Delta, Mike 2 - General Observations Part 1

General Observations

No, I was not shocked or dismayed by finding a wargames site for the Vietnam War. Long, long ago, a number of my friends (ex-Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coastguard Vets who fought – not just served – but fought) who are Vets and wargamers resigned ourselves to the fact that we would see wargames and wargamers studying and playing our war in our lifetimes. We have not got a problem with this, we just do not game in this period, or in any modern period actually. We just try and gently remind everyone that everything they see, hear, and read is not the gospel truth about the war. That all GI’s were not dopers and murderers, that all NVA/VC were not supermen and righteous liberators either. That we were sold out by politicians, generals, and people at home, not beaten by the enemy in the field.

In fact we usually do not talk about the damned place among ourselves even, except to laugh at the humour no one that was not there can understand or in private get-togethers where we have ‘do you remember so-and-so fests’.

I know there is no way y'all can verify anything I said, and can care less. I passed along info that I thought might be helpful to you in your gaming or rules writing for the period.  I also will tell you a well kept secret - if y'all talked to 1000 combat vets, you will find that NO TWO VIETNAMS ARE THE SAME!!!   This is not because of any plot, but because the damned place was an entirely different war from area to area, practically from unit to unit, and year to year. You will find a lot more grunts in 67 and 68 that are willing to go all the way to win than you will find in 1970 and later. When the US pullout started in 69, the fighting morale started to rapidly deteriorate.

I also advise you to take official histories with a bit of scepticism. The Westmoreland Rot infected most senior officers, and nearly all West Point graduates. Very seldom will you find an officer above the rank of Battalion Commander who is willing to place career on the line for his men, and all too often, company commanders were more concerned with promotion and medals than their own troops. 

Most people then and now do not know that a combat arms officer only spent spent 3 - 6 months in the field before being transferred to staff jobs, a far cry from the lot of the NCO and EM who was in the field and the fight for a full 12 months!!  These records were some time written to reflect the need for body counts and blood trails to prove success in battle (and promotion of the responsible officers). There was an unwritten Division SOP that 3 wounds were required before being transferred from field duty (or 1 serious wound: the catch was that a serious wound required medevac out of country to Japan, or the US and no one was ever returned to duty from either place to my knowledge. On a different tour yes, same tour, no) for an NCO or EM.  My platoon leader was lightly wounded once (and hospitalised), then transferred to a staff job. Nearly everyone in the boonies had jungle rot, ringworm (and not the mild civilized variety either), walking malaria, & parasitic worms in their guts: heatstroke, heat exhaustion, infected cuts, scratches, insect bites, that turned to blood poisoning, strep, or gangrene were a part of life for a grunt, along with death, maiming, heat, cold, fear, anger, sadness, boredom, thirst, hunger, isolation, adrenalin rushes, exhaustion, revenge. I almost forgot snake bite - some of the most poisonous snakes in the world are in SE Asia - Atropine injectors were carried not for nerve gas exposure but to counteract the bite of snakes whose venom acted like nerve gas.........

YEP, it was a real nice place for a war, especially one for an Army trained and equipped to fight the Russians in Europe!!!!

Well, I have talked enough about this for a while. Take what I said or leave it as you wish.  I was there and know what I saw and did. I served two tours in the RVN, one as a grunt, one as a MP, which was my MOS.  I also was in Saigon during the Tet Offensive as an MP in the 7l6th MP Battalion.  My second tour was as an MP in the Mekong Delta. Sooo, I was there for the Cambodia Incursion and the start of the US pullout. 

Like I said, long, long ago, and far, far away, but still so very near. Today, y'all caught me in a retrospective mood, after finding your gaming page.  I thought I might help y'all understand a little better what it was like where I was.. .

I enjoyed looking over your www page, and I do not mind answering any questions you might have about the place, but please not on a daily basis.  I always feel "tired" after I do any talking about the place, even the funny things.

Enjoy your games and study it all carefully, check your official accounts and try to confirm them with eyewitness accounts from LTs and down - these are the people that did most of the fighting, suffering and dying - on all sides!!!

Have a nice week!


1st Infantry Division TAOR (1969)

All material presented in the pages of this index is Copyright (1999) of 'Delta Mike 2' and and may not be copied, stored or distributed without the express permission of the author. Please respect the ownership of these memories. Thanks.


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