The Classic Movie of the Vietnam War
Robert E. Williams | Houston | 06/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have read many reviews from those of you that weren't there and you totally miss the point of this movie. If you want a faery tale based on the fantasys of Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick, then that is your choice. This movie; however, is light years ahead in reality compared to any other movie of the Vietnam War.
The story is a salute to the American fighting man and his willingness to gain objectives. Few people know that there were 44 provinces in South Vietnam and that the 4 provinces that comprised I Corps accounted for 44% of all US casualties. It really was a different war there although actions in '65 thru '67 in the Central Highlands were just as fierce and challenging. The Ashau Valley was conqured, with great sacrifice, in 1968 and 1969 by The Marines, The 1st Cav and by my proud unit the 101st Airborne.
I was there in operation Somerset Plain in August 1968. I was on the lower levels of Hamburger Hill when we backed off and let the Air Force Bomb Hanburger Hill for 24 consecutive hours. When we entered the valley, both sides were lined for miles with 37MM and 51 cal anti-aircraft guns. Out of 50 Slick Hueys and 26 supporting gunships, 15 of the choppers were shot down before we touched down on the valley floor. That mission was doomed from the start. A Company 2/502 was hit by an Air Force National Guard F100 that dropped a 500# bomb directly on their position killing 15 of my Brothers and wounding 55. Due to casualties in the war a standard company of 200 men could not get replacements fast enough to field more than 100 men. We spent 19 days on the west ridge of the valley before pulling out.
My unit B Co. 2/502 is the Strike Force unit of the 13th Valley fame. However, the two major engagements Hamburger Hill and Ripcord were both fought by the 3rd Brigade of the 101st. Hats off to the 3rd Brigade and all who served in Vietnam. Most I Corp grunt units were like mine taking 1 in 4 killed and 50% wounded every year. If you were in the mountains, Hamburger Hill was your story, any other movie is a faery tale..