Vietnam-SC

A replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall is on display at Historic Camden
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

A scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is on display at Historic Camden. Its called the Wall That Heals and features all the names of the 58,318 who served and died in Vietnam. South Carolina Public Radio spoke with students, teachers, veterans and community members during a recent visit to the exhibit.

James and Tammy Blackwell take a picture of a box containing the names of all South Carolinians who died during the Vietnam War.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

The last American troops withdrew from South Vietnam in 1975. On March 29, the 50th anniversary of this historic event coincided with the first National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Vietnam War Veterans Day is a new holiday, established when President Trump signed the Vietnam War Recognition Act of 2017. Veterans and supporters across the country gathered to remember their sacrifices and also to finally hear the words "thank you for your service."

War Through the Looking Glass

Sep 29, 2017
Bryan Grigsby

There's a certain luxury to examining war from behind the lens. Crop out what you care not see. Focus on the atrocities, without reference to the so called savages. Film maker Ken Burns appears to know this in his Vietnam documentary. It is unapologetically full exposure.

Burns calls it unsettled business. He says it is proof that in war, as in life, more than one truth can exist at the same time. Yet, here we are, trying to make sense of that duality some 50 years later.

U.S. Army Bell UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment from the Filhol Rubber Plantation area to a new staging area, during Operation "Wahiawa", conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi.
James K. F. Dung, SFC; U.S. National Archives Catalog:530610

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV.  As a companion piece, we talked with Vietnam veterans Wade Fulmer and Jim Knight, as well as historian Fritz Hamer, who pointed out that Vietnam was the most unconventional of wars the U.S.

U.S. Marines with Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, direct a concentration of fire at the enemy during Operation Allen Brook, 8 May 1968.
Official Marine Corps photo 371490, via Wikimedia Common

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV. In this segment, we continue our talk with historian Fritz Hamer and Palmetto State veterans Jim Knight and Wade Fulmer. Knight recalls many small firefights and one really big one – the TET offensive of February, 1968. Hamer said even though TET was a military disaster for the the North Vietnamese, it was a propaganda bonanza.

Narrative: Ambush in the Vietnam War

Sep 18, 2017
Gary Jackson and Charles Philips, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. When StoryCorps visited Columbia in 2016, Charles Philips interviewed his friend Gary Jackson about his experience in the Vietnam War as tank gunner. Here, Jackson talks about what happened to him in March 1971 when he was involved in Operation Lam Son 719.

Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club
Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club

Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Originally broadcast 05/27/11) - Walter Edgar talks with Col. Walt Ledbetter and Duncan McCrae, veterans of the 263rd Marine Helicopter Squadron. Their aim is to compile a history of their experiences in the Vietnam War in 1969-70. They share stories from some of the missions they flew. Ledbetter and McCrae are joined by Clint Chalmers, producer.

Orvil Bumpus, Tim Campbell, Butch Gay, Mike Dickerson, James Henderson, Arthur Beaufort, and John Trulock.
Gordon Humphries / University Of South Carolina, School Of Visual Art and Design

 

Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

In 1968, the 319th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit, was sent to fight in the Vietnam War. The unit drew most of its members from the Augusta, Georgia/Aiken, S.C. area. During their 11 month tour of duty, they drove their trucks over one million miles, delivering ammunition, supplies, and soldiers to bases around South Vietnam. They called themselves “Troxler's Truckers,” after their commanding officer.

Homer Steedly
Tibby Steedly

 Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Broadcast 11-14-08) - When we talked to Vietnam War veteran Homer Steedly in 2007 the South Carolina native told us of his plans to return to Vietnam. One of his goals has been to, at last, meet face-to-face with the family of Hoang Ngoc Dam, the young North Vietnamese soldier (a medic) whom he'd killed in March of 1969; and to help locate Dam's remains and return them to his family's village for burial.

During Vietnam, Music Spoke to Both Sides of a Divided Nation

Sep 15, 2017
Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., 1963.
Rowland Scherman (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration), via Wikimedia Commons

(THE CONVERSATION) -  Music is central to Ken Burns's new Vietnam War documentary, with an original score accompanied by samples of the era's most popular musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, the people interviewed for the film were even asked to provide their 10 favorite songs from the war years.

While it's natural that a historical film would include period-specific songs, music played an outsized role in the Vietnam War era. Whereas during past wars, musicians wrote songs to unite Americans, Vietnam-era music spoke to the growing numbers of disillusioned citizens, and brought attention to the cultural fissures that were beginning to emerge.

Gen. William Westmoreland
SC Hall of Fame

 General Westmoreland’s rise through the ranks of the army coincided with television coverage of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, making him one of the most recognized military figures of the 20th century. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in 17 battle campaigns during three wars: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Promoted to the rank of brigadier general at age 38, he later earned a second star, making him at the time the youngest major general in the U.S. Army.

Last Days in Vietnam

Apr 20, 2015
Photo by Hiroji Kubota

  “Last Days in Vietnam” is a new film documenting the end of the Vietnam War on the 40th anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Saigon.  The film, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy, youngest child of the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, will air on PBS and ETV April 28 at 9 p.m.