VIETNAM Revisited Saturday & Sunday 19-20JULY2014
10am till 4pm
20-21JUL2013 Photos and Commentary
The venue for 2013 was moved closed to the museum to accomodate those with difficulty walking. The addition of a large surgical prep-tent, vehicles, and several GP tents expanded the interpretive experience. Two new living history groups (American and Viet Cong) also participated.
The surgical tent was the central focus of the bivouac immediatley following the tactical ambush. Our "wounded" were brought back to this tent for treatment.
Our "In-Processing" sign was set up early to receive signatures from visiting Vietnam vets. The acronyms are based in reality. 0825 is the numerical designation for the museum within the state bureaucracy; PHMC is the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; BHSM stands for Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums.
Local folk guitarist Doug Irwin conformed to army grooming regs to play some war songs. Doug served for real as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.
The impressive Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army display enjoyed the best bivouac area. While the Americans baked in the hot summer sun, the VC and NVA were nestled in the thick foliage and tree canopy of Spring Creek.
A brand new interpretative display was unveiled. This "exhibit" is based on real bush photos from 1968-69.
(It was adjacent to the VC/NVA area.)
Private Adam Hartzel briefs a "squad" on a Vietnamese langauage warning sign indicating a mined area around a village. Small groups of visitors accompanied a "pointman" and "tail-end Charlie" as they were led through the combat trail. The point would demonstrate a variety of techniques for walking, stalking, and detecting enemy booby-traps. More than 75% of troops who served in-country were support personnel assigned to garrison areas. They kept those doing the fighting supplied. Our combat trail, combined with the heat and humidity of July, provide an eye-opening experience for visitors. Many veterans in attendance admitted that they were part of the 75%. We remember them all with our efforts.
Visitors are instructed to look deep into the bush since anyone can be hiding only five feet off the trail.
A series of booby-traps and pitfalls with "the enemy" running circles around the civilian "patols" educated the public throughout the day.
This walk along the combat trail makes for some great photos and movies.
An ambush demonstration was conducted at 1400 each day. Time and space are condensed. All action is concluded in 15 minutes. Just as in some real firefights, intense terror is experienced for very brief moments followed by complete silence.
SFC Tom Gray (with the radio hand-set) from the Greater Pennsylvania Military Preservation Association out of Altoona leads a squad along a treeline for the tactical ambush demonstration.
Conducting public demonstrations of 18th or 19th century battle reenactment is quite easy. The Napoleonic tactics used during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were designed for an audience sitting beside the battlefield. As weapon systems improved, the tactics changed. By the mid-1960's, American soldiers found themselves in an environment, and war, much different than anything they ever faced. Our tactical demonstation offers an "ant farm" view for the public. The patrol is "ambushed" while walking along a tree line. The public experiences the action from the safety of a hillside a short distance away.
A combat casualty is brought to the batallion aid station.
Medical officer Mike Williamson and surgical nurse Julie Decker provide a first person demonstration of a field surgical group in operation. This was a facinating addition to the 2013 bivouac.
Mark the calendars. . . 19-20 JULY 2014
for several dozen more photos of the 2013 bivouac