War veterans, veterans that have served in the military, the United States Army, as well as other branches of the Armed Forces are facing problems of which they never, never dreamed they would have to face!
Many veterans enlisted in the US Army in the early 60’s under the guise that they were fighting for American freedom and to stop the spread of communism. The true facts about wars in foreign lands are usually about political efforts. The military recruiters had and always used a script written by someone from the Department of Defense, or someone up the chain of command to sell the recruit on enlisting. At any rate, the scripts the recruiters used to entice young enlistees were filled with promises and guarantees the enlistee, as a soldier, would get after he was inducted into the military service.
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From personal experience, I found that many of the promises and guarantees turned out to be mere fodder, encouragement to entice the inductee to sign on the dotted line for a three-year enlistment. The recruiter promised the enlistee education, world travel; the ability to see the world and get paid for it! Many veterans learned the hard way that these promises and enticements never came about and in war time, the military failed to follow up on their promises that were made at the time of the soldiers enlistment.
VIETNAM – troops, bodies, that was first and foremost on military recruiters agenda! The United States Army needed troops in Southeast Asia so badly; the recruiters were instructed to promise the inductee almost anything to acquire his quota. In 1962, the Vietnam War was escalating at a pace beyond anything the American military ever expected. As the war in Southeast Asia gained in ferocity, the numbers of US Army troops were quickly becoming short supply. The President of the United States, John F. Kennedy and his secretary of defense soon found with a quagmire; getting the number of troops needed to fight the war in Southeast Asia was quickly becoming a major objective. The United States, with the incoming new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, a new president with no military experience, facing an offensive with more strength and determination than this new president knew how to handle.
Vietnam would prove to be one of the most opposed, hated, destructive bloodbaths in US history! The French had tried in vain to conquer the small Southeastern country, the small tropical country located near a range of tough and rugged mountains. The small country, bordering Laos, Indonesia, and the sea of China. Indonesia was on the southwest. A small country that no one in the US military thought would be much of a threat to the mighty US Army. That turned out to be the under-estimation in all U.S. Military history.
Troops were being sent to Vietnam as fast as the recruiters could get them signed up. With each passing day, more troops were in demand. The death toll began to rise at an enormous rate. There were men sent to Vietnam that were not old enough to be there, yet, they were recruited and Vietnam was where they were sent to fill the demand for troops to fight the North Vietnamese army. Where there is war, there is death. That, my friend, is the nature of fighting a battle, a battle with soldiers determined to kill the enemy, win the war and come home safe and alive to a family and friends that have been waiting to see the day. Many soldiers were sent to Vietnam as young men for a tour, each hoping they would return home alive and well. Many did not! Many men were lost in the battles as the fighting escalated more and more with each passing day. The military found it did have specialized men that were especially trained to operate much of the equipment the military were realizing they needed. The commanding officers were learning specially trained men were needed and there were no means to obtain many of the M.O.S.s such as Radar, snipers, special communication troops due to the fact a soldier would only serve one “overseas” tour of duty in one enlistment or draft. The command quickly found there must be ways to secure the specially personnel needed to fill the needs now present in a war fought on the ground and in the air as well.
The term, “TDY” came into play. Temporary Duty, or TDY became the vehicle by which the military could get troops to serve in those special fields where the specialist were needed. A problem was on the horizon that would one day become a nightmare for the TDY troops that served the half tour of duty, as a half overseas tour was all that was allowed. Once a soldier had served a full tour of duty overseas, the soldier was not allowed to serve but one tour of duty. TDY would enable the soldier to serve one and a half overseas tours all in one enlistment. Many troops found later, there were no records of them ever being in Vietnam. Many records were never kept and thousands were destroyed after a battle due to the clerks and records personnel losing his live. There was no one that knew how to go about keeping the records and filing the paper trail that would become the soldier’s military records. Many troops were lost in battle and there were no records due to the overwhelming number of lives lost and the amount of paper and that no one knew what to do with. The decision was made to shred and burn all paper that could not be identified as records and accounting material. This paper was loaded into a 6X6 truck and dumped on the ground where fuel was poured on the paper and was set ablaze. Thousands of DTD troops were not accounted for and no paper trail was ever created. I know this to be true, the burning and shredding took place. I was there and watched the large pile of paper as it was burned.
The army had hundreds of troops lost in battle at the Ir Drang during November 13 through November 19, 1965. Some of the companies lost its entire members; several lost most of the troops that made up at least two companies. This meant there were no company clerks or records people to handle the paper work, if there were any paper to be had. Troops that fell in this category have no records or paper trails anywhere. Their would-be records were among the thousands of TDY troops and the men that lost their lives in battle. Now the VA is sending out a message saying they are sorry, they have NO records of the soldier ever serving or being in Southeast Asia or in Vietnam. They were there but there were no records created and filed with the Department of Defense, therefore, there are few to NO records on file for the DTY soldiers or other troops that spent time in Vietnam during the early ‘63’s.
THERE WILL BE A FOLLOW-UP AND A CONTINUANCE TO THIS STORY IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. I am in the middle of some research as to what can be done about the troops that are applying for benefits and getting the same ole story about the VA having no records of their presence in South Vietnam. I, personally witnessed the burning of thousands of pieces of paper more than once during the 183 days I spent in South Vietnam.Tags: war
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