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Am I Wrong About This ?

USN_AirdaleUSN_Airdale Member Posts: 2,987
edited January 2009 in US Military Veteran Forum
my impression is that if a person was not on the soil in VN you really were not a combatant.

I put in four tours on aircraft carriers in VF squadrons and have been told i was not in combat and not a combatant.

believe it or not i was told this by foot soldiers/marines, but mostly civies.

Comments

  • dheffleydheffley Member Posts: 25,000
    edited November -1
    Kind of hard for a ship and a sailor to put foot on soil. If you did your tour during the war and in support of or direct action to the war effort, you were in combat.

    The navy provided some great support and shelling from open water. Da Namg harbor was shelled every night it seemed. My brother was on a repair ship and hated it. He'll be the first one to tell you that he was a combatent.

    Just the resupply was a support that I know was the true lifeline of the war for some of us. You have my full respect as does everyone who served, no matter the assignment.
  • Old-ColtsOld-Colts Member Posts: 22,702 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    In some, perhaps many respects I can see where some of those that served on the ground and engaged in direct combat would have that feeling and I don't feel any animosity towards them for feeling that way. They certainly had the dirtier job! However, there are many aspects to combat and it isn't limited to just those on the front lines, although they are the ones that have really put their life on the line.

    I was part of the backend crew of an E2B and while we didn't engage the enemy directly, I sure feel like we were in combat and the Air Medals I received certainly suggest I was. None of the pilots that went feet dry ever suggested that we weren't real combatants as they were very glad we were there guiding them and watching out for hostile activities that could get them shot down. Similarly, I didn't think any less or disrespect the role of those that serviced the planes we flew in just because they weren't exposed to the same dangers we were. We all had our jobs and it took everyone of us!

    If you can't feel the music; it's only pink noise!

  • br549br549 Member Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    if you were on a boat in the gulf of tonkin (Yankee Station) i think that's what they called it. if it was in a support role for other boats,air crew, ship crew, aircraft maintance and even only throwing the trash over the side i would consider you a Viet VET combatant. most grunts in counrty had the IQ of a rock anyway,and people who wern't there don't know s#@t anyway. this is comming from a Marine Viet Nam Vet.
    It's funny when we were young West Pac grads. everyone hated us, now most want to be a pretend West Pac Combatant
    they can still kiss my *!
  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    There was a difference between those that actually set foot on Vietnam soil and those who didn't as far as the VA was concerned. this primarily had to do with health problems associated with exposure to agent orange, etc. That was recently reversed based on a case involving a sailor that served in the brown-water navy and while within Vietnam, didn't actually get out of the boat and stand on the ground.

    rsr- grunts had the IQ of a rock- huh? appears to me you might be the moss underneath the rock.
  • br549br549 Member Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ray, i'm probally lower than the moss. there was lots of it at Parris Island. i only know you Hollywood types had a good thing going with those issued sunglasses. it's too bad you lost yours, i was with several that kept theirs with them at all times.they were more proud of the glasses than their tans.
  • River RatRiver Rat Member Posts: 9,022
    edited November -1
    The guys on the carriers got combat pay. I did, and don't think it was due to my job at the time.
  • ChiefCrumpChiefCrump Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think that if you were in the Gulf of Tonkin for any reason, you were a combatant!!
    We were shot at by shore batteries, and were just lucky to not take a hit. I don't see what difference it makes that there was dirt or water between us and the VN guns.
  • helimanheliman Member Posts: 597 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I feel I was a combatant. The aircraft I was responsible for, flew a lot of combat missions and took ground fire hits. I received hazardous duty pay and my ship received the battle "E" during my tour. My squadron received the MUC. Our pay was not taxed, because we were in a combat zone. Hell yes we were combatants! Anyone who has ever been on the flight deck during launches and recoveries knows how dangerous it was. 3-4 sorties a day of keeping your head out of your butt is darn dangerous. I've heard those comments before and it gripes me. We who were there know![:(!][:(!][:(!]
  • willowfarmwillowfarm Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was on board a DLG in the gulf of tonkin, ran plane guard for carriers, picked up downed pilots amongst all those sampans and we were shot at by shore batteries and the sampans and were within just a few miles of shore many times. I consider myself a combatant as you should. I had many dear friends who died on patrol boats as sailors and never touched land. Combatants? you bet, we did what we went over to do as ordered and should be proud of it.
  • Blackhorse ZO6Blackhorse ZO6 Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by heliman
    I feel I was a combatant. The aircraft I was responsible for, flew a lot of combat missions and took ground fire hits. I received hazardous duty pay and my ship received the battle "E" during my tour. My squadron received the MUC. Our pay was not taxed, because we were in a combat zone. Hell yes we were combatants! Anyone who has ever been on the flight deck during launches and recoveries knows how dangerous it was. 3-4 sorties a day of keeping your head out of your butt is darn dangerous. I've heard those comments before and it gripes me. We who were there know![:(!][:(!][:(!]

    I agree with you .If you got your HDP you was in a combat zone .
    I was in the Army with the 11th Armor Cavalry as a door gunner on a Huey .Pulled 2 tours .If it wasn't for the Navy & Air force & the Marines Air support we would Had Not made it. Thanks for the time you served & yes you was a Combatant .!
  • Sky SoldierSky Soldier Member Posts: 460
    edited November -1
    A Viet Nam Vet is a Veteran of the Viet Nam War.
    A Combat Vet is a Veteran of Combat.
    I don't think they are the same.
  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 12,685 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just as a spear is no good if it has only a point and no shaft, so it is that a combat force is no good if it only has front-line soldiers and no support. Crew chiefs, mechanics, radio operators and even supply and personnel clerks all were there to support the guys pulling the trigger. If your orders took you to the war, you are a combatant, even if you may not have been in imminent danger around the clock.

    One might draw a distinction between being a combatant and being in combat, but it is not a demeaning distinction.
    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • ChiefDeputyChiefDeputy Member Posts: 3 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    This is an interesting question. I was in the ASA (Army Security Agency) and few of my MOS were actually stationed in Vietnam. I was stationed in South Japan in a Field Station to monitor communications regarding troop movements, battle plans, etc. from N. Vietnam, Korea and China. This info was forwarded to commanders in Vietnam in support of our war efforts, tactics, strategy, etc. 1964
    >
    > Over 40 years later I get a letter from the Dept of the Army with modified DD214, some medals, and a statement that a Vietnam Service Medal (of some sort) was in the works.
    >
    > A definition of who could receive the aforementioned medal was included and stated "support" was part of combat. (I don't have the letter handy). My nephew joined the Navy during the 1st Gulf War and never made it out of training in Florida. Discharged with a service medal for that action. Hmmmmm?
    >
    > So what is the dividing line? Step on the soil? Fly over? Intelligence support? Naval support? Take direct fire? HDP? Or varies by your rank?
    >
    > All my work was Top Secret & Crypto so it makes it a little difficult to divulge intel to some review board...even now. Ideas?
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