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Jan-24-2012 15:57printcommentsVideo

TET '68 and the Siege at Khe Sanh - 44 Years Ago

The Chinese New Year holiday holds memories of fierce bravery and combat.

Tet Offensive, Vietnam- 1968
Tet Offensive, Vietnam- 1968

(DA NANG, Vietnam) - The infamous Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, 44 years ago, marked the turning point in a long U.S. military struggle to help the South Vietnamese win a decisive victory against the Communist North. Both sides had strong determination, and the Americans fought for years with the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN) with many victories to their credit.

However politicians ran the Vietnam War as they run all wars, and as close as the United States came to securing victory, (more than once the North Vietnamese admitted) the powers-to-be didn't allow it to happen.

American perceptions of the war in Vietnam were greatly changed by the surprise offensive against U.S. and ARVN forces that was launched on the Chinese New Year, normally a time in Vietnam for reflection and celebration.

Those Americans who served in Vietnam became part of a machine that still grinds in many ways today. Their battles today are with their own government which has left many Veterans in the cold.

The video below is from Marine Warrior Truman Powell in Tyler, Texas. It shows TET '68 and the siege at Khe Sanh. Two of the battalions at Khe Sanh were 1st and 3rd Battalions 26th Marine Regiment.

Truman Powell said, "My first infantry platoon before going to Tanks was Company C 1st Battalion 26th Marine Regiment. The scenes from the video clip are from the siege, Hue City fighting and fighting around the American Embassy in Saigon".

He says it was a long, long time ago, in a place far, far away.

Special thanks to Paul Sutton and Mike Fishbaugh.

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G 2/3 January 25, 2012 11:08 am (Pacific time)

seems like yesterday. Semper Fi god damn it!

Editor: You know I thought of you yesterday, Brother.  Semper fi man!

Ralph E. Stone January 25, 2012 7:30 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed in Saigon during the Tet offensive. We on the ground knew that General Westmoreland's highly publicized, overly optimistic assessments of the war were not true. We "won" every battle, but lost the war. The turning point of the war was the 1968 Tet Offensive, in which communist forces, having staged a diversion at the Battle of Khe Sanh, attacked cities and towns throughout South Vietnam. U.S. and South Vietnamese troops successfully fought off the attacks, and the communist forces took heavy losses, but the ferocity of the assault shook public confidence in Westmoreland's previous assurances about the state of the war. I remember the B-52 carpet bombing that shook the earth and our helicopters strafing the North Vietnamese troops. I attended law school after the war and my fellow classmates -- who had avoided the draft -- kiddingly called me Captain America when American disillusionment of the war was acute. I later visited Vietnam and readily admitted that I am a Vietnam veteran. I was then offered a tour of Vietnam war sites such as the Cu Chi tunnels. I declined. The Vietnamese seemed to have quickly moved on, but it took a lot longer for Americans to forget.

Thanks for adding this Ralph!

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