Jack, As far as news paper articles, there
was an article on the AP wire from the LA Times that made it to the Baltimore Sun Paper. I am from Baltimore,
and my brother saw the article and read it to my parents. You know one of those "Holy Smokes" kinds of moments.
I no longer have that article, but I'm sure it is in the L A Times archives.
I was sent to Duc Duc in late January
1971 to be the "Senior NCO of the Marine Liaison Team." The team consisted of me, the new guy, two Marine Lance Corporals,
who had been there for a while, and really could have done everything that needed to be done by themselves.
I lived in a little hooch just to the
right of where the U.S. Army put a generator on the river side of the compound North (?). Right behind the building
that had "Quan Duc Duc" on it.
I read the account that the Marine helicopter
pilots wrote that is on your website. That was the first I knew about the boats and the NVA battalions. I was
told later by the Army Intelligence Captain, who was part of Advisory Team 15, that it was elements of the T-89th and 90th
Sapper Battalions that had hit us.
We had been getting shelled on a fairly regular
basis, but nothing super-heavy. I was in the main bunker listening to RFVN about 0230-0300 hrs and they were just reporting
that Lt. Calley had been sentenced. We started taking pretty heavy mortar fire. It hit the bunker that I was in
and the building behind it. The second mortar round that hit the building took out most of our medical supplies,
including the IV bottles. A Rocket-Propelled-Grenade (RPG) hit the chain link fence that the Army had put outside the
bunkers for just this purpose, but the explosion still pushed through the bunker wall and I got hit in the head with a PRC
Radio that I was trying to talk on. We were on the radio pretty quick and found out that the Viet Cong terrorists
were hitting several places all at once; so the cavalry so to speak, was spread thin.
A mortar round hit the roof of the bunker
and the ply board ceiling came down. The Vietnamese Commanding Officer, Major Chin, came in very excited and yelled
"VC in compound." An American Army Officer and I took an M-60 machine-gun and headed for another bunker. We
could see that most of the bunkers below us on the west side of the compound had been satchel charged and were gone.
We opened up with the M-60 just to let the Viet Cong know we were there and they promptly returned the favor and wounded
the Army Officer in the arm. We could hear explosions all over, but I could not see what was happening on the village
side of the perimeter. We were the only folks on the west side of the defensive perimeter for a while, and finally a
Vietnamese machine gunner came over and opened up on our side with us.
After what seemed like an eternity, black hammer
helicopters showed up and began to lay down some fire and things began to calm down on the west side of the perimeter.
When the sun came up, I was able to get over to the south side towards the former 5th Marine Base at An Hoa and could see
that the village was a wreck. The hooches were mostly burned down and there was a VC flag flying over the big blue building.
There were a few houses left, which were very close to the road that went from the compound out towards An Hoa.
We had helicopter support and they were shooting
and buzzing around the village. Some of the South Vietnamese troops moved out to take back the village areas that the Viet Cong terrorists were still holding.
We began trying to evacuate the wounded.
I can't tell you how many wounded there were, but they were being taken out on Ch-46 helicopters. Old Vietnamese and
young Vietnamese kept coming out of their burned village. The sight that will always stick in my mind was a little two
or three year old boy lying on the ground with a huge bandage around his little head and it was soaked with blood. His
eyes looked up at me and they were going back and forth like a metronome. We were evacuating wounded villagers as fast
as possible, but more would come.
An old Vietnamese peasant was being carried
on a bloody sheet by his family, little kids and some women. There was a lot of blood and death and destruction
I couldn't figure out what the terrorists' military
objective was. The Viet Cong put up a flag in the village and they hammered us, but they must have known they weren't
going to be able to hold it. We had a lot of dead in the compound and in the village. Most of the village was
gone, and I don't know how many villagers were casualties. We got their flag from the village and weapons from 33 KIA's.
It took several days of evacuating wounded and picking up bodies. My ears rang for more than a day. They had to
send in a Navy ordinance disposal team to pick up all the unexploded grenades etc. that were lying around from an ammo bunker they
The U.S. Army Officer, who was wounded, received
a Purple Heart and I think may have been recommended for a Silver Star. (He had only 13 days to go on his tour.)
I was put in for a Bronze Star by the same Army Officer (The Army was easily impressed by Marines.)
The Marine Corps sent in a lot of wood and
tin to rebuild the village. About two weeks later, I was pulled out of Duc Duc and I was sent to Hill 37.
After that I was sent to Hill 42 and eventually was sent home.
I don't know for sure why they hit the village,
but it seemed unnecessary to me. Most of what was there was destroyed.
The Army advisor Team members were: CO
Major Trapnell, he was from near Baltimore too. A Staff Sergeant, who was born in LondonEngland, named Wallon. The
District Intelligence Officer was Capt. Brian Walls. (I ran into him just a day after we got back to the states at BWI
airport.) Staff Sergeant Malcom Campbell was from HagerstownMd. Major Trapnell still lives in Towson, Md. (I think.)
That is all of the American Team, who I can
See A Current Satellite Picture
And MAP of the site of the Duc Duc Resettlment Village Massacre.
The Vietnamese communists must have felt there would be a reaction in
America. Even during the Vietnam War, a massacre of hundreds and hundreds of peasant men, women and children would
trigger a negative response.
The Vietnamese communists were taking a big chance that such a massacre
could turn the American People against them.
Back in April 1971, as John Kerry was appearing on television
talk shows around America condemning his brother and sister Vietnam vets for being Baby-Killers and Village-Burners, he was
helping cover up the Duc Duc Refugee Village Massacre. Learn the details at:
A Conference, under the auspices of The RADIX Foundation, which
took place at Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, Boston MA, 26-29 July 2004
"The Vietnam War was mis-reported by the Media, mis-recorded by the Historians, mis-taught in
our schools and mis-applied in addressing policy decisions. MMMM should replace UUUU as our recognition symbol."
"I think that there is no greater gift than for a man to be willing to risk his life for the freedom of
Op-Ed Contributor: Local Heroes
December 20, 2004 By ANDREW BORENE
Minneapolis - IF the Pentagon hopes to start bringing American troops home
from Iraq while also increasing security there, it will have to find a way to do more with less. One approach could be expanding
the Marine Corps combined-action program, an initiative that was successful in Vietnam and has shown early promise in Iraq.
The concept behind the program is that if American and foreign troops operate
together, each will gain knowledge from the other as to the best way to counter an insurgency. In Vietnam, platoons were created
that combined marines and Vietnamese militia members. The Americans were handpicked, chosen because they had shown particular
respect for the local culture. They were expected to live in the villages they were assigned to defend, striving to "work
themselves out of a job" by training their Vietnamese counterparts in police work and security operations.
The most striking success of the program was a rapid increase in actionable
intelligence. Living in Vietnamese hamlets for months, the marines got a chance to get to know the locals, who in general
had kept a careful neutrality in the war. This helped to humanize the American presence and reduced the passive support many
civilians had been giving to Vietcong guerrillas. For many, their respect for (or fear of) the communist guerrillas waned,
and they broke their silence about intelligence leads.
In the long run, it was one of the few efforts that managed to win some "hearts
and minds" in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the top brass lost interest in the program in the early 1970's and, well, the rest is
Last year, under the leadership of Gen. James Mattis, members of the First
Marine Division in western Iraq began adapting the program to aid poorly trained Iraqi National Guard and police forces. Although
it is too soon to declare success, reports from the military and the news media suggest that Iraqis in the combined-action
program perform better in combat, have higher morale and are considerably more reliable than their regular Iraqi military
Expanding the program would be best accomplished by teaming coalition troops
with Iraqi security troops, or even paramilitary groups as in Vietnam, and placing them in cities along the main supply routes.
This would significantly bolster the coalition's ability to gauge popular sentiment and gather intelligence leads on the pursuit
of enemy leaders. It would also reduce the high profile of the coalition forces.
While the situations in Vietnam and Iraq are not identical, when it comes
to battling insurgents it is always vital to erase their advantages in popular support and local knowledge. A few good marines
learned how to do that during Vietnam; perhaps trying it again in Iraq can bring about a different ending.
Andrew Borene, a law student at the University of Minnesota, was a first lieutenant
with the Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. He is an adviser to Operation Truth, a veterans' advocacy group.