Saturday, 12 August 2017
Puff the Magic Dragon: Vietnam notes & photos 1965 1975
Puff the Magic Dragon
I have a CD of Peter, Paul and Mary. I can't remember if they were the original group who sang the song, 'Puff the Magic Dragon'. It has always been one of my favourites. There was also another song by an Irishman about a Unicorn that I rather liked. Puff was also a Gun Ship. A DC3 armed with three Gatling type six barrelled machine guns each of which could fire six thousand rounds a minute making a total of eighteen thousand rounds. At night with their tracers it gave the impression of a dragon shooting tongues of fire. There was also a lesser known twin tailed C119 version.
It was in this war that the US first introduced the C130 Gunship, armed with a 105mm howitser. There was also a ten thousand pound bomb used to clear landing areas in the jungle and killing everything directly or indirectly in its path. The old Huey choppers were used with all sorts of combinations of armaments.
Napalm seemed to be accepted as a normal means of warfare, perhaps until a certain photograph of a young girl fleeing its destruction was taken. Flying over certain areas of Vietnam one could see a pocked marked country ravaged by the bombs of the B52's and the spoliation of Agent Orange. I have always felt that such photos, even the sights themselves, have much more of an effect on those outside the zone of conflict than those in it. A self protective mechanism has kicked in which switches one's emotions off to preserve one's sanity. Of course there is another slow insidious creep of fear, revulsion and disgust that slowly builds up in one's unconsciousness and takes its toll.