Search

Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

Tag

Viet Nam

Thank You Veterans

I’m sharing the post from the National Day of Calendar about National Yellow Bat Day. It was information I didn’t know. Thank you to all our veterans from any time period. The U.S. might not be perfect, but it sure is a grand country and I am proud to be part of it.

April 21st honors National Yellow Bat Day. On this day in 1967, the 265th Army Security Agency Company (Airborne) with the 101st Airborne Division was activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The official insignia of the 265th is a bat with outstretched wings on a full moon rising with the motto Through the Night below. Symbolically the bat represents mystery and secrecy due to its nocturnal nature, which well describes the intelligence support provided by the Army Security Agency Battalion.

Before deploying, all the military vehicles and equipment were painted with a yellow bat symbol which was clearly visible from a distance and aided in the identification of all unit equipment.

On November 19th of the same year, they were deployed to Vietnam with the designation 265th Radio Research Company (Airborne) to provide intelligence support to the 101st Airborne Division. Arriving a few weeks ahead of the Viet Cong Tet Offensive, they soon learned of the of the North Vietnamese campaign, but few commanders would believe the intelligence.

January 31st on the Vietnamese calendar, Tet, is the celebration of the lunar new year and is considered a most important holiday. During the conflict between North and South Vietnam, there had been a long-standing, informal truce on this day.

General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of the North Vietnamese, was prepared to ring in the lunar new year with a series of coordinated attacks, to break the informal truce.

Doug Bonnot, who was assigned to the 265th RRC (ABN) Operations NCOIC in the spring of 1970 and author of The Sentinel and the Shooter says,”The offensive would come as a surprise to many but personnel of the 265th RRC (ABN) were manning their sector defensive perimeter of Bien Hoa Air Base, along with the very few small units that believed their intelligence reports, some 12 hours before the Tet Offensive was launched.”

The Viet Cong never breached these positions, and the Battle Flag of D: 275th Viet Cong Battalion hangs in the Sentinel Museum today.

D: 275th VC Bn flag which hangs in the Sentinel Museum. The text reads that their mission is to liberate the citizens of Long Binh and Bien Hoa.

The Sentinel Museum is a traveling museum which is designed to provide insight into the Vietnam conflict and awareness of the contributions of the 265th Radio Research Company. The 265th’s activities were highly classified, and the sacrifices of these honorable men cloaked in secrecy until decades after the end of the war. Even today the general public is unaware of these men who worked in the shadows providing silent and ceaseless support to the infantry soldier during the Vietnam War.  The Yellow Bat is a symbol of their secrecy and their service, through the night.

HISTORY

National Yellow Bat Day was submitted by Doug Bonnot, President of the Sentinel Chapter of the 101st Airborne Association. He and the chapter members are all 265th RRC (ABN) personnel. The Registrar at National Day Calendar approved the day in 2016.  For more information on National Yellow Bat Day or the Sentinel Chapter of the 101st Airborne Association, please write to Sentinel Chapter, PO Box 205, Telford, TN 37690.

National Purple Heart Day

The first Purple Heart was created by General George Washington in 1782 to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action”.  Since 1917 it has been awarded to any soldier, in any branch of U.S. service, when they are wounded or killed in action.  I happen to believe it should be awarded to every service member because of the wounds they receive to their psyche; the ones that another person can’t see.

I attend the local Veteran’s Writing group in the city where I live.  We met yesterday morning and I asked who had a purple heart.  Out of the three Viet Nam Vets, One WWII Vet, and three Iraq/Afghanistan Vets, no one had been awarded a Purple Heart for a visible wound to their body.  But, I know they all carry the wounds of being deployed.  Each one of them has lost a close friend, or wartime “brother” or “sister” during a combat related experience.  Each one of them admits to nightmares about something they were ordered to do, something they saw happen, or sometimes about the fact they couldn’t make a difference when they thought it was their duty to do so, or the fact they came home alive when their buddy didn’t.

I made the comment, “I was just a dependent wife,” because in my mind, that’s all I was.  I never had to face being shot at in a war zone, or hold my friend’s mortally wounded body while he took his last breath.  One of the Vets, Steve, told me after our writing session that if I left my childhood home to be the wife of a military service member, I too was a veteran.  If only for the fact I understand what sacrifices they make so the citizens of the United States can enjoy the freedoms they do.  I wish I had the capability to make eveyone understand what it does to any past or present military service member when they see someone disrespect the flag of this country.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for free speech and freedom of expression.  I just wish everyone could understand those freedom’s come with a heavy price for our service members.  Another point Steve made today is that military personnel are expected to be tough.  They go through a rigorous training to make them that way.  So when they realize they need help with some of their unseen wounds it is hard for them to admit it and seek help.

I have come to respect every person I’ve met in the Veteran’s Writing group, if not love them.  If it were up to me, they would all have a Purple Heart.

 

 

 

 

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑