Author's Name: Marlott Rhoades
Title: "Palace Dog ESL"
In march of1969 I volunteered for a tour in Viet Nam. My PCS was in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado at Peterson Field (USAF) . The Air Force was seeking English language instructors to teach the South Vietnam Air Force as a part of President Nixon's Vietnamization program. Over the past 5-6 years, I had become increasingly confused on the real story of our involvement in that SE Asian conflict. Listening to numerous personal stories from returning Airmen, the NBC Nightly NewsHour, and reports from official USAF news sources, the whole situation was quite murky to me.
After two short weeks of classroom training at the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio, I arrived in Saigon in April of '69. It did not take long to realize it was a "foreign war" being run out of Washington with nothing less than millions and billions of tax dollars being poured into that quagmire of a lost cause.
550,000 US soldiers were in country that same month, and yet most of the Vietnamese soldiers had little or no interest in actually fighting the North. They actually felt and believed America was more interested in a permanent occupation of their South Viet Nam; especially as they witnessed those massive complexes in Long Binh, Vung Tao, Tan Son Nhut, and other N locations. In hind sight I felt the same way.
As a footnote, I had no personal experience with any war protesters, any disrespect, or rudeness upon my return to The States. Once again, I feel fortunate.
Ken Burns' documentary made me realize how easy I had it serving in Nam. Now we can only hope and pray there is no similar story being broadcast in 50 years about America's involvement in Afghanistan.