Vietnam Vet on BEL: An Infantryman's Saga

Richard Hogue: Firebase Patton, NW of Cu Chi, 1969
NCO Hogue

* A Soldier's Story: During PBS' airing of Ken Burns' The Vietnam War, Bob Enyart is honored to interview in studio veteran Richard Hogue who sacrificed a lot for freedom, for his country, and even for the Vietnamese people, all of them, North and South. Enyart and Hogue begin in reverse chronological order discussing the end of the war and its aftermath before backing up to get this Soldier's Story: Forever Changed, An Infantryman's Saga of Life and Death in Vietnam, the title of his new book. From "volunteering" for the draft and basic training to punji pits and Doc, save my leg, remembering this chapter of American history means remembering the men who fought and died.

Richard Hogue at a Bob Hope show, third from left
At a Bob Hope Show

* Ken Burns Forgot Why We Fought: Unlike the Burn's PBS piece, Bob Enyart and author Richard Hogue remember to stress why we were in the war: to oppose the spread of international communism by which governments have slaughtered tens of millions of their own people and robbed hundreds of millions more of their prosperity, liberty, and human dignity. (This minor point is overlooked to the point of going unmentioned by most left-wing treatments of the war. And if one includes the millions killed by intentional and reckless policy-induced famine, the number of those murdered by their own communist governments soars to over 200 million people.) Richard Hogue and all our GIs fought not only for our nation's security and South Vietnam against the spread of communism, but they also fought for almost the entire population of North Vietnamese suffering under a national Stockholm Syndrome whereby they began to approve of their captors. Also, the guys remembered the Boat People, the now two millions Vietnamese who have escaped the "paradise" (i.e., imprisonment) of communism, even though for many, that escape was only to drown in the sea. And finally, as Hogue observes in his book, Vietnam was the last country to fall to communism. So in that sense, the sacrifice of our servicemen may very well have preserved liberty for hundreds of millions of people, almost none of whom have any idea whose blood bought their freedom.

Emery, Hogue, and Debiasio. Bob KIA 12/28/69; Wop died of cancer related to agent orange exposure.
Hogue with buddies KIA and from Agent Orange exposure

* See Hogue's Soldier's Album: See more of Richard Hogue's Vietnam War photos including the above in better context and with more information in the captions. And don't forget to get his book, A Soldier's Story: Forever Changed, An Infantryman's Saga of Life and Death in Vietnam

NCO Richard Hogue hospitalized after being wounded 1/27/1970
Richard Hogue after being wounded on Jan. 27, 1970