,
perhaps… but not for the memory of the men who fought and died in Viet Nam,
and certainly not for the well being of the ones who fought and tried to
come back home.  For the dead, it is only the memories of their comrades
and still-grieving families that continue to suffer unnecessarily.  For
those yet alive, Veterans Day now brings the reminder that no matter how
well and honorably they served their country, they have to continue to live
with the myth of the little girl in the photo, and the legacy that
widespread belief in the myth still engenders.

The world press once again says, through stories that rely on hyped-up
reports exaggerated for a quarter of a century, rather than a proper
investigation of easily available fact, that these veterans and their
country did that terrible thing to the cute little girl.  A small-town
minister accepts the blame for all of us, when he cries the statement that
is not true,  "I am the one responsible for the girl's agony."

Because of that, all veterans have to see her pain, and feel her pain, and
know that the people of their own country, and the people of the world, are
once again being told, erroneously, that they are the ones who did that
terrible deed.

For supporting information please go to 
 Recently declassified documents about Trang Bang. 



Stars and Stripes Report

 The following is from the Stars and Stripes magazine reporting the entire
event and a followup story by Peter Arnett.

Stars & Stripes   Pacific edition  June 10, 1972  (With the famous photo.)

In South Vietnam, a battalion of Viet Cong troops firing rifles and tossing
grenades captured a hamlet Thursday and a marketplace an hour's drive from
Saigon and cut one of the key highways linking South Vietnam and Cambodia.

UPI television correspondent Christopher Wain, who watched the battle, said
a South Vietnamese bomber dropped napalm by mistake on civilians trying
to flee the fighting.

"We knew what was going to happen and there was nothing we could do to
stop it from happening." Wain said.  "That was the worst part."
Troops of the Viet Cong's K1 Battalion attacked the Cho Nho marketplace
on the outskirts of Trang Bang town and the nearby hamlet of Gio Loc 30
miles northwest of Saigon early Thursday sending thousands of civilians
fleeing for cover.

A company of communists dug bunkers in the marketplace, and two more
companies set up fighting positions around the hamlet, waiting for
government troops to counterattack.

Three South Vietnamese infantry battalions backed by government Skyraider
bombers moved in during the late morning in an attempt to oust the
entrenched Viet Cong troops.

Wain said the bombing and ground fire appeared to be taking a heavy toll
among the Communists but by afternoon the Viet Cong were still in control
of both places and the government counterattack had slowed down.

Wain said the fighting in the hamlet and marketplace, which straddle
Route 1, closed the key highway running from Saigon to Phnom Penh.

He said during the fighting at Gio Loc one of the government Skyraiders
dropped four bombs 300 yards from the Communist lines near where
government troops and civilians were taking cover.

Soldiers and civilians made a dash across Highway 1 for safety, he said,
and a South Vietnamese pilot, apparently thinking the fleeing men, women
and children were Viet Cong, dove and dropped the napalm canisters on

Wain said he saw four children and one woman burned by napalm.  South
Vietnamese officers said five government soldiers were also burned, but
newsmen at the scene saw only two or three of them.

One little girl ripped all of the clothing off her body and ran naked with
several other children crying and screaming.  The skin was burned off her

 An old woman clutched her charred child, seeking help.

Peter Arnett wrote his own story, which was more "journalistic", but said
very little about the attack:

Trang Bang was the scene Thursday of a mistaken napalm attack by South
Vietnamese Air Force planes.  Canisters of blazing jellied gasoline fell
on civilians and troops alike, and 10 persons, children, women, men and
soldiers, were killed or injured.



Baltimore Sun Article about Kim Phouc 

Veteran's admission to napalm victim a lie
Minister says he never meant to deceive with `story of forgiveness'

through the street, her body covered with burning napalm,
became a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War."

                        By Tom Bowman

                        SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- She is a grim icon of the Vietnam War: A
9-year-old girl running down a village road, napalm scorching
all but her scream, her agony portrayed on the front pages of
the world's newspapers.

At a Veteran's Day ceremony last year in front of the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, Kim Phuc said in halting English that if she
ever meets the pilot who dropped the bomb she would urge
him to join her in working for world peace.

 "I am that man," John Plummer hastily wrote on a scrap of
paper that was passed up to her. Minutes later the former
Army captain was embracing Phuc, sobbing that he was sorry.
Responded Phuc, "I forgive you."

 A heart-rending tale, one that has since gained heavy media
 attention. But Plummer's part in it isn't true. Neither Plummer
 nor any other American piloted the plane that day, June 8,
 1972. The pilot was a South Vietnamese air force officer.

Since the ceremony at the Wall, Plummer, a 50-year-old
Methodist minister in rural Purcellville, Va., has revised his
 tale,though continuing to exaggerate it.

 Appearing on ABC'S "Nightline" in June, he told Ted Koppel
that he "ordered" the raid on Phuc's village of Trang Bang. An
October cover story under his byline in Guideposts, an
international religious magazine, referred to "the attack I had
called." And in a documentary that aired last month on the
Arts & Entertainment Network, he said: "Every time I saw
 that picture, I said, `I did that. I'm responsible.' "

In fact, the North Carolina native flew helicopters, not
 fixed-wing aircraft of the type that dropped the napalm,
though at the time he was in a staff job. Nor did he have the
 authority to order his own country's planes into action, let
alone South Vietnamese aircraft, say his former superiors.
Plummer, they say, was a low-level staff officer. The entire
 operation was run by South Vietnam's military, with
Americans playing only an advisory role.

Information update to this article
(((Please referance my , "CAVMAN's" research info at

 Recently declassified documents about Trang Bang.
 for more information))) 
 Article now continues

In an interview at Bethany United Methodist Church, where
he is the pastor, Plummer conceded that he was neither the
 pilot nor the one who ordered the attack. He said he never
intended to deceive anyone but was caught up in the emotion
at the Wall that day.

He attributed his later comments -- to "Nightline" and others
-- about ordering the attack to "semantics," saying the
Guideposts article contained words he did not write. He
continues to have a "very real feeling" that he was responsible
for the airstrike, he said.

I think I could have been misinterpreted, but I did not
intentionally misrepresent my role," Plummer said. "When I
 used the words, I was thinking about the story of Kim and me.
 All I was thinking about was telling the story of Kim's

Phuc, living in Toronto and representing Unesco as a goodwill
ambassador, did not return repeated messages seeking

 Plummer was miles from the village that day, at the Bien Hoa
air base, where -- according to his own records -- he assisted
in preparing bombing plans. A captain at the time, he said he
relayed coordinates and other data from a field adviser to
another American officer, who passed the information on to a
South Vietnamese officer, who radioed the flight line to send
the bombers into the sky.

 `Very incensed about it'

 Some Vietnam veterans are troubled and bitter by the
publicity Plummer has generated in the past year, saying he
has injected himself into a searing tragedy as the key player
when his role was a minor one. Plummer says he has told his
"story of forgiveness" to some 30 veterans, civic and religious
groups, as well as numerous reporters, accepting only
expenses. He has another half-dozen invitations, with trips
 planned to Minnesota and Oregon.

Plummer's story has also heated up an Internet chat group of
Vietnam-era helicopter pilots, with some arguing that Plummer
is perpetuating a myth that the United States napalmed Kim
 Phuc -- when in fact it was her own countrymen.

"I don't mind a ministry of forgiveness, but John's basing it on
the fact that he did something he didn't do," said Ron
Timberlake, a decorated helicopter pilot in Vietnam who lives
in Texas. "He's taking the blame for something that makes
Americans and Vietnam veterans look bad."

Words like "responsible" continue to grate on Vietnam
veterans, who say that it is incorrect and furthers a stereotype
of Vietnam veterans as killers and maimers of children. "I'm
very incensed about it, and a lot of other people are incensed
about it," said Robert Witt, a former helicopter pilot who
served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. "The guy is
 using this for his own aggrandizement."

B. G. Burkett, a Dallas stockbroker and Vietnam veteran, has
made a second career of unmasking men who claim to be
Vietnam veterans or who exaggerate their roles. His book on
the issue, "Stolen Valor," co-written with Glenna Whitley, is
due out in the spring.

"You'll see how some guys project themselves into events,"
said Burkett, who did not previously know about Plummer.
"They may have some connection; they know the story."

 Plummer's former superiors at the 3rd Regional Assistance
 Command, which was located outside Saigon and advised
South Vietnam's III Corps, said in interviews that they are
puzzled by Plummer's description of his role.

"I think he's stretching things the wrong way. He doesn't order
aircraft," said retired Maj. Gen. Niles J. Fulwyler, who in June
1972 was a colonel and the chief of operations, with a staff of
15 that included Plummer. "If he was coordinating anything it
 was at a damn low level. They're just so many inconsistencies
in what he's said."

The regional U.S. commander at that time, retired Lt. Gen.
James F. Hollingsworth, said even he couldn't order
 Vietnamese planes into the air and described a captain such as
Plummer as a "handyman" for Fulwyler, the operations chief.
Plummer and others of his rank "would have no authority to
 order anyone to do anything," Hollingsworth said.

                        `I still feel the connection'

* Plummer wondered aloud in an interview, in which he was
alternately testy and defensive, why some are questioning his
feelings of responsibility.

I felt tremendous remorse that a little girl was hurt in
something I was involved in, remote as it may be," said

Asked if he was now agreeing his role had been "remote," as
others insist, he replied: "I still feel the connection to what
 happened there -- because I was involved in the process."

A few days after the bombing, he said, he saw the picture of
Phuc in the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes. He
realized, he said, that he had made "a terrible gaffe."

The tragedy haunted him and "ruined my life" for a decade, he
aid. He drank heavily and saw two marriages crumble. After
marrying for a third time, he said, he turned his life around and
became more religious, finally leaving a job with a defense
contractor for a career in the ministry.

 And as his Jeep Cherokee in front of the stone church attests,
his two tours in Vietnam are still very much a part of him. His
Virginia tag reads CAVLRY and includes a Bronze Star
emblem. The plate's metal border reads "Black Horse 11th
U.S. Cavalry," his old helicopter unit. Small metal wings are
affixed to the back windshield. "Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Association," says the bright yellow bumper sticker.

Last year, he said, when he and others planned on being at the
Wall for Veteran's Day, one of them told Plummer that Kim
Phuc would be there.

"That's when I first began to understand and feel that God was
orchestrating this," he said. "After all those years, Kim and I
were finally going to be drawn together at the same place at
the same time."

Asked why he wrote "I am that man" on the note, Plummer
paused for a long moment, then said: "Maybe I attached
myself to the events that day. Maybe I was saying in that note
that even though I wasn't the pilot that dropped the bombs, I
am responsible for the bombs being there. I was in such a
precarious psychological and emotional condition, I guess."

But Plummer says he only wanted to apologize to Kim for his
own role and was not interested in publicizing it. Asked why
he then did so, he said that when he told his tale on the
Internet and at a Virginia ministers meeting two months after
the ceremony, he realized "the power of that story" and how it
changed lives and made people forgive.

"That's why I came forward," he said. "That's why I did
`Nightline.' "

"The veterans who are upset about this, they focus in on every
word I use," he continued. "Since then, I've been very careful
about how I use the words."

And someday he hopes to gain a wider audience for what
 happened at Trang Bang. "I would like to write a book about
forgiveness," he said, "and obviously this story is going to be
 part of it."

Originally Published on 12/14/97
Web site for the Baltimore Sun Newspaper



Baltimore Sun Article about My Lai Massacre

 The Massacre at My Lai ,30 years latter

Saturday, November 29, 1997
By Tom Bowman 
The Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON -- Sixteen months after the Army approved a medal
for the unsung hero of the 1968 My Lai massacre, Army Secretary
Togo D. West Jr. is scheduled to present the award in a private
ceremony in his office next week.

But a dispute is threatening to jeopardize the ceremony, set for
Wednesday, to honor Hugh C. Thompson Jr. Thompson, who as
an Army helicopter pilot saved the lives of My Lai villagers and
alerted superiors to the carnage and thus helped end it, prefers
a public ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Of a public ceremony, Thompson said yesterday from his home in
Louisiana: "That's what I thought it was always going to be. I thought
the appropriate place would be the Wall."

He also said, in reference to holding the ceremony in West's office,
"If they want to have it in the back corner and not have anybody there,
I don't know what's going to happen."

Thompson is scheduled to receive the coveted Soldier's Medal,
denoting heroism and the voluntary risking of life. But he is requesting
that the two crew members with him that day, Larry Colburn and the
late Glenn Andreotta, also be awarded Meritorious Service Medals,
signifying outstanding noncombat achievement.

"I think Larry deserves a medal," Thompson said, adding thatAndreotta
-- who was killed in Vietnam a month after My Lai -- should receive one
posthumously. "We were a team."

Should the Army refuse to award Colburn a medal, Thompson said, he
would ask that his old gunner -- rather than West -- pin on his
Soldier's Medal. "If they refuse to give him an award, that's what I
will ask for," he said.

Asked whether he intended to turn down the invitation to West's office
if his requests were not met, Thompson said: "I haven't done that yet.
They're supposed to call back Monday."

Dove Schwartz, an Army spokesman, would say only that Army officials
are completing details for the ceremony. "No one here has anything to
say on that until Monday," Schwartz said.

The My Lai massacre occurred on March 16, 1968, when an Army platoon
led by Lt. William L. Calley Jr. went on a murderous rampage against a
village of Vietnamese civilians suspected of collaboration with the Viet
Cong. Calley was convicted of 22 murders. Estimates of civilians killed
range as high as 500.

The morning of the massacre, Thompson, a warrant officer, was flying his
helicopter -- with Colburn and Andreotta aboard -- over the village of
My Lai when he saw a trench filled with bodies.

He landed his aircraft, confronted the more senior Calley, and was later
credited with saving more than a dozen villagers huddled in a bunker.
Returning to headquarters, he told his superiors what was happening at
My Lai, and they ordered a cease-fire.

Lt. Gen. W. R. Peers, who led the official inquiry into the massacre,
wrote of Thompson: "If there was a hero at My Lai, he was it."

Thompson's efforts to save the villagers and end the killing were
unknown at the time of the massacre. The Army approved the Soldier's
Medal for him in August 1996, but the presentation was stalled by
internal Army politics. Until Tuesday, Thompson said yesterday, he
had not even been officially told that the medal had been approved.

Sources said the Army feared that a public ceremony and the attendant
publicity might rekindle interest in My Lai.

David Egan, a Clemson University professor of architecture who had
spearheaded a nine-year effort to gain the Soldier's Medal for Thompson,
and several retired Army generals have been pressing for a public
ceremony, either at the U.S. Military Academy or the Vietnam Veterans

"I was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn the secretary of the
Army is attempting to schedule a private medal presentation," Egan said
yesterday. A private ceremony "likely will lead the public to
erroneously conclude the Army is ashamed to honor Thompson for his moral
courage.  Thompson said that if he is the only member of his helicopter
crew to receive a medal, he may leave it at the Vietnam memorial.

"I'll bring the medal to the Wall and tape it on Andreotta's name," he

Originally Published on 11/29/97




The true story of the Kent State Massacre is intertwined with the story of the Vietnam War. Please go to this site The Following is from the New York Times dated June 18th June 18, 1998 Vietnam the Way It Wasn't By JOHN L. PLASTER RON RIVER, Wis. -- If you stare too hard into the shadows, sometimes you don't see what is really there, only what you imagine ought to be there. This was the case last week, when Time magazine and Cable News Network's "Newsstand" asserted that in September 1970, United States Special Forces used sarin, a lethal nerve gas, on a Laotian village believed to be harboring American soldiers who had defected. These reports are untrue. Along with about two dozen other Green Berets, I was on the helipad when the special forces commanders, code-named the Studies and Observations Group, returned from the covert mission in question, known as Operation Tailwind. As the soldiers on the mission discussed what they had done, not one mentioned nerve gas. Nor did anyone mention having seen, much less killed, American deserters. Had American defectors -- or, for that matter, any Caucasians -- been seen at such a site, and had any poisonous gas been used, we would have talked about little else, so astonishing would those occurrences have been. What of the "village" CNN and Time claim was wiped out? It was, in fact, a "Binh Tram," a logistical sub-headquarters on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Its inhabitants were not women, children or American deserters, but North Vietnamese soldiers. How could Time and CNN have gotten it so wrong? They mixed up two different gases. On Feb. 2, 1968, the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized the use of CBU-19, a tear gas, for search-and-rescue operations in Laos. Even the use of tear gas was politically sensitive then, according to the United States Air Force's authoritative history, "Search and Rescue in Southeast Asia," published in 1992. Gen. Creighton Abrams, the commander of all forces in South Vietnam, had to approve any use of tear gas by special forces in covert operations. Indeed, using tear gas was so delicate a matter that it normally meant a delay of perhaps an hour or two while we waited for clearance and then loaded the special tear gas bombs aboard planes at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. While writing a book on the special forces in Vietnam, published last year, I tracked down rumors that a "sleeping gas" of some kind had been used on these missions. All my sleuthing led to a single answer: the agent was CBU-19. The leading expert on the Studies and Observation Group in Southeast Asia, Richard Shultz, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, has spent two years investigating the topic. He has had access to all available documents, classified and unclassified, and has interviewed every significant military and C.I.A. official involved with the special forces. And he too concludes that the special forces never used nerve gas. A few months ago, when CNN was preparing its report, a number of veterans alerted April Oliver, the CNN producer, that the allegations about poison gas could not possibly be correct. But the program, when it was broadcast, played down our testimony. Instead CNN advanced the claims of one man, Lieut. Robert Van Buskirk. His claims are especially astonishing since his own book about the mission, "Tailwind," published in 1983, does not mention nerve gas or American defectors. The person who knows the most about Operation Tailwind, Col. John Sadler, the commander of America's covert operations in Southeast Asia in 1970, declined to be interviewed by CNN. But he has unequivocally rejected Lieutenant Van Buskirk's version of events. "I did not order this," he told me after CNN's broadcast, "and I would have had to know if this had happened." As for Lieutenant Van Buskirk's claim that the raid was intended to kill American defectors, "This is simply not correct," Colonel Sadler told me. "Operation Tailwind was a diversion to draw North Vietnamese forces away so an allied attack could succeed in southern Laos. It was a clear-cut mission, and I should know because I ordered that operation." Capt. Eugene McCarley, who led the Tailwind commandos, has also said the CNN report is inaccurate. I spoke with him, too, after the telecast. "American deserters were never mentioned in our mission briefing," he said. "We never saw a single Caucasian during the operation. There were no defectors there. Looking for defectors was not our mission." He added that no lethal chemical agent of any kind was used during the operation. When he was interviewed by CNN, Captain McCarley rebutted Lieutenant Van Buskirk's accusation. But instead of broadcasting his forceful words, the producers paraphrased and minimized them. Lieutenant Van Buskirk's claims are also highly implausible on technical grounds. For instance, gas masks alone don't offer effective protection against nerve agents, which can penetrate ordinary clothing. These masks, however, did protect troops from tear gas. Army guidelines required soldiers to wear full chemical protective suits when they were in areas exposed to nerve gas. No such suits were ever issued to us in covert operations, and I doubt that any were even available in Vietnam. According to Lieutenant Van Buskirk, nerve gas had been dumped on the "village" the night before he and his team, without gas masks, attacked it. Yet Army guidelines require waiting 32 days before sending unmasked troops into an area struck by sarin. Other essential equipment was missing as well. "We did not have a single atropine injector," Captain McCarley told me, referring to a common antidote for sarin. "If nerve gas actually had been present, we would absolutely have needed atropine." Nor were his men issued field decontamination kits, small plastic pouches containing a special powder needed to counteract the poison. What is more, when the team returned, the soldiers did not go through the lengthy, complex decontamination procedures required after exposure to nerve gas. Indeed, everyone, including me, went straight to the club for a drink! In its report, CNN said that Adm. Thomas Moorer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1970, confirmed the use of sarin. But CNN, which said his confirmation came "off camera," quoted snippets that didn't add up to a direct confirmation. Perhaps CNN's greatest shortcoming was its failure to offer one reason for the military to have used nerve gas -- especially since the potential political consequences would be so high. Why use nerve gas four months after the Kent State killings, during the height of the anti-war movement? Wouldn't the North Vietnamese have gone out of their way to protest and publicize so horrendous a war crime? Tragically, CNN and Time magazine missed the real story -- the great sacrifice and courage of the troops in special forces, who risked their lives, secretly, against tremendous odds and with no recognition from a nation that showed little gratitude at the time. If CNN and Time are any measure, there seems little gratitude today, either. John L. Plaster, a former Green Beret officer, is the author of "SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam," a history of the Studies and Observations Group, which carried out covert assignments in Southeast Asia. Home | Sections | Contents | Search | Forums | Help Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company ================================================================================================ The following is information from the National Archives Vietnam Records collection. I recently had the records declassified. I was investigateing the story / myth of the bombing of the village of Trang Bang. This is the location from which the infamous picture of little Kim Phouc was taken as she ran down the road with all of her clothes burnt off by a "supposed" American attack on her village. The following documentation is the icing on the cake of information disproving that story. This battle was in fact a 3 day battle between the ARVN Army and the NVA. The infamous photo's and "supposed "attack happened on the second day of the battle. The only American in the area with an involvment at all was in fact the photographer that took the picture and he was a civilian reporter. The civilans that were hit by the naplam were hiding in a Cau Di temple along with the ARVN soldiers. The ARVN soliders said that they were going to bomb the temple and the people should run. The civilians then ran out of the temple and down the road right into the actual target zone. The military like all of life is filled with Acronyms and so is this information. The most important item is the line at 08:55 AM ,where upon checking about US forces either used or in the area during the Bombing of Trang Bang, it was found that no US forces were involved. The term FAC means "Forward Air Controller". This will be either a person on the ground or in a slow moving plane that has the lay of the land and tells either Artillery or the Air Force where to drop their bombs. The term TAC/AIR means "Tacticle Air Support". They find all of the available air craft and assign them to the fighting location. C&C means "Command and Control" which means the people that ran the entire operation. AFVN was the "Armed Forces Vietnam Radio" This is the same one that featured Robin Williams in "Good Morning Vietnam." US advisory team 43 used to cover the HAU NGHIA province, in which the town of Trang Bang existed. However the team no longer did anything because all fighting / control / military operations were a total Vietnam operation. It had been done several months before as part of the Vietnamization of the Vietnam War. The term ABF means Artillary Bombardment Fire or as anyone who had been in Nam will tell you "INCOMING!!" The few American advisor forces in the area covered by TRAC were in fact tied up with the 3 month running battle of An Loc in which over 100 NVA tanks were destroyed primarily by helicopter gunships using the new HEAT rocket rounds. These rounds acted much like an RPG "Rocket Propelled Grenade" as contact with metal caused the head of the round to turn into a super heated plasma ball which penetrated any metal. Ron Timberlake was one of those pilots and he actually fly down streets to take out the tanks because of the heavy anti-aircraft fire by the NVA units. What this all boils down to is the remaining American Forces in Vietnam, that had control of American Air assets ,first heard and learned about the bombing of Trang Bang on the local Armed Forces Vietnam Radio news broadcast on the next day. In checking they found that THE Vietnamese commander , leader of 25XX , coordinated an air strike with his Vietnamese Forward Air Control who then called in a Vietnamese pilot in an ARVN Air Force plane to bomb the village of Trang bang. This was the second day of a three day battle and there never was a single American involved in the entire event. This entire report is from the files of the TRAC or Third Regional assistance Command. With the advent of the Vietnamization of the war the U.S. military changed it's status from an active roll to a simple advisory roll. What used to be III Corp became the TRAC group. The changing of the names also meant that the US direct involvement rapidly ended. This is the information as it was logged in the daily reports. 0715 21xx requests 5 sets TACAIR to knock out 2x105mm sites. 0850 HAU NGHAI reference AFVN Newscast of civilians killed by NAPALM yesterday at approx 1240 1245 yest , a VNAF FAC W/VNAF TACAIR & VNAF C&C; (25xx commander) delivered a Napalm strike via XT 498196. Strike was apparently short, resulting in 10 ARVN WIA , 2 CIV KHA & UNK # CIV WHA 0855 HAU NGHIA TRANG BANG RPTS NO VC in town. 0730 PHOUC TUY update. XUYEN MOC/DUC THANH RCVD ABF all else quiet. 0910 21xx 6 ABN quiet 15 RGT will move N (may be) 33 RGT in contact since 0700 to their West vie XT 760830 TAN KHAI under Hvy ABF W/105 60mm & 82m 32nd will move N along both sides of Hwy about 3km. 0925 5xx AN LOC 1) Resupply 0617 4. in/all good 0635 12 in/1 Malfunction 0656 16 in/all good 0708 16 in/2 Malfunctions 2) Who gave last nites LORAN TGT whose TGT was it, not on 5xx request for last nite. 3) There has been an increase in Hvy calibre incoming, 105&155MM 4) 1/48 captured CHIEU HOI center in Block 3. So far, 7 VC KIA, 2xB40 lxB41, lxU/1 AA MG, 25xB40 MIMS., 4xAK47., lx240TM RKT CIA. 'Ell evaded N. 1115 25xx update on incident )See 085011) 2 CIV were killed by hard bombs 5 CIV were wounded. 2 ARVN wounded by NAPALM 42 VC KRA. 25xx Commander directed airstrikes in TRANG BANG VC built bunkers in town & took beds & personal effects from villiagers, town is cleared of VC now, civilians are moving back in. Sighting of 800 VC vie XT 205630 was by civilian woodworkers who reported to RF at SUOI DA. Request pink team UR area. 1 115 (Cont) is taking Hvy B40 fire GROUP ============================== There is more articles on this web page about Trang Bang and Kim Phouc. Please scroll back to the top to index into them.

As you can see the cold hard statistics do not support a lot of the myths about Vietnam.

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