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Wednesday, December 26. 2012
Those of us who served in Vietnam have fond memories of the traveling cover bands, usually very good, and their female dancers and singers, also very good and sexy. I saw a quote earlier that although we are now old, at least we got to see the great music groups. I'd include these show people who brought fun into our horny lives in Vietnam.
Cinammon Stillwell is an accomplished reporter. Her mother made this documentary about the entertainers who visited us wherever we were in Vietnam. It is one of a kind, something that to my knowledge has not been documented before. The film does not have an embed, so you have to go to this site to watch it. I know that us Vietnam vets will, and I think others out there will enjoy it and learn something different than many misconceptions.
Just for the heck of it, here's one of my blurry (I should say beery) photos in the 1st MarDiv HQs E-Club from back then:
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This brings back memories!
BTW, the correct spelling is Viet Nam. But I guess that particular battle has been lost.
Due to a confluence of coincidences, during my first tour, I managed to lead myself forward from a rising Corporal to a buck nuts Private in the III MAF Headquarters compound in 1966. Thusly, I was anointed to stand guard at around midnight or so, in front of Jayne Mansfields cabin, during her short visit to III MAF in Da Nang. She wasn't a quiet woman, at certain times. for which I can vouch, though I can no longer remember the name of her then French lover. And then there was Nancy Sinatra, singing "Boots", not five feet to my left, as I stood guard facing the audience, with Lew Walt in the front row, eyes narrowed and a with a big smile. But on my second tour, out in the bush, we only heard faint rumors of such things.
Damn, X-Ray --thaty's a helluva story --''Boots'' --that was somew raw song, back stateside even. I imagine it was flat out ...hmmm. ok, no need to spell it out.
Say, the way your career was moving, sounds like getting busted back was not altogether an unmixed reversal
Anyhoo, three cheers for Lt.Dan! Naw he is not Jayne nor Nancy, he's just the guy from Forrest Gump, but i think the great Bob Hope will have little if anything on his accumulted USO miles in the not too distant future.
That brought back a memory or two. I think the older I get, the more I look back at that time with no small amount of nostalgia. Which is totally weird because it really wasn't all that much fun - some of it was, most wasn't. I guess you push the bad and ugly back and just remember the good - amazing thing human psychology.
Those cover bands were something special. They could cover a song and make it sound exactly like the original - pretty impressive. Most of them were from the Philippines too.
I always think of this as my war, as I was born in '48 so the years fit. My brother who was born in '46 was in Officer Cadet training in Camp Borden Ontario. He got "trench foot" and washed out with most of his class, and decided to go south , join the marines, and volunteer for Vietnam. Fortunately, girls and summer intervened,a paying job came along, and all that silliness got pushed aside. He ha d gone to a private school, that had a military side to it, and he was at the top of his class. So I know he would have probably been a Lieutenant, which, from what I have read was a fairly short term career over there.. I am sitting here in the middle of the night, rambling away having just watched the 50 minute video, and thinking back, looking at all those faces and wondering what happened to those kids. Such simple, yet dangerous times , but what an adventure.
Well, the battle rages on in the halls of historical and linguistic academia.
The common usage, Vietnam, is the accepted Western language usage according to the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage as well as the Chicago manual - those are the two most authoritative language usage books. Also, the Oxford dictionary uses Vietnam.
What is amusing is that both factions, Viet Nam and Vietnam are wrong. To properly use the Viet Nam, one must make use of the tone and accent symbols which makes the word look like this - Việt Nam.
Even funnier is that Việt means the inhabitants of the land and Nam means South. Technically, there is no more "South" in Vietnam so they might have to come up with a whole new name for the country. :>)
Strange as this may sound, one of the ways I coped with the whole thing was to look at it as an adventure. Which, in some ways, it was. Certainly not a Hemmingwayesque adventure as he detailed in For Whom The Bell Tolls" but close.
It was the winter of 1962. I was stationed in one of the garden spots of the world - Sinop, Turkey.
The nearest town where you could see an unveiled woman was about 4 hours away, by deuce and a half. We were visited by an intrepid USO troupe. The were truly terrible. The acts wouldn't make the cut in a junior high school talent show. We loved them. Talked about them for months.
The roving bands and the donut dollies. I was an rto in the bush and never saw a band but did see the donut dollies once. The 101st didn't have much of a social outreach program.
How about calling it "KerryLand"?
Or "VAKACM" for short?
"Victory Arranged by Kerry and Communist Media".
I was five years old when we pulled the last of our troops out of Vietnam, so I know the War only as a story I've been told. I was fascinated by this documentary, though.
It was a part of the war I had never thought about. Thanks so much for posting it.
I was in the Navy on a destroyer during Vietnam and we never got to see any USO presentations. In 1981 I was in Berlin and the USO put on a show starring Susanne Sommers. One of the GIs commented that we needed a war to get some real talent here. The show was very forgetable.
The one show that came to Chu Lai in '68-69 wasn't great, but they were roundeyes and gorgeous as I remember. Of course, the Americal Division REMFs had the first few hundred seats which relegated us flying Jarheads to about a hundred-yard view.
Well, see, in my time there were only Marines in Chu Lai, and things must have obviously quickly changed shortly after I disembarked from that first tour. Though I guess , the grunts, if any happened to be around, were yet yards beyond your seat.
Fodder is fodder, I guess, and have never had respect... until recently, though that is/will be short lived.
I mean, who gives a **** about a private. I don't think even Chesty. It's all chess to the big guys.
And that's okay, really, I mean it.
I have thousands of internal conflicting views about all of this. About sacrifice, loyalty, etc., any of it.
But at least, Leaterneck, get the goddamn spelling right.
I was at Chu Lai in 66 & 67' with VMFA 314. I was an eighteen year old hard rock Baptist kid from Alabama who had never crossed the state line until I left for PI. I did a lot of growing up from '65 to early '69. I remember that Martha Raye( God bless her) did a show for us. I had never heard a woman talk like that. Always wanted to see Bob Hope and the ladies with him. It never happened though. But the memories of Martha live on. But I hate that war and the waste of several of my friends. What a waste of our finest young men and the same thing is going on right under our noses. My God,do I hate politicians.