Complete your mission and get everyone back alive. In battle, that is an unknown. Will we make it home in one piece? Such anxiety can be a torment if you think about it. But the training kicks in and you do your job: sometimes kill or be killed. In Vietnam, what drove the troops to cynicism, insanity, or even beyond, was the profound disillusionment created by the “rules of engagement” and the official policies of sanctuary given the enemy. It rendered the brutal combat and the bloody carnage pointless. Who wants to sacrifice in a far-away war fought for the benefit of defense contractors and not meant to be won?
In modern warfare, the helicopter became a vital tool, adding vital mobility to the military forces, providing close air support, troop transport and resupply, insertion and extraction of reconnaissance teams, and supporting special forces operations. The medical evacuation of wounded personnel saved many lives that otherwise might have been lost.
In Marine Helo, enter the cockpit of a Boeing Vertol CH-46 and experience the mindset of a steely Marine combat pilot, performing harrowing missions, often touching down on make-shift landing zones in a hail of live fire from a ruthless enemy, armed with rockets, mortars and machine guns.
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In his detailed journal, Capt. David M. Petteys reveals the brutal realities of this Southeast Asian conflict. A conflict that was micromanaged by politicians, guided by an inept career-oriented caretaker military leadership, and fueled by greedy defense contractors.
Most know the U.S. Marine mantra—Leave No Man Behind. Today, at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., we still actively grieve the loss of 58,000-plus comrades who didn’t make it back. They will not be forgotten. Every Viet Nam veteran who visits the wall knows where his name belongs.
The average age of an American KIA (Killed in Action) was 23.1 years old. Sixty-one percent were under 20 years of age.
“Older men declare war. But it is the youth who must fight and die.”