FIGHTING THE LOST WAR section - vnafmamn.com
This poster has been done as a class project while I was learning Graphic Design. It was also made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon in Arpril, 2000, and dedicated to the ARVN soldiers, the forgotten soldiers of the Vietnam war. Until now, I still consider it one of my best favorite graphic art works, because it has been carried out with all my heart and mind. In the same moment of that year, by accident, the LA Times also ran a special issue on the Vietnam war subject and produced its own version of " The Timeline Of Vietnam War." Their version is a credit of twelve guys (Editors, Reporters, Researchers and Artists), so this one is not bad for a lone former ARVN troop. A few years later, I got my poster printed for three thousand copies and distributed them free when ever I had a chance (all is gone now). The printer, a Chinese ethnic charged me a small amount of money just for the paper and 4 color-process plates, his labor and ink are... free. He told me he was an ARVN soldier too.
Sometimes, I heard some Vietnamese said they didn't like Politics (VN war stuffs) or to have politics mixed up with their business or their life or their...hobbies (hey, like the VNAF model aircraft)... blahblahhh! I wonder when they came to America as a refugee of VN war, Uncle Sam took them in for..the economic reason? Not because of political asylum!
(See the poster below along with the introduction part and 50 selective events.)
THE TIMELINE OF VIETNAM WAR
As the America's longest war, the Vietnam War was the first war the United States lost, although it won virtually every battle because of its superior fire power, mobility, and the high-tech support. For this reason, the Vietnam war seemed to defy definition and description. It was also the first war brought into the family room by television, causing a lasting impact on the public mind, leaving the complexity and the ambivalence of the Vietnam war unanswered. For the soldiers who fought it, it was a frustrating guerrilla war maddeningly without front lines against an enemy who seemed invisible. Worst of all, when they came home, the soldiers received no warm welcome and discovered that the familiar world in which they used to live is now just unreal and hostile.
For the price of it, the Vietnam war cost the lives of 57,939 Americans, $150 billion in military spending and produced four millions killed or wounded Vietnamese on both sides. Today, after nearly 25 years, the Vietnam war still remains a controversial, divisive issue in public opinions and stirs such embittered passion on all sides in the United States. One may ask what lesson have we learned from the Vietnam war? Unfortunately many failed to notice that the Vietnam war was conducted by a small group of politician elites who had neither the knowledge of warfare nor the military experiences, who traditionally underestimated the determination of a third-world country foe (North VN) and looked down on the potential strength of a developing nation friend (South VN).
Until this foreign policy of arrogance is corrected the torch of freedom will be carried on by the oppressed who yearn and fight for the spirit of Liberty. Perhaps this is the noble cause with which the Vietnam war began: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of Liberty."
- Summer of 1945, Ho Chi Minh as head of the Viet Minh Guerrilla movement meet with American OSS agents to discuss operations against the Japanese.
- September 26, 1945. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Dewey is shot by Viet Minh troops. The first American casualty of the Vietnam war.
- May 7, 1954. Dien Bien Phu falls to the Viet Minh. France has lost 35,000 men killed, 48,000 wounded.
- June 1, 1954. Colonel Edward Lansdale arrives in Saigon as chief of Saigon military mission.
- July 20, 1954. Geneva Agreement is signed. Vietnam is provisionally partioned at 17th parallel into North and South Vietnam. More than one million Norntherners move South to escape Communism.
- July 18, 1955. China and the Soviet Union grant Hanoi $200 and $100 million in economic aid.
- October 26, 1955. Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims the Republic of South Vietnam with himself as its first president.
- June, 1958. The Vietnamese Communists form a command structure in the eastern Mekong Delta.
- November 8, 1960. John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States.
- December 20, 1960. Hanoi announces the formation of the National Front for the Liberation of the South (NLF).
- May 11, 1961. President Kennedy approves sending 400 Special Forces troops to South Vietnam.
- September, 1961. President Kennedy authorizes the 5th Special Forces Group to wear the headgear, the famous Green Beret symbol.
- February 4, 1962. The first U.S. helicopter is shot down at the village of Hong My
- February 27,1962. Two disgruntled Vietnamese pilots flying U.S. AD 6 fighters bomb President Diem's palace. Diem escapes injury.
- May 11, 1962. Secretary of Defense Mc Namara makes the first trip to Vietnam.
- October, 1962. President Kennedy forces the Soviets to withdraw missiles from Cuba.
- December 29, 1962. Saigon announces 4,077 strategic hamlets completed. A strategic program to cut Viet Cong's supply sources from villages.
- January 2, 1963. At Ap Bac in the Mekong Delta. Viet Cong guerrillas inflict heavy losses on the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam.
- April 17, 1963. President Diem broadcasts an "Open Arms"(Chieu Hoi) appeal, promising clemency and material benefits to Viet Cong guerrillas.
- May 8, 1963. Twenty thousand Buddhists in Hue celebrating the birth day of Gautama Siddhartha Buddha are fired upon by order of a catholic deputy province chief Major Dang Xi who forbids them flying their multicolored flags
- June11, 1963Buddhist monk Quang Duc burns himself to protest religious persecution
- August 26, 1963. President Kennedy appoints Henry Cabot Lodge to succeed Nolting as ambassador to Vietnam.
- November 1, 1963. President Diem is killed in a coup d'etat by a group of his generals. In the country side, peasants demolish the strategic hamlets.
- November 22, 1963 President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
- May 9, 1964. A terrorist is captured trying to place an explosive charge under a Saigon bridge over which Defense Secretary Mc Namara's car is supposed to pass.
- June 20, 1964 Lieutenant General William Westmoreland takes over General Paul Harkins' position as head of the U.S. MACV.
- July, 1964. The Ho Chi Minh trail is being turned into a modern route to carry supplies from North to South VN.
- August 2, 1964. USNS Maddox is reported being attacked by North Vietnamese patroll boats in the Tonkin Gulf.
- August 5, 1964. U.S. airplanes attack North Vietnam's coastal area. Lieutenant Everett Alvarez is the first down pilot captured by North Vietnam.
- March 6, 1965. The White House confirms that the United States is sending two battalions of U.S. Marines for security duty at Danang base.
- March 14, 1965. Twenty-four South Vietnamese Air Force planes cross 17th parallel for first time air raid on Northern soil.
- September 11, 1965. The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) begins to land at Qui Nhon. This brings US troops in VN up to about 125,000.
- July 29, 1967. Fire sweeps the aircraft carrier Forrestal in the gulf of Tonkin, kills 134 crewmen, destroys 21 planes. The worst US naval disaster since World WAR II.
- January 20, 1968. The siege of Khe Sanh begins (a US Marines base locates six miles from Laotian border and 14 miles below the DMZ).
- January 30,1968. The Tet offensive coordinated, launched by communist troops throughout VN ends in failure with the massacre of about 4,000 civilians at the citadel of Hue.
- March 16, 1968. A war atrocity committed by US troops in VN. A platoon from Charlie Company, 20th Infantry Division slaughters about 170 unarmed villagers at the hamlet of My Lai
- August 28, 1968. The Democratic National Convention ends in riot on the streets of Chicago.
- June, 1969. US Forces in Vietnam are at the peak of some 543,000 personnel.
- September 3, 1969. President Ho Chi Minh of Socialist Republic of North Vietnam dies in Hanoi at the age of 79.
- November 15, 1969. More than 250,000 protesters gather in Washington DC to participate in the largest anti-war demonstration in the nation's history.
- May 4, 1970. At Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fire their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding eleven.
- November 21, 1970. A team of 50 American Special Forces tries to rescue American prisoners at Son Tay prison camp. Unfortunately, the rescue team finds no US prisoners.
- June 9, 1972. the ARVN thwarts the communist siege of An Loc, where 6,350 brave men fight against 18,000 enemies.
- December 14, 1972. Nixon orders the most intensive bombing of the VN war (the Christmas bombing) against sites in Hanoi and Hai Phong.
- January 27, 1973. An Agreement Ending the War is signed in Paris by the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong.
- February 14,1973. The first 20 POWs arrive at Travis Air Force Base in California.
- August 9, 1974. Richard Milhous Nixon resigns as President of the United States.
- March 10, 1975. North Vietnam attacks Ban Me Thuot, causing a chain of ARVN's military debacle.
- April 8, 1975. The ARVN alone fights the last battle against the advancing Communist Forces at Xuan Loc.
- April 29, 1975. Option IV operation, the largest helicopter evacuation on record, removes the last American from Saigon, US Ambassador Graham Martin.
More than 300,000 ARVN soldiers died in the the VIETNAM war. Their effort was never recognized. Their graves have been vandalized and neglected in oblivion.
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