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Part One : Selected Works

The Quest for Justice

Many years have passed since last the cadets with whom I march on the plain at West Point wore cadet gray. In the years since our graduation from the Academy, our lives have changed and the changes have altered us all in the process. Our years of service have been exceptional. Few generations have graduated from the Academy in time of war and served their entire careers in time of war – both hot and cold; but that has been our fate. It was not a fate we chose. It is one handed to our generation by decisions of the Chief of State to defend the Free World, which in turn shaped our service to our country. We responded to that challenge little realizing our fate was unique, nor recognizing the demands that would be asked of us. The Cold War and the Vietnam War brought unique challenges that have set our generation apart and denied soldiers, who have endured the brunt of battle, the recognition soldiers had earned in earlier wars. That denial brought no end to the bitter struggle for peace. Instead, soldiers returning home were persecuted and ostracized by those they had served during their military service. The result was a denial of justice that has haunted our generation and haunts it still. The works included in Part One capture aspects of those times and the injustice that has marred the lives of so many of our generation.

Unsung Victories of American Airmen. Leadership: Combat Leaders and Lessons, Bigfork, Montana: Stand Up America USA, 2008. The essay appears in a collection of leadership lessons. It describes the rejection by journalists covering the Vietnam War of the massive casualties inflicted on the Army of North Vietnam by U.S. Air Force bombing raids upon targets in South Vietnam. To order on line go to www.standupamericaus.com. 

I returned to South Vietnam in 1968 joining the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment operating north of Saigon under the operational control of the 1st Infantry Division. I found myself taking part in a hard fought series of battles as we sought to destroy enemy base camps established in the jungles south of War Zone D. The enemy base camps formed fortified staging areas constructed along multiple parallel routes to the south that permitted the enemy to move his combat forces out of Cambodia from one protected battle position to the next in their invasion of South Vietnam. More significantly the base camps acted as fortified assembly areas for staging NVA attacks upon American air bases and logistical support units located north of Saigon.

The battlefield the enemy had selected to contest covered jungle terrain that suited the short-range weaponry that the NVA brought to the conflict in the early years of the struggle, when Hanoi maintained the war of the National Liberation Front (NLF) was an indigenous insurgency.[1] The jungle both restricted visibility to a few yards as American infantrymen and cavalrymen searched for their opponents and it negated the superiority of the long-range weapons and technology the Americans brought to the battle.

The enemy's base camps consisted of bunkers with overhead cover and extensive trench lines. His troops were armed with Soviet assault rifles and machine guns. Chinese Claymore-type mines that covered the approaches to his fortifications augmented his deadly short-range weapons. Situated beneath dense jungle canopy often two hundred feet in height, the enemy was protected from aerial observation, artillery fire, which detonated prematurely in the tall canopy of the rain forests, and the ground incursions required to take the enemy positions one trench and one bunker at a time. We were winning the battles; for at the end of the day we owned the enemy base camp that had become the target of our attacks, but the grim statistics of the battles yielded no joy. (to read the rest of article, click on title)

This essay describes the conditions on college campuses that fostered civil disobedience and opposition to the Vietnam War. It also describes the complex restrictions on the use of ground fire known as the Rules of Engagement, which were not understood by many journalists and novices in uniform that resulted in the false testimony presented before Congress by John Kerry.  (for complete FBI file containing information on John Kerry, Jane Fonda and others, please see the following link)

(article exerpt - for full text, click on title)
Nearly four decades after my return to the United States I still recall the feelings of disgust I experienced upon my reception at Travis Air Force Base in 1969 when I was carried on a litter from the rear ramp of a C-141 Medical Evacuation Flight returning wounded soldiers from Vietnam. The tarmac was lined with anti-war protestors carrying signs that read, “BABY KILLERS” and “MURDERERS.” They were dressed in rags, the remnants of Army uniforms. They shouted curses and insults at each of us as we were carried one at a time down the ramp to waiting busses and ambulances parked on the tarmac to receive the wounded.

We were shocked. We knew there was opposition to the war in America, but we were totally unprepared to be greeted with profane taunts and curses. We had given our country our most precious possessions – our lives, our youth, our health, and our buddies. And in return we were vilified by the only Americans who cared enough to show up and greet American soldiers the country and its elected leaders had sent off to war. And in that moment our priceless gift of service to our country was spat upon and cursed.

Had we been warned of the personal attacks and insults, we could have prepared ourselves psychologically for what was to come. But we were totally unaware. On the contrary we were elated to he home once more and in our joy we were vulnerable. And in those crazy moments our joy turned to confusion, numbness, and anger. There is a lesson to be learned from our humiliation. Soldiers need to know what they are to face when returning home, just as in combat.

There were other lessons learned in the hectic days of protest, when recruiters and Army ROTC instructors were picketed and accused of being murderers. Those lessons were that those of us wearing the uniform with pride had to be prepared to be spat upon. We had to learn to turn the other cheek when flower children placed flowers in the weapons of soldiers under arms, while others threw human waste upon uniforms worn with pride. We had to remain calm and step over the inert bodies of demonstrators who physically blocked the entrances to office buildings and teaching facilities. We had to find the moral courage to do our duty under circumstances that can only be described as humiliating and inexcusable.

I was there and I bore witness. We found that recruiting was rejected by many in the academic community, who no longer felt the pride that had sustained our country during World War II. We learned that some universities would no longer tolerate the presence of ROTC Programs. They were bitter lessons, but they were important to understand so that we could do our duty on the Home Front. Most important of all was the lesson that when confronted by misguided protestors we must not retaliate. We must exercise self-control and continue to do our duty with honor and dignity.

Facing Hatred on the Home Front. Leadership: Combat Leaders and Lessons, Bigfork, Montana: Stand Up America USA, 2008. This essay appears in a collection of leadership lessons. It describes the conditions that spawned the persecution of veterans returning from Vietnam. To order on line   
Part One: Selected Works

The Washington Times, 19 June 2005, page B5. The article reviews Jane Fonda’s most recent publication. It draws a comparison between women’s liberation that rejects the nurturing character of the stay-at-home mothers and victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is equally destructive to the nurturing capacity of women, who experience extensive exposure to combat operations.
The war in Iraq has highlighted the role of women in combat. Vivid images of raped and tortured women have altered popular             opinion.

Congressional demands for protecting women have called into question the merits of equal opportunity for women in uniform.           There is a dilemma. And flag-draped caskets returning the remains of dead women soldiers aggravate the problem.

Demands for women’s rights resonate in an emotionally charged climate created by antiwar advocates opposing President Bush’s       policy in Iraq.

Into this debate enters a seasoned champion of women’s rights. Jane Fonda celebrates the victories of feminists and the antiwar         movement in her new book, My Life so Far. Miss Fonda presents herself as leader, albeit an angry one, of both the antiwar and           women’s liberation movements.

From difficult childhood to unrepentant dowager, we observe Miss Fonda observing Miss Fonda through rose-tinted glasses. For          those of my generation, who cherish the culture of our youth, the image is sometime grotesque, as Miss Fonda relishes her                 liberation from the worldview earlier called virtue: honor, loyalty, generosity, modesty and self-restraint

"I would think that if you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees, that we would someday become communists" - Jane Fonda, in 1970
An exerpt of the article is below. to read it in its entirety, please click on title.

Somehow, this communist-loving America hater was given a humanitarian award from the very Nation that she so very desperately despises.

As  presidential elections approach, Americans find the country divided in time of war – a war we did not start. This is a time for bipartisan unity according to long-established precedent. The exception to that precedent was the Vietnam War in which the Democrats broke ranks to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off support for South Vietnam, locked in battle against a massive invasion from North Vietnam, while bringing down the Nixon Administration. It was a strategy for national humiliation and failure, but one that gave the Democrats control of both the White House and the Congress.

Regrettably, we find ourselves again divided in time of war as the Democrats have elected to duplicate their turncoat strategy that brought the nation down to defeat in Vietnam. The Democrats have launched one smear campaign after another to vilify the Bush Administration. The first big lie was that Bush manipulated intelligence to take the Nation to War. Joseph Wilson launched the attack in the pages of the New York Times with charges of cooked intelligence. Wilson’s allegations were found to be false, an inconvenience overlooked by the liberal media bent on perpetuating the myth of the “rush to war” based upon false intelligence. In short the myth of the big lie was itself a lie.

The Democrats continue to rely on the big lie. This time the lie is that American troops have been defeated in Iraq. As America defeated its enemies on every battlefield from World War I to our successful battlefield combat in Vietnam, so too America can certainly defeat its enemies in Iraq; but we must stand by our troops in battle. Far from being defeated our forces have demonstrated a succession of victories over the Taliban, over Saddam Hussein, as well as nation building successes based on the formation of new democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq. So why the lie Harry Reid told about the war being lost? Because the Democrats need defeat. They want to trade defeat and national humiliation for political victory in 2008.

Complicating the situation is the fact that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not understood. Examples of ignorance of the art of war are rife, but one stands out as especially galling to those who have fought: selecting the time and place of battle conveys an important advantage on the commander.

On 9/11 President Bush proclaimed that we would take the War to those who had declared war on America slaughtering thousands of innocent souls in the most brutal assaults ever seen on our soil. Under the leadership of George W. Bush, we have dictated the time and place of battle. Today we are waging the war with the terrorists on their turf -- ground they formerly used to train recruits and plan new attacks in the security of rogue states.
Because we chose al Qaeda’s turf as the battlefield, the terrorists have no alternative but to pour men and equipment into the place of battle we have chosen. The result is that the terrorists are unable to carry the war to America. By selecting the battlefield in the enemy base of operations we have placed distance between our people and the battlefield, dramatically limiting al Qaeda's ability to export violence to America.

The article below is a sample from SECTION III
"The Vietnam War: Our Stolen History, from the files of Andy P. O'Meara Jr. "