Viet Cong Reunion

Topics of a general nature that relate to anything to do with the 6th Battalion 31st Infantry that served in Vietnam.
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Delta75
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Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:05 pm

Today we went to a a reunion with my wife's former Viet Cong friends. I was, of course, the only former American soldier in attendance. LOL As usual, I was warmly welcomed...everyone wanted to have a drink with me. They pour their rice vodka (ba si day) into a shot glass and bend their finger in 1/2...meaning...you drink 1/2 and I will drink 1/2. Needless to say, after several of these, I told my wife that she needed to call the kids to pick us up....or...I might not be able to walk to their motorcycles. :)
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue May 01, 2018 11:35 am

Good thing they don't hold a grudge over whatever happened in the war that affected them deeply caused or abetted by America. Since your wife and large Vietnamese family love you, and is in effect vouching for you, that no doubt adopts you into the culture. That's great.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Niner Delta » Tue May 01, 2018 9:52 pm

Now there is an event that I bet you never thought you would attend, glad to hear you are enjoying
life both here and there..... :mrgreen:


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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Wed May 02, 2018 12:21 am

Actually my children and my wife's younger sister were concerned that I would even attend the reunion....actually a celebration of the April 30, 1975 end-of-the war "victory". My wife and I were not concerned, as we had already attended one a few years ago. Needless to say the speaker recognized me (as the only American there) as a former 9th Division soldier who had served in Vinh Kim, and it appears that most clapped for me...I am sure that a few did not. LOL Quite a few of the people who attended remembered me.....especially the former "coke kids".

My wife's family is reminiscent for what happened in our own Civil War....her Mother had 11 children...3 boys and 8 girls. Only 2 of the boys were of age to fight in the VN War...both were killed. One was killed in 1969 by my platoon...of which her family, to include her Mother, were aware. He was a Captain in charge of the local Vinh Kim Viet Cong. Her other Brother was killed in 1968 in the 25th Infantry AO while serving with the 261st Viet Cong Main force. Her Father was killed by ARVN after we left Vinh Kim in 1969. He served with the 514th Provincial force...he was at Ap Bac in 1962/63. Out of all the 8 girls, only one married a Viet Cong. My platoon also killed her husband. All of the other girls provided support for the VC while young, but this support stopped after they were married.

My wife's Mother wanted her girls to marry South Vietnamese soldiers because she thought that they would win the war. She arranged a marriage for my wife with a South VN Lt after I left VN. It appears that the children of my wife's sisters and younger Brother ...as well as my wife's children have been shielded from the history of their family as it relates to the war. My wife does not even want to talk about it because of the pain and suffering that occurred. My wife's sister has forgiven me for the death of her husband, but my wife's sister-in-law has not. She has never visited us since my return to VN in 2001.

In summary.....as in our Civil War...families were split as to the side that they supported. In many cases the local PF/RF and Viet Cong forces had an agreement..."You leave us alone and we will leave you alone". They have put the war behind them much better than we have done...to them it is over...so don't even think about it.....just go on with your life. Our 8 children and 8 grandchildren in VN know basically nothing about their family involvement in the war, and my wife wants to keep it that way. Our children were in school after 1975; therefore, they were taught all the propaganda as to the USA being here to take away all their minerals and oil......our grandchildren appear to have been taught nothing about the war. It appears that ~80% of the VN population were born after the war....they are not interested in the war....they are more interested in I-phones, internet, You Tube, music, dancing, and the USA.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed May 02, 2018 9:50 am

I posted a link to this on the facebook page dedicated to the battalion because your story has got to be the most unique veteran story there is. It might attract some of your old platoon guys who would certainly get a kick out of reading what you wrote.

Hey, maybe that guy Miyares the bull crap tossing speech maker will read what a real platoon sergeant is up to now days. Truly amazing to read about your recent adventure.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Niner Delta » Wed May 02, 2018 7:16 pm

Thanks for the update on how things are over there now. You truly have an insight to the way life is in
VN now, and thanks for sharing it with us. We would never know if it wasn't for you...... :D


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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Wed May 02, 2018 11:32 pm

As many of us thought during the War.....the Vietnamese people in the countryside didn't care who won the War...they just wanted it to be over so that they could go on with their lives and so that their family members would stop dying. They knew that the South Vietnamese government had never done anything for them, therefore, they didn't believe any of the promises that they were given. As to the VC promises, they wanted to believe them....but...they doubted they were true. Basically they supported, at various times, whoever they needed to in order to stay alive. They, however, were not going to inform on the VC for fear of reprisal. After the War, the former VC seem to be the most upset because the promises of land, free health care and free education never materialized.

In order to understand the relationship between the country people and the various military units...one needs to understand how close, relationship wise, they were to each other. The PF (Popular Forces) were usually local's and family or friends, The RF (Regional Forces) were usually made up of men from the same Province but not necessarily the same village. The ARVN could be from anywhere. Thus the PF were usually family or friends thus the "you leave us alone and we will leave you alone" usually applied mostly with these units. This was not always the case with the RF and especially not so with the ARVN.

The friction between the people and the ARVN forces were at times brutal. Sadly due to the corruption within the ARVN military, the average soldier received very little in the way of a salary. It appears that he received what was left after all the officers took their share. In most cases the average soldier was paid barely enough to take care of him.....much less his family. The ARVN soldiers, therefore, often stole from the people in order to supplement their income. From what I have been told by the people in the village, the ARVN took what they wanted. The VC took a different approach...they would "ask" the people for help. The people realized that if they said "no" the VC would probably take it anyway....but....the big difference is that they asked.

To exemplify a few "abuses" from both sides....I will use a few examples from my wife's family experience. A couple of things to remember, my wife's Father fought for the Viet Minh against the French and for the Viet Cong...and...her two older Brothers fought with VC units; therefore, the family was considered as VC.

(1) One of my wife's older sisters was married to a schoolteacher....he taught my wife English. The VC wanted him to join them but he told them that he just wanted to be a teacher. One day they came for him and the family never saw him again. The VC said that he joined them...the family believes that he was executed.
(2) Another older sister was married to an ARVN soldier who was stationed in the small ARVN compound across the river from the Vinh Kim market. One night another ARVN let the VC into the compound and the VC killed all but my wife's Brother-in-law....he was badly wounded. Upon discovering that he was married to a girl from a VC family, they tried to blame him for letting the VC in....he, of course, denied it. The ARVN arrested his pregnant wife and tortured her with electro-shock for several days trying to get her to confess as to her husband being guilty. She refused and was finally released in bad health...shortly after giving birth to their child, she died. The ARVN transferred her husband up north where he later died from a fever. Their child was raised by my wife's family and now lives two houses from us in Vinh Kim.
(3) As a teenager, by wife was arrested by the ARVN and also tortured with electro-shock in an attempt to locate her Father (a Captain in the 514th). She truthfully had no idea where he was so they finally let her go.
(4) Again when my wife was young the ARVN came through and told everyone to go into their bunkers...that they were going to engage the VC in a large battle. Everyone went in to their bunkers but came out after an hour because they had heard no shooting. Upon leaving their bunkers they found that the ARVN had stolen everything of value...pigs, ducks, chickens, rice, etc.
(5) After we left Vinh Kim and the ARVN took over....they quizzed my wife's Mother as to where the VC were located. After telling them that she did not know....they butt-stroked her between the eyes and, as a result, she was blinded.

Gonna stop now....tired of typing...which I am bad at.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu May 03, 2018 10:45 am

I think we all knew the locals weren't buying "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as anything either side was likely to ever provide. I don't think any of us imagined the family horror story you are telling though.

I did see that it wasn't good to be a Tiger Scout at 3rd Brigade departure. One of Alpha's tiger scouts moved his wife and baby to Duc Hoa just down the road from Chamberlain just before we left. It was early September of 1970. I was in the TOC and the tiger scout came in crying hysterically. After he calmed down it was learned that some Arvin's came over to his house to visit. They got to drinking and then the Arvins decided to have their way with his wife after beating him up. Well, his platoon, 2nd or 1st, can't remember, started to get their gear on and were going to deal with some Arvins. The CO put a halt to that and by round about ways got to the Arvin HQ and the higher ups dealt with it and the tiger scouts wife and baby were set free. A couple weeks later and he was on his own. Got a feeling he didn't stay in Duc Hoa.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:26 pm

I would assume that about the only former Tiger Scouts who survived the "post-war" were those lucky enough to have escaped the country or those who were actually still Viet Cong who had served "under-cover" for the Viet Cong.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:34 pm

I actually met such a "turn-coat" Tiger Scout at this last reunion. My Wife told me that after we had left Vinh Kim, using his position of having been a Tiger Scout, he gained access to one of the small ARVN outposts near Vinh Kim. Later that night he opened the gate to the VC and they killed all of the ARVN.
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Re: Viet Cong Reunion

Postby Delta75 » Fri May 04, 2018 9:46 am

As we know, the War experiences of a Combat Soldier and a REMP (or REMF as they were known to those in combat :D ) were two worlds apart; however, I never expected the very large difference, as it relates to the War, that I have discovered over the last ~50 years, between the Vietnamese people who lived in the cities/towns and those who lived in the countryside. Yes, clearly I should have...but....I had never taken the time to think about it.

As to my findings....prior to my retirement, I had spent 45 years in the high-tech semiconductor manufacturing industry. Thus I found myself working with many Vietnamese who had fled to the USA after the War; however, only after I married my wife and brought her to the USA did I really find myself immersed into the Vietnamese community. Again, what I found should not have surprised me, but it did.

What I discovered is that the Vietnam War (they refer to it as "the American War") was, to the Vietnamese people, like two different wars; that is, the people in the countryside saw a completely different war than did the people who lived in the cities/towns. Basically all of the Vietnamese families with whom my wife and I socialized with in the USA were people who had owned businesses in the cities/towns......none were from the countryside. What I found was that the people from the cities/towns seemed in general to be supportive of the South Vietnamese government. This was far from the position that I found in the countryside. In addition, while the people from the countryside were impacted 24 hours a day by the War, other than Tet 1968, the cities/towns were comparatively unscathed.

As many of you know, the Vietnamese remove their shoes prior to entering their houses. While attending Vietnamese family celebrations, I noticed several men missing toes (also fingers). I asked my wife if they had received these injuries during the War. She smiled and told me....No....that these people had been wealthy in the War and had paid doctors to remove the toes/fingers so that they could avoid military service. I asked her about the service of the other men who seemed to have all their toes/fingers, and was told that none had served, as they had been able to afford to pay bribes to avoid military service. So, I was surprised to find that these men who were so strongly anti-Communist, never actually fought to "save" their country from Communism. BTW: I am not sure that any of these friends know that my wife had been a Viet Cong. They know only that she had been married to a former South Vietnamese Lt.

In closing...in general, I find my Vietnamese friends in the USA to be strongly anti-communist, and to consider the present Vietnamese government to be oppressive. I am sure that some still contribute to those organizations that dream of taking their country back. Most also talk about how much the Vietnamese people in Vietnam hate their government; however, many have not returned to visit Vietnam since they left. I cannot speak for the people in the cities/towns; however, I find the people in the countryside to be quite happy. It appears that as long as you don't say anything bad about their government, the government pretty much leaves the people alone. It seems that Vietnam has taken the same position as China; that is, Communist on the government side and Capitalism on the business side. They may not think that their government is the greatest.....but as long as the government lets them run their business and basically leaves them alone...they see no reason for change. Heck! Everyone seems to have an I-phone and free WIFI is everywhere! What more could you want? LOL

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