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Re: No Gun Ri
Top of my head today from the pit of my stomach at the time. John Paul Vann and I were company commanders in Bruce Palmer's 16th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany. Our early days in Korea gave us much in common which we discussed ad nauseum. I took over his heavy mortar company eventually because both Palmer and his successor thought my years in rifle companies had made me too narrow.
This introduction is to put my comment on Cookie Sewell's reference to TET 68 in perspective. Part of my reason for this, despite the effort to keep our group's focus on Korea is because those of us formed in Korea took some of the "intellectual baggage" we acquired there on to Vietnam with us. Most of it was not applicable.
I was the RF/PF advisor for John Paul Vann in III Corps from October 67 until April 68 when I went to Hau Nghia for the rest of my two year tour as its Province Senior Advisor. I had spent my time until then in a jeep all over III Corps visiting hamlets and advising and reporting on RF/PF units. ( I spoke French well and Vietnamese badly, but most of the hamlet chiefs and older RF/PF figures spoke French well enough for us to communicate.) My time in Laos with an "A" team in 1961 and my years at Ft Bragg as an instructor in the Counterinsurgency course afterward formed my appreciation of the "People's War" that we were fighting. Attending the French staff college and then working for two years with the commander of Beatrice at Dien Bien Phu formed (deformed?) my thinking about this sort of war. Vann and I were agreed, however, on what we knew.
We thought TET to have been a predictable disaster, and our subsequent efforts were to limit the damages done. Do not blame the media for a misunderstanding of its effect on what we were doing as Sewell has done. And read Ellsberg's new work, Secrets. I will paste my comments on it to you shortly if this is still permissable for the Korean War circle. If not they will go just to Sewell and Duquette.
Task Force Smith, and "Love" Company, 21st Infantry