It was a dark day in America as well, as after losing 58,000 Americans in our support of the South Vietnamese government, the Democratic-led Congress cut off funds and military aid and allowed the Communists to march in and take over.
The North Vietnamese defeated the South Vietnamese militarily and did not defeat American troops in combat. All American combat troops had left the country in 1973.
As I noted here on this past National Vietnam Veterans' Day, back in 1970 and 1971, I was an 18 and 19-year-old sailor stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk as the aircraft carrier launched combat aircraft against North Vietnam from “Yankee Station” in the Gulf of Tonkin during the final years of the Vietnam War.
I recall that nearly every pilot, intelligence officer and seasoned military man I spoke to aboard the carrier was disgusted with the conduct of the war.
They thought we should win it.
If only, I was told, we were allowed to unleash the full power of the aircraft carrier, the North Vietnamese would quickly surrender.
I agreed then and now, after all these years in which I’ve interviewed many soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines and CIA officers who fought in the war, I still agree.
We could have – we should have - won the Vietnam War.
Militarily, we did win, as we never lost a battle over company strength during our entire time there, and when the North Vietnamese defeated the South Vietnamese in 1975, there were no American combat troops in the country.
We lost the war only in the sense that America lacked a political will to go all out and defeat the communists.
(I fear we will see a repeat of this travesty in Afghanistan as Biden pulls all American troops out. We have a small number of troops in Afghanistan with few casualties in the past couple of years. I believe we should keep troops in Afghanistan to keep the Taliban honest, just as we keep troops in South Korea and Germany.)
You can read my Washington Times review of The Vietnam War via the below link:
You can also read my Washington Times on another view of the Vietnam War via the below link: