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Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The victory that wasn't. Saigon. Vietnam Memories

I was a regular reader of the 'Stars and Stripes' newspaper if I remember the name correctly. It generally wasn't bad and had clear and concise reporting of the world's events. I liked the comic strips anyway. If I remember there was one on one of the more enterprising soldiers of the US army, that the generals were always trying to have banned. What was his name? Beatle Baily? Please correct me if I'm wrong but this was forty years ago. Its accuracy might be questioned however over events in Vietnam.
One day I read that an attack on an American billet in Saigon had been succesfully repulsed.
According to the report what had happened was this. First there had been an explosion. Then a truck had disembarked a load of Vietcong who then set about attacking the US army billet.
The guards at this place opened fire, drove the attackers back, followed up with an assault on them, pushed them back over a wall, killed and wounded many and drove the rest off.
This was headlined as a major victory over the Vietcong in Saigon.
The next day there was a small article on the back page correcting this account.
There had indeed been an explosion some distance from the billet caused by the Vietcong although the damage was unspecified. The VC commando who attacked the US army billet were in fact workers. Surprised by the explosion their truck had stopped. The workers had jumped out and run for cover. Coming under fire from the US soldiers they had run away, jumped over a wall and tried to flee.
Guards were of course very jumpy, and there were many such incidents, it was just the reporting of this that I found, if not strange, a little innacurate.

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