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On This Day…29th March.

March 29th is officially the ‘National Vietnam War Veterans Day’ and today, on March 29th, 1975, the last Allied troop left South Vietnam.

However you feel about that war, it is important to recognise those who fought there and the men who didn’t return. Whatever algorithm you use for calculating the casualty toll, over a million people died, including 58,318 US soldiers (1,589 still listed as missing in action) between 1965 and 1975).

Thanks for your service.

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Fairey Fulmar of 809 Squadron landing on the flight deck of HMS Victorious with its hook down, practicing landings in Scapa Flow (Scotland) March 29th, 1942.

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On the ongoing series of ‘diorama baiting’, an M3 is lifted out of a Sherman tank at 5th Indian Division’s tank workshop near Taungtha, Burma, 29 March, 1945.

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The presidential citation for Robert Dietz in his awarding (posthumously) of the Medal of Honor. A native of Kingston, New York, he died aged 24.

“Robert Dietz was a squad leader when the task force to which his unit was attached encountered resistance in its advance on Kirchain, Germany.”

“Between the town’s outlying buildings 300 yards distant and the stalled armored column were a minefield and 2 bridges defended by German rocket-launching teams and riflemen. From the town itself came heavy small-arms fire. Moving forward with his men to protect engineers while they removed the minefield and the demolition charges attached to the bridges, S/Sgt. Dietz came under intense fire. On his own initiative he advanced alone, scorning the bullets which struck all around him, until he was able to kill the bazooka team defending the first bridge.”

“He continued ahead and had killed another bazooka team, bayoneted an enemy soldier armed with a panzerfaust and shot 2 Germans when he was knocked to the ground by another blast of another panzerfaust. He quickly recovered, killed the man who had fired at him and then jumped into waist-deep water under the second bridge to disconnect the demolition charges. His work was completed; but as he stood up to signal that the route was clear, he was killed by another enemy volley from the left flank”.

“ S/Sgt. Dietz by his intrepidity and valiant effort on his self-imposed mission, single-handedly opened the road for the capture of Kirchain and left with his comrades an inspiring example of gallantry in the face of formidable odds”.

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USS Minneapolis (CA-36) firing her 8-inch main guns during gunnery practice, 29th March, 1939.

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Shots of the ongoing struggle to right the Oklahoma in Pearl, 29th March, 1943.

The salvage process they were using is called ‘parbuckling’ – explained in the diagram under the article.

Sadly, even after they righted the ship, it wasn’t the end of her woes. More of that on another On This Day…

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7F.1 Snipe biplane being launched by the catapult of battleship Yamashiro, off Yokosuka, Japan, 29th March, 1922.

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The USS Colorado (BB-45) fires her 16 inch guns on Okinawa March 29th, 1945.

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Soviet T-34 tank of the First Ukrainian Front takes control of Kolomya near the river Prut.

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1 additional image. Click to enlarge.


12 responses to On This Day…29th March.

  1. Excellent! My new word for the day is “Parbuckling.”

    Still learning … daily! Thanks, Doc! @dirtylittlefokker

  2. Cheers, Jeff. You’ve been parbuckled. Keep learning, my friend – every day.

  3. Another great post! Speaking of Vietnam vets. The other day I had a handyman over to unclog a drain. My wife said “Oh my God some old guy is here, is that the handyman?” Well it was and he was a bit long in the tooth, but got everything sorted just fine. As he was getting ready to leave he saw my USS Independence sweatshirt and asked “Navy?” I said yes, he said “me too”. The next natural question is “Oh what did you do” His response . “Oh I was a SEAL”. He served in Vietnam in 65-68, based out of Da-Nang. Well what do you say to that? I thanked him for his service, and he went about his way. Mind you Kennedy had just formed the SEAL teams at that point, ’62 I believe, and they were doing the most dangerous missions of the war. You never know who you are going to meet.

    • One of the dirtiest jobs they got was assassins in the Phoenix Program, all the ‘wet work” done up close and personal with knives. The two most seriously-screwed-up Vietnam veterans I ever met were the two who had been SEALs there in 68-69 at the height of the Phoenix Program, which probably killed more people who had crossed the local crook, er, I mean the local mafia don, er, I mean the local representative of the “government” of the Republic of Vietnam, a more corrupt and venal bunch you never met in your life, which is why we never won any hearts or minds there, than they killed “VC.” I see no honor whatsoever in my service in that war of lies. August 3-4 is the 55th anniversary of my participation in the (alleged) Tonkin Gulf (non) Incident, the lie that began the war that was nothing but a lie. We were all about as stupid as the young Germans who believed Herr Paperhanger, who I have found over the years to have a lot of sympathy for. Sorry, but those are my thoughts every March 29. this wasn’t the war my ancestor who crossed the Delaware with General Washington to found the republic or the one who fought three days on Little Round Top to save the republic would have found worthy of participation. And please don’t ever “thank” me for my service in that mountain of dog dung.

  4. “Thanks” is a small word but so important.

    Cheers, Rob.

  5. Another excellent posting David. I had the good fortune to serve in the Army with a Vietnam Vet who earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. He was my “First Sergeant” and his name is Robert M Patterson. At the time he earned the MOH, he was a Specialist 4 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne. He always led us by example……………..

    My Dad was a Korean War combat veteran, and had 12 years of service when he got out of the Army. His last assignment was the 39th Special Forces Group in Berlin. Had he re enlisted, they had orders cut for him to be sent to Vietnam as an “advisor” in 1962………….. teaching the South Vietnamese Army………….. by example.

    He told me later in life that he saw the writing on the wall, and decided it was time to hang it up for good……………. I’m glad he did.

    Had my Dad decided to stay in the Army, I might not be here today. Strange how one decision can have such a tremendous affect later down the road.

  6. When the word ‘short’ does not mean your height. Good stuff David.

  7. I remember saying “i’m not short, I’m next” !

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