VietNam Facts





VietNam

A Nation Located Along The Eastern Coast Of Mainland Southeast Asia
Vietnam Has Had A Turbulent History


Because its location is near the equator however it's weather is humid
There are only two seasons rainy and sunny in Vietnam
Although more than 60 different ethnic groups live in the country, ethnic Vietnamese constiute nearly 90 percent of the total population and are in the majority throughout the country except in the mountains
The jungles in Vietnam were especially difficult for the logistics of war
Many paths were cleared with Agent Orange followed by bulldozers to open up a way for the troops to continue
The jungles were especially difficult as there were many places for the enemy to remain unseen


Dong Phu Vietnam March 13
(Reuters)

The U.S. Secretary of Defense, wearing muddy boots and a small smile
Stood in a rice paddy near Hanoi on Monday and watched Vietnamese villagers dig for the remains of an American pilot shot down 33 years ago
Water buffalo grazed nearby
A sea of fine green shoots sprouted in shimmering fields as far as the eye could see
260 Vietnamese worked with U.S. experts trying to finish the search for Navy Cmdr Richard Rich of Stamford, Connecticut
William Cohen rode in a motorcade to the site 39 kilometers 25 miles southwest of the capital on this hazy historic day
Marking the first visit by a U.S. defense secretary to communist Vietnam since the Vietnam War ended 25 years ago

After 15 days of digging a three meter deep hole passing buckets of mud from worker to worker and sifting them through wire mesh
U.S. experts told Cohen the joint team had gathered five bags of metal fragments two bone shards and evidence that an F-4 Phantom had indeed crashed there
Whether the plane was Rich's
And whether the remains can be identified as man or animal
Must await further digging and the work of U.S. Army forensic experts in Hawaii

But Cohen expressed deep thanks from the United States to the government of Hanoi
And the Vietnamese people for their increasing cooperation in searches for the remains of 2,000 missing U.S. troops in a war that killed 58,000 Americans and an estimated three million Vietnamese

"I want to take this occasion to express my deep gratitude to all of the joint task force
Those Vietnamese and Americans who are here working together to make every effort possible to recover the remains of a pilot in this suspected site'' he told reporters
"As you can see from the detailed work that this is a very time-consuming meticulous effort that has to be made,'' Cohen added

Since 1992 the United States and countries in the region have conducted more than 500 recovery searches in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
Which have led to repatriation of over 480 sets of remains believed to be American troops missing in action (MIA)

At the scene on Monday
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Mitchell of Dangerfield, Texas
Told reporters that searchers had found a small piece of parachute and traces of fire retardent Nomex a material used in Air Force flight suits
He said the wreckage had been picked over by Vietnamese scavenging for scrap metal over the years
But that tiny parts were being sent to McDonnell Douglas
Which originally built the F-4 to try and determine the exact identity
Two bone pieces had been found said civilian anthropologist Denny Danielson 53 of Letts Iowa
He served in a Marine Corps raider unit during the war
Danielson, who now lives in Hawaii
Said he was thankful for the opportunity to join the search
"It is probably the best archaeological job in the world right now'' he said

Team leaders said a villager led searchers to the scene
Telling them he was 13 years old and in a tree on May 19, 1967
When he saw the F-4 come tumbling out of the sky and plunge into the paddy

Cohen stressed at a banquet hosted for him on Monday night by Vietnamese Defense Minister Pham Van Tra
That the United States was grateful that Hanoi had embraced U.S. Ambassador Pete Peterson
Who became the first envoy to Vietnam after the United States resumed bilateral diplomatic ties in 1995
Peterson a former Air Force pilot, was shot down during the war
He spent more than six years in prison in Hanoi before he was released
Cohen noted that the searchers near Dong Phu are seeking to heal the pain of a family who waits on their work
"We are able to accomplish this sacred mission with your steadfast support,'' he told Tra
"On behalf of the American people and families of the missing
We are deeply grateful''

Hanoi Vietnam (AP)

Workers laying water pipelines found 25 sets of remains
Of what are believed to be Viet Cong soldiers killed during the Tet offensive in 1968
A local official said Monday

"The workers also found hammocks sandals and AK-47 ammunition in a former graveyard
Where fierce fighting took place," said Le Ngoc Cu of the Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs department of Tam Ky, a town in central Quang Nam province
"No identifications have been made," Cu said

There are 300,000 Vietnamese and 2,029 Americans
Listed as missing in action 25 years after end of the Vietnam War

The Tet offensive was a series of attacks by the Viet Cong on cities, towns and military bases in Vietnam in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 1968
Tet is a Vietnamese holiday during which both sides usually observed a cease fire
The fighting shocked American public opinion after years of official assurances that the communists were on the run

Two months later
President Johnson said he would not seek reelection in recognition of the turn of sentiment against his conduct of the war


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