"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vietnam: Arriving at the Truth: by Byron Edgington

Byron's UH-1 Huey

The view in the photo is from the cockpit of my UH-1, Huey, taken sometime in September 1970 in northern I Corps.

The photo shows American combat troops approaching a Huey that will fly them to another location. 

Not seen in this shot are troops loading my helicopter in similar fashion, directly behind me as the picture was taken.

A new website created by the Pentagon has a view of the war as well. Put on line several months ago, at a cost (thus far) of $15 million, the website strives to arrive at the 'truth' of American involvement in Vietnam, not from a political or ideological perspective, but to “assist a grateful nation” in thanking veterans and their families.

I applaud any effort to arrive at truth concerning our involvement in any war. The fact that the effort is being made is a hopeful sign that we refuse to bury details, however sordid, of our nation's foreign affairs and that we try not to repeat mistakes. 

I applaud, as well, the focus of the website, if it does indeed target American troops rather than the political minions, populists and military operatives who made many of the mistakes associated with Vietnam and our conflict there.

What bothers me about the website effort and its attempt to arrive at 'truth' about Vietnam, is the genesis of it. The troops the site celebrates should write their own stories of Vietnam, without fear or favor, and allow visitors to come to conclusions based on those narratives. 

As it is, the Pentagon and such luminaries as Tom Hayden and others are weighing in on the American effort in Vietnam, and once again the voices of those who fought and died in the paddies, jungles and hamlets of Vietnam.  Those critical voices are being relegated to the periphery.

Also, a connection should be made, however tenuous, to our efforts in Vietnam and the misadventure in Iraq. While it is true that any effort to connect the two conflicts is immediately fraught with political and ideological spin, that doesn't mean we should avoid potential historical references. 

Those connections may help in a courageous and transparent attempt to arrive at the 'truth' we claim to seek. Looking out a cockpit window shows only a partial view. History and its explication widens that view, if we're willing to look.

Byron Edgington

Byron Edgington
The SkyWriter

Byron's Book

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


  1. Very good Byron, the truth does vary from Vet to Vet, we all had different views of the war, food for thought.. Lance

  2. byron edgington, i really enjoyed reading your story, and it is great those choppers were our life line without them choppers alot of us would not be here today, also taking out the wounded saved a lot of men and lastly we have C.J. HECK, to print these stories which we all are thank full for. --Allen J. Folk

  3. With the temperature at a pleasurable setting and your chair nice and plush, it’s easy to sit back and justify or even condemn the Vietnam action. Until that person felt the heat of those mornings, with the stench of those rice paddies making you gag with just about every breath, not knowing if today would be your last, then you will never have a foundation to stand and judge whether we should have been there or not. If the generation of today wishes to know the truth, ask a Vietnam Veteran who was there. Most Veterans would return if called, but not for the same unjust cause,,,,,,,,Dave Ramsey


Feel free to comment.