Annotated Transcript Of Episode 5

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ANNOTATED TRANSCRIPT BURNS EPISODE 5 This Is What We Do (July 1967-December 1967)

Color Coding: Red = False statement; Yellow = Warning; Green = Not yet used; Blue = Interesting, warranting Attention;

Gray = I’ve got to study and verify this item; Pink = Loaded Words?

MINUTES 1-10

1

00:00:01,566 --> 00:00:03,000 ANNOUNCER: MAJOR SUPPORT FOR "THE VIETNAM WAR"

2

00:00:03,000 --> 00:00:06,500 WAS PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THE BETTER ANGELS SOCIETY,

3

00:00:06,500 --> 00:00:10,466 INCLUDING JONATHAN AND JEANNIE LAVINE,

4

00:00:10,466 --> 00:00:13,366 DIANE AND HAL BRIERLEY,

5

00:00:13,366 --> 00:00:15,766 AMY AND DAVID ABRAMS,

6

00:00:15,766 --> 00:00:18,266 JOHN AND CATHERINE DEBS,

7

00:00:18,266 --> 00:00:21,166 THE FULLERTON FAMILY CHARITABLE FUND,

8

00:00:21,166 --> 00:00:23,233 THE MONTRONE FAMILY,

9

00:00:23,233 --> 00:00:25,566 LYNDA AND STEWART RESNICK,

10

00:00:25,566 --> 00:00:28,333 THE PERRY AND DONNA GOLKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION,

11

00:00:28,333 --> 00:00:29,333 THE LYNCH FOUNDATION,

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00:00:29,333 --> 00:00:32,200 THE ROGER AND ROSEMARY ENRICO FOUNDATION,

13

00:00:32,200 --> 00:00:35,633 AND BY THESE ADDITIONAL FUNDERS.

14

00:00:35,633 --> 00:00:37,533 MAJOR FUNDING WAS ALSO PROVIDED

15

00:00:37,533 --> 00:00:39,266 BY DAVID H. KOCH...

16

00:00:41,566 --> 00:00:43,766 THE BLAVATNIK FAMILY FOUNDATION...

17

00:00:46,100 --> 00:00:48,533 THE PARK FOUNDATION,

18

00:00:48,533 --> 00:00:50,700 THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES,

19

00:00:50,700 --> 00:00:52,900 THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS,

20

00:00:52,900 --> 00:00:55,566 THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION,

21

00:00:55,566 --> 00:00:58,333 THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION,

22

00:00:58,333 --> 00:01:01,000 THE ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATIONS,

23

00:01:01,000 --> 00:01:03,200 THE FORD FOUNDATION JUSTFILMS,

24

00:01:03,200 --> 00:01:04,400 BY THE CORPORATION

25

00:01:04,400 --> 00:01:05,633 FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING,

26

00:01:05,633 --> 00:01:07,600 AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

27

00:01:07,600 --> 00:01:08,733 THANK YOU.

28

00:01:13,266 --> 00:01:15,400 ANNOUNCER: BANK OF AMERICA PROUDLY SUPPORTS

29

00:01:15,400 --> 00:01:20,300 KEN BURNS' AND LYNN NOVICK'S FILM "THE VIETNAM WAR"

30

00:01:20,300 --> 00:01:22,700 BECAUSE FOSTERING DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

31

00:01:22,700 --> 00:01:25,300 AND CIVIL DISCOURSE AROUND IMPORTANT ISSUES

32

00:01:25,300 --> 00:01:27,600 FURTHERS PROGRESS, EQUALITY,

33

00:01:27,600 --> 00:01:29,600 AND A MORE CONNECTED SOCIETY.

34

00:01:34,066 --> 00:01:38,100 GO TO BANKOFAMERICA.COM/ BETTERCONNECTED TO LEARN MORE.

35

00:01:43,133 --> 00:01:45,733 (radio chatter)

36

00:01:45,733 --> 00:01:48,600 (distant helicopter blades beating)

37

00:01:57,400 --> 00:01:59,366 ROGER HARRIS: MARINES Soldiers adapt.

38

00:01:59,366 --> 00:02:01,600 You go over there with one mindset, you know,

39

00:02:01,600 --> 00:02:03,133 and then you adapt.

40

00:02:03,133 --> 00:02:05,233 You adapt to the atrocities of war.

41

00:02:05,233 --> 00:02:06,700 You adapt to...

42

00:02:09,066 --> 00:02:13,366 ...killing and dying, you know.

43

00:02:13,366 --> 00:02:15,266 After a while it doesn't bother you.


44

00:02:18,066 --> 00:02:19,933 Well, I should say it doesn't bother you as much.

45

00:02:21,433 --> 00:02:25,066 When I first arrived in Vietnam, there were some...

46

00:02:25,066 --> 00:02:26,333 (sighs)

47

00:02:26,333 --> 00:02:27,866 there were some interesting things that happened

48

00:02:27,866 --> 00:02:31,200 and I questioned some of the Marines.

49

00:02:31,200 --> 00:02:35,833 I was made to realize that this is war, and this is what we do.

50

00:02:37,466 --> 00:02:39,233 And that stuck in my head.

51

00:02:39,233 --> 00:02:40,233 This is war.

52

00:02:40,233 --> 00:02:42,433 This is what we do.

53

00:02:42,433 --> 00:02:46,166 And after a while you embrace that.

54

00:02:47,933 --> 00:02:49,766 This is war.

55

00:02:49,766 --> 00:02:51,233 This is what we do.

56

00:02:51,233 --> 00:02:53,700 ("Are You Experienced?" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing) THE VIETNAM WAR

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00:03:05,366 --> 00:03:08,533 PRESIDENT LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: This evening I came here to speak to you about Vietnam.

58

00:03:08,533 --> 00:03:11,600 There is progress in the war itself,

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00:03:11,600 --> 00:03:15,000 rather dramatic progress considering the situation

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00:03:15,000 --> 00:03:19,733 that actually prevailed when we sent our troops there in 1965.

61

00:03:19,733 --> 00:03:24,233 The grip of the Viet Cong on the people is being broken.

62

00:03:24,233 --> 00:03:29,866 HENDRIX: ♪ If you can just get your mind together ♪

63

00:03:29,866 --> 00:03:30,933 (rapid gunfire)

64

00:03:30,933 --> 00:03:36,100 ♪ Then come across to me

65

00:03:36,100 --> 00:03:38,866 NARRATOR: In the summer of 1967,

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00:03:38,866 --> 00:03:41,366 the men overseeing the war in Vietnam

67

00:03:41,366 --> 00:03:43,500 remained outwardly optimistic--

68

00:03:43,500 --> 00:03:47,300 whatever private doubts they may have held.

69

00:03:47,300 --> 00:03:49,900 HENDRIX: ♪ But first

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00:03:49,900 --> 00:03:52,800 ♪ Are you experienced?

71

00:03:52,800 --> 00:03:54,166 (airplane flying overhead)

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00:03:54,166 --> 00:03:55,366 (explosion)

73

00:03:55,366 --> 00:03:59,433 ♪ Have you ever been experienced? ♪

74

00:03:59,433 --> 00:04:03,900 NARRATOR: The American military command in Vietnam, MACV,

75

00:04:03,900 --> 00:04:07,466 claimed to have killed 200,000 enemy troops 76

00:04:07,466 --> 00:04:09,333 and had told the president

77

00:04:09,333 --> 00:04:12,466 that the all-important "crossover point"--

78

00:04:12,466 --> 00:04:15,800 the moment when U.S. and ARVN forces were killing

79

00:04:15,800 --> 00:04:18,966 more Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops

80

00:04:18,966 --> 00:04:22,633 than the enemy could replace-- appeared to have been reached

81

00:04:22,633 --> 00:04:25,700 in almost all of South Vietnam.

82

00:04:25,700 --> 00:04:28,066 But the United States had suffered

83

00:04:28,066 --> 00:04:31,866 nearly 75,000 casualties.

84

00:04:31,866 --> 00:04:38,433 By July 4, 14,624 Americans had died,

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00:04:38,433 --> 00:04:40,200 and, off the record,

86

00:04:40,200 --> 00:04:44,666 many officers were much less sanguine than their commanders.

87

00:04:44,666 --> 00:04:50,200 From Saigon, R.W. Apple of the New York Times summarized

88

00:04:50,200 --> 00:04:54,900 their views: "Victory is not close at hand," he wrote.

89

00:04:54,900 --> 00:04:58,800 In fact, "It may be beyond reach."

90

00:04:58,800 --> 00:05:03,766 ("Are You Experienced?" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing)

91

00:05:06,866 --> 00:05:08,900 (rapid gunfire)

92

00:05:08,900 --> 00:05:11,433 It was true that the enemy rarely won a battle

93

00:05:11,433 --> 00:05:14,366 in the traditional military sense that they drove

94

00:05:14,366 --> 00:05:16,400 the Americans from the field.

95

00:05:16,400 --> 00:05:19,800 But it was also true that no American victory 96

00:05:19,800 --> 00:05:21,633 seemed to matter.

97

00:05:21,633 --> 00:05:27,366 Battered enemy units were quickly reinforced and rearmed.

98

00:05:27,366 --> 00:05:31,033 Pacification-- winning the hearts and minds

99

00:05:31,033 --> 00:05:34,800 of the South Vietnamese people-- was not working.

100

00:05:34,800 --> 00:05:39,200 Saigon still controlled only a fraction of a country

101

00:05:39,200 --> 00:05:41,233 roughly the size of Florida,

102

00:05:41,233 --> 00:05:43,100 and its government remained

103

00:05:43,100 --> 00:05:47,433 unpopular and riddled with corruption.

104

00:05:47,433 --> 00:05:51,133 President Johnson had been forced to raise taxes

105

00:05:51,133 --> 00:05:54,600 to meet the war's ever-climbing cost.

106

00:05:54,600 --> 00:05:58,833 His ambitious social program-- his War on Poverty--

107

00:05:58,833 --> 00:06:01,533 was in retreat.

108

00:06:01,533 --> 00:06:06,433 HENDRIX: ♪ Trumpets and violins I can hear in the distance ♪

109

00:06:06,433 --> 00:06:11,433 NARRATOR: That summer, racial unrest would grip American cities.

110

00:06:11,433 --> 00:06:14,933 HENDRIX: ♪ Maybe now you can't hear them ♪

111

00:06:14,933 --> 00:06:16,966 ♪ But you will

112

00:06:16,966 --> 00:06:21,100 NARRATOR: The president would have to send the Army into Detroit

113

00:06:21,100 --> 00:06:23,466 to end five days of rioting

114

00:06:23,466 --> 00:06:27,800 that left 43 dead and hundreds of buildings razed.

115

00:06:29,066 --> 00:06:33,133 Twenty-six more died in Newark, New Jersey,

116

00:06:33,133 --> 00:06:35,833 demonstrating yet again how wide a gap

117

00:06:35,833 --> 00:06:40,466 remained between black and white Americans.

118

00:06:40,466 --> 00:06:46,300 Only a third of the country saw any sign of progress in Vietnam,

119

00:06:46,300 --> 00:06:49,433 and half of the country now disapproved

120

00:06:49,433 --> 00:06:53,733 of the president's handling of the war.

121

00:06:53,733 --> 00:06:56,966 Meanwhile, Le Duan and his comrades

122

00:06:56,966 --> 00:07:00,400 who ran things in Hanoi, were secretly planning

123

00:07:00,400 --> 00:07:05,100 a new offensive that they believed would destroy

124

00:07:05,100 --> 00:07:08,033 what they called the puppet government in Saigon

125

00:07:08,033 --> 00:07:11,900 and convince the United States the war could never be won

126

00:07:11,900 --> 00:07:14,733 on the battlefield.

127

00:07:16,600 --> 00:07:19,766 JAMES WILLBANKS: ARMY ADVISOR There's the old apocryphal story that, in 1967,

128

00:07:19,766 --> 00:07:21,833 they went to the basement of the Pentagon

129

00:07:21,833 --> 00:07:24,200 when the mainframe computers took up the whole basement,

130

00:07:24,200 --> 00:07:26,433 and they put on the old punch cards everything

131

00:07:26,433 --> 00:07:28,033 you could quantify-- numbers of ships,

132

00:07:28,033 --> 00:07:30,400 numbers of airplanes, numbers of tanks, numbers of helicopters,

133

00:07:30,400 --> 00:07:34,400 artillery, machine gun, ammo-- everything you could quantify,

134

00:07:34,400 --> 00:07:37,533 put it in the hopper and said, "When will we win in Vietnam?"

135

00:07:37,533 --> 00:07:39,266 Went away on Friday.

136

00:07:39,266 --> 00:07:41,233 The thing ground away all weekend.

137

00:07:41,233 --> 00:07:44,300 Came back on Monday and there was one card in the output tray

138

00:07:44,300 --> 00:07:47,300 and it said, "You won in 1965."

139

00:07:47,300 --> 00:07:49,233 The only problem is the enemy gets a vote

140

00:07:49,233 --> 00:07:50,866 and they weren't on the punch cards. EPISODE FIVE THIS IS WHAT WE DO (JULY-DECEMBER 1967)

141

00:07:58,666 --> 00:08:03,200 NARRATOR: There were nearly half a million American soldiers in Vietnam

142

00:08:03,200 --> 00:08:05,533 by the middle of 1967,

143

00:08:05,533 --> 00:08:08,366 with thousands more on the way.

144

00:08:08,366 --> 00:08:12,766 Only 20% would ever be in combat.

145

00:08:12,766 --> 00:08:16,366 The rest served in support units.

146

00:08:16,366 --> 00:08:20,066 None of them had been taught very much about the people

147

00:08:20,066 --> 00:08:22,966 against whom-- and for whom-- they had been asked to fight.

148

00:08:25,033 --> 00:08:28,000 Troops called the Vietnamese "gooks"--

149

00:08:28,000 --> 00:08:31,400 a term first used by U.S. Marines to refer

150

00:08:31,400 --> 00:08:33,733 to the people of Haiti and Nicaragua

151

00:08:33,733 --> 00:08:37,433 during the American occupation of those countries,

152

00:08:37,433 --> 00:08:41,266 and then applied to the Asian enemy in Korea.

153

00:08:41,266 --> 00:08:46,333 Or "slopes," an epithet for the Japanese during the Pacific War,

154

00:08:46,333 --> 00:08:51,366 or "dinks," an Australian term for the Chinese.

155

00:08:51,366 --> 00:08:54,000 RION CAUSEY: ARMY And so in basic training they taught you

156

00:08:54,000 --> 00:08:56,266 that you were going to be fighting gooks.

157

00:08:56,266 --> 00:08:59,266 It was part of the song that you sang

158

00:08:59,266 --> 00:09:01,633 as you jogged down the road.

159

00:09:01,633 --> 00:09:04,000 As you went through bayonet training,

160

00:09:04,000 --> 00:09:06,400 you were not talking about Vietnamese.

161

00:09:06,400 --> 00:09:09,800 You were always talking about gooks.

162

00:09:09,800 --> 00:09:13,433 Vietnamese might be people, but gooks are-are...

163

00:09:13,433 --> 00:09:14,933 are close to being animals.

164

00:09:14,933 --> 00:09:19,300 NARRATOR: GIs called Vietnamese homes "hooches"--

165

00:09:19,300 --> 00:09:22,300 a corruption of the Japanese word for dwelling places

166

00:09:22,300 --> 00:09:25,733 that they had learned during the battle for Okinawa

167

00:09:25,733 --> 00:09:28,033 in the Second World War.

168

00:09:28,033 --> 00:09:33,300 Soldiers referred to older Vietnamese women as "mama sans,"

169

00:09:33,300 --> 00:09:36,000 the term they used for women who ran whorehouses

170

00:09:36,000 --> 00:09:38,900 in occupied Japan.

171

00:09:38,900 --> 00:09:41,766 The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese

172

00:09:41,766 --> 00:09:46,166 called GIs "invaders," "imperialists,"

173

00:09:46,166 --> 00:09:48,000 and (speaking Vietnamese)--

174

00:09:48,000 --> 00:09:49,900 "American bandits."

175

00:09:55,100 --> 00:09:59,966 South Vietnam had been divided into four tactical zones.

176

00:09:59,966 --> 00:10:04,400 By the summer of 1967, American troops were fighting

177

00:10:04,400 --> 00:10:06,066 in all four of them.

178

00:10:08,433 --> 00:10:11,300 In IV Corps, the "Brown Water Navy"

179

00:10:11,300 --> 00:10:14,166 patrolled the rivers and canals and marshes

180

00:10:14,166 --> 00:10:17,466 of the densely populated Mekong Delta,

181

00:10:17,466 --> 00:10:20,733 searching for the enemy.

182

00:10:20,733 --> 00:10:25,533 In III Corps, the Army continued to sweep the thick jungles

183

00:10:25,533 --> 00:10:29,100 of the Iron Triangle, the Viet Cong sanctuary

184

00:10:29,100 --> 00:10:32,766 near Saigon that was supposed to have been permanently denied

185

00:10:32,766 --> 00:10:38,300 to the enemy by big American operations earlier in the year.

186

00:10:38,300 --> 00:10:41,500 In II Corps, a series of bloody battles

187

00:10:41,500 --> 00:10:46,233 in the Central Highlands around Dak To temporarily drove

188

00:10:46,233 --> 00:10:51,466 North Vietnamese troops back into Cambodia and Laos.

MINUTES 10-20

189

00:10:51,466 --> 00:10:56,066 But some of the most intense combat would take place

190

00:10:56,066 --> 00:11:00,533 in I Corps-- made up of the five northernmost provinces

191

00:11:00,533 --> 00:11:03,733 of South Vietnam-- where the Marines would bear

192

00:11:03,733 --> 00:11:06,166 the brunt of the fighting.

193

00:11:06,166 --> 00:11:09,566 More than two-and-a-half-million people lived there,

194

00:11:09,566 --> 00:11:11,800 all but 2% of them within

195

00:11:11,800 --> 00:11:14,200 the narrow rice-growing river valleys

196

00:11:14,200 --> 00:11:17,000 along the South China Sea.

197

00:11:17,000 --> 00:11:20,866 The Marines wanted to eradicate the Viet Cong there,

198

00:11:20,866 --> 00:11:23,266 and provide security to the people,

199

00:11:23,266 --> 00:11:26,266 village by village, hamlet by hamlet.

200

00:11:26,266 --> 00:11:30,033 The vast, largely empty highlands that stretched

201

00:11:30,033 --> 00:11:33,366 westward all the way to Laos, the Marines argued,

202

00:11:33,366 --> 00:11:36,233 could be left to the enemy.

203

00:11:36,233 --> 00:11:38,833 "The real war is among the people,"

204

00:11:38,833 --> 00:11:41,800 said Marine Lieutenant General Victor Krulak,

205

00:11:41,800 --> 00:11:44,533 "and not among the mountains."

206

00:11:44,533 --> 00:11:47,033 But General William Westmoreland,

207

00:11:47,033 --> 00:11:50,133 the American commander, feared that thousands

208

00:11:50,133 --> 00:11:53,966 of North Vietnamese Army regulars-- the NVA--

209

00:11:53,966 --> 00:11:58,266 were planning to seize the two northernmost provinces.

210

00:11:58,266 --> 00:12:03,633 Finding and destroying them remained his first goal.

211

00:12:03,633 --> 00:12:05,300 (helicopter blades beating)

212

00:12:05,300 --> 00:12:08,200 He insisted the Third Marine Division

213

00:12:08,200 --> 00:12:10,533 move north to meet that challenge,

214

00:12:10,533 --> 00:12:16,033 establish a base at Dong Ha and man strongpoints at Gio Linh,

215

00:12:16,033 --> 00:12:23,600 Con Thien, Cam Lo, Camp Carroll, the Rockpile and Khe Sanh.[1]

216

00:12:23,600 --> 00:12:27,300 Khe Sanh overlooked Route 9, the east-west highway

217

00:12:27,300 --> 00:12:31,033 that Westmoreland hoped[2] would one day carry American troops

218

00:12:31,033 --> 00:12:35,166 across the border into Laos, where North Vietnamese men

219

00:12:35,166 --> 00:12:39,000 and supplies were streaming south on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

220

00:12:42,333 --> 00:12:45,433 But the thousands of Marines monitoring the border

221

00:12:45,433 --> 00:12:48,633 would find themselves within range of highly accurate

222

00:12:48,633 --> 00:12:52,366 North Vietnamese artillery and rocket launchers

223

00:12:52,366 --> 00:12:54,266 hidden within the DMZ.[3]

224

00:12:54,266 --> 00:12:56,133 ("I'm a Man" by The Spencer Davis Group playing"

225

00:12:56,133 --> 00:13:01,333 (explosions)

226

00:13:03,266 --> 00:13:04,266 JOHN LAURENCE: Tell me...

227

00:13:04,266 --> 00:13:05,400 You came here at full strength?

228

00:13:05,400 --> 00:13:07,200 MARINE: I had 13 men when I came.

229

00:13:07,200 --> 00:13:09,866 And it's four days later now and how many are still here?

230

00:13:09,866 --> 00:13:10,866 MARINE: Six.

231

00:13:10,866 --> 00:13:14,300 ("I'm a Man" continues)

232

00:13:16,166 --> 00:13:19,966 MARINE: The rifles have been jamming, the mud's been...

233

00:13:19,966 --> 00:13:21,566 it slowed everything down.

234

00:13:21,566 --> 00:13:23,266 And the artillery comes in everywhere.

235

00:13:23,266 --> 00:13:25,800 And, ah, it just gets pretty futile

236

00:13:25,800 --> 00:13:27,166 and frustrating sometimes.

237

00:13:27,166 --> 00:13:29,166 ("I'm a Man" continues)

238

00:13:31,166 --> 00:13:34,033 MARINE: I can't say that I'm scared stiff, but I'm scared.

239

00:13:34,033 --> 00:13:37,233 I mean, after a while, you know it's going to come.

240

00:13:37,233 --> 00:13:38,633 And you can't do nothing about it.

241

00:13:38,633 --> 00:13:40,066 And you just look to God.

242

00:13:40,066 --> 00:13:41,733 SPENCER DAVIS GROUP: ♪ Well, my pad is very messy

243

00:13:41,733 --> 00:13:43,433 ♪ And there's whiskers on my chin. ♪

244

00:13:43,433 --> 00:13:46,500 NARRATOR: Private First Class John Musgrave

245

00:13:46,500 --> 00:13:49,266 of Fairmount, Missouri, who had volunteered to join

246

00:13:49,266 --> 00:13:51,166 the 3rd Marine Division,

247

00:13:51,166 --> 00:13:55,100 was sent to the battle-scarred countryside around Con Thien,

248

00:13:55,100 --> 00:13:58,600 a few kilometers south of the DMZ.

249

00:13:58,600 --> 00:14:01,233 (explosion)

250

00:14:01,233 --> 00:14:05,066 JOHN MUSGRAVE: MARINES For the Marines in northern I Corps in the 3rd Marine Division

251

00:14:05,066 --> 00:14:08,800 in the spring and summer of 1967 we called the DMZ

252

00:14:08,800 --> 00:14:10,333 the "Dead Marine Zone."

253

00:14:10,333 --> 00:14:14,266 NARRATOR: Musgrave's 1st Battalion had already suffered

254

00:14:14,266 --> 00:14:17,900 so many casualties in a series of bloody sweeps

255

00:14:17,900 --> 00:14:21,633 that it was believed to be a hard-luck outfit.

256

00:14:21,633 --> 00:14:25,266 They were called the "Walking Dead."

257

00:14:25,266 --> 00:14:28,266 SPENCER DAVIS GROUP: ♪ I'm a man, yes I am, and I can't... ♪

258

00:14:28,266 --> 00:14:32,066 MUSGRAVE: I joined the Marine Corps to be in the varsity.

259

00:14:32,066 --> 00:14:35,633 And I felt like I wasn't varsity unless I was up north

260

00:14:35,633 --> 00:14:37,033 fighting the NVA.

261

00:14:37,033 --> 00:14:40,266 I have never regretted that decision.

262

00:14:40,266 --> 00:14:44,700 There were times when we were under artillery fire,

263

00:14:44,700 --> 00:14:48,400 where I thought, you know, "What-what were you thinking?"

264

00:14:48,400 --> 00:14:54,133 Here it is in a nutshell: if I lived to be 63 years old,

265

00:14:54,133 --> 00:14:56,333 I didn't want to look in the mirror some morning

266

00:14:56,333 --> 00:14:58,800 and have a guy looking back at me that hadn't done everything

267

00:14:58,800 --> 00:15:00,700 for what he believed,

268

00:15:00,700 --> 00:15:04,533 that let somebody else do the harder part.

269

00:15:09,233 --> 00:15:12,300 Every major contact I remember with the NVA was initiated

270

00:15:12,300 --> 00:15:13,933 by them ambushing us.

271

00:15:13,933 --> 00:15:17,366 They wouldn't hit us unless they outnumbered us.

272

00:15:17,366 --> 00:15:19,266 And we were fighting in their yard.

273

00:15:22,300 --> 00:15:23,700 They knew the ground; we didn't.

274

00:15:27,533 --> 00:15:29,466 They were just really good.

275

00:15:39,800 --> 00:15:41,700 LE VAN CHO: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY The Marines had a weakness. The smoked cigarettes and left a trail we could easily track.

276

00:15:48,100 --> 00:15:51,133 NARRATOR: The North Vietnamese carried Soviet-made,

277

00:15:51,133 --> 00:15:54,033 seemingly indestructible AK-47s.

278

00:15:55,466 --> 00:16:00,466 The Marines had to fight with newly issued M-16 rifles

279

00:16:00,466 --> 00:16:04,833 that had for a time a potentially fatal design flaw:

280

00:16:04,833 --> 00:16:07,666 they needed constant cleaning

281

00:16:07,666 --> 00:16:10,900 and often jammed in the middle of firefights.

282

00:16:10,900 --> 00:16:14,066 MUSGRAVE: Their rifles worked; ours didn't.

283

00:16:14,066 --> 00:16:17,566 The M-16 was a piece of ...

284

00:16:17,566 --> 00:16:19,266 You can't throw your bullets at the enemy

285

00:16:19,266 --> 00:16:20,666 and have them be effective.

286

00:16:20,666 --> 00:16:25,166 And that rifle malfunctioned on us repeatedly.

287

00:16:31,300 --> 00:16:34,200 (gunfire)

288

00:16:37,266 --> 00:16:39,666 HO HUU LAN: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY When one of their soldiers was wounded or killed and another ran up to retrieve the body, we were able to shoot them, too.

289

00:16:50,766 --> 00:16:53,900 MUSGRAVE: My hatred for them was pure.

290

00:16:53,900 --> 00:16:55,600 Pure.

291

00:16:55,600 --> 00:16:57,500 I hated them so much.

292

00:16:58,833 --> 00:17:00,266 And I was so scared of them.

293

00:17:01,433 --> 00:17:03,833 Boy, I was terrified of them.

294

00:17:03,833 --> 00:17:06,166 And the scareder I got, the more I hated them.

HO HUU LAN: Sympathy and hatred were interwoven. But on the battlefield, hatred was dominant. The Americans were determined to kill us. And we were determined to kill them, too.

295

00:17:33,166 --> 00:17:36,566 MUSGRAVE: I only killed one human being in Vietnam.

296

00:17:36,566 --> 00:17:39,933 And that was the first man that I ever killed.

297

00:17:39,933 --> 00:17:44,000 And I was sick with guilt about killing that guy

298

00:17:44,000 --> 00:17:46,133 and thinking I'm going to have to do this

299

00:17:46,133 --> 00:17:47,400 for the next 13 months.

300

00:17:47,400 --> 00:17:49,966 I'm-I'm going to go crazy.

301

00:17:49,966 --> 00:17:52,866 And I saw a Marine step on a bouncing Betty mine,

302

00:17:52,866 --> 00:17:56,100 and that's when I made my deal with the devil

303

00:17:56,100 --> 00:17:59,933 and that I said, "I will never kill another human being

304

00:17:59,933 --> 00:18:02,333 "as long as I'm in Vietnam.

305

00:18:02,333 --> 00:18:07,566 "However, I will waste as many gooks as I can find.

306

00:18:07,566 --> 00:18:11,033 "I'll wax as many dinks as I can find.

307

00:18:11,033 --> 00:18:14,166 "I'll smoke as many zips as I can find.

308

00:18:14,166 --> 00:18:17,333 But I ain't gonna kill anybody," you know?

309

00:18:17,333 --> 00:18:20,766 Turn the subject into an object.

310

00:18:20,766 --> 00:18:22,866 It's Racism 101.

311

00:18:22,866 --> 00:18:25,133 It turns out to be a very necessary tool

312

00:18:25,133 --> 00:18:27,800 when you have children fighting your wars,

313

00:18:27,800 --> 00:18:30,533 for them to stay sane doing their work.

314

00:18:36,933 --> 00:18:39,600 NARRATOR: On one early patrol, Musgrave watched

315

00:18:39,600 --> 00:18:44,333 an American fighter swoop down to drop napalm on enemy troops

316

00:18:44,333 --> 00:18:46,766 hidden behind a hedgerow.

317

00:18:46,766 --> 00:18:50,566 He could hear their AK-47s firing at the plane

318

00:18:50,566 --> 00:18:54,266 until the instant they were engulfed in flames.

319

00:18:54,266 --> 00:18:58,100 "If the enemy is willing to die like that," he thought,

320

00:18:58,100 --> 00:19:01,066 "this is going to be one very long war."

321

00:19:03,566 --> 00:19:05,900 MUSGRAVE: They knew if they would pop the ambush close

322

00:19:05,900 --> 00:19:07,600 and then get amongst you,

323

00:19:07,600 --> 00:19:11,133 we couldn't or would hesitate to call in air on ourselves.

324

00:19:14,266 --> 00:19:18,533 So that... firefights like that we called brawls.

325

00:19:18,533 --> 00:19:20,500 They were very intimate.

326

00:19:20,500 --> 00:19:22,100 And they were very deadly.

327

00:19:22,100 --> 00:19:25,000 And they were absolutely terrifying.

328

00:19:29,033 --> 00:19:33,333 NARRATOR: The Marines were spread too thin to hold any of the territory

329

00:19:33,333 --> 00:19:35,900 they fought so hard to take.

330

00:19:35,900 --> 00:19:40,500 Again and again, they were sent out from one stronghold

331

00:19:40,500 --> 00:19:44,633 or another along the DMZ, looking for enemy soldiers.

332

00:19:44,633 --> 00:19:48,400 MUSGRAVE: The disillusionment for me began when I was going back

333

00:19:48,400 --> 00:19:51,566 to fight at places we'd already fought before.

334

00:19:51,566 --> 00:19:55,200 We had fought, captured, and then left

335

00:19:55,200 --> 00:19:57,366 and the NVA came right back.

336

00:19:57,366 --> 00:19:59,633 You don't like getting wounded

337

00:19:59,633 --> 00:20:01,366 in places you've already been before.

338

00:20:03,633 --> 00:20:06,066 War is a real estate business.

339

00:20:06,066 --> 00:20:09,033 We're supposed to take real estate away from the enemy

340

00:20:09,033 --> 00:20:13,000 and then deny the enemy access to that real estate.

MINUTES 20-30

341

00:20:13,000 --> 00:20:19,300 NARRATOR: On the morning of July 2, 1967, the 1st Battalion launched

342

00:20:19,300 --> 00:20:23,800 yet another sweep of the area northeast of Con Thien.

343

00:20:23,800 --> 00:20:27,666 When they reached a crossroads called "The Marketplace,"

344

00:20:27,666 --> 00:20:32,133 barely a mile and quarter from their base, they were ambushed.

345

00:20:32,133 --> 00:20:35,533 One company was virtually annihilated.

346

00:20:39,200 --> 00:20:44,100 John Musgrave's company rushed to rescue the survivors,

347

00:20:44,100 --> 00:20:47,000 only to be pinned down there as well.

348

00:20:49,766 --> 00:20:54,666 It was one of the worst days the Marine Corps endured in Vietnam:

349

00:20:54,666 --> 00:21:01,033 53 dead and 190 wounded were carried off the battlefield.

350

00:21:01,033 --> 00:21:05,200 Thirty-four more dead had to be left behind,

351

00:21:05,200 --> 00:21:09,033 and when Marines fought their way back two days later

352

00:21:09,033 --> 00:21:11,966 to retrieve their bodies, they found that a number

353

00:21:11,966 --> 00:21:18,133 had died because their M-16s had jammed as the enemy closed in.

354

00:21:18,133 --> 00:21:21,433 Many had been executed, shot in the face

355

00:21:21,433 --> 00:21:24,333 or back of the head at close range.

356

00:21:24,333 --> 00:21:27,400 Some bodies had been booby-trapped,

357

00:21:27,400 --> 00:21:30,366 others mutilated.[4]

358

00:21:30,366 --> 00:21:33,700 MUSGRAVE: Marine amphibious force headquarters

359

00:21:33,700 --> 00:21:37,566 was so desperate to get North Vietnamese prisoners,

360

00:21:37,566 --> 00:21:40,866 that they offered us three day in-country R&R

361

00:21:40,866 --> 00:21:43,066 if we'd bring a prisoner in.

362

00:21:43,066 --> 00:21:44,533 Yeah, good luck.

363

00:21:44,533 --> 00:21:46,033 You know?

364

00:21:46,033 --> 00:21:48,433 Don't you know who... what we're doing up here?

365

00:21:48,433 --> 00:21:50,133 Do you know who we're fighting?

366

00:21:51,900 --> 00:21:54,533 I want to make this clear, we did not torture prisoners

367

00:21:54,533 --> 00:21:57,433 and we did not mutilate them.

368

00:22:03,000 --> 00:22:06,666 But to be a prisoner you had to make it to the rear, you know.

369

00:22:06,666 --> 00:22:10,100 If he was with... fell into our hands

370

00:22:10,100 --> 00:22:12,000 he was just one sorry ...

371

00:22:22,800 --> 00:22:25,200 I don't know how to explain it that it would make sense.

372

00:22:26,800 --> 00:22:30,100 ("Green Onions" by Booker T. & the M.G.s playing)

373

00:22:33,333 --> 00:22:34,566 HARRIS: MARINES Roxbury, where I grew up,

374

00:22:34,566 --> 00:22:36,400 was the African-American neighborhood,

375

00:22:36,400 --> 00:22:40,333 and South Boston was the Irish-Catholic bastion.

376

00:22:40,333 --> 00:22:42,166 You know, there was a lot of hate.

377

00:22:42,166 --> 00:22:45,900 South Boston folks hated us, we hated them.

378

00:22:45,900 --> 00:22:47,266 And ironically, um...

379

00:22:47,266 --> 00:22:49,833 (sighs)

380

00:22:49,833 --> 00:22:51,566 You know, you end up in a war.

381

00:22:53,333 --> 00:22:55,666 And the Vietnamese didn't care

382

00:22:55,666 --> 00:22:57,500 whether you were from Roxbury or South Boston.

383

00:22:57,500 --> 00:22:59,600 They saw you as American.

384

00:22:59,600 --> 00:23:03,000 And they wanted to kill you because you're American.

385

00:23:03,000 --> 00:23:07,433 NARRATOR: Private Roger Harris had joined the Marines in part, he said,

386

00:23:07,433 --> 00:23:09,900 because he wanted to be "a gladiator,"

387

00:23:09,900 --> 00:23:13,133 a killer of his country's enemies.

388

00:23:13,133 --> 00:23:16,466 On July 28, two weeks after

389

00:23:16,466 --> 00:23:20,633 John Musgrave's badly mangled 1st Battalion was pulled back

390

00:23:20,633 --> 00:23:22,466 to rest and recover,

391

00:23:22,466 --> 00:23:26,666 Roger Harris and the 2nd Battalion moved out of Con Thien

392

00:23:26,666 --> 00:23:30,433 and into the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone itself.

393

00:23:32,600 --> 00:23:34,233 HARRIS: We wanted the North Vietnamese Army

394

00:23:34,233 --> 00:23:36,666 to expose themselves.

395

00:23:36,666 --> 00:23:39,700 So, basically, you put the bait out there,

396

00:23:39,700 --> 00:23:44,100 and then we could call in and rain hell on them.

397

00:23:44,100 --> 00:23:48,533 NARRATOR: Roger Harris's battalion advanced into the DMZ

398

00:23:48,533 --> 00:23:53,133 along a rough cart track that led to the Ben Hai River.

399

00:23:53,133 --> 00:23:57,400 But planners had failed to see that a concrete bridge

400

00:23:57,400 --> 00:23:59,400 over an impassable stream

401

00:23:59,400 --> 00:24:03,966 was too narrow and too weak to carry armored vehicles.

402

00:24:03,966 --> 00:24:08,833 Now the Marines had no choice but to violate a cardinal rule

403

00:24:08,833 --> 00:24:10,466 of infantry tactics--

404

00:24:10,466 --> 00:24:15,633 turn around and try to go back the way they had come.

405

00:24:15,633 --> 00:24:18,866 The enemy was waiting.

406

00:24:18,866 --> 00:24:21,566 (explosion, rapid gunfire)

407

00:24:24,900 --> 00:24:27,833 HARRIS: Massive ambushes and...

408

00:24:27,833 --> 00:24:29,400 (gunfire, shouting)

409

00:24:29,400 --> 00:24:33,466 ...and, um, a lot of death.

410

00:24:33,466 --> 00:24:35,366 And...

411

00:24:36,866 --> 00:24:38,633 ...craziness.

412

00:24:38,633 --> 00:24:43,566 NARRATOR: The Marines were forced to run a bloody gauntlet of mortars,

413

00:24:43,566 --> 00:24:47,533 machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

414

00:24:47,533 --> 00:24:52,333 HARRIS: I had the utmost respect for the North Vietnamese Army soldiers.

415

00:24:52,333 --> 00:24:58,633 When you see someone jump out and confront a tank, you know,

416

00:24:58,633 --> 00:25:00,933 with a big 50-caliber machine gun on it

417

00:25:00,933 --> 00:25:03,966 and a 90-millimeter cannon on it,

418

00:25:03,966 --> 00:25:08,266 and an individual takes on the tank,

419

00:25:08,266 --> 00:25:09,900 I think that says something.

420

00:25:11,533 --> 00:25:14,433 NARRATOR: Roger Harris's company held up the rear,

421

00:25:14,433 --> 00:25:18,300 hounded by enemy soldiers on all sides.

422

00:25:20,633 --> 00:25:24,100 The Marines staggered back out of the DMZ

423

00:25:24,100 --> 00:25:27,300 alongside the battered armored vehicles

424

00:25:27,300 --> 00:25:31,200 heaped with dead and wounded Americans.

425

00:25:31,200 --> 00:25:34,100 The battalion suffered 214 casualties.

426

00:25:37,233 --> 00:25:40,733 HARRIS: Wasn't a good day for Marines at all.

427

00:25:40,733 --> 00:25:42,100 A lot of people died.

428

00:25:42,100 --> 00:25:43,400 People got their legs shot off.

429

00:25:43,400 --> 00:25:45,300 People got run over by tanks.

430

00:25:47,933 --> 00:25:50,833 I don't want to talk about it because it's...

431

00:25:54,033 --> 00:25:56,533 it's not a good day, wasn't a good day.

432

00:26:04,200 --> 00:26:06,100 LO KHAC TAM: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY We chased two American companies for three days. They searched for us, but we outflanked them. My company pierced into the middle of the American positions, and we destroyed both companies. But the cost we paid was high. I had 90 men. 60 to 70 were killed or wounded. When we returned to our base, we were in mourning for several days. I couldn't eat or sleep out of grief over the loss of my men. I just cried. I received the medal. Heroic American Killer. But we paid a price in the blood of our comrades.

433

00:27:05,466 --> 00:27:08,933 This is "bau cu", the day of voting in Vietnam,

434

00:27:08,933 --> 00:27:11,933 and it's a solemn day in the village of Hung Thao Phu

435

00:27:11,933 --> 00:27:14,666 and in other villages throughout the country.

436

00:27:14,666 --> 00:27:17,133 And these people have dressed up in their Sunday best for it.

437

00:27:20,000 --> 00:27:23,100 NARRATOR: South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky

438

00:27:23,100 --> 00:27:27,166 had crushed his Buddhist opponents in 1966,

439

00:27:27,166 --> 00:27:29,666 but he had been forced by the Americans

440

00:27:29,666 --> 00:27:33,100 and his political rivals to make at least tentative moves

441

00:27:33,100 --> 00:27:36,900 toward democracy -- election of a national assembly,

442

00:27:36,900 --> 00:27:40,166 a new constitution, and a promise of elections

443

00:27:40,166 --> 00:27:43,400 for President and Vice President.

444

00:27:43,400 --> 00:27:48,300 But when Ky's old adversary Nguyen Van Thieu declared

445

00:27:48,300 --> 00:27:51,200 he wanted to challenge Ky for the top spot,

446

00:27:51,200 --> 00:27:54,300 things in Saigon had threatened to come apart again.[5]

447

00:27:56,733 --> 00:27:59,400 PHAN QUANG TUE: We were watching the rivalry between Thieu and Ky.

448

00:27:59,400 --> 00:28:01,633 And that was a game.

449

00:28:01,633 --> 00:28:04,633 In Vietnam, the country was watching like a...

450

00:28:04,633 --> 00:28:07,533 we were watch... watching a movie.

451

00:28:07,533 --> 00:28:09,833 And Thieu and Ky was watching as to,

452

00:28:09,833 --> 00:28:12,733 not whoever had the support of the people,

453

00:28:12,733 --> 00:28:17,166 but who had the support of the Americans and the White House.

454

00:28:17,166 --> 00:28:20,600 NARRATOR: Ellsworth Bunker, the American ambassador,

455

00:28:20,600 --> 00:28:24,233 called both men to his residence and warned that

456

00:28:24,233 --> 00:28:28,100 the United States would not tolerate another power struggle:

457

00:28:28,100 --> 00:28:31,766 Thieu and Ky needed to meet with their fellow generals

458

00:28:31,766 --> 00:28:34,366 and decide who would run for President

459

00:28:34,366 --> 00:28:37,000 and who would be his running mate.

460

00:28:37,000 --> 00:28:39,533 Thieu emerged on top.

461

00:28:39,533 --> 00:28:42,566 He was unassuming and unflappable,

462

00:28:42,566 --> 00:28:45,233 interested largely in accumulating power

463

00:28:45,233 --> 00:28:48,466 and personal wealth and was thought unlikely

464

00:28:48,466 --> 00:28:51,300 ever to embarrass Washington.

465

00:28:51,300 --> 00:28:54,800 Ky would be his Vice President.

466

00:28:54,800 --> 00:28:59,866 Together, they won with only 35% of the vote.

467

00:28:59,866 --> 00:29:03,133 No one who had called for an end to the war

468

00:29:03,133 --> 00:29:05,466 had been allowed to run.

469

00:29:05,466 --> 00:29:08,100 Many Buddhists had boycotted the election,

470

00:29:08,100 --> 00:29:13,333 and Viet Cong intimidation had kept many more from the polls.

471

00:29:13,333 --> 00:29:16,400 But the State Department immediately declared

472

00:29:16,400 --> 00:29:19,300 the election an important "step forward."

473

00:29:21,200 --> 00:29:24,800 Some South Vietnamese did believe that a measure

474

00:29:24,800 --> 00:29:28,033 of stability had finally been achieved.

475

00:29:28,033 --> 00:29:31,066 Others were not so sure.

476

00:29:32,633 --> 00:29:36,966 TUE: In terms of corruption, yes, they were corrupt.

477

00:29:36,966 --> 00:29:41,666 Both Thieu and Ky, they abused their position.

478

00:29:41,666 --> 00:29:45,633 We pay a very high price for having leaders

479

00:29:45,633 --> 00:29:48,433 like a Ky and Thieu.

480

00:29:48,433 --> 00:29:50,833 And we continue to pay the price.

481

00:29:52,600 --> 00:29:56,166 ("Soul Dressing" by Booker T. & The M.G.s playing)

482

00:29:56,166 --> 00:29:59,100 EVA JEFFERSON PATERSON: ILLINOIS My father was in the United States Army.

483

00:29:59,100 --> 00:30:01,833 And then when the Air Force came about he switched over

484

00:30:01,833 --> 00:30:04,266 to the Air Force.

485

00:30:04,266 --> 00:30:09,166 I grew up out of the country in desegregated settings.

486

00:30:09,166 --> 00:30:12,133 I was usually the only little black girl in the class.

487

00:30:12,133 --> 00:30:14,233 If you look at my class pictures I look

488

00:30:14,233 --> 00:30:17,933 like the little chocolate chip in the vanilla ice cream.

489

00:30:17,933 --> 00:30:20,966 I was always a good student.

490

00:30:20,966 --> 00:30:23,800 I remember people saying, "Oh, you speak so well."

491

00:30:23,800 --> 00:30:25,833 And the unstated part is "for a black girl,"

492

00:30:25,833 --> 00:30:28,633 probably a Negro girl or colored girl, at that point.

MINUTES 30-40

493

00:30:28,633 --> 00:30:33,366 NARRATOR: Eva Jefferson's father had served a year on airbases

494

00:30:33,366 --> 00:30:37,066 in Vietnam and returned home convinced the United States

495

00:30:37,066 --> 00:30:39,700 had no business being there.

496

00:30:39,700 --> 00:30:43,333 But when his daughter entered Northwestern University

497

00:30:43,333 --> 00:30:48,500 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston in September 1967,

498

00:30:48,500 --> 00:30:52,900 the war was not uppermost in students' minds.

499

00:30:52,900 --> 00:30:56,266 PATERSON: The war was not really an issue.

500

00:30:56,266 --> 00:30:58,200 It's like, "Well, no, the President has

501

00:30:58,200 --> 00:31:00,266 "our best interests at heart.

502

00:31:00,266 --> 00:31:02,233 "He, of course, would only prosecute a war

503

00:31:02,233 --> 00:31:03,700 that made sense."

504

00:31:03,700 --> 00:31:06,566 And I think most of America felt that way.

505

00:31:06,566 --> 00:31:08,633 ("Strange Brew" by Cream playing)

506

00:31:08,633 --> 00:31:10,766 NARRATOR: At the University of Nebraska,

507

00:31:10,766 --> 00:31:13,800 Jack Todd also supported the war.

508

00:31:13,800 --> 00:31:18,266 He had felt so strongly about it in 1966 that he had signed up

509

00:31:18,266 --> 00:31:21,333 for Marine officer training.

510

00:31:21,333 --> 00:31:24,033 JACK TODD: UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA I went into the Marine Corps

511

00:31:24,033 --> 00:31:26,433 thinking this was all I wanted to do.

512

00:31:26,433 --> 00:31:28,500 I mean my... my goal was to be commander,

513

00:31:28,500 --> 00:31:29,800 a platoon commander in Vietnam.

514

00:31:31,333 --> 00:31:34,766 NARRATOR: But as time went by and the war went on,

515

00:31:34,766 --> 00:31:37,233 Todd and many of his fellow students

516

00:31:37,233 --> 00:31:38,900 began to change their minds.

517

00:31:40,233 --> 00:31:42,766 TODD: All young people go through changes.

518

00:31:42,766 --> 00:31:45,700 But we were going through astronomical changes

519

00:31:45,700 --> 00:31:47,933 at such a rapid rate.

520

00:31:49,833 --> 00:31:53,533 All the music, the culture, everything that we listened to,

521

00:31:53,533 --> 00:31:55,733 everything that we thought was transforming

522

00:31:55,733 --> 00:31:59,633 and the core of it all was Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam.

523

00:31:59,633 --> 00:32:01,666 It just kept going in the background.

524

00:32:01,666 --> 00:32:03,466 First, it was kind of like a background noise

525

00:32:03,466 --> 00:32:05,433 and then it got to be the elephant in the room.

526

00:32:05,433 --> 00:32:07,500 And then it was the elephant sitting on your head

527

00:32:07,500 --> 00:32:09,233 and we... we couldn't escape this.

528

00:32:09,233 --> 00:32:12,666 NARRATOR: Todd attended officer training school

529

00:32:12,666 --> 00:32:15,466 at Camp Upshur in Quantico, Virginia.

530

00:32:15,466 --> 00:32:18,366 But doubts about the war followed him there, too.

531

00:32:21,433 --> 00:32:23,300 TODD: I guess the emotional things that were happening

532

00:32:23,300 --> 00:32:25,966 on the ground, the photographs that we saw, the news images,

533

00:32:25,966 --> 00:32:29,033 and the fact that there was no discernible progress,

534

00:32:29,033 --> 00:32:32,466 that really started to eat away at what we thought.

535

00:32:32,466 --> 00:32:35,700 In the summer of '67, I was at Camp Upshur, you know,

536

00:32:35,700 --> 00:32:38,200 wanting to go kill Vietnamese people.

537

00:32:38,200 --> 00:32:42,500 And in October, I was completely against the war.

538

00:32:45,800 --> 00:32:48,466 JOHNSON: Westmoreland came in last night to me...

539

00:32:48,466 --> 00:32:52,600 And he says that he has concentrated more firepower

540

00:32:52,600 --> 00:32:56,200 and bombing in the last week on the DMZ

541

00:32:56,200 --> 00:33:00,133 and they've concentrated more on us than has ever been

542

00:33:00,133 --> 00:33:02,400 concentrated in any equivalent period

543

00:33:02,400 --> 00:33:04,033 in the history of warfare...

544

00:33:04,033 --> 00:33:05,300 EVERETT DIRKSEN: Yeah.

545

00:33:05,300 --> 00:33:06,566 JOHNSON: ...much more than was ever poured on

546

00:33:06,566 --> 00:33:08,033 Berlin or Tokyo,

547

00:33:08,033 --> 00:33:12,533 and that his only defense of the DMZ to stop

548

00:33:12,533 --> 00:33:15,533 this aggression up there with the North Vietnamese

549

00:33:15,533 --> 00:33:19,300 trying to come in is bombing their gun positions.

550

00:33:19,300 --> 00:33:20,866 DIRKSEN: Yeah.

551

00:33:20,866 --> 00:33:22,766 JOHNSON: And it would just be suicide if we stopped the bombing

552

00:33:22,766 --> 00:33:25,166 as these idiots talking about.

553

00:33:25,166 --> 00:33:26,933 When you say stop the bombing

554

00:33:26,933 --> 00:33:29,800 you say, "Kill more American Marines."

555

00:33:29,800 --> 00:33:30,800 That's all it means.

556

00:33:30,800 --> 00:33:32,166 DIRKSEN: Yeah.

557

00:33:32,166 --> 00:33:35,500 JOHNSON: Now if we stop bombing, without their talking

558

00:33:35,500 --> 00:33:38,366 and without any reciprocity on their part,

559

00:33:38,366 --> 00:33:40,500 it just means we kill more Americans, that's all.

560

00:33:40,500 --> 00:33:41,500 DIRKSEN: Yeah.

561

00:33:48,533 --> 00:33:52,200 NARRATOR: Neither the ongoing bombing of the North,

562

00:33:52,200 --> 00:33:55,666 nor the concentrated bombing around the DMZ,

563

00:33:55,666 --> 00:33:57,700 nor the behind-the-scenes offers

564

00:33:57,700 --> 00:34:00,400 made by President Johnson to stop it

565

00:34:00,400 --> 00:34:03,500 had any discernible effect on Le Duan

566

00:34:03,500 --> 00:34:06,966 and the other men who ran North Vietnam.

567

00:34:06,966 --> 00:34:10,033 But Le Duan, like Lyndon Johnson,

568

00:34:10,033 --> 00:34:12,100 was in trouble that summer.

569

00:34:12,100 --> 00:34:15,100 The war with the Americans had produced little more

570

00:34:15,100 --> 00:34:17,133 than a bloody stalemate.

571

00:34:17,133 --> 00:34:20,199 Some Viet Cong commanders in the South

572

00:34:20,199 --> 00:34:24,633 resented Hanoi's insistence on directing their tactics.

573

00:34:24,633 --> 00:34:28,933 Many North Vietnamese civilians were weary of the war

574

00:34:28,933 --> 00:34:31,933 and of the bombing that had disrupted their lives

575

00:34:31,933 --> 00:34:35,566 and destroyed so much of their infrastructure.

576

00:34:35,566 --> 00:34:38,233 The country's most revered figures,

577

00:34:38,233 --> 00:34:42,766 Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, were urging patience,

578

00:34:42,766 --> 00:34:46,966 continuing to wage a war of attrition, they still believed,

579

00:34:46,966 --> 00:34:50,166 would pay off in the end.

580

00:34:50,166 --> 00:34:53,733 Hanoi's Soviet and Chinese patrons offered

581

00:34:53,733 --> 00:34:56,733 conflicting advice, as well.

582

00:34:56,733 --> 00:35:01,133 To silence his critics and break the stalemate,

583

00:35:01,133 --> 00:35:03,700 Le Duan began to devise and promote

584

00:35:03,700 --> 00:35:07,166 a new and riskier version of the plan for victory

585

00:35:07,166 --> 00:35:10,733 he had tried in 1964.

586

00:35:10,733 --> 00:35:16,300 He called it the "General Offensive, General Uprising."

587

00:35:16,300 --> 00:35:20,166 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units would launch

588

00:35:20,166 --> 00:35:24,566 scores of coordinated attacks on South Vietnamese cities

589

00:35:24,566 --> 00:35:27,800 and towns and military bases.

590

00:35:27,800 --> 00:35:30,133 That offensive, Le Duan believed,

591

00:35:30,133 --> 00:35:33,766 would ignite a mass civilian uprising.

592

00:35:33,766 --> 00:35:38,333 These simultaneous blows would destroy the Saigon regime

593

00:35:38,333 --> 00:35:42,200 and leave Washington with no choice but to withdraw.

HUY DUC: NORTH VIETNAM I think Le Duan was completely confident in victory. Hanoi prepared to take over the government in the South. They printed money and made new uniforms for the police to wear for when they took control of the southern cities.

NGUYEN NGOC: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY We believed that the cities were oppressed by the American and South Vietnamese, that the people were ready to rise up. A leader told us the cities were like pregnant fish, filled with eggs. We just needed to tickle the fish a little, and all the eggs would pour out.

594

00:36:33,433 --> 00:36:35,066 WILLBANKS: We talk about our own hubris.

595

00:36:35,066 --> 00:36:37,300 There's some hubris on their side as well.

596

00:36:37,300 --> 00:36:39,266 And once they had convinced themselves

597

00:36:39,266 --> 00:36:42,033 that this was going to be a great success,

598

00:36:42,033 --> 00:36:45,033 it is what some wags have called drinking your own bathwater.

599

00:36:46,466 --> 00:36:47,866 They decided it's going to be a victory,

600

00:36:47,866 --> 00:36:49,966 even though there are people in the South saying,

601

00:36:49,966 --> 00:36:51,500 "Hey, this is not a great idea."

602

00:36:51,500 --> 00:36:55,300 But these people are charged with subjectivism

603

00:36:55,300 --> 00:36:58,033 and basically are told to shut up and keep rolling.

604

00:36:58,033 --> 00:37:02,533 NARRATOR: Le Duan neutralized those who opposed his plan.

605

00:37:02,533 --> 00:37:05,766 Members of General Giap's staff were arrested.

606

00:37:05,766 --> 00:37:08,333 So was Ho Chi Minh's secretary.

607

00:37:10,100 --> 00:37:12,100 HUY DUC: General Giap was in poor health. In July, he was sent to Hungary, for medical treatment. Ho Chi Minh was sent to China for medical treatment in September.

608

00:37:25,066 --> 00:37:29,866 NARRATOR: Hundreds of less prominent figures-- journalists, students,

609

00:37:29,866 --> 00:37:33,200 even highly decorated heroes of the French War--

610

00:37:33,200 --> 00:37:35,466 were also rounded up.

611

00:37:35,466 --> 00:37:38,400 Many were locked up in the old French prison

612

00:37:38,400 --> 00:37:42,133 that the American POWs also confined there called

613

00:37:42,133 --> 00:37:44,700 the "Hanoi Hilton."

614

00:37:44,700 --> 00:37:48,533 The date eventually chosen for the attack would be

615

00:37:48,533 --> 00:37:52,200 January 31, 1968,

616

00:37:52,200 --> 00:37:56,266 the first day of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration,

617

00:37:56,266 --> 00:37:59,233 known as Tet.

618

00:37:59,233 --> 00:38:03,366 Hundreds, then thousands, of North Vietnamese regulars

619

00:38:03,366 --> 00:38:06,566 in civilian clothes began slipping southward

620

00:38:06,566 --> 00:38:11,200 to join tens of thousands of Viet Cong already in place.

621

00:38:12,933 --> 00:38:14,366 HO HUU LAN: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY Suddenly we were ordered to recall our soldiers from the battlefield. We were issued more weapons and ammunition, rice, salt, dried fish. Even sugar and condensed milk. We were going to the Southern Front for a long period of time.[6]

622

00:38:36,100 --> 00:38:39,700 HUY DUC: The farewell ceremonies I saw in my village were really enthusiastic affairs, organized by the Communists. The soldiers were so excited to go to the South to fight. My eldest brother shouted with happiness when he passed his physical and was accepted into the army. Some men in my village who didn't weigh enough put rocks in their pockets to pass. No one was sad. No one imagined they might not return or saw the tragedy ahead.

623

00:39:22,266 --> 00:39:24,700 NARRATOR: In preparation for the coming offensive,

624

00:39:24,700 --> 00:39:27,500 the North Vietnamese hoped to lure American

625

00:39:27,500 --> 00:39:30,766 and South Vietnamese forces away from cities

626

00:39:30,766 --> 00:39:33,133 and big military bases.

627

00:39:33,133 --> 00:39:36,666 To do that, they would mount a series of assaults

628

00:39:36,666 --> 00:39:42,233 on remote outposts near Cambodia, Laos, and the DMZ.

629

00:39:42,233 --> 00:39:47,333 These preliminary attacks became known as the "Border Battles."

630

00:39:47,333 --> 00:39:50,666 Con Thien would be the first. The footage here and elsewhere is probably propaganda footage. This is as if Burns was to use footage from Oliver Stone's movie, Platoon, to illustrate the American actions.

631

00:39:53,933 --> 00:39:56,233 In September and October,

632

00:39:56,233 --> 00:39:59,333 John Musgrave's and Roger Harris's outfits

633

00:39:59,333 --> 00:40:01,900 took turns defending Con Thien

634

00:40:01,900 --> 00:40:05,900 as the North Vietnamese tightened the noose around them.

635

00:40:05,900 --> 00:40:09,533 The only way in or out was by helicopter.

636

00:40:11,833 --> 00:40:16,266 Con Thien in Vietnamese means "Hill of Angels."

637

00:40:16,266 --> 00:40:18,333 (explosion)

MINUTES 40-50

638

00:40:18,333 --> 00:40:21,933 MUSGRAVE: Time at Con Thien was time in the barrel.

639

00:40:21,933 --> 00:40:26,233 (multiple explosions)

640

00:40:26,233 --> 00:40:29,366 We were the fish, they had the shotguns,

641

00:40:29,366 --> 00:40:31,533 they stuck in the barrel and blasted away.

642

00:40:31,533 --> 00:40:34,333 And they were gonna hit something every shot.

643

00:40:34,333 --> 00:40:37,433 Because Con Thien was such a small area,

644

00:40:37,433 --> 00:40:39,466 and they pounded it with that artillery

645

00:40:39,466 --> 00:40:41,400 from North Vietnam, they couldn't miss.

646

00:40:42,533 --> 00:40:44,366 HO HUU LAN: Their situation was horrible. They couldn't resupply or remove their dead.

647

00:40:48,366 --> 00:40:52,666 HARRIS: I've never been, uh, as afraid.

648

00:40:52,666 --> 00:40:55,000 In fact that's why I'm not afraid of anything now.

649

00:40:55,000 --> 00:40:57,466 I mean...

650

00:40:57,466 --> 00:40:58,900 there's nothing you can do.

651

00:40:58,900 --> 00:41:02,733 You just listen to the sounds of the rockets coming over.

652

00:41:02,733 --> 00:41:06,366 And you just pray that they don't land on you.

653

00:41:06,366 --> 00:41:09,100 JOHN LAURENCE: The big question really seems to be whether or not

654

00:41:09,100 --> 00:41:12,466 the North Vietnamese intend to overrun Con Thien.

655

00:41:12,466 --> 00:41:15,400 The Marines have tripled the number of troops

656

00:41:15,400 --> 00:41:16,833 guarding the outpost,

657

00:41:16,833 --> 00:41:18,433 and they've moved up more battalions to be ready

658

00:41:18,433 --> 00:41:20,100 to reinforce.

659

00:41:20,100 --> 00:41:22,133 MUSGRAVE: I sat in water.

660

00:41:22,133 --> 00:41:24,033 I slept in water.

661

00:41:24,033 --> 00:41:27,833 I ate in water, because our holes were full.

662

00:41:27,833 --> 00:41:30,100 I mean a flooded foxhole could drown a wounded man.

663

00:41:30,100 --> 00:41:32,800 HARRIS: Spend your day filling up sand bags,

664

00:41:32,800 --> 00:41:36,566 trying to create barriers that you just put another layer on,

665

00:41:36,566 --> 00:41:38,333 put another layer on.

666

00:41:38,333 --> 00:41:42,900 A lot of mud, blood, uh...

667

00:41:42,900 --> 00:41:44,100 and artillery.

668

00:41:45,266 --> 00:41:46,666 MUSGRAVE: It's red clay up there.

669

00:41:46,666 --> 00:41:49,400 And it's real sticky and it could just grab onto you

670

00:41:49,400 --> 00:41:51,300 and pull your boots off.

671

00:41:51,300 --> 00:41:52,766 It's hard to run in that stuff.

672

00:41:52,766 --> 00:41:54,500 And running, when you're at a place

673

00:41:54,500 --> 00:41:56,133 where they're firing heavy artillery at you,

674

00:41:56,133 --> 00:41:57,333 running's pretty important.

675

00:41:59,100 --> 00:42:01,366 During the siege in the fall of 1967,

676

00:42:01,366 --> 00:42:03,600 we were getting newspaper articles in the mail

677

00:42:03,600 --> 00:42:07,033 from our families and we were being called the Alamo.

678

00:42:07,033 --> 00:42:10,000 You know, hey, we knew what the Alamo was.

679

00:42:10,000 --> 00:42:12,166 We knew what happened there.

680

00:42:12,166 --> 00:42:15,866 (explosions)

681

00:42:15,866 --> 00:42:17,866 (men shouting)

682

00:42:17,866 --> 00:42:20,066 (explosions continue)

683

00:42:20,066 --> 00:42:22,966 HARRIS: Like almost like every hour there'd be a barrage.

684

00:42:25,100 --> 00:42:28,866 People get blown to bits, literally blown to bits.

685

00:42:28,866 --> 00:42:32,666 You find a... a boot with a leg in it, right.

686

00:42:32,666 --> 00:42:35,200 And so is the leg white or black?

687

00:42:35,200 --> 00:42:37,233 So who... who was the white Marine that was here?

688

00:42:37,233 --> 00:42:38,400 Who was the black?

689

00:42:38,400 --> 00:42:40,533 So then you try to remember and you tag it

690

00:42:40,533 --> 00:42:42,000 and put that in the green bag.

691

00:42:42,000 --> 00:42:44,766 And that's what goes back, you know,

692

00:42:44,766 --> 00:42:47,133 as Marine Lance Corporal so and so.

693

00:42:47,133 --> 00:42:50,266 And so, but sometimes you're not even sure because the body

694

00:42:50,266 --> 00:42:52,366 has literally been blown to bits, and the only thing

695

00:42:52,366 --> 00:42:54,966 that's left is a foot or a piece of an arm.

696

00:42:54,966 --> 00:42:59,633 MUSGRAVE: I carried a wallet calendar from Clifford Forlow Insurance.

697

00:42:59,633 --> 00:43:01,933 He was my dad's insurance agent.

698

00:43:01,933 --> 00:43:05,566 And I marked off each of the days religiously.

699

00:43:05,566 --> 00:43:10,266 And then in October, we went up to Con Thien again.

700

00:43:10,266 --> 00:43:15,233 I just stopped, because I thought, "This is pointless.

701

00:43:15,233 --> 00:43:17,466 "I'm not getting... I'm not gonna go home.

702

00:43:17,466 --> 00:43:18,966 "I'm not gonna make it home.

703

00:43:18,966 --> 00:43:21,000 What... you know, what's the point?"

704

00:43:21,000 --> 00:43:22,900 So I just quit marking them off.

705

00:43:24,500 --> 00:43:26,866 HARRIS: I had the opportunity to call my mother, you know.

706

00:43:26,866 --> 00:43:29,533 And I was telling my mother what was happening over there

707

00:43:29,533 --> 00:43:31,766 and I was telling her how she shouldn't believe

708

00:43:31,766 --> 00:43:35,666 what she sees in the newspaper and-and sees on television

709

00:43:35,666 --> 00:43:37,966 because we're losing the war.

710

00:43:37,966 --> 00:43:40,600 And I said, "You'll probably never see me again

711

00:43:40,600 --> 00:43:43,900 "because we're the most northern outpost that the Marines have,

712

00:43:43,900 --> 00:43:45,400 "you know.

713

00:43:45,400 --> 00:43:47,633 "We could literally could look right into North Vietnam.

714

00:43:47,633 --> 00:43:50,200 We could see the sparks when the guns fired on us."

715

00:43:50,200 --> 00:43:53,500 And I said, "And everybody in my unit is dying, you know.

716

00:43:53,500 --> 00:43:55,466 And I probably won't be coming back."

717

00:43:55,466 --> 00:43:57,666 And my mother said, "No, you're coming back."

718

00:43:57,666 --> 00:44:00,666 She said, "I talk to God every day and you're special.

719

00:44:00,666 --> 00:44:03,000 You're coming back."

720

00:44:03,000 --> 00:44:05,466 And I said, "Ma, everybody's mother thinks that

721

00:44:05,466 --> 00:44:07,166 "they're special, you know.

722

00:44:07,166 --> 00:44:09,133 I'm putting pieces of special people in bags."

723

00:44:11,233 --> 00:44:13,133 And I was feeling that my mother's in denial.

724

00:44:13,133 --> 00:44:15,533 She just doesn't want to face the fact that her only son

725

00:44:15,533 --> 00:44:17,566 is gonna die in Vietnam.

726

00:44:17,566 --> 00:44:19,166 And I said, "Ma, this isn't a joke."

727

00:44:19,166 --> 00:44:20,866 I said, "Everybody's dying over here, you know.

728

00:44:20,866 --> 00:44:22,033 Everybody's dying."

729

00:44:22,033 --> 00:44:23,666 And she said, "You're not gonna die.

730

00:44:23,666 --> 00:44:25,233 You're not gonna die."

731

00:44:25,233 --> 00:44:27,566 And, uh, the last thing she said to me was,

732

00:44:27,566 --> 00:44:29,733 "God has a plan for you."

733

00:44:29,733 --> 00:44:30,966 And I said, "Yeah, right."

734

00:44:30,966 --> 00:44:31,966 And I hung up.

735

00:44:32,966 --> 00:44:34,566 (explosion)

736

00:44:36,833 --> 00:44:39,666 REPORTER: Mr. Stout, during what period of time were you in Vietnam?

737

00:44:39,666 --> 00:44:42,866 DENNIS STOUT: ARMY REPORTER I was in Vietnam from September of 1966

738

00:44:42,866 --> 00:44:45,166 to September of 1967, one year.

739

00:44:45,166 --> 00:44:46,633 REPORTER: And with what unit?

740

00:44:46,633 --> 00:44:48,533 STOUT: With the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne.

741

00:44:48,533 --> 00:44:51,000 REPORTER: During the time that you were in Vietnam,

742

00:44:51,000 --> 00:44:53,066 did you personally witness any atrocities

743

00:44:53,066 --> 00:44:55,100 on the part of American troops?

744

00:44:55,100 --> 00:44:56,100 STOUT: Yes, I did.

745

00:44:57,666 --> 00:45:01,233 NARRATOR: Dennis Stout from Phoenix, Arizona, had enlisted

746

00:45:01,233 --> 00:45:06,133 in the Army at 20, and served nine months in combat.

747

00:45:06,133 --> 00:45:09,733 Wounded three times, he became an Army reporter

748

00:45:09,733 --> 00:45:15,600 covering the 327th Regiment of the 101st Airborne.

749

00:45:15,600 --> 00:45:20,033 He would spend most of his time with a unique commando platoon

750

00:45:20,033 --> 00:45:21,566 called "Tiger Force"-- [7]

751

00:45:21,566 --> 00:45:24,966 small, handpicked teams, capable of remaining

752

00:45:24,966 --> 00:45:27,800 in the jungle for weeks at a time,

753

00:45:27,800 --> 00:45:30,533 fast-moving and deadly,

754

00:45:30,533 --> 00:45:34,300 intended to "out-guerrilla the guerrillas."

755

00:45:35,633 --> 00:45:38,433 Tiger Force fought in six different provinces,


756

00:45:38,433 --> 00:45:41,566 repeatedly suffering heavy losses.

757

00:45:41,566 --> 00:45:42,900 (rapid gunfire)

758

00:45:44,700 --> 00:45:48,066 RION CAUSEY: TIGER FORCE MEDIC If you've lost your best friend and you want revenge,

759

00:45:48,066 --> 00:45:51,400 it's the officers who say, "No, you can't do that."

760

00:45:51,400 --> 00:45:54,566 And if you do it, then there's consequences.

761

00:45:54,566 --> 00:45:57,400 But when the officers, and it includes the platoon leader

762

00:45:57,400 --> 00:46:00,433 and the battalion commander, are telling you that this is

763

00:46:00,433 --> 00:46:05,233 what you're supposed to do, then it gets completely out of hand.

764

00:46:05,233 --> 00:46:09,333 NARRATOR: Some at MACV worried that such a freewheeling outfit,

765

00:46:09,333 --> 00:46:13,200 operating on its own, would be difficult to control.

766

00:46:13,200 --> 00:46:14,900 (gunfire)

767

00:46:14,900 --> 00:46:18,533 But General Westmoreland and commanders in the field

768

00:46:18,533 --> 00:46:23,166 admired Tiger Force for its reliable ferocity.

769

00:46:23,166 --> 00:46:27,400 In the summer of 1967, Tiger Force was sent

770

00:46:27,400 --> 00:46:30,000 to the fertile Song Ve Valley.

771

00:46:30,000 --> 00:46:33,033 The entire population had already been herded

772

00:46:33,033 --> 00:46:37,700 from their homes and crowded into a refugee camp.

773

00:46:37,700 --> 00:46:40,966 But some had come back to resume the farming

774

00:46:40,966 --> 00:46:43,233 they had always done.

775

00:46:44,733 --> 00:46:48,000 The valley had officially been declared a free-fire zone,

776

00:46:48,000 --> 00:46:52,200 and Tiger Force's officers took that literally.

777

00:46:52,200 --> 00:46:56,100 "There are no friendlies," one lieutenant told his men.

778

00:46:56,100 --> 00:46:58,933 "Shoot anything that moves."

779

00:47:02,533 --> 00:47:05,600 Over a seven-month period, they killed scores

780

00:47:05,600 --> 00:47:08,200 of unarmed civilians.

781

00:47:08,200 --> 00:47:11,800 Among their victims were two blind brothers;

782

00:47:11,800 --> 00:47:16,400 an elderly Buddhist monk; women, children, and old people

783

00:47:16,400 --> 00:47:18,666 hiding in underground shelters;

784

00:47:18,666 --> 00:47:22,033 and three farmers trying to plant rice.

785

00:47:22,033 --> 00:47:26,500 All were reported as "enemy-- killed in action."

786

00:47:29,366 --> 00:47:33,400 STOUT: These atrocities were committed by soldiers

787

00:47:33,400 --> 00:47:35,766 of units I was assigned to as a reporter

788

00:47:35,766 --> 00:47:37,700 for the Army newspapers, such as...

789

00:47:37,700 --> 00:47:41,200 NARRATOR: Tiger Force was not the only platoon

790

00:47:41,200 --> 00:47:44,866 Dennis Stout covered that crossed the line.

791

00:47:44,866 --> 00:47:48,033 STOUT: One such incident was the rape and killing

792

00:47:48,033 --> 00:47:49,933 of a Vietnamese girl.

793

00:47:49,933 --> 00:47:54,766 She was captured, kept for interrogation.

794

00:47:54,766 --> 00:47:57,733 Over a two-day period, she was raped, then,

795

00:47:57,733 --> 00:47:59,566 on the morning of the third day, she was killed.

796

00:47:59,566 --> 00:48:03,133 REPORTER: Was she raped by more than one person?

797

00:48:03,133 --> 00:48:06,800 Yes, all but the medic and myself,

798

00:48:06,800 --> 00:48:08,666 and possibly one other man from the platoon.

799

00:48:08,666 --> 00:48:09,766 REPORTER: Did you protest?

800

00:48:09,766 --> 00:48:11,933 Did you try in any way to have them stopped?

801

00:48:11,933 --> 00:48:15,300 STOUT: Yes. After the rape incident, I complained

802

00:48:15,300 --> 00:48:19,800 to the battalion sergeant major, and his response was that

803

00:48:19,800 --> 00:48:22,166 this type of thing happens in all wars,

804

00:48:22,166 --> 00:48:25,633 and that I was not to mention it; it was a common occurrence.

805

00:48:25,633 --> 00:48:30,033 Then later, I went to the chaplain, told him about it,

806

00:48:30,033 --> 00:48:32,366 he made an investigation himself,

807

00:48:32,366 --> 00:48:34,733 found that this was true, went with me

808

00:48:34,733 --> 00:48:36,266 to the Sergeant Major.

809

00:48:36,266 --> 00:48:40,466 The Sergeant Major then said that...

810

00:48:40,466 --> 00:48:42,366 well, he told the chaplain to stick to religion,

811

00:48:42,366 --> 00:48:46,000 sent him away, and then he told me to keep quiet,

812

00:48:46,000 --> 00:48:49,666 that I did not have to return from the next operation.

813

00:48:51,200 --> 00:48:54,300 NARRATOR: Years later, another soldier came forward

814

00:48:54,300 --> 00:48:57,100 with more allegations of war crimes,

815

00:48:57,100 --> 00:49:00,666 and an Army investigation would find probable cause

816

00:49:00,666 --> 00:49:05,633 to try 18 members of Tiger Force for murder or assault.

817

00:49:06,733 --> 00:49:09,333 But no charges were ever brought.

818

00:49:09,333 --> 00:49:12,466 The official records were buried in the archives.

819

00:49:14,400 --> 00:49:16,400 WILLBANKS: They should have all gone to jail.

820

00:49:16,400 --> 00:49:17,966 They were guilty of murder.

821

00:49:17,966 --> 00:49:19,433 Period.

822

00:49:19,433 --> 00:49:22,966 At the same time, I felt like that incident,

823

00:49:22,966 --> 00:49:26,300 which I think was an aberration, not the norm,

824

00:49:26,300 --> 00:49:29,000 tarred all veterans, and there are hundreds of thousands

825

00:49:29,000 --> 00:49:30,866 of veterans who went and did their duty,

826

00:49:30,866 --> 00:49:33,400 and as honorable as they possibly could,

827

00:49:33,400 --> 00:49:35,166 and they're tarred with the same brush.

828

00:49:37,266 --> 00:49:40,633 KARL MARLANTES: MARINES One of the things that I learned in the war is that

829

00:49:40,633 --> 00:49:45,300 we're not the top species on the planet because we're nice.

830

00:49:45,300 --> 00:49:48,600 We are a very aggressive species.

831

00:49:48,600 --> 00:49:50,366 It is in us.

832

00:49:50,366 --> 00:49:53,800 And people talk a lot about how, "Well, the military turns

833

00:49:53,800 --> 00:49:56,766 kids into killing machines" and stuff.

834

00:49:58,366 --> 00:50:01,200 And I'll always argue that it's just finishing school.

835

00:50:01,200 --> 00:50:05,933 What we do with civilization is that we learn to inhibit

836

00:50:05,933 --> 00:50:09,366 and rope in these aggressive tendencies.

837

00:50:09,366 --> 00:50:11,800 And we have to recognize them.

838

00:50:11,800 --> 00:50:15,700 I worry about a whole country that doesn't recognize it.

839

00:50:15,700 --> 00:50:17,666 'Cause you think of how many times we get ourselves

840

00:50:17,666 --> 00:50:21,133 in scrapes as a nation because we're always the good guys.

841

00:50:21,133 --> 00:50:24,100 Sometimes, I think if we thought that we weren't always

842

00:50:24,100 --> 00:50:26,500 the good guys, we might actually get in less wars.

MINUTES 50-60

843

00:50:29,833 --> 00:50:30,933 (static humming)

844

00:50:30,933 --> 00:50:32,300 REPORTER: Mr. Rubin,

845

00:50:32,300 --> 00:50:35,133 how do you realistically expect to shut down the Pentagon?

846

00:50:35,133 --> 00:50:38,333 JERRY RUBIN: ANTIWAR ACTIVIST The Pentagon represents the murder of people

847

00:50:38,333 --> 00:50:39,700 throughout the world.

848

00:50:39,700 --> 00:50:41,866 And the American people have no control

849

00:50:41,866 --> 00:50:43,366 of what their government's doing.

850

00:50:43,366 --> 00:50:46,933 And so we're going to go there in the scores of thousands,

851

00:50:46,933 --> 00:50:50,100 and block doors and fill hallways,

852

00:50:50,100 --> 00:50:52,233 so the work of the Pentagon stops.

853

00:50:52,233 --> 00:50:54,433 Because the work of the Pentagon should stop.

854

00:50:54,433 --> 00:50:56,733 The only thing to do with the Pentagon is to shut it down.

855

00:50:56,733 --> 00:50:59,433 ("Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" by Pete Seeger playing)

856

00:50:59,433 --> 00:51:02,266 ♪ It was back in 1942

857

00:51:02,266 --> 00:51:04,633 ♪ I was a member of a good platoon ♪

858

00:51:04,633 --> 00:51:07,966 ♪ We were on maneuvers in Louisiana ♪

859

00:51:07,966 --> 00:51:09,966 ♪ One night by the light of the moon ♪

860

00:51:09,966 --> 00:51:13,633 ♪ The captain told us to ford a river ♪

861

00:51:13,633 --> 00:51:16,333 ♪ That's how it all begun

862

00:51:16,333 --> 00:51:18,866 ♪ We were knee deep in the Big Muddy ♪

863

00:51:18,866 --> 00:51:21,733 ♪ The big fool says to push on

864

00:51:21,733 --> 00:51:25,500 BILL ZIMMERMAN: ANTIWAR ACTIVIST There was a major demonstration either in New York

865

00:51:25,500 --> 00:51:30,200 or in Washington every fall and every spring.

866

00:51:30,200 --> 00:51:33,333 We decided that we would go to the demonstration

867

00:51:33,333 --> 00:51:37,000 in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in the fall of '67,

868

00:51:37,000 --> 00:51:39,700 but we would take as many people out of that demonstration

869

00:51:39,700 --> 00:51:43,600 as we could and lead them to the Pentagon.

870

00:51:43,600 --> 00:51:48,166 And at the Pentagon, try to do something more militant

871

00:51:48,166 --> 00:51:51,900 than simply stand around and make speeches opposing the war,

872

00:51:51,900 --> 00:51:54,900 which is what these demonstrations had become.

873

00:51:54,900 --> 00:51:56,400 SEEGER: ♪ No man will be able to swim.

874

00:51:56,400 --> 00:51:59,800 ZIMMERMAN: And when the time came to lead people away

875

00:51:59,800 --> 00:52:02,166 from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Pentagon,

876

00:52:02,166 --> 00:52:04,833 50,000 people marched.

877

00:52:04,833 --> 00:52:07,233 SEEGER: ♪ Men, follow me, I'll lead on

878

00:52:07,233 --> 00:52:10,266 ♪ We were neck deep in the Big Muddy ♪

879

00:52:10,266 --> 00:52:13,366 ♪ The big fool says to push on. ♪

880

00:52:13,366 --> 00:52:17,266 NARRATOR: Bill Zimmerman, now an assistant professor of psychology

881

00:52:17,266 --> 00:52:20,000 at Brooklyn College, had been against the war

882

00:52:20,000 --> 00:52:21,933 since the beginning.

883

00:52:21,933 --> 00:52:26,533 ZIMMERMAN: Then we found when we got there concentric defense perimeters

884

00:52:26,533 --> 00:52:29,733 that had been set up around the Pentagon to keep us

885

00:52:29,733 --> 00:52:31,433 at a distance from the building.

886

00:52:31,433 --> 00:52:35,966 We pushed against them, we tore down their fences.

887

00:52:35,966 --> 00:52:37,933 SEEGER: ♪ With the captain dead and gone ♪

888

00:52:37,933 --> 00:52:39,633 ♪ We stripped and dived and found his body. ♪

889

00:52:39,633 --> 00:52:42,466 LESLIE GELB: PENTAGON I was working that weekend day.

890

00:52:42,466 --> 00:52:46,833 The secretaries who were working in my area were frightened

891

00:52:46,833 --> 00:52:51,466 to hell what these Vietnam protesters would do.

892

00:52:51,466 --> 00:52:52,900 They thought they were going to come into the building

893

00:52:52,900 --> 00:52:54,066 and rape them.

894

00:52:54,066 --> 00:52:56,533 Some of them actually came over the walls.

895

00:52:56,533 --> 00:52:58,566 SEEGER: ♪ The big fool said to push on. ♪

896

00:52:58,566 --> 00:53:02,133 GELB: It was a sense of revolution.

897

00:53:02,133 --> 00:53:03,300 (crowd yelling)

898

00:53:03,300 --> 00:53:05,166 SEEGER: ♪ Waist deep in the Big Muddy

899

00:53:05,166 --> 00:53:07,166 ♪ The big fool says to push on

900

00:53:07,166 --> 00:53:10,100 ♪ Waist deep in the Big Muddy

901

00:53:10,100 --> 00:53:12,233 ♪ The big fool says to push on. ♪

902

00:53:12,233 --> 00:53:16,566 ZIMMERMAN: God knows what we were going to do when we got in the building.

903

00:53:16,566 --> 00:53:18,600 Some people, the hippies,

904

00:53:18,600 --> 00:53:20,533 said they were going to levitate the building.

905

00:53:20,533 --> 00:53:24,000 Other people wanted to commit vandalism in the building.

906

00:53:24,000 --> 00:53:26,533 Other people wanted to distribute antiwar literature

907

00:53:26,533 --> 00:53:28,900 in the building, talk to people.

908

00:53:28,900 --> 00:53:32,400 Just the idea of getting into the headquarters

909

00:53:32,400 --> 00:53:34,466 of the United States military...

910

00:53:36,266 --> 00:53:39,666 It was the first time that antiwar demonstrators

911

00:53:39,666 --> 00:53:44,133 had confronted active-duty military personnel.

912

00:53:44,133 --> 00:53:46,833 We didn't consider them the enemy.

913

00:53:46,833 --> 00:53:50,400 We considered them victims of the war.

914

00:53:50,400 --> 00:53:55,533 But we began to see our own government as the enemy.

915

00:53:55,533 --> 00:53:59,900 NARRATOR: President Johnson believed that international communism

916

00:53:59,900 --> 00:54:02,566 was somehow behind the demonstration.

917

00:54:02,566 --> 00:54:06,033 He had directed the CIA to come up with the evidence,

918

00:54:06,033 --> 00:54:09,800 and was furious when it found none.[8]

919

00:54:12,066 --> 00:54:13,066 DWIGHT EISENHOWER: Mr. President?

920

00:54:13,066 --> 00:54:14,066 LYNDON JOHNSON: Yes.

921

00:54:14,066 --> 00:54:15,066 This is General Eisenhower.

922

00:54:15,066 --> 00:54:16,300 How've you been, Mr. President?

923

00:54:16,300 --> 00:54:19,333 I'm doing fine under the circumstances.

924

00:54:19,333 --> 00:54:22,066 But we just had hell, and these college students,

925

00:54:22,066 --> 00:54:24,033 I've had Hoover in after them.

926

00:54:24,033 --> 00:54:27,633 They came marched here, and we arrested 600 of them,

927

00:54:27,633 --> 00:54:30,833 and we gave 29 of them pretty tough times.

928

00:54:30,833 --> 00:54:34,266 We found most of them really were mentally diseased.

929

00:54:34,266 --> 00:54:38,433 Hoover's taken 256 that turned in supposedly their draft cards.

930

00:54:38,433 --> 00:54:40,833 So, you're dealing with mental problems,

931

00:54:40,833 --> 00:54:43,066 I think that we talk too damn much

932

00:54:43,066 --> 00:54:45,366 about civil liberties and constitutional rights

933

00:54:45,366 --> 00:54:46,933 of the individual and not enough

934

00:54:46,933 --> 00:54:48,500 about the rights of the masses.

935

00:54:48,500 --> 00:54:49,866 EISENHOWER: That's why we have it.

936

00:54:49,866 --> 00:54:51,933 We have freely elected people and we've got to

937

00:54:51,933 --> 00:54:53,433 stand behind them.

938

00:54:53,433 --> 00:54:55,933 JOHNSON: I think your government's in trouble, General.

939

00:54:55,933 --> 00:54:57,900 I think it's in... I don't want to say this.

940

00:54:57,900 --> 00:54:59,700 But I think we're in more danger

941

00:54:59,700 --> 00:55:01,766 from these left-wing influences now

942

00:55:01,766 --> 00:55:04,733 than we've ever been in 37 years I've been here.

943

00:55:04,733 --> 00:55:07,866 And they're working in my party from within.

944

00:55:07,866 --> 00:55:10,533 And Bobby thinks he's going to get the nomination.

945

00:55:10,533 --> 00:55:14,866 NARRATOR: Allard Lowenstein, a 38-year-old attorney from New York,

946

00:55:14,866 --> 00:55:18,000 shared the antiwar fervor of the protestors,

947

00:55:18,000 --> 00:55:19,900 but he believed the most effective way

948

00:55:19,900 --> 00:55:23,733 to end the fighting was to work within the political system,

949

00:55:23,733 --> 00:55:25,700 not outside it.

950

00:55:25,700 --> 00:55:28,533 The answer, he said, was to stop Lyndon Johnson

951

00:55:28,533 --> 00:55:32,200 from getting a second full term as president.

952

00:55:32,200 --> 00:55:36,466 He had traveled the country all year in search of someone

953

00:55:36,466 --> 00:55:39,200 willing to challenge the president in the upcoming

954

00:55:39,200 --> 00:55:41,166 Democratic primaries.

955

00:55:41,166 --> 00:55:44,466 He asked Senator Robert Kennedy of New York,

956

00:55:44,466 --> 00:55:47,566 who had begun to criticize the Johnson administration

957

00:55:47,566 --> 00:55:49,066 over the war.

958

00:55:49,066 --> 00:55:52,466 He asked Lieutenant General James Gavin.

959

00:55:52,466 --> 00:55:56,500 He asked Senator George McGovern of South Dakota.

960

00:55:56,500 --> 00:55:58,733 They all turned him down.

961

00:55:58,733 --> 00:56:02,433 Lowenstein kept looking.

962

00:56:07,433 --> 00:56:12,633 At Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on November 17, 1967,

963

00:56:12,633 --> 00:56:15,966 friends and family of a fallen soldier gathered

964

00:56:15,966 --> 00:56:19,533 for a funeral, one of five military funerals

965

00:56:19,533 --> 00:56:22,033 held there that month.

966

00:56:22,033 --> 00:56:26,933 First Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw had been killed

967

00:56:26,933 --> 00:56:29,566 as he tried to drag one of his wounded men

968

00:56:29,566 --> 00:56:34,433 off the battlefield near the village of Loc Ninh.

969

00:56:34,433 --> 00:56:39,666 He was a remarkable soldier, had been awarded one Silver Star

970

00:56:39,666 --> 00:56:45,166 in World War II, two more in Korea, and was awarded a fourth,

971

00:56:45,166 --> 00:56:49,500 posthumously, for his gallantry in Vietnam.

972

00:56:49,500 --> 00:56:52,666 He was a Kiowa Indian.

973

00:56:52,666 --> 00:56:55,566 He and three of his sons were among

974

00:56:55,566 --> 00:57:00,700 the 42,000 Native Americans who would serve in Vietnam,

975

00:57:00,700 --> 00:57:04,566 the highest per capita service rate of any ethnic group

976

00:57:04,566 --> 00:57:06,833 in the United States.

977

00:57:06,833 --> 00:57:11,866 Pascal Poolaw's widow spoke at the ceremony.

978

00:57:11,866 --> 00:57:15,600 "He has followed the trail of the great chiefs," she said.

979

00:57:15,600 --> 00:57:20,900 "His people hold him in honor and highest esteem.

980

00:57:20,900 --> 00:57:25,200 "He has given his life for the people and the country

981

00:57:25,200 --> 00:57:29,433 he loved so much."

982

00:57:32,800 --> 00:57:34,200 ("Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane playing)

983

00:57:34,200 --> 00:57:35,600 ♪ When the truth is found

984

00:57:35,600 --> 00:57:39,733 ♪ To be lies

985

00:57:39,733 --> 00:57:42,600 ♪ And all the joy

986

00:57:42,600 --> 00:57:47,033 ♪ Within you dies

987

00:57:47,033 --> 00:57:49,500 ♪ Don't you want somebody to love? ♪

988

00:57:49,500 --> 00:57:53,100 ♪ Don't you need somebody to love? ♪

989

00:57:53,100 --> 00:57:56,800 ♪ Wouldn't you love somebody to love? ♪

990

00:57:56,800 --> 00:58:01,333 ♪ You better find somebody to love ♪

991

00:58:01,333 --> 00:58:03,166 ♪ Love. [9]

992

00:58:07,933 --> 00:58:10,966 MUSGRAVE: I didn't hear the word "hippie" until I was at Con Thien

993

00:58:10,966 --> 00:58:12,400 and we got a Playboy, somebody got a Playboy in the mail,

994

00:58:12,400 --> 00:58:15,400 which was obviously very important to us.

995

00:58:15,400 --> 00:58:17,600 And there was an article on Haight-Ashbury

996

00:58:17,600 --> 00:58:19,266 and pictures of the girls running around

997

00:58:19,266 --> 00:58:21,000 without their tops, you know, free love.

998

00:58:21,000 --> 00:58:22,500 And they were hippies.

999

00:58:22,500 --> 00:58:25,100 And we thought it was "hip pie" cause it had two Ps.

1000

00:58:25,100 --> 00:58:27,033 You know, "Hey, I'm gonna go home

1001

00:58:27,033 --> 00:58:28,466 "and be one of these hip pies

1002

00:58:28,466 --> 00:58:30,066 "because the girls don't wear no clothes.

1003

00:58:30,066 --> 00:58:32,566 You know, and they'll go to bed with anybody."

1004

00:58:32,566 --> 00:58:33,933 You know, even I could score.

1005

00:58:33,933 --> 00:58:37,966 But the only information I had of the peace movement

1006

00:58:37,966 --> 00:58:39,700 came from Stars and Stripes.

1007

00:58:39,700 --> 00:58:43,300 And that wasn't a real objective newspaper.

1008

00:58:43,300 --> 00:58:45,733 And so I hated them

1009

00:58:45,733 --> 00:58:47,733 before I ever even knew anything about them.

1010

00:58:47,733 --> 00:58:50,300 ("Somebody to Love" continues)

1011

00:58:53,933 --> 00:58:58,066 NARRATOR: The monsoon rains continued to make life miserable

1012

00:58:58,066 --> 00:59:01,633 for John Musgrave and the other Marines at Con Thien.

1013

00:59:01,633 --> 00:59:05,733 But by early November, the worst of the shelling had ended.

1014

00:59:05,733 --> 00:59:09,333 American airstrikes, artillery, and Navy fire

1015

00:59:09,333 --> 00:59:12,633 had taken a fearful toll on the besieging enemy.

1016

00:59:14,466 --> 00:59:20,033 Before dawn on November 7, two companies of Musgrave's outfit

1017

00:59:20,033 --> 00:59:22,866 were sent half a mile into the countryside

1018

00:59:22,866 --> 00:59:26,233 northwest of the base to sweep the area again.

1019

00:59:28,100 --> 00:59:31,833 MUSGRAVE: We got into an area that was old hedgerows

1020

00:59:31,833 --> 00:59:34,033 that's grown over with jungle.

1021

00:59:34,033 --> 00:59:36,500 Very difficult to see very far.

1022

00:59:36,500 --> 00:59:39,666 In the clear area, we had three NVA show themselves

1023

00:59:39,666 --> 00:59:43,200 and start just spraying 30 rounds out of their AKs

1024

00:59:43,200 --> 00:59:44,300 and then booking.

1025

00:59:44,300 --> 00:59:45,666 (gunfire)

1026

00:59:45,666 --> 00:59:49,600 The company commander himself said, "I want their bodies.

1027

00:59:49,600 --> 00:59:51,133 Bring me their bodies."

1028

00:59:51,133 --> 00:59:54,500 Everything's about body count, right?

1029

00:59:54,500 --> 00:59:57,600 We said, "Man, this is as old as Custer.

1030

00:59:57,600 --> 01:00:00,100 "These guys are showing themselves to draw us

1031

01:00:00,100 --> 01:00:01,333 "into an ambush.

1032

01:00:01,333 --> 01:00:03,966 "Lieutenant, don't do this," you know.

1033

01:00:03,966 --> 01:00:07,666 "Please, these guys are bait."

1034

01:00:07,666 --> 01:00:09,966 Well, the skipper says, "We got to go.

1035

01:00:09,966 --> 01:00:12,100 We got to go."

1036

01:00:12,100 --> 01:00:15,400 And... we went.

1037

01:00:16,533 --> 01:00:18,333 (gunfire)

MINUTES 60-70

1038

01:00:18,333 --> 01:00:20,833 And I can't tell you a whole lot about the ambush.

1039

01:00:20,833 --> 01:00:22,966 I was one of the first people to be shot.

1040

01:00:22,966 --> 01:00:24,866 One round put me down.

1041

01:00:24,866 --> 01:00:26,566 (gunfire)

1042

01:00:26,566 --> 01:00:30,133 And my grenadier was down, and we were trying to get him back.

1043

01:00:30,133 --> 01:00:34,333 And Marines, from the first day in boot camp,

1044

01:00:34,333 --> 01:00:36,933 you learn that Marines don't leave their dead,

1045

01:00:36,933 --> 01:00:40,400 and they never, never leave their wounded.

1046

01:00:41,833 --> 01:00:44,633 And that's why I'm alive today.

1047

01:00:44,633 --> 01:00:49,000 First guy that came for me-- I was lying on my face...

1048

01:00:49,000 --> 01:00:50,500 (gunfire)

1049

01:00:50,500 --> 01:00:53,033 he reached down and stuck his arms under my shoulders

1050

01:00:53,033 --> 01:00:57,466 and lifted me up and the machine gun wasn't any far,

1051

01:00:57,466 --> 01:01:03,233 was maybe nine feet, ten feet at the most, away from me.

1052

01:01:03,233 --> 01:01:04,866 This is a very intimate ambush.

1053

01:01:04,866 --> 01:01:05,966 It's a brawl.

1054

01:01:05,966 --> 01:01:07,466 (gunfire)

1055

01:01:07,466 --> 01:01:11,633 And he fired a burst into my chest that blew me out

1056

01:01:11,633 --> 01:01:15,266 of the Marine's arms that was holding me and then he was shot.

1057

01:01:15,266 --> 01:01:17,833 (gunfire)

1058

01:01:17,833 --> 01:01:24,166 Another very brave young Marine, this 18-year-old from Louisiana,

1059

01:01:24,166 --> 01:01:27,333 his first firefight, had seen what happened

1060

01:01:27,333 --> 01:01:30,600 and still came for me.

1061

01:01:30,600 --> 01:01:35,366 And he reached for me, and he was shot I think in the forearm.

1062

01:01:35,366 --> 01:01:38,266 And he was laying beside me.

1063

01:01:38,266 --> 01:01:40,133 Now, I've got a hole through my chest big enough

1064

01:01:40,133 --> 01:01:41,700 to stick your fist through.

1065

01:01:42,700 --> 01:01:43,966 I'm dying and I know it.

1066

01:01:43,966 --> 01:01:45,200 (gunfire)

1067

01:01:45,200 --> 01:01:47,900 And I heard this horrible screaming going on,

1068

01:01:47,900 --> 01:01:51,666 and I was trying to figure out who was screaming like that,

1069

01:01:51,666 --> 01:01:53,033 because it sounded so...

1070

01:01:53,033 --> 01:01:55,933 (distant gunfire)

1071

01:01:58,833 --> 01:02:00,566 And then I realized it was me.

1072

01:02:03,333 --> 01:02:05,866 When they began to drag us out, they were being pursued

1073

01:02:05,866 --> 01:02:09,766 by the North Vietnamese, and they would drop us

1074

01:02:09,766 --> 01:02:11,533 and lay on top of us.

1075

01:02:11,533 --> 01:02:12,966 They knew... we were both dying.

1076

01:02:12,966 --> 01:02:16,400 The grenadier had been shot in the right side of his chest.

1077

01:02:16,400 --> 01:02:18,600 They knew... we were both dead.

1078

01:02:18,600 --> 01:02:21,366 But we were still alive.

1079

01:02:21,366 --> 01:02:23,000 So, they weren't gonna leave us.

1080

01:02:23,000 --> 01:02:25,200 They would die before they would leave us.

1081

01:02:25,200 --> 01:02:27,333 And they covered us with their bodies and fired back

1082

01:02:27,333 --> 01:02:30,666 at the NVA and then they'd jump up and drag us a little farther

1083

01:02:30,666 --> 01:02:33,100 and then drop us and lay back on top of us.

1084

01:02:33,100 --> 01:02:36,100 And I kept telling them to leave me.

1085

01:02:36,100 --> 01:02:37,833 And I meant it. I meant it.

1086

01:02:37,833 --> 01:02:41,900 But all of a sudden I got scared that they might really leave me.

1087

01:02:43,266 --> 01:02:44,366 (distant gunfire)

1088

01:02:44,366 --> 01:02:46,933 I was triaged three times.

1089

01:02:46,933 --> 01:02:49,866 And the senior corpsman said,

1090

01:02:49,866 --> 01:02:51,600 "He's either shot through the heart or the lungs.

1091

01:02:51,600 --> 01:02:52,833 There's nothing I can do for him."

1092

01:02:52,833 --> 01:02:54,533 And he just turned away.

1093

01:02:54,533 --> 01:02:56,633 I went, "Well, okay."

1094

01:02:57,633 --> 01:03:01,433 And then, a helicopter came in.

1095

01:03:01,433 --> 01:03:03,100 And they threw me into the bird.

1096

01:03:03,100 --> 01:03:05,500 (distant helicopter blades humming)

1097

01:03:05,500 --> 01:03:08,866 And the corpsman on the bird straddled me, stood over me,

1098

01:03:08,866 --> 01:03:11,966 and looked down at me, and then looked up at the door gunner

1099

01:03:11,966 --> 01:03:15,866 and went... get me out of the way

1100

01:03:15,866 --> 01:03:16,966 because he couldn't work on me.

1101

01:03:16,966 --> 01:03:18,600 I was a dead man.

1102

01:03:18,600 --> 01:03:20,566 (muted helicopter blades beating)

1103

01:03:20,566 --> 01:03:22,566 And they flew me to Delta Med at Dong Ha.

1104

01:03:22,566 --> 01:03:26,766 And I thought, "Okay, I made it this far."

1105

01:03:26,766 --> 01:03:28,500 And this doctor comes over and looks at me

1106

01:03:28,500 --> 01:03:30,166 and I'm conscious.

1107

01:03:30,166 --> 01:03:32,500 I'm lucid.

1108

01:03:32,500 --> 01:03:34,000 And he checks a couple of things.

1109

01:03:34,000 --> 01:03:35,300 And I've got this huge hole in me.

1110

01:03:35,300 --> 01:03:36,866 And he looks at me right in the eye, and he says,

1111

01:03:36,866 --> 01:03:38,733 "What's your religion, Marine?"

1112

01:03:38,733 --> 01:03:40,866 And I said, "Well, I'm a Protestant."

1113

01:03:40,866 --> 01:03:42,033 And he says, "Get a chaplain over here.

1114

01:03:42,033 --> 01:03:43,733 I can't help this man."

1115

01:03:43,733 --> 01:03:44,733 And then he walked away.

1116

01:03:46,100 --> 01:03:51,466 Another surgeon walks by, and he looked at me,

1117

01:03:51,466 --> 01:03:55,600 and I was raised to always be nice to people.

1118

01:03:55,600 --> 01:03:59,500 And when he looked at me, I smiled at him and nodded.

1119

01:03:59,500 --> 01:04:03,833 And he said, "Why isn't somebody helping this man?"

1120

01:04:03,833 --> 01:04:05,233 And inside I'm going,

1121

01:04:05,233 --> 01:04:06,866 "Yeah, why isn't somebody helping this man?"

1122

01:04:08,066 --> 01:04:11,100 When they put me to sleep, I thought,

1123

01:04:11,100 --> 01:04:14,266 "Boy, this is really it," you know.

1124

01:04:14,266 --> 01:04:16,966 And it was kind of, "Okay, God,

1125

01:04:16,966 --> 01:04:19,566 into your hands, I deliver my spirit."

1126

01:04:20,766 --> 01:04:22,633 And I thought that was it.

1127

01:04:24,633 --> 01:04:27,000 And when I woke up in the surgical intensive care ward,

1128

01:04:27,000 --> 01:04:29,500 which was a Quonset hut,

1129

01:04:29,500 --> 01:04:32,133 I thought, "Holy mackerel."

1130

01:04:32,133 --> 01:04:36,166 I just couldn't... I couldn't believe it.

1131

01:04:39,866 --> 01:04:41,400 DAVID BRINKLEY: NBC NEWS Yesterday over Hanoi,

1132

01:04:41,400 --> 01:04:43,266 three American planes were shot down

1133

01:04:43,266 --> 01:04:46,000 and at least two of their pilots captured.

1134

01:04:46,000 --> 01:04:49,666 One of them was Lieutenant Commander John McCain III,

1135

01:04:49,666 --> 01:04:52,766 the son of the U.S. Naval commander in Europe.

1136

01:04:54,100 --> 01:04:56,533 BAO NINH: HANOI I remember it was a Sunday. Hanoi's skies were full of U.S. warplanes, and many were shot down. Pilots usually ejected far away, but this one fell pretty close to where he was bombing. I saw it all from our street. Although the bombing was still going on, we ran out to capture the pilot, but when we arrived, the soldiers already had him. A lot of U.S. pilots were captured, but for John McCain, the radio announced his name.

1137

01:05:30,466 --> 01:05:34,133 NARRATOR: Hanoi was so pleased to have captured the son

1138

01:05:34,133 --> 01:05:37,633 of an American admiral that they allowed a French journalist

1139

01:05:37,633 --> 01:05:40,266 to interview McCain in the hospital.

1140

01:05:40,266 --> 01:05:44,600 He had just had his broken bones set without even an aspirin

1141

01:05:44,600 --> 01:05:46,133 for the pain.

1142

01:05:46,133 --> 01:05:47,433 INTERVIEWER: What is your name?

1143

01:05:47,433 --> 01:05:50,600 MCCAIN: Lieutenant Commander John McCain.

1144

01:05:50,600 --> 01:05:53,700 INTERVIEWER: How many raids have you done until the last one?

1145

01:05:53,700 --> 01:05:55,600 MCCAIN: About 23.

1146

01:05:55,600 --> 01:06:00,400 INTERVIEWER: In which circumstances have you been shot down?

1147

01:06:00,400 --> 01:06:05,333 MCCAIN: I was on a flight over the city of Hanoi,

1148

01:06:05,333 --> 01:06:12,533 and I was bombing and I was hit by either a missile

1149

01:06:12,533 --> 01:06:14,333 or anti-aircraft fire.

1150

01:06:14,333 --> 01:06:21,433 I'm not sure which, and the plane continued straight down,

1151

01:06:21,433 --> 01:06:30,200 and I ejected and broke my leg and both arms

1152

01:06:30,200 --> 01:06:37,066 and went into a lake; parachuted into a lake.

1153

01:06:37,066 --> 01:06:41,966 And I was picked up by some North Vietnamese

1154

01:06:41,966 --> 01:06:48,133 and taken to the hospital, where I almost died.

1155

01:06:48,133 --> 01:06:50,400 I would just like to tell...

1156

01:06:54,700 --> 01:06:57,133 ...my wife...

1157

01:06:58,133 --> 01:07:00,566 ...I will get well...

1158

01:07:03,133 --> 01:07:09,866 ...and I love her and I hope to see her soon.

1159

01:07:11,366 --> 01:07:14,066 NARRATOR: After the interview, McCain was beaten

1160

01:07:14,066 --> 01:07:18,133 for not expressing sufficient gratitude to his captors.

1161

01:07:24,166 --> 01:07:25,933 (soldiers conversing)

1162

01:07:25,933 --> 01:07:30,533 NARRATOR: All through the fall of 1967, the North Vietnamese

1163

01:07:30,533 --> 01:07:34,400 and the Viet Cong continued their series of "Border Battles"

1164

01:07:34,400 --> 01:07:37,033 in preparation for their surprise offensive,

1165

01:07:37,033 --> 01:07:39,066 still months away.

1166

01:07:39,066 --> 01:07:42,900 Con Thien, where John Musgrave was wounded,

1167

01:07:42,900 --> 01:07:44,466 had been the first.

1168

01:07:44,466 --> 01:07:48,300 Then came the ARVN base at Song Be.

1169

01:07:48,300 --> 01:07:50,866 The South Vietnamese outpost adjacent to

1170

01:07:50,866 --> 01:07:54,033 the provincial capital of Loc Ninh was next.

1171

01:07:54,033 --> 01:07:57,066 There, large units of North Vietnamese

1172

01:07:57,066 --> 01:08:00,966 and Viet Cong regulars mounted a coordinated attack,

1173

01:08:00,966 --> 01:08:04,500 and then fought for five days to hold on to the ground

1174

01:08:04,500 --> 01:08:08,500 they'd gained, something they had never done before.

1175

01:08:08,500 --> 01:08:12,200 American commanders were puzzled.

1176

01:08:12,200 --> 01:08:16,933 Then, in early November, reports reached MACV

1177

01:08:16,933 --> 01:08:19,300 that five North Vietnamese regiments

1178

01:08:19,300 --> 01:08:23,700 and a Viet Cong battalion-- some 7,000 men in all--

1179

01:08:23,700 --> 01:08:26,466 had begun massing in the Central Highlands

1180

01:08:26,466 --> 01:08:31,233 around the U.S. Special Forces camp at Dak To again.

1181

01:08:31,233 --> 01:08:35,966 Among the North Vietnamese regulars was Nguyen Thanh Son,

1182

01:08:35,966 --> 01:08:39,366 who had been so eager to fight that he too had filled

1183

01:08:39,366 --> 01:08:43,399 his pockets with rocks to pass his physical.

1184

01:08:44,600 --> 01:08:47,333 NGUYEN THANH SON: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY Our commanders' strategy was to lure the Americans up there, so we could destroy them in the Central Highlands.

1185

01:08:57,500 --> 01:09:01,133 NARRATOR: As the NVA deployed their troops,

1186

01:09:01,133 --> 01:09:04,166 Westmoreland sent his to Dak To,

1187

01:09:04,166 --> 01:09:07,833 exactly what the enemy wanted him to do.

1188

01:09:07,833 --> 01:09:13,166 Among the Americans were the men of the elite 173rd Airborne,

1189

01:09:13,166 --> 01:09:16,766 Westmoreland's Fire Brigade.

1190

01:09:21,200 --> 01:09:25,500 MATT HARRISON: ARMY We all knew in a general sense that we wouldn't be brought back

1191

01:09:25,500 --> 01:09:28,600 if there wasn't something big going on.

1192

01:09:28,600 --> 01:09:34,133 You just knew that the area was crawling with North Vietnamese,

1193

01:09:34,133 --> 01:09:38,766 and that they were there not to avoid contact with us,

1194

01:09:38,766 --> 01:09:41,433 but they were there to have contact with us.

1195

01:09:42,833 --> 01:09:45,200 NARRATOR: First Lieutenant Matthew Harrison was now

1196

01:09:45,200 --> 01:09:48,100 with Alpha Company of the 2nd Battalion,

1197

01:09:48,100 --> 01:09:50,733 the same rifle company that had been ambushed

1198

01:09:50,733 --> 01:09:56,066 and so badly shattered back in June on the slopes of Hill 1338,

1199

01:09:56,066 --> 01:09:58,833 just 14 miles to the east.

1200

01:09:58,833 --> 01:10:02,566 HARRISON: This wasn't like the Viet Cong where if you could find them,

1201

01:10:02,566 --> 01:10:03,933 you could kill them.

1202

01:10:03,933 --> 01:10:05,333 Our problem wasn't finding them.

1203

01:10:05,333 --> 01:10:07,666 Our problem was what to do with them once you found them.

MINUTES 70-80

1204

01:10:07,666 --> 01:10:12,933 NARRATOR: The 174th NVA Regiment was waiting.

1205

01:10:12,933 --> 01:10:16,833 Nguyen Thanh Son and his men were already dug in

1206

01:10:16,833 --> 01:10:20,000 on the high ground they knew the Americans would want

1207

01:10:20,000 --> 01:10:24,866 to command: Hill 875.

1208

01:10:24,866 --> 01:10:27,033 NGUYEN THANH SON: NORTH VIETNAMESE ARMY We got there a month earlier to dig foxholes, bunkers and a trench around the hill. The men asked us, "This forest is so peaceful and beautiful, why are we here?" We told them, "Keep working. They'll come."

1209

01:10:45,933 --> 01:10:51,266 NARRATOR: On Sunday morning, November 19, 1967,

1210

01:10:51,266 --> 01:10:54,833 Alpha, Charlie, and Delta Companies were ordered

1211

01:10:54,833 --> 01:10:57,833 to take Hill 875.

1212

01:10:57,833 --> 01:11:01,466 Matt Harrison had been wounded in an earlier fight

1213

01:11:01,466 --> 01:11:04,400 and was not permitted to accompany his men.

1214

01:11:04,400 --> 01:11:08,800 He anxiously followed their progress over the radio.

1215

01:11:08,800 --> 01:11:13,600 Heavy artillery and flights of F-100s blasted the hillside

1216

01:11:13,600 --> 01:11:17,533 ahead of them, meant to knock out enemy positions

1217

01:11:17,533 --> 01:11:20,733 before the paratroopers ever got within range.

1218

01:11:22,366 --> 01:11:24,533 NGUYEN THANH SON: The top of Hill 875 was barren. There were no trees left. The Americans destroyed them all. While the bombs fell, we were safe in our bunkers.

1219

01:11:37,633 --> 01:11:40,133 NARRATOR: The three companies moved up the slope,

1220

01:11:40,133 --> 01:11:42,666 Charlie and Delta in the lead,

1221

01:11:42,666 --> 01:11:45,966 Alpha bringing up the rear.

1222

01:11:45,966 --> 01:11:49,533 The paratroopers stepped warily into a clearing

1223

01:11:49,533 --> 01:11:52,866 filled with fallen trees from the morning's bombardment

1224

01:11:52,866 --> 01:11:57,600 and only a little over 300 yards from the summit.

1225

01:11:58,600 --> 01:12:01,633 NGUYEN THANH SON: As they scrambled up the hill, we held our fire. They made it just five meters from our trenched. When we could see their faces, we yelled, "Open fire!"

1226

01:12:11,133 --> 01:12:12,900 (gunfire)

1227

01:12:12,900 --> 01:12:16,000 NARRATOR: Thousands of automatic weapon rounds ripped through the air.

1228

01:12:16,000 --> 01:12:19,166 Chinese-made grenades came rolling and bumping

1229

01:12:19,166 --> 01:12:20,666 down the slopes.

1230

01:12:20,666 --> 01:12:25,000 The Americans sought cover where they could behind fallen trees,

1231

01:12:25,000 --> 01:12:27,766 scrabbled at the earth with their helmets,

1232

01:12:27,766 --> 01:12:30,066 trying to dig fighting holes.

1233

01:12:30,066 --> 01:12:32,900 (gunfire)

1234

01:12:32,900 --> 01:12:34,400 (soldiers yelling)

1235

01:12:34,400 --> 01:12:36,800 (rapid gunfire)

1236

01:12:36,800 --> 01:12:39,800 Charlie and Delta companies were pinned down

1237

01:12:39,800 --> 01:12:42,733 and being torn to pieces.

1238

01:12:42,733 --> 01:12:44,066 (gunfire)

1239

01:12:44,066 --> 01:12:46,000 Meanwhile, near the foot of the hill,

1240

01:12:46,000 --> 01:12:49,200 other North Vietnamese troops surprised Alpha Company

1241

01:12:49,200 --> 01:12:50,633 from behind.

1242

01:12:50,633 --> 01:12:53,800 They were first spotted moving up through the trees

1243

01:12:53,800 --> 01:12:57,533 by a private from the Bronx named Carlos Lozada.

1244

01:12:57,533 --> 01:13:00,866 As the men of his company scrambled up the slope,

1245

01:13:00,866 --> 01:13:02,766 dragging their wounded with them,

1246

01:13:02,766 --> 01:13:05,433 Lozada provided what cover he could,

1247

01:13:05,433 --> 01:13:08,333 firing his M-60 machine gun from his hip--

1248

01:13:08,333 --> 01:13:11,066 before a bullet hit him in the head.

1249

01:13:12,433 --> 01:13:17,366 He would be awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor.

1250

01:13:17,366 --> 01:13:21,366 Back home, the battle led the nightly news.

1251

01:13:21,366 --> 01:13:23,066 (helicopter humming)

1252

01:13:23,066 --> 01:13:26,066 WALTER CRONKITE: The Battle of Dak To is now on its 19th day,

1253

01:13:26,066 --> 01:13:28,533 and already ranks among the bloodiest campaigns

1254

01:13:28,533 --> 01:13:30,066 of the Vietnam War.

1255

01:13:30,066 --> 01:13:31,800 There's no sign yet of any let-up.

1256

01:13:31,800 --> 01:13:33,433 Over the weekend, three companies

1257

01:13:33,433 --> 01:13:37,533 of the 173rd Airborne Brigade moved down this river valley,

1258

01:13:37,533 --> 01:13:40,466 up which North Vietnamese normally infiltrate,

1259

01:13:40,466 --> 01:13:43,666 until they got down here by Hill 875.

1260

01:13:43,666 --> 01:13:46,100 Then, they came under heavy fire from the hill.

1261

01:13:46,100 --> 01:13:48,300 Two of the three companies charged the hill,

1262

01:13:48,300 --> 01:13:50,266 the other stayed back as a rear guard.

1263

01:13:50,266 --> 01:13:51,700 They found a...

1264

01:13:51,700 --> 01:13:54,866 HARRISON: By early afternoon, the three companies

1265

01:13:54,866 --> 01:13:57,233 had basically been decapitated.

1266

01:13:57,233 --> 01:13:59,133 The company commanders were dead;

1267

01:13:59,133 --> 01:14:02,366 most of the officers and most of the NCOs were dead.

1268

01:14:02,366 --> 01:14:04,166 (soldiers yelling)

1269

01:14:04,166 --> 01:14:06,966 NARRATOR: The survivors from all three companies clustered

1270

01:14:06,966 --> 01:14:09,766 in the clearing and did their best to set up

1271

01:14:09,766 --> 01:14:11,533 a defensive circle.

1272

01:14:11,533 --> 01:14:16,300 American bombs and napalm pounded enemy positions

1273

01:14:16,300 --> 01:14:19,800 until it grew almost too dark to see.

1274

01:14:20,800 --> 01:14:22,666 NGUYEN THANH SON: The napalm engulfed our trenches and burned like a dragon. Most of our positions were completely burned out. I was burned myself. My face, nose, hands and feet were on fire. I became a torch. I was running around. My soldiers threw dirt on me to smother the flames.

1275

01:14:48,100 --> 01:14:53,033 NARRATOR: Then, another American plane roared in and dropped two bombs.

1276

01:14:53,033 --> 01:14:55,966 One landed among the hidden enemy troops.

1277

01:14:57,200 --> 01:15:01,933 The other fell directly on the Americans.

1278

01:15:01,933 --> 01:15:06,833 In a fraction of a second, 42 were killed.

1279

01:15:06,833 --> 01:15:10,866 A badly hit lieutenant managed to find a working radio.

1280

01:15:10,866 --> 01:15:14,400 "No more ... planes," he shouted into it.

1281

01:15:14,400 --> 01:15:17,233 "You're killing us up here."

1282

01:15:17,233 --> 01:15:18,700 (explosion)

1283

01:15:18,700 --> 01:15:21,100 The fighting on the hillside continued.

1284

01:15:21,100 --> 01:15:25,633 The men ran out of water, began to run out of ammunition.

1285

01:15:25,633 --> 01:15:30,433 Helicopters that tried to ferry in supplies were shot down.

1286

01:15:31,800 --> 01:15:38,000 The following day, Matt Harrison was able to chopper in.

1287

01:15:38,000 --> 01:15:39,700 HARRISON: It was chaos.

1288

01:15:39,700 --> 01:15:42,533 It was collections of guys who had who had tunneled

1289

01:15:42,533 --> 01:15:44,833 and dug down behind trees.

1290

01:15:44,833 --> 01:15:48,366 These were guys who had gone without water in that heat

1291

01:15:48,366 --> 01:15:49,966 for two days.

1292

01:15:49,966 --> 01:15:54,000 And almost every one of them was wounded.

1293

01:15:54,000 --> 01:15:58,166 And then all around were bodies,

1294

01:15:58,166 --> 01:16:02,633 guys who had been shot and blown up.

1295

01:16:02,633 --> 01:16:04,266 It was the third circle of hell.

1296

01:16:07,033 --> 01:16:11,600 NARRATOR: On November 23, two fresh battalions of the 173rd

1297

01:16:11,600 --> 01:16:14,233 finally made it to the top of the hill,

1298

01:16:14,233 --> 01:16:17,166 for which so many had died.

1299

01:16:17,166 --> 01:16:19,033 But the night before,

1300

01:16:19,033 --> 01:16:22,033 the surviving North Vietnamese troops had slipped down

1301

01:16:22,033 --> 01:16:28,466 the other side and disappeared into Cambodia and Laos.

1302

01:16:28,466 --> 01:16:31,200 HARRISON: The powers that be decided it would be important

1303

01:16:31,200 --> 01:16:35,766 to our morale for us to be in on the taking the top of the hill.

1304

01:16:35,766 --> 01:16:41,033 I had 26 guys left out of a company that started out of 140,

1305

01:16:41,033 --> 01:16:43,800 and all 26 had been wounded.

1306

01:16:43,800 --> 01:16:48,200 NARRATOR: Then Harrison and his exhausted men were helicoptered

1307

01:16:48,200 --> 01:16:50,066 to the top of yet another hill.

1308

01:16:50,066 --> 01:16:51,766 (helicopter blades whirring)

1309

01:16:55,633 --> 01:16:57,966 NARRATOR: It was Thanksgiving.

1310

01:16:57,966 --> 01:17:01,433 Chinook helicopters clattered down out of the sky,

1311

01:17:01,433 --> 01:17:05,166 carrying huge containers of hot turkey and mashed potatoes

1312

01:17:05,166 --> 01:17:09,766 and cranberry sauce so that the 173rd could have

1313

01:17:09,766 --> 01:17:11,800 their Thanksgiving dinner.

1314

01:17:11,800 --> 01:17:14,466 REPORTER: If there are any more remote or dangerous spots

1315

01:17:14,466 --> 01:17:16,533 to spend Thanksgiving Day in Vietnam than this one,

1316

01:17:16,533 --> 01:17:18,766 then most of these men have never seen them.

1317

01:17:18,766 --> 01:17:22,266 HARRISON: There was a TV cameraman and reporter off to the side

1318

01:17:22,266 --> 01:17:23,966 using us as a backdrop.

1319

01:17:23,966 --> 01:17:26,766 And I remember hearing the reporter intone,

1320

01:17:26,766 --> 01:17:30,000 "Today is November 23, Thanksgiving Day,"

1321

01:17:30,000 --> 01:17:33,866 and I was really angry.

1322

01:17:33,866 --> 01:17:37,766 It's as though we were entertainers.

1323

01:17:39,300 --> 01:17:45,133 NARRATOR: 107 Americans had died taking Hill 875;

1324

01:17:45,133 --> 01:17:48,100 another 282 were wounded.

1325

01:17:48,100 --> 01:17:49,933 Ten more were missing.

1326

01:17:49,933 --> 01:17:53,800 The number of North Vietnamese casualties is unknown,

1327

01:17:53,800 --> 01:17:57,766 but their losses are thought to have been staggering.

1328

01:17:59,333 --> 01:18:03,866 Back in June, Matt Harrison had lost two West Point classmates

1329

01:18:03,866 --> 01:18:06,600 on Hill 1338.

1330

01:18:06,600 --> 01:18:09,766 He lost two more on Hill 875.

1331

01:18:09,766 --> 01:18:13,500 Of the eight with whom he had served in the 2nd Battalion,

1332

01:18:13,500 --> 01:18:17,800 four were now dead and two had been wounded.

1333

01:18:20,366 --> 01:18:23,933 HARRISON: To take tops of mountains in a triple canopy jungle

1334

01:18:23,933 --> 01:18:27,233 along the Cambodian-Laotian border accomplished nothing

1335

01:18:27,233 --> 01:18:29,400 of any importance.

1336

01:18:31,133 --> 01:18:35,800 The Battle for Hill 875 was, in my thinking today,

1337

01:18:35,800 --> 01:18:39,266 a microcosm of what we were doing and what went wrong

1338

01:18:39,266 --> 01:18:40,733 in Vietnam.

1339

01:18:40,733 --> 01:18:44,600 There was no reason to take that hill.

1340

01:18:44,600 --> 01:18:48,400 We literally got to the top of the hill

1341

01:18:48,400 --> 01:18:55,200 about mid-day on November 23 and sat there for,

1342

01:18:55,200 --> 01:18:57,133 I don't know, half an hour, an hour,

1343

01:18:57,133 --> 01:19:01,266 just kind of gathering ourselves and everything together.

1344

01:19:01,266 --> 01:19:04,633 Chinooks came in, took us off the hill.

1345

01:19:04,633 --> 01:19:08,600 And I doubt that there's been an American on Hill 875

1346

01:19:08,600 --> 01:19:10,766 since November 23.

1347

01:19:10,766 --> 01:19:13,133 We accomplished nothing.

1348

01:19:13,133 --> 01:19:16,800 WILLIAM WESTMORELAND: A new phase is now starting.

1349

01:19:16,800 --> 01:19:19,833 We have reached an important point when the end

1350

01:19:19,833 --> 01:19:22,100 begins to come into view.

1351

01:19:23,800 --> 01:19:27,533 NARRATOR: As Matt Harrison and his men fought for Hill 875,

1352

01:19:27,533 --> 01:19:30,266 the Johnson administration was in the midst

1353

01:19:30,266 --> 01:19:32,166 of a "Success Offensive,"

1354

01:19:32,166 --> 01:19:37,133 a PR campaign aimed at shoring up support for the war

1355

01:19:37,133 --> 01:19:39,733 and the way it was being waged.

1356

01:19:39,733 --> 01:19:44,066 MACV released a new and surprisingly low estimate

1357

01:19:44,066 --> 01:19:48,133 of enemy forces to show how much damage the United States

1358

01:19:48,133 --> 01:19:49,600 had done to them.

1359

01:19:49,600 --> 01:19:54,066 It was only two-thirds of the total suggested by the CIA,

1360

01:19:54,066 --> 01:19:56,600 because, after a bitter and prolonged debate

1361

01:19:56,600 --> 01:19:59,566 behind the scenes, Westmoreland had chosen

1362

01:19:59,566 --> 01:20:02,733 to exclude from it the part-time guerrillas--

1363

01:20:02,733 --> 01:20:06,866 farmers, old men, women, even children--

1364

01:20:06,866 --> 01:20:10,700 who helped place the mines, grenades, and booby traps

1365

01:20:10,700 --> 01:20:12,866 that accounted for more than a third

1366

01:20:12,866 --> 01:20:15,500 of all American casualties.

1367

01:20:15,500 --> 01:20:18,633 General Westmoreland also told the press

1368

01:20:18,633 --> 01:20:22,300 that the impressive body counts his commanders reported

1369

01:20:22,300 --> 01:20:25,000 were "very, very conservative."

1370

01:20:25,000 --> 01:20:27,633 It probably represented, he said,

1371

01:20:27,633 --> 01:20:32,300 "50 percent or even less of the enemy that has been killed."

1372

01:20:32,300 --> 01:20:36,100 Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker joined the chorus,

1373

01:20:36,100 --> 01:20:39,900 using a metaphor first used 13 years earlier

1374

01:20:39,900 --> 01:20:42,466 by the French commander in Vietnam,

1375

01:20:42,466 --> 01:20:47,133 not long before their great defeat at Dien Bien Phu.

1376

01:20:47,133 --> 01:20:50,466 ELLSWORTH BUNKER: U.S. AMBASSADOR And I think we're now beginning to see light

1377

01:20:50,466 --> 01:20:51,933 at the end of the tunnel.

1378

01:20:51,933 --> 01:20:55,133 REPORTER: Mr. Ambassador, you talk about light at the end of the tunnel.

1379

01:20:55,133 --> 01:20:56,766 How long is this tunnel?

1380

01:20:56,766 --> 01:20:59,433 BUNKER: Well, I don't think that you can put it

1381

01:20:59,433 --> 01:21:05,300 into any particular timeframe, a situation like this.

MINUTES 80-END

1382

01:21:06,833 --> 01:21:11,266 NARRATOR: LBJ's Success Offensive succeeded.

1383

01:21:11,266 --> 01:21:14,700 The number of Americans who believed the United States

1384

01:21:14,700 --> 01:21:19,466 was making real progress in the war grew.

1385

01:21:19,466 --> 01:21:22,900 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara

1386

01:21:22,900 --> 01:21:27,066 did not take part in the public relations campaign.

1387

01:21:27,066 --> 01:21:30,833 He had become so disillusioned with the war he'd done so much

1388

01:21:30,833 --> 01:21:33,433 to plan and prosecute that he wrote

1389

01:21:33,433 --> 01:21:35,866 another secret memo to the president,

1390

01:21:35,866 --> 01:21:39,900 advising Johnson to freeze American troop levels,

1391

01:21:39,900 --> 01:21:43,633 turn over ground operations to the South Vietnamese,

1392

01:21:43,633 --> 01:21:46,133 and halt the bombing of North Vietnam

1393

01:21:46,133 --> 01:21:49,233 "in order to bring about negotiations." [10]

1394

01:21:49,233 --> 01:21:52,966 There was no reason to believe, McNamara wrote,

1395

01:21:52,966 --> 01:21:56,700 that the prolonged "infliction of grievous casualties,

1396

01:21:56,700 --> 01:21:59,466 "or the heavy punishment of air bombardment,

1397

01:21:59,466 --> 01:22:02,633 "will suffice to break the will of the North Vietnamese

1398

01:22:02,633 --> 01:22:04,166 "and Viet Cong.

1399

01:22:04,166 --> 01:22:07,400 "The continuation of our present course of action

1400

01:22:07,400 --> 01:22:12,366 "in Southeast Asia would be dangerous, costly in lives,

1401

01:22:12,366 --> 01:22:15,700 and unsatisfactory to the American people."

1402

01:22:15,700 --> 01:22:19,000 Johnson never responded.

1403

01:22:19,000 --> 01:22:22,133 Instead, he arranged for McNamara to become

1404

01:22:22,133 --> 01:22:25,166 the President of the World Bank.

1405

01:22:25,166 --> 01:22:29,166 McNamara would keep silent about the doubts he had harbored

1406

01:22:29,166 --> 01:22:31,366 since the beginning of the ground war

1407

01:22:31,366 --> 01:22:35,000 for the next 28 years.

1408

01:22:35,000 --> 01:22:38,100 His successor as Defense Secretary would be

1409

01:22:38,100 --> 01:22:39,433 Clark Clifford,

1410

01:22:39,433 --> 01:22:43,033 a prominent Washington lawyer and trusted counselor

1411

01:22:43,033 --> 01:22:46,600 to Democratic presidents, whom Johnson was sure would be

1412

01:22:46,600 --> 01:22:48,433 supportive of the war.

1413

01:22:48,433 --> 01:22:50,600 SEN. EUGENE MCCARTY (D-MN): Students of Harvard...

1414

01:22:50,600 --> 01:22:53,933 NARRATOR: Meanwhile, Allard Lowenstein's yearlong search

1415

01:22:53,933 --> 01:22:56,466 for a Democratic challenger to the President

1416

01:22:56,466 --> 01:22:58,600 had finally succeeded.

1417

01:22:58,600 --> 01:23:04,733 On November 30, 1967, Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy

1418

01:23:04,733 --> 01:23:06,700 announced that he would run.

1419

01:23:06,700 --> 01:23:09,466 MCCARTHY: This is an issue which has to be taken

1420

01:23:09,466 --> 01:23:13,000 to the people of the country in the campaign of 1968.

1421

01:23:13,000 --> 01:23:14,033 (crowd cheers)

1422

01:23:16,100 --> 01:23:19,200 NARRATOR: By the end of 1967,

1423

01:23:19,200 --> 01:23:24,766 20,057 Americans had died in Vietnam.

1424

01:23:24,766 --> 01:23:28,200 The time had come, General Westmoreland said,

1425

01:23:28,200 --> 01:23:32,066 for an "all-out offensive on all fronts."

1426

01:23:35,700 --> 01:23:39,433 But the enemy was just a month away from launching

1427

01:23:39,433 --> 01:23:42,400 an all-out offensive of its own.

1428

01:23:43,866 --> 01:23:45,766 ("Paint in Black" by the Rolling Stones playing)

1429

01:23:57,466 --> 01:24:03,533 ♪ I see a red door and I want it painted black ♪

1430

01:24:03,533 --> 01:24:09,533 ♪ No colors anymore, I want them to turn black ♪

1431

01:24:09,533 --> 01:24:11,833 ♪ I see the girls walk by

1432

01:24:11,833 --> 01:24:15,666 ♪ Dressed in their summer clothes ♪

1433

01:24:15,666 --> 01:24:21,866 ♪ I have to turn my head until my darkness goes ♪

1434

01:24:21,866 --> 01:24:27,733 ♪ I see a line of cars and they're all painted black ♪

1435

01:24:27,733 --> 01:24:33,733 ♪ With flowers and my love, both never to come back ♪

1436

01:24:33,733 --> 01:24:39,800 ♪ I see people turn their heads and quickly look away ♪

1437

01:24:39,800 --> 01:24:45,900 ♪ Like a newborn baby, it just happens every day ♪

1438

01:24:45,900 --> 01:24:51,933 ♪ I look inside myself and see my heart is black ♪

1439

01:24:51,933 --> 01:24:57,866 ♪ I see my red door and must have it painted black ♪

1440

01:24:57,866 --> 01:25:03,966 ♪ Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts ♪

1441

01:25:03,966 --> 01:25:10,166 ♪ It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black ♪

1442

01:25:10,166 --> 01:25:16,400 ♪ No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue ♪

1443

01:25:16,400 --> 01:25:22,666 ♪ I could not foresee this thing happening to you ♪

1444

01:25:22,666 --> 01:25:28,633 ♪ If I look hard enough into the setting sun ♪

1445

01:25:28,633 --> 01:25:34,700 ♪ My love will laugh with me before the morning comes ♪

1446

01:25:34,700 --> 01:25:40,700 ♪ I see a red door and I want it painted black ♪

1447

01:25:40,700 --> 01:25:46,733 ♪ No colors anymore, I want them to turn black ♪

1448

01:25:46,733 --> 01:25:48,866 ♪ I see the girls walk by

1449

01:25:48,866 --> 01:25:52,800 ♪ Dressed in their summer clothes ♪

1450

01:25:52,800 --> 01:25:58,866 ♪ I have to turn my head until my darkness goes ♪

1451

01:25:58,866 --> 01:26:03,766 (humming)

1452

01:26:03,766 --> 01:26:05,233 ♪ I wanna see it painted

1453

01:26:05,233 --> 01:26:09,033 ♪ Painted, painted, painted black ♪

1454

01:26:09,033 --> 01:26:11,033 ♪ Yeah.

1455

01:26:11,033 --> 01:26:15,733 (humming)

1456

01:26:39,133 --> 01:26:40,333 ANNOUNCER: LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FILM

1457

01:26:40,333 --> 01:26:43,200 AND FIND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AT PBS.ORG/VIETNAMWAR

1458

01:26:43,200 --> 01:26:47,133 AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION USING HASHTAG VIETNAMWARPBS.

1459

01:26:47,133 --> 01:26:48,600 "THE VIETNAM WAR" IS AVAILABLE

1460

01:26:48,600 --> 01:26:50,266 ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.

1461

01:26:50,266 --> 01:26:51,933 THE COMPANION BOOK, SOUNDTRACK,

1462

01:26:51,933 --> 01:26:53,333 AND ORIGINAL SCORE FROM THE FILM

1463

01:26:53,333 --> 01:26:54,466 ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.

1464

01:26:54,466 --> 01:26:56,566 TO ORDER, VISIT SHOPPBS.ORG

1465

01:26:56,566 --> 01:26:59,033 OR CALL 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

1466

01:26:59,033 --> 01:27:00,466 EPISODES OF THIS SERIES ALSO

1467

01:27:00,466 --> 01:27:01,633 AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

1468

01:27:01,633 --> 01:27:02,733 FROM iTUNES.

1469

01:27:06,000 --> 01:27:08,133 ANNOUNCER: BANK OF AMERICA PROUDLY SUPPORTS

1470

01:27:08,133 --> 01:27:13,033 KEN BURNS' AND LYNN NOVICK'S FILM "THE VIETNAM WAR"

1471

01:27:13,033 --> 01:27:15,433 BECAUSE FOSTERING DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

1472

01:27:15,433 --> 01:27:18,033 AND CIVIL DISCOURSE AROUND IMPORTANT ISSUES

1473

01:27:18,033 --> 01:27:20,333 FURTHERS PROGRESS, EQUALITY,

1474

01:27:20,333 --> 01:27:22,333 AND A MORE CONNECTED SOCIETY.

1475

01:27:26,800 --> 01:27:30,833 GO TO BANKOFAMERICA.COM/ BETTERCONNECTED TO LEARN MORE.

1476

01:27:34,300 --> 01:27:35,733 ANNOUNCER: MAJOR SUPPORT FOR "THE VIETNAM WAR"

1477

01:27:35,733 --> 01:27:39,233 WAS PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THE BETTER ANGELS SOCIETY,

1478

01:27:39,233 --> 01:27:43,200 INCLUDING JONATHAN AND JEANNIE LAVINE,

1479

01:27:43,200 --> 01:27:46,100 DIANE AND HAL BRIERLEY,

1480

01:27:46,100 --> 01:27:48,500 AMY AND DAVID ABRAMS,

1481

01:27:48,500 --> 01:27:51,000 JOHN AND CATHERINE DEBS,

1482

01:27:51,000 --> 01:27:53,900 THE FULLERTON FAMILY CHARITABLE FUND,

1483

01:27:53,900 --> 01:27:55,966 THE MONTRONE FAMILY,

1484

01:27:55,966 --> 01:27:58,300 LYNDA AND STEWART RESNICK,

1485

01:27:58,300 --> 01:28:01,133 THE PERRY AND DONNA GOLKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION,

1486

01:28:01,133 --> 01:28:02,133 THE LYNCH FOUNDATION,

1487

01:28:02,133 --> 01:28:05,000 THE ROGER AND ROSEMARY ENRICO FOUNDATION,

1488

01:28:05,000 --> 01:28:08,433 AND BY THESE ADDITIONAL FUNDERS.

1489

01:28:08,433 --> 01:28:10,333 MAJOR FUNDING WAS ALSO PROVIDED

1490

01:28:10,333 --> 01:28:12,066 BY DAVID H. KOCH...

1491

01:28:14,366 --> 01:28:16,566 THE BLAVATNIK FAMILY FOUNDATION...

1492

01:28:18,900 --> 01:28:21,333 THE PARK FOUNDATION,

1493

01:28:21,333 --> 01:28:23,500 THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES,

1494

01:28:23,500 --> 01:28:25,700 THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS,

1495

01:28:25,700 --> 01:28:28,366 THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION,

1496

01:28:28,366 --> 01:28:31,133 THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION,

1497

01:28:31,133 --> 01:28:33,733 THE ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATIONS,

1498

01:28:33,733 --> 01:28:35,933 THE FORD FOUNDATION JUSTFILMS,

1499

01:28:35,933 --> 01:28:37,133 BY THE CORPORATION

1500

01:28:37,133 --> 01:28:38,366 FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING,

1501

01:28:38,366 --> 01:28:40,333 AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

1502

01:28:40,333 --> 01:28:41,466 THANK YOU.

References

  1. These were outposts along the DMZ to prevent/defend against North Vietnamese troops coming across that border.
  2. Re: Operation El Paso. The North Vietnamese feared this possibility, which President Johnson had vetoed, but NVA concentrated on Khe Sanh because it was the logical launch point for the offensive action they most feared.
  3. What part of "Demilitarized" did the Communist not understand or rather choose to ignore?
  4. Mutilation was a two way street.
  5. Scotton
  6. Is he talking about moving from the DMZ southward?
  7. See Burkett
  8. See Canfield
  9. Contrast these pictures of drugged up hippies dancing with soldiers fighting and dying.
  10. See Negotiations

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