The two pictures above are of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington D. C. The top one is titled "Daddy's Girl". The bottom one is a picture of "The Wall" at sunset.
"The Vietnam War has been the subject of thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, hundreds of books, and scores of movies and television documentaries. The great majority of these efforts have erroneously portrayed many myths about the Vietnam War as being facts." [Nixon]
The incomplete and biased reporting from the "Liberal Media" during the Vietnam War is responsible for Myths and lies about our soldiers and of the war. This "Biased Reporting" has produced a memory and a recollection of a period of time that is not what actually happened. During this war, the American public was constantly fed false and incomplete information that has caused an unfair and untrue vision of the actual war. Shame on them!
THE FOLLOWING IS MEANT TO DISPEL SOME OF THOSE MYTHS:
Myth: Most American soldiers were addicted to drugs, guilt-ridden about their role in the war, and deliberately used cruel and inhumane tactics.
FACTS: 91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served. [Westmoreland]
74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome. [Westmoreland]
There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non veterans of the same age group (from a Veterans Administration study). [Westmoreland]
Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from antiwar critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any attention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 South Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. [Nixon]
Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only 1/2 of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes. [Westmoreland]
97% were discharged under honorable conditions; the same percentage of honorable discharges as ten years prior to Vietnam [Westmoreland]
85% of Vietnam Veterans made a successful transition to civilian life. [McCaffrey]
Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent. [McCaffrey]
Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than our non-vet age group. [McCaffrey]
87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem. [McCaffrey]
Myth: Most Vietnam veterans were drafted.
FACT: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. [Westmoreland]
Approximately 70% of those killed were volunteers. [McCaffrey]
Just Some Thoughts
As the old saying goes: "War Is Hell", and I am sure that is so very true. Our America has seen very few months without a war. Up until the Korean War, the veteran was appreciated and respected. For some reason, before the end of the Korean War, the "Pro-America, Pro-Veteran" news media began a reversal and became negative on the war front. I say Korean War and "End of the War", although the classification is more precisely used as the "Korean Conflict" and a truce has never been signed. The fighting just stopped. A few years later, enter the Vietnam War, and this American News Media became hostile and very few positive articles were ever seen. Before the end of the Vietnam War, and mainly due to the news media, about half of the public were also becoming negative about the war. It was not a very pretty sight to learn that the heroes returning from a war on a foreign country, were being treated less that the heroes that they were. It was just not a very good time to be a veteran. Thank goodness these horrible conditions have been reversed, not so much due to a change of the news media, but the normal American citizens just got fed up with the hero veterans being blamed for the situations and conditions of the country. Lead on American Veterans and may you continue to be given the praise and thanks that you so rightfully earned.
Frank Durham (Left) and John Claudis Fulkerson. (Right).
Frank Durham, like his father Ben Franklin Durham, was proud to serve his country. Soon after Frank's High School Graduation, he was sent to Paris Island, South Carolina for basic training. He was to become a Marine. After ten weeks of "Boot Camp", Frank was sent to Camp Lejeune, N. C. for four weeks of Infantry Training. In August of 1966, Frank was transferred to Camp Pendleton, CA, with the 5th Marine Division. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton when he received orders to go to Vietnam. In October of 1967, Frank arrived in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam and was assigned to "L" Company, 3rd Bn., 4th Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division. During Frank's tour of Vietnam, he was in Da Nang, Dong Ha, Phu Bai, Cam Lo, C-3, The Rock Pile, Camp Carrol, Con Tien, and Khe Sahn Air Base. He participated in Operation Lancaster, Operation Hastings, Operation Kentucky, Operation Kingfisher 1 and Kingfisher 2, Project Dye Marker, and Operation Billings. In January 26 of 1968, Frank was wounded and Med-Evacted to the 106th General Hospital in Yokohoma, Japan. He was seriously wounded twice on that fateful day and spent 32 days in the hospital. After recovery, Frank completed the rest of his enlistment assigned to the Military Police at Camp S. D. Butler, Okinawa and was discharged on November of 1968. With two Purple Hearts and other Medals, Frank returned home as a hero.
Frank married Brenda Campbell and they settled down in Echols to raise a family. Life is quieter now and more tranquil on their place on Pond Run Church Road, Beaver Dam, KY. They have two daughters. Thanks Frank, for your service to our country.
The picture and write up of John C. Fulkerson was taken from the Pond Run Baptist Church pamphlet. Credit is given to Shirley Fulkerson Barnes and Delora Smiley Fulkerson.
John C. Fulkerson enlisted in the United States Marines shortly after his High School Graduation. He served from 1968-1972, with two hitches in Vietnam. Both were for 13 months each. He was a Lance Corporal and his duties included tank repair and tank retrieval. While in Vietnam John wrote home and asked his mother, Anna Rae Fulkerson, to send him some Echols soil. She did. Also during the time he was in Vietnam his grandfather, John D. Fulkerson died. John's father, Hildred Fulkerson, served with the Navy during the Second World War. John Claudis Fulkerson lives in Echols, KY.
Thanks John, for your service to our country.
Roland "Toe" Wilkerson
The following information was provided by Karen, Roland's wife. Thanks Karen and thanks to Roland for his wonderful service to his country.
Roland's (Toe) Wilkerson was born: 21 Nov 1941 ~ at Echols, Ohio County, Kentucky and Died: 19 Dec 1989 ~ Ohio County Hospital, Hartford, Kentucky. He was the son of Beckham & Rose Lee Hunter Wilkerson. Roland lived in the Rockport & Echols area all his life, except the few years that he was in the Navy.
Roland joined the Navy during the Vietnam War and after basic training, he was transferred to the USS Ramsey. The USS Ramsey was assigned to a "Carrier Group" and Roland served on this ship during the Vietnam War.
After Roland was discharged from the Navy, he married Karen. Two children were born from this marriage, James Thomas, on 10 Dec 1970 and Jacob J, 23 June 1973. Both were raised in the Rockport and Echols area. James Thomas, also served in the United States Navy. He served from 1988 to 1991 in the Persian Gulf on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier as a nuclear power mate.
Addendum: I was born four years before "Toe" and was raised in the same time frame as he. I knew this good man very well. His older brother was nearer to my age than the others, but all of the Wilkerson's were in the group. When you played in Rockport and fished and swam in the Green River, in the middle part of the twentieth century, all kids were welcomed. No kid was left behind. "Toe" was no exception. "Toe" became a good hunter and fisherman. He was wiry and strong for his size. He was very good to know around a campfire or a cook stove as he could hold his own against the other good cooks of Rockport. "Toe" had a funny and different saying that I have never forgotten and it goes like this: "If it does not fly, climb trees, or swim, I do not want to eat it". That includes most wild game, but certainly eliminates beef and pork. Maybe not a bad idea. "Toe" was just a great and unique person. He is missed.
If you are at this point, thanks for reading and being patent. I do enjoy playing with this type script and to have one read and look at what I have come up with is just an extra bonus. This type endeavor certainly gives an old retiree something to do and especially on a cool, wintry day. Anyway, hope you have enjoyed the "Soldier Series". The series is not over, but it has slowed. I have run out of pictures and write-ups and without them, I have no material to continue.
May this New Year bring a truce for all military conflicts and may the "Peace Keepers" settle any problems between nations and "in-fighting" within nations without our fighting men and women being involved. May true Peace be within out grips.