Showing posts with label Da Nang Vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Da Nang Vietnam. Show all posts

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Bond Did Not Break After Da Nang

Years later, St. Paul veteran finds friend in soldier who protected him during Vietnam War
Pioneer Press
December 9, 2017
It seems odd that a solid friendship bonds two guys who were in the same place at the same time, but didn’t know each other until more than four decades later.
But St. Paul native Tony Jensen says he probably wouldn’t be here today without Rick Williams and his men.

The two were in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1970. Jensen was an Air Force officer in an intelligence unit. Williams calls himself a “mud Marine” protecting Jensen’s work and equipment. Williams’ sergeant warned him that if the enemy “gets past you, you’d better be dead.”

About five years ago, the two “collided, if you will,” on a tennis court in the Dayton, Ohio, area, Jensen says. The Vietnam veterans started to talk, which led to their Da Nang connection.
They share their story in a video created by public television in Dayton. It’s part of the “Vietnam Stories” project that followed filmmaker Ken Burns’ 17-hour Vietnam documentary this fall on PBS.
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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vietnam War Love Affair

A Vietnam War Love Affair, a Baby, and 48 Years Later, a Reunion

Voice of America
Ha Nguyen
December 2, 2017

Huỳnh Thị Chút (right) takes care of Gary Wittig who was bedridden after a fall triggered a heart attack. They reunited in Atlanta, Georgia, 48 years after they first met in Đà Nẵng during the height of Vietnam War.

The first time Huỳnh Thị Chút set foot in the United States, she came to see Gary Wittig, the man she met in Danang during the height of the Vietnam War.
The daughter that Chút had with Wittig, Nguyễn Thị Kim Nga, flew from her Nebraska home of 17 years to meet her father’s family in a suburb of Atlanta, in the southeastern U.S. state of Georgia. With a newfound cousin, Nga met her mother at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson international airport.
After a drive to the suburbs, Chút reunited with Wittig, now frail and on oxygen, 48 years after they parted.
The reunion was “completely amazing,” said Christine Kimmey, Wittig’s niece who joined Nga at the airport.
“She (Chut) placed her hands on him and started massaging his lung, massaging his arms. They just sat there and smiled,” said Kimmey, who added she couldn’t describe the excitement and joy of the Oct. 3 event.
“It’s the best thing that could ever happen to my uncle,” she said.
Wittig and Chút still could not speak each other’s languages. The other unchanged element of their relationship: Chút’s smile remained the same, according to Wittig, who died Nov. 24, hours after his extended, blended family gathered for Thanksgiving.
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Da Nang Vietnam Veterans Remember Twist of Fate

Veterans form friendship, discover unusual link
The News Gazette
Jim Dey 1

Nearly 50 years ago — May 22, 1968 — Bob Harrison, a 19-year-old U.S. Marine from Villa Grove, was carrying a radio as part of a four-man patrol team near Da Nang in Vietnam, the site of a major air base used by American and South Vietnamese forces.

He had seen extensive combat since arriving on Thanksgiving Day 1967. That included a harrowing 77-day siege at Khe Sanh that began Jan. 21, 1968. It's one of the most publicized battles of any American war, one in which hugely outnumbered Marines, assisted by round-the-clock B-52 airstrikes, fought off North Vietnamese soldiers trying to overrun their base.

American forces suffered extensive casualties. Although Harrison's backpack took a bullet, he escaped injury. But his luck was about to run out.

The last thing Harrison remembers of his patrol that day is calling in his group's position.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 8, 1965, Nearly 5,000 Marines Landed In Da Nang


Yesterday was an important anniversary, but I doubt you saw anything on the news or in your local paper. 
Sunday marked 50 years since the first brigade-strength U.S. Marine unit arrived in Vietnam. On March 8, 1965, nearly 5,000 Marines from the 9 th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed to defend the American air base at Da Nang. It's an anniversary that was met with little fanfare. However, the impact of that day and the years that followed during the Vietnam War, still affect our country in ways large and small.
The Vietnam War was arguably the most divisive event in our nation during the 20th Century. When 9 million Americans served, and more than 58,000 made the ultimate sacrifice, not just those service members were forever changed.  Their families, their buddies, and the country as a whole also were impacted socially, politically, and militarily.
What Vietnam veterans faced when they came back home, a divided America and at times little to no respect for their service, has now generated a new legacy - a proud legacy of service in America in which people stand and shake the hands of service members and say, "Thank you and welcome home."
It was Vietnam veterans who vowed to never again let a generation of Americans go to war without the support and respect they deserve.   As current wars rage on, Vietnam veterans are the first to recognize our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for their service.
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we remember those 5,000 Marines who landed on March 8, 1965, as the beginning of something much larger.  That day was the start of something that not only affected those men and their families, but each and every one of us today.
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Their service and sacrifice still matters . . .
To our Marines, we simply say, "Thank you, and Semper Fi."
Jim Knotts
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vietnam Veterans return to DMZ and Rockpile

Retired police chief joins other Marine vets in tour of Vietnam
PHIL GOWER, editor

Near the former DMZ and the Rockpile
Vietnam War veterans from the 3rd Marine Division last month toured portions of Vietnam including the locations of their former wartime outposts on the DMZ. The Rockpile behind them is a rock outcropping near the former DMZ of South Vietnam and an important operations post and fire base from 1966-68. Next to it are Razor Back and Mudder’s Ridge. From left, are Ken Burkitt of Mt. Carmel, Don Baumgarner, Bill Evins (tour guide and U.S. veteran living in Vietnam), Bill Taylor II and Roger Bacon.

Ken Burkitt is a retired Mt. Carmel police chief and served 29 years as a police officer with the MCPD, but he also served as a U.S. Marine, including two combat tours during the Vietnam War.

He exemplifies the motto: Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. Old Glory flies above the U.S. Marine flag on the flag pole in front the Burkitt’s Mt. Carmel home.

Burkitt attends the 3rd Marine Division Reunion and stays in touch with other Vietnam veterans. He served 12 months from 1967-68 and then a 13-month tour in 1970-71.

Shrapnel concluded his first tour in the 12th month, and earned his third Purple Heart for wounds sustained in action.

At the 3rd Marine reunions, some of the veterans in recent years have decided to revisit Vietnam and find what one former U.S. Marine Bill Ervin has found in a different way, a peaceful and changed nation. Burkitt said Bill and his wife Ahn live in Da Nang and often guide tours for returning veterans.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ret. Brigadier General finds GTO and peace in Vietnam

The vietnam vet and his long-lost friend
The Marines called him GTO. Mike Neil thought of him as a son. Now, 40 years later, Neil returns to battle his demons – and find the boy.
By John Wilkens, Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. June 14, 2009

People sometimes ask Mike Neil if he ever thinks about the Vietnam War.
“Every day,” says Neil, a retired Marine brigadier general.
It's not just the combat, the night ambushes and hours-long firefights in the jungles and rice paddies near Da Nang. It's not the Navy Cross he earned for taking out an enemy machine-gun nest.
Mostly what he remembers from his 13-month tour are the people left behind – the dead and the living.
Earlier this year, the ghosts called him back, as ghosts have been doing to military veterans for hundreds of years.
“Something felt unfinished,” Neil said.
He wanted to see some of the battlefields, leave laminated photos of two friends at the places where they were killed. And he wanted to find GTO.
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The vietnam vet and his long-lost friend