Pay Their Dues

Pay Their Dues
SITREP From Machete Alpha 6

(March 1995, Military magazine, PO Box 189490, Sacramento, CA, 95818)

The other day I had occasion to think about an old friend of mine, Major (Chaplain) Aloysius P. McGonigal…I’m not kidding, that was his real name. Father McGonigal with his real name. Father McGonigal with his smile and wonderful Irish brogue could have played Barry Fitzgerald’s part in a remake of an old Bing Crosby movie about Catholic priests. In combat he was one of those chaplains who had a calling to be with the troops…out where the body bags are filled…where that old saying “there are no atheists in the trenches,” means something…but that’s another story. He loved the troops…but never try to BS him.

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A story about a bus ride in Vietnam

Friendly and Exotic People
Submitted by Dick B

If you’re looking to meet new, friendly and exotic people in an intimate, group setting, I strongly recommend taking a bus in Vietnam. It doesn’t matter where you go or for how long. If this is your sort of adventure, there are some things you need to know. You absolutely must find the bus at its orgination early enough to get a seat. Make sure you make a head call, take on bottled water and charge up your sense of humor. By the time the old rig leaves the city limits it will be SSSRO. That’s standing, sitting and squatting room only. You can be sure every inch of floor real estate will be covered with the feet of those hapless beings who did not have the foresight to find or be able to get to the bus station. Experiencing the bus is one thing, liking the bus is an acquired taste.

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Remembering our Heroes

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

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Vietnam Story: Captain James Kyle

Vietnam Story
by: Captain James Kyle


It was a cold and wintry day in February, 2007 when I received a phone call from a former Navy Corpsman. He told me he was responding to my request on the First Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division website for anyone who knew PFC Danny Nicklow during the time of his tour in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. After exhausting all previous efforts I had made during my search to find the answers to the ending of my personal hero’s life, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give this website a try, not expecting any real results. The Corpsman proceeded to tell me that he was with Danny the day he was killed in Quang Tri Province, in the hills east of the KheSanh Marine Base almost forty years ago. I was completely stunned and became incapacitated for a moment to answer back. Here for the first time I had come full circle with the man who answered my hopes and prayers over the last four decades. I had been determined to find the answer to the question that had lingered over that time span. Was it really Danny who came back to us in late March of 1967 or was it another unknown Marine who was part of the now famous ” Walking Dead” Marine Battalion? Finally here was the person who knew the answer to all my questions. The quest began almost immediately after the military funeral for PFC Danny Nicklow of Friendsville, Maryland took place in late March of 1967. My feelings for this young man from the farmlands of Western Maryland had developed over a brief moment in life. The story of my relationship with Danny and his effect on me began in 1964 and has lasted a lifetime.

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A former Marine talks about working in Vietnam.

A Job’s a Job
Submitted by Dick B

Yes. I got my first paying job in Vietnam a while ago. And a good job it was.

We were visiting Thu Ba.s house to discuss with the family a little baby-sitting we needed done while we were in Sai Gon. Her brother Duc was on the floor with Thu Ba.s daughters making paper shoes. Since everyone was talking turkey, I offered to help him in exchange for the cup of coffee he had just made for me. He looked up at me, laughed at my offer and cleared a spot on the floor next to the girls. These are paper shoes not for walking but for offering up to dead ancestors. The dearly departed appreciate their survivors sending to the spirit world dapper paper clothes and shoes for them. After a short ceremony these will be set on fire. Duc makes these shoes for the retailers of such things as a little cottage industry.

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Memorial Day Reunion

Marine Memorial Day Reunion
by Lcpl Lyons

I have been seeing quite a few letters to Sgt Grit about Memorial Day…Let me share this story with my fellow Marines about a very Special Memorial Day that took place 2005. 35 years ago I left a Few Good Men and some of the best friends that a person could ever have on a barren hill called Hill 34. Charlie Co. 1/5. RVN. This separation occurred because it was my time to rotate back to the World……..

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Gen. Bui Tin Describes North Vietnam’s Victory

How North Vietnam Won The War
Taken from The Wall Street Journal, Thursday August 3, 1995

What did the North Vietnamese leadership think of the American antiwar movement? What was the purpose of the Tet Offensive? How could the U.S. have been more successful in fighting the Vietnam War? Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam’s army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.

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Vietnam POW’s Interesting View on Jane Fonda

Thought you might appreciate this mans views.
Unfortunately, too many of our servicemen can recount similar circumstances.
They all cannot be wrong. How quickly the American public forgets.

To whom it may concern:

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Viet Nam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Viet Nam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a “black box” in Hanoi. My north Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At on time, I was I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.) We were Jane Fonda’s “war criminals.” When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POW’S were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as “humane and lenient.” Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel rebar placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped. Jane Fonda had the audacity to say that the POW’s were lying about our torture and treatment. Now ABC is allowing Barbara Walters to honor Jane Fonda in her Feature “100 Years of Great Women.” Shame, shame on Jane Fonda! Shame, shame on Barbara Walters! Shame, shame on 20-20. Shame, shame on ABC. And , shame, shame on the Disney Company. I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me, her husband, Tom Hayden, answered for her. She was mind controlled by her husband. This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as “100 Years of Great Women.” After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement. I said that I held Joan Baez’s husband in very high regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and went to prison in protest. If the other anti-war protestors took this same route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended the war much earlier, and there wouldn’t be as many on that somber black granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is democracy. This is the American way. Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to Hanoi, wore their uniform, propagandized for the communists, and urged American soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs murdered, she called us liars. After her hero’sthe North Vietnamese communiststook over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head forever. Shame! Shame!

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Vietnam Marines in Air Force Slop Shoot

Vietnam Marines in Air Force Slop Shoot
Submitted by Dick Overton

One of the Marines in our unit was due to rotate to the world. He had orders but no transportation to DaNang Airbase. So, a few of us procured a “Six-by” and made the trip.

Finding ourselves in culture shock as we arrived on the airbase, living in bunkers just 20 miles up the road, we had to take in all the sights. The base was beautiful to us. Air conditioned buildings, the works. To this day I remember the designation over the front door of the officers club, “The 266 Gunfighters”.

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