A First Person Perspective of the First Battle of Loc Ninh, Vietnam

A First Person Perspective of the First Battle of Loc Ninh, Vietnam

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Featured Guest Bio | David B. Baldwin (1946-2023)

David Bruce Baldwin was born May 15, 1946 to Edward and Eleanor Baldwin, in Takoma Park, MD. He often went by the name Bruce or Dave. David’s parents and two brothers, Robert and Harold, moved to Albuquerque, NM when Dave was a toddler. They then moved to Livermore, CA when David was in the 5th Grade. He graduated from Livermore High School in 1964. From there, David would go on to enlist in the United States Army, just prior to getting his draft notice.

He was chosen for the US Special Force, “Green Beret,” were he served as a radio operator. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, for his service in the First Battle of Loc Ninh, in Vietnam. Dave was honorably discharged from the US Army on December 5th 1969.

After serving in the Vietnam war he went on to earn an associate degree from DeVry Institute of Technology in 1972. He is survived by his loving wife, Maureen Baldwin (Nina) of 50 years. They were married in Sun City, Arizona on June 24, 1972.

Dave would go on to work as Principal Technologist for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM where he lived the rest of life. He had a love for the history of the railroad, and his hobby was building HO scale model railroad. He loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other similar stories in the genre.

He was a dedicated Elder in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod for many years. He’s survived by wife, Nina, and his four adult children: Patrick, Aaron, Kerry, and Sean, and his five grandchildren: Aiden, Saoirse, Deaglan, Simeon, and Gideon.

Dave was called home on March 21, 2023, at the age of 76.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hillsdale College, P.O. Box 96607 Washington, DC 20090-6607. (https://www.hillsdale.edu/)

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

00:00 Introduction
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

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Kerry Baldwin
B.A. Philosophy, Arizona State University. My writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology and aimed at the educated layperson. I am a confessionally Reformed Christian orthodox Presbyterian in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen (1881 – 1937)

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