American Soldiers Were Called Baby Killers

 

I received the following letter from Angie who is a student:

"I want to thank you for your information. if you don't mind will you answer me one question?  Why did everyone call the American soldiers baby killers? * You don't have to answer that question if you don't want too.

Thank you again,

Angie"

* The Bold print on the question was not in bold print in Angie's letter.

 

The following was my response to Angie's question:

 

Angie,

The people who called soldiers baby killers for the most part were hippies and war demonstrators.  These people were crude, selfish and frighten that they or someone they knew would have to go to Vietnam. 

Children died in Vietnam just like in any other war.  It is a deplorable fact, children die in all wars.  The American soldiers did everything possible to prevent this from happening.  Thousands of American soldiers contributed money, time and material in building schools and hospitals for the Vietnamese including the children.  We would get candy in SP packs and would save the candy for the kids that we may encounter.  The kids were great and I enjoyed my encounters with them even though it was limited. 

I received a letter from Michael Herrera who was also a medic with the 101st Airborne and he attached a short story that he had written about a Vietnamese child.  Here is a copy of that short story.

 

"FANTASTIC VOYAGE"

By Michael Herrera

 

I was assigned to a medical company with the101st Airborne Division. We spent part of the Tet Offensive working with the 22nd Surgical Hospital at Phu Bai. Collectively, we pooled our resources taking care of casualties coming in from the battle for Hue City. The following anecdote took place while there.

 

 

On one evening when there was a lull of casualties, I strolled around the hospital and saw a closed door that was emitting light and muffled sounds. I opened it to see what was there. It was a room where they were showing a movie. There were several benches with wounded soldiers and marines, wearing blue pajamas, watching the movie. All of them had two children on their laps, and on either side, explaining the movie to them. I was glad to see that and it made me feel proud to be in Vietnam. There were other civilians and medical corpsmen in there as well.

 

I saw a bench with only two people, an unusually cute little girl of about five years and sitting to her right, an old man that resembled Ho Chi Minh-goatee, glasses, and all. I sat near the cute little girl and started to watch the movie. It was, "Fantastic Voyage" starring Raquel Welch. They were showing the scene where the submarine was being reduced down to microscopic size with the crew on board. As the submarine started to shrink, the old man started to yell out. He was slapping his face and pulling on his goatee. I looked at him rather puzzled. Then I looked down at the little girl and she had a perturbed look on her face. She seemed to be saying, "Youíre supposed to let me sit on your lap like everyone else." She was so cute that I was intimidated by her. Me, who parachutes out of planes and was called upon to face a hostile enemy was afraid that maybe I was misreading her facial expression. I didnít want to risk rejection.

 

I continued watching the movie. Then came the scene where the submarine was being injected into the manís body. The old man really started to slap his face and yell out more fervently than before. "My God!" I said to myself. ĎHe thinks that this is real! Heís probably saying, "These Americans can do anything!" He was so funny that I didnít know whether to watch the movie or watch him. I looked down at the little girl again. She looked pleadingly at me, "Will you please let me sit on your lap?" I nodded to her ever so slightly. Immediately, she crawled onto my lap. I felt exhilarated and comforted knowing thatís what she wanted. I faced her forward so that she could see the movie, but in time, she turned on her side and laid her head on my chest. I cuddled her. Within a few minutes she was sound asleep. I gave her a little kiss. "Iím not going to let anything happen to you." I thought to myself. A little comfort, and a little reassurance meant so much to her, and those children, during those dark days of Tet. I never saw her again after that.

 I hope this answers your question.  If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

 
John D. Dennison
http://www.1stcavmedic.com


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