Summary – A First Person Perspective of the First Battle of Loc Ninh, Vietnam
My father died a two weeks ago today, March 21st. It was expected, as he suffered for many years from COPD.
In 2011, he composed a brief memoir. This was meant as catharsis for therapy we was receiving for PTSD he had suffered from his service in Vietnam. Prior to this, and for my whole life to this point, all we knew about my dad was that he had “shell shock” from time Vietnam – and so we didn’t talk about it.
In his memory, I’ve put that memoir to narration. Initially, this has been planned only for my family. But as I dug into his story a bit, I realized, that my father was part of a major battle that has historical significance. And so, with permission from my mother, I’m publishing it here for my listeners.
I’ve snagged a description from Wikipedia about the battle and it’s context. It reads:
“The First Battle of Loc Ninh was a battle during the Vietnam War that occurred between 29 October and 7 November 1967, fought by the Viet Cong, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), Civilian Irregular Defense Group (a military program developed by the CIA of South Vietnamese to counter Viet Cong), and the United States Army.
The battle was part of the Operation Shenandoah II campaign.
This battle represented the first time that North Vietnamese Communists (headquartered in South Vietnam) had coordinated attacks from different divisions, and was intended as “rehearsal” to experiment with urban-fighting techniques to be used for the Tet Offensive.
Their operational goals were in part, to draw US and ARVN forces away from the cities in an upsurge of activity, in preparation for the Tet Offensive the next year.
The Tet Offensive was a major escalation and one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War.
It was launched on January 30, 1968 by forces of the Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese against the forces of the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the United States Armed Forces and their allies.
It was a campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam.
The name is the truncated version of the Lunar New Year festival name in Vietnamese, Tết Nguyên Đán, (tet win dawn) with the offense chosen during a holiday period as most ARVN personnel were on leave.
The purpose of the wide-scale offensive by the Hanoi Politburo was to trigger political instability, in a belief that mass armed assault on urban centers would trigger defections and rebellions.”
The First Battle of Loc Ninh, instigated by the North Vietnamese against South Vietnamese and the US, resulted in what was considered an American and South Vietnamese victory.
This is my father’s recollection of that story.
Main Points of Discussion
|04:06||Part 1: David Baldwin enlists in the US Army|
|11:34||Part 2: David Baldwin deploys to Vietnam|
|16:58||Part 3: The battle and related skirmishes|
|29:53||Part 4: David Baldwin reassigned to An Loc|
|34:30||Part 5: David Baldwin returns rotates home|
|37:54||Part 6: Discharge and the beginning of a new life|
|43:06||Part 7: Postscript by Kerry Baldwin|
David B. Baldwin received the Bronze Star with Valor on February 27, 1968