View Full Version : Vietnam & the Vietnam Veteran...

02-07-2011, 10:08 PM
Here's a brief 5+ minute film regarding an era, of men and women, which some of you youngsters may not be familiar with:


If you know or happen to meet a Vietnam Veteran, please take the opportunity to thank them for their service to our country. Its a very simple act of kindness and one that they certainly deserve from us.

If you're a Vietnam Veteran, please take the time to forward this link on to others.

Thank you...:usa

02-08-2011, 11:03 AM
My dad did two tours right before he retired at 20 years.

Thanks for posting this, Mark :salute:

02-08-2011, 11:29 AM

02-08-2011, 11:30 AM
Great post Mark!! :tu :tu

02-08-2011, 11:45 AM
Thank you Mark, that was a reminder of what all Americans should know and be thankful of...Of course without it we could be speaking German and Japanese....Freedom isn't free...

02-08-2011, 04:07 PM
Thank you Mark, that was a reminder of what all Americans should know and be thankful of...Of course without it we could be speaking German and Japanese....Freedom isn't free...

:tu...How true that is Paul!

02-22-2011, 05:08 PM
very cool.

02-22-2011, 05:16 PM
Of course without it we could be speaking German and Japanese....
I'm no historian, but I don't think the North Vietnamese spoke either of those languages... ;)
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09-06-2011, 08:34 PM
For a research paper for one of my current classes, I wrote on the monumental clusterf*** that was Operation Rolling Thunder, and how what transpired in Washington set the tone for the entire conflict, to the detriment of those sent forth in battle. As a Targeting professional, it breaks my f***ing heart. Thought I'd share.

The Broken Triangle
Operation Rolling Thunder and the Causes of its Demise

Frank Rivera (Student ID 405xxxx)
Professor Marisea Stanley
History 102: American History since 1877
August 2011

The day that man set out on a quest for food, derived the method by which to attain it, carried out that plan, and felt satisfied afterwards, targeting was born. That sequence of events is the targeting process in its most basic form: Objectives, Target Identification, Effects, Execution and Assessment. Targeting is a problem solving methodology. It identifies something that needs to be acted upon to produce an effect, develops a plan to achieve it, acts upon it, and assesses the success of the endeavor. It is uniquely positioned to tackle the problem sets in war because the very nature of targeting allows for an individual to map out the problem set and identify the areas where effort must be applied to diffuse the situation.

However when the process is not allowed to do its endemic purpose, the results can not only mean failure of achieving objectives but also have disastrous long term consequences. The conflict in Southeast Asia (Vietnam) offers some valuable lessons on the ramifications in war when the fundamental processes and mechanisms for achieving victory are tampered with for reasons outside of the principles, doctrine and law of war. If the objectives phase of Targeting is not clear or allowed to be achieved, it is impossible for proper Targeting to even begin to get off its feet. It is a recipe for a lot of effort, ordinance, and lives potentially lost with no tangible result. Operation Rolling Thunder was such a case, and it was chronicled expertly by Col. W. Hays Parks, USMC, in his 1982 piece for Air University Review.

Rolling Thunder was initiated in 1965 under the Johnson administration and planned as a bombing interdiction campaign to deny the government of North Vietnam a sanctuary from which to carry out its military operations in South Vietnam. Its objectives were threefold: to reduce the flow and increase the cost of the continued infiltration of men and supplies from North to South Vietnam; to raise the morale of the South Vietnamese people; and to make clear to the North Vietnamese political leadership that so long as they continued their aggression against South Vietnam, they would pay the price in North Vietnam. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were solidly behind the administration’s objectives, and to meet them they presented leadership with a target development list of ninety four key targets identified for destruction consistent with those objectives, attacking heart and arteries of North Vietnamese logistics.[1]

The White House however disapproved the target list, revealing areas of fundamental disagreement with the military. First, the military viewed Rolling Thunder as a single conflict integrated across several spectrums to include geographical, psychological and social. The Administration viewed it as supplementary vs. complementary to the overall conflict. The second area of major disagreement was in the execution phase. The basis for which the administration wanted to see Rolling Thunder executed was termed “gradualism”. It called for a graduated application of military power over an unspecified period of time, managed internally through geographic prohibitions, target denial, and stringent strike restrictions and rules of engagement. The problem with that is that it ignored principles of war such as mass, surprise and existing military doctrine regarding air power employment.[2] The reasons for gradualism were rooted in perception and domestic politics. The Joint Chiefs and then Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown pleaded with the administration, stating:

“It can be argued that because the flow into South Vietnam is a larger fraction of what passed through Route Packages I-III than it is of what passes through Route Packages IV-VI, an amount of material destroyed in the former area has more effect than the same amount destroyed in the latter. This is true, but to argue that sorties in the northern region are therefore less important overlooks the fact that this very gradient is established largely by the attrition throughout the LOG. In analogous transport or diffusion problems of this sort in the physical world (e.g., the diffusion of heat) it is demonstrable that interferences close to the source have a greater effect, not a lesser effect, than the same interferences close to the output. If the attacks on the LOGs north of 20° stopped, the flow of goods past 20° could easily be raised by far more than 20% and the 20% increase of attack south of 20° would nowhere compensate for this.” [3]Unfortunately it fell on deaf ears.

Along with this overarching guidance in the execution phase, enormous restraints were also exercised through the target development phase, which was closely controlled by the White House. Target development, by virtue of being what sets the tone for execution, was also subject to the concept of gradualism. It was the intent of the White House to execute an interdiction campaign that would minimize international and domestic political repercussions in the methods used. As a result, minimization of civilian casualties became the principal criterion for target approval, rather than being a mitigation issue en route to achieving objectives as it should be. The North Vietnamese were not reluctant to take advantage of these self imposed restrictions. Gradualism allowed them time to organize, coordinate, and refine their defenses; sanctuaries and restrictions on attack of their defenses enabled them to undertake optimum utilization of weapon systems.[4]

The lessons that can be gleamed from Rolling Thunder are profound. Col. Parks summarized,“The restrictions imposed by this nation’s civilian leaders were not based on the law of war but on an obvious ignorance of the law —to the detriment of those sent forth to battle.” [3] All in all, it was a miserable failure. North Vietnamese lines of communications, logistical flow, and defenses were able to be used and fortified, further bolstering their morale and capability. Rolling Thunder was a dissolution of the fundamental methodology, employed via the principles of war, that allows one to achieve solutions to problem sets in the course of an armed conflict. It was an illustration of how the targeting process (and to a larger extent the campaign) can yield unsatisfactory results when the fundamental mechanism by which it achieves results is tampered with, especially for no valid reasons concerning the law, principles and operational doctrine of war. This unfortunately is seen constantly in the realm of war.

Civilian leadership at times places optics and HOW something is carried out over actually achieving the originally stated goals. In the case of Rolling Thunder, the original objectives began to morph in order to be achievable by the method of gradualism and the collateral restrictions. Thus, targeting had been broken. Targeting delivers the method and solution to problems. The weaponeering phase of the targeting process mitigates collateral concerns as best it can while still achieving objectives. It does not achieve the best solutions by having a method dictated to it. It is arguable that had the initial ninety four target list been allowed to be prosecuted, North Vietnamese supplies and logistical maneuver would have been decimated swiftly and harshly in a single operation, possibly bringing about conditions of surrender years earlier. Instead, they were able to dig in and mitigate. The way Rolling Thunder was handled would unfortunately set the tone for the entire conflict.

Parks, W. Hays. “Rolling Thunder and the Law of War.” Air University Review Jan-Feb 1982 Paragraph 5, 7. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1982/jan-feb/parks.html#parks (Accessed August 2011)

Joint Chiefs of Staff. Operational Doctrine: Joint Publication 3-60 Joint Targeting (Department of Defense, 2007)

Joint Chiefs of Staff. Operational Doctrine: Joint Publication 3-0 Joint Operations (Department of Defense, 2008)

Joint Chiefs of Staff. Operational Doctrine: Joint Publication 5-0 Joint Operation Planning (Department of Defense, 2006)

Col. Cal Hickey (USAF Ret.), e-mail message to author August, 2011

1 Parks, W. Hays. “Rolling Thunder and the Law of War.” Air University Review Jan-Feb 1982 Paragraph 5, 7. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1982/jan-feb/parks.html#parks (Accessed August 2011)
2 Parks, W. Hays. Paragraph 8, 10
3 Parks, W. Hays. Paragraph, 14
4 Parks, W. Hays. Paragraph 19, 22, 25
5 Parks, W. Hays. Paragraph 35

09-14-2011, 06:21 PM
Thanks for posting that, Mark.

I'm a Vietnam vet...and damn proud of it.

Semper Fi, my friends, you will never be forgotten.