Speech of General Le Minh Dao- South Vietnamese General- At 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Warby Michael Patrick Brewer on Oct. 18, 2013, under Veterans Benefits
It is rare opportunity to be able to congregate with the very people for whom we fought in Vietnam. The ARVN soldier was of many ilks. General Dao was a Ranger and one of the most dedicated of all soldiers. The Rangers and the Vietnamese Marines were well trained and could be trusted to complete their missions. They are also the ones who continued fighting the Communists forces after we pulled out. We promised them supplies and bullets in 1973-73. Yet the new Congress in 1974 cut off all aid of any kind, resulting in an onslaught of boat people, many of whom reside in Tucson to this day. General Dao was in a re-education camp for 17 years.
Catholic warriors that we are, the swapping of rosaries was a bit tearful. Now we swap oil exploration technology of the South China sea.
I always knew that war was not for rice! It is no wonder China, Russia, France and yes Japan are all showing interest in Vietnam’s oil. So it is not over yet.
REMEMBRANCE ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR
By: ARVN Major General Le Minh Dao (Ret.)
General Anthony Zinni,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
First and foremost, I would like to thank the Organizing Committee for this event for giving me the opportunity to return to this great state of ARIZONA, and most importantly for allowing me to meet the Veterans of the Viet Nam War and my fellow Vietnamese soldiers of the ARVN: I always respect and appreciate all of you.
The great President Ronald Reagan, who forced the Soviet Unions to abandon the arms race, brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the Cold War at the bargaining table and not on the battlefields, had this to say about the Viet Nam War:
“The Viet Nam War was not so much a war as it was one long battle in an ongoing war, the war in defense of the freedom which is still under assault. This battle was lost not by those brave American and South Vietnamese troops who were waging it, but by political misjudgments and strategic failures at the highest levels of Government”.
I value and agree wholeheartedly with Col. (ret.) Joseph E. Abodeely on his remark on Vietnam:
“Viet Nam veterans were treated like war criminals and made “scapegoats” when they returned home after risking life and limb and psyche for their country. The media and Congress contributed greatly to this, but they have never admitted their guilt and have never treated the Vietnam veterans as the heroes they really were. Instead, they made “heroes” out of the victims of the war such as draft dodgers and anti-war protestors”…
During my 22 years serving in the ARMY, I had many opportunities to fight alongside the American troops, in the 3rd and 4th Tactical Zones, and I had witnessed the bravery of the American Troops. They fought like lions and they died like medieval warriors. At their return to the rear base, to continue with their civic duties in the pacification tasks, in various Rural Development Programs, the American troops had accomplished above and beyond the regular soldier’s mission. The American Troops were the ambassadors of Peace, of Love and of Humanity. They had won the heart and mind of the People. The People of South Viet Nam are forever grateful to the American soldiers, who embody the Values of a True American.
I would like to mention a very important point that we want to remember: The American Soldier had won all the battles in the Viet Nam War!
During the Anti-War period happening under Nixon’s presidency, the media had poisoned public opinion with these defeating slogans of “Bring Our Troops Home”
When the U.S. soldiers came home from the War they were treated unfairly: they were insulted, ignored, and they never had a welcome home parade!
But the Veterans of the Viet Nam War had suffered through all this with great DIGNITY.
For the Vietnam Veterans, some had continued their military careers, becoming Leaders in their fields, some had risen to be valued Officers, Generals! Some had retired from their military careers, and started new careers in Politics, becoming Leaders in the Administrative, Legislative and Judicial branches. The American Viet Nam Veterans are contributing to this country tremendously.
We shouldn’t forget the Veterans of the Viet Nam War who were traumatized by their experience in that far away land: they couldn’t adjust to this “new country” that had sent them there by the draft system, and had rejected them after they accomplished their duties…
These Veterans had faded from the News. They suffered in silence, losing their spouses, their families, their childhood friends that they had left to go to war. They became homeless or just were forgotten! NOW is the time to recognize the True Value of the Veterans of the Viet Nam. It’s better late than never to request the American people to show their appreciation of the sacrifice of the Vietnam Veterans.
They are our true Heroes!
About the Soldiers of the Republic of Viet Nam
The majority of them are farmers, honest laborers in an underdeveloped country. Even though these soldiers are poor in material things, they are rich in their LOVE of the Motherland. They fought against the Communist aggressors from the day the Communist Movement had taken hold of North Viet Nam in 1945 until the whole country was invaded by the Communists in 1975.
Until the American and Allied troops came to Viet Nam they had fought side by side with the ARVN.
The ARVN usually went to battles with a half full stomach. Their sacrifices were enormous: around 270,000 soldiers were killed; more than 700,000 were wounded, in a country with 21 million people during that period.
Just as the American soldiers, the Vietnamese soldiers didn’t lose any battle.
When the Paris Accord was signed in 1973, very swiftly, to allow the American troops to withdraw from Viet Nam and to bring the P.O.W.’s home, the Communists from the North had still remained in the South. Then the U.S. Congress had voted to end any kind of AID to Vietnam, they had signed the DEATH Penalty to Viet Nam.
The Vietnamese Soldiers had continued to fight to the very end, up to April 30, 1975. With the collapse of South Viet Nam, the whole country fell in complete darkness.
The ARVN were punished severely in the so-called Reeducation Camps.
President Ronal Reagan remarked:
“…Ending a conflict is not so simple, not just calling it off and coming home, because the price for that kind of Peace could be a thousand years of darkness for generation’s Viet Nam born”
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I came to the U.S.A. to re-unify with my family on April 1993, after suffering for 17 years of extreme revenge in the hands of Communists from North Viet Nam!
At Dulles Airport, VA, a female news anchor asked me about my impression when coming to America. I answered right away “I just escaped from Hell on Earth and reached Heaven on Earth”
Three weeks after that, I went to visit the Viet Nam War Memorial at Washington, D.C. I strolled around the Black Wall for many hours, the Wall that commemorated over 58,000 Fallen Heroes of USA. I remembered their bravery during their fights for my beloved country. I remembered these P.O.W.’s and M.I.A’s still in Viet Nam, without a chance to come home…
I stood in front of Col Jack Taylor Demsey who was killed in 1967, and Captain Lyell Francis King, killed in 1966. They were my comrades-in-arms at the 4th Tactical Zone and I whispered:
” I will never forget you, my friends. Viet Nam will always remember and admire you”. Saying those words, tears streamed down my face.
Peace be with you all. God bless our great nation, the United States of America.