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Vietnam War Panel

John Simkin

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I am Mike Toliver. In late 1967, I joined the U. S. Marine Corps at the age of 18. I reported to boot camp on 5 January 1968 and went to Vietnam on 25 June 1968. Served with the 3rd battalion, 1st Marine regiment, 1st Marine Division as a radioman. We spent most of our time in area south southwest of DaNang on the coastal plain. I left Vietnam on 20 July 1969, having completed my tour. I got out of the Marine Corps on 10 Dec. 1969 and started college that January.

From my first patrol on, I was convinced that the Vietnamese (most of them) regarded us as invaders - not liberators. My whole reason for going evaporated on that first patrol - I really thought I was going to "free" an oppressed people before that.

I've spent much time since my return reading and evaluating the war. I lecture on it regularly, and am on John's Spartacus site as a resource for students.

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I am Bob Fromme. I grew up in a small farming community in the northwestern part of Kansas (cattle and wheat country). In 1968 I completed 4 years of college with a B.F.A. I was immediately drafted into the U. S. Army, trained for the Infantry at Fort Lewis, WA and by April 1969, I was assigned to serve as a rifleman in Delta Company, 4th Bn, 12 Inf., 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam.

The first months of my tour of duty were spent working below “The Parrots Beak” in “The Pineapples”, south and west of Saigon (swamps, rice and pineapple fields, canals, rivers and jungle). By late May of 69 I was assigned to “hump the pig” (M 60 machine gun) and the unit was moved toward the coast east of Saigon into the lower part of “The Highlands” (triple canopy jungles, mountains and rubber plantations). By June there were only three men remaining in our squad and or platoon had been reduced to 14 men (from the original 24 soldiers.) I was wounded from a grenade in a firefight on June 13, 1969.

After a couple weeks recuperating in the field hospital system, I requested a transferred to work in graphics for the 554th Engineers of the 20th Engineer Brigade. This required me to agree to military service for more then the original two years, however, I wanted to try to use my college training and I had seen enough of the life of and infantryman. I served as a draftsman, illustrator and jeep driver at Cu Chi and later, Lai Khe. One of the projects the unit was working on was,QL. 13, a highway that ran along the Cambodian border. After my time in Vietnam, I served for a few months in the U.S. and received orders to serve in Germany as a topographic draftsman before my discharge and return to Graduate School in the U.S..

Although I did not want to be drafted and I did not like the difficult months that I spent as a combat solder, I continue to feel that the original intention of our government in Vietnam, to try to stop the spread of Communism across the globe, was a reasonable and honorable effort. I hold these feelings even after learning first hand of the price in human life and suffering that must be paid for Freedom and Democracy. When I returned to civilian life, I was angry at the deception and bias of the media and the lack of resolve of the politically driven leaders in U.S. I was also angry at those who were involved in the war protest. I felt that many of these people had not seen combat and were unaware of the huge atrocities that the North Vietnamese forces were inflicting against the citizens in the South. I felt that people like Jane Fonda and John Kerry were dishonoring all U.S. veterans. I was of the opinion that Fonda was probably trying take advantage of the anti-war publicity to advance her celebrity status. I felt that Kerry wanted to go into politics and in atmosphere of the early 70s he realized that his best shot was to use the publicity of the anti-war sentiment in the U.S. to hurl his name and face into public notice.

I received an M.A. in 1974 and an M.F.A. in 1980. I have worked as a professional potter, clay sculptor and as an adjunct college instructor, lecturing design, ceramics and art history. For the past 15 years I have been working in public education ( middle and high school), teaching in the visual arts and in digital graphics and animation in a school district on the southeast side of San Antonio, Texas. I am on John's Spartacus site as a resource for students who want to consider another side of the values and issues concerning the Vietnam War. Feel free to ask questions via email at rfromme@stic.net .

Now, with well over three decades since that era, I continue to research that period and I do a little writing about my experiences while a soldier. You can find some of my accounts and stories on my site at:


Here is one example of my accounts published by Primedia in 2002:


(Note: When this account was first published in Vietnam Magazine, I noticed that the editors had included an error for the maximum number of rounds fired by an M60.... The number should read "500 rounds per minute".)

Edited by Bob Fromme
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07/67-10/67: Vertical Control Chart Op., HDQ Battery, 1st Bn., 319th Arty., 82nd Airborne, Ft. Bragg, NC.

06/66-07/67: Ammo/Perimeter Defense, B Btty., 2nd Bn., 320th Arty., 1st Bde., 101st Airborne, Vietnam.

11/64-05/66 VCO/RTO, B Btty., 5th Bn. Airborne, 81st Arty., Rhine Kaserne, Wiesbaden, Germany.

02/64-11/64 Check Chart, D Btty., 321st Arty., 82nd Airborne Div., Ft. Bragg, NC.

Security Class. Confidential.

Participated in operations Hawthorn (Dak To), John Paul Jones (Tuy Hoa), Picket (Kontum), and Hastings.

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I worked on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) for the last 3 of its 4 years of existence, from August 1995 through September 1998 (when the ARRB shut down). I served as an Analyst on the Military Records team for all 3 years, and headed this team (with the somewhat pompous and inflated job title of "Chief Analyst for Military Records") for its last year-and-a-half. Thanks to the Joint Staff Secretariat, we uncovered the complete meeting minutes for the 8th SECDEF Conference on Vietnam (held in Honolulu at Camp Smith in May 1963), at which SECDEF Robert McNamara directed the U.S. military to pull out 1000 (of the 16,000 total) advisors by the end of the year, and to accelerate withdrawl plans and pull out completely by the end of 1965. Before the ARRB shut down I prepared a "User's Guide" document, or inventory with comments, of the key Vietnam documents we placed in the JFK Collection at the Archives. Steve Tilley at the National Archives should be able to provide this "User's Guide" upon request...it's in my personal papers, which he has on file. END

Edited by Doug Horne
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Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Marvin, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired)

Born in Detroit, Michigan on 10 October 1933

I was an Army “Mustang,” first enlisting in June 1952 as a recruit and I later held the rank of Sergeant First Class. I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and went on to retire as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. A fully qualified Special Forces Officer (Green Beret), Master Parachutist and Combat Infantryman, I am experienced in covert operations: a veteran of eight combat campaigns in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and was thrice decorated for heroism. More significantly I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour on 29 January 1984 and since that day I have fearlessly crusaded for truth and justice with the goal of fighting evil that dwells in certain agencies or personnel in our government.

I was schooled in unconventional warfare and learned the fundamentals of guerrilla warfare, special demolitions, underwater demolitions, assassination and terrorism techniques, civic action and psychological warfare operations from veteran Green Beret, CIA and US Navy SEAL Team instructors. In 1964 I volunteered to organize and command a covert operations team of eight Green Beret volunteers; the first Green Berets to be prepared to employ the man-portable atomic demolition device (SADM) with an explosive force equivalent to ten tons of TNT. Our contingency mission was to blow the hydroelectric plant at the ASWAN High Dam in Egypt, under construction at the time by the USSR . That same year Green Beret Master Sergeant Joseph Hill and I were involved in a bizarre series of interactions with the leadership of the Boston Mafia, giving us personal insight into the unique alliance that existed between the CIA, the Mob and the U.S. Army’s Special Forces when their unique talents were needed to conduct extremely critical covert operations, including assassinations and sabotage.

In the Vietnam War I commanded Green Beret Team A-424 in An Phu, South Vietnam from 27 December 1965 through 2 August 1966, leading the first combat actions against enemy forces inside their Cambodian safe-havens. These sanctuaries had been provided our enemies by then President Lyndon B. Johnson. My A Team also conducted counterinsurgency, direct combat, civic action and psychological warfare operations throughout the district of An Phu. Fighting alongside our courageous South Vietnamese Buddhist Hoa Hao “Irregular fighters” they secured and held fifty kilometers of common border with Cambodia and were continually victorious against a numerically superior and better equipped enemy. I considered the Hoa Hao irregulars the most courageous and most motivated foreign fighting men I ever knew.

My small team of Green Berets gained the respect of the 64,000 Hoa Haos of An Phu District. With no civilian doctors or organized medical treatment facilities in place, my two team medics filled the gap, providing a wide range of medical and dental services to the local populace while helping to defend their homes, farms and fishing industry against thousands of Communist insurgents. Victory after victory attested to the valor of the Hoa Hao fighters and their families.

In June 1966, the CIA asked me to assassinate Cambodian Crown Prince Norodum Sihanouk, using my Hoa Hao Irregular fighters in an operation designed to make it appear to have been carried out by the North Vietnamese Communists. I initially accepted the mission but later aborted it when President Johnson failed to honor the quid pro quo wherein I demanded that Johnson deny the enemy their safe havens inside Cambodia and announce that fact publicly in the United States. Within 10 days of my aborting the mission and ordering the CIA agent out of my camp, my men and approximately 400 Hoa Haos were under siege and in danger of being attacked and annihilated by a heavily armed ARVN Regiment sent by the CIA in retribution of my actions. South Vietnamese Lieutenant General Quang Van Dang interceded, ordered the ARVN Regiment back to their home base, and flew into my An Phu Camp and told all os us that we no longer need fear reprisal. There would be no brother killing brother.

When my team departed An Phu on 2 August 1966 it was the most secure area in South Vietnam. My next foreign tour was with the 46th Special Forces in Lop Buri, Thailand where I commanded the Special Forces Logistical Operations Center which provided unconventional logistical support to all covert operations in that area of the world, except Vietnam. On arrival in Lop Buri, I put a halt to an illegal arms shipping operation and initiated an investigation which was proved that some 120 weapons had been illegally sent to the USA and may have been involved in the assassination plot that killed Dr. King. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in May, 1973.

Among my most treasured awards is the Hoa Hao purple silk scarf that was presented to me by the Hoa Hao Central Committee when they named me an Honorary Hoa Hao, the only American to receive that special tribute. I now live in upstate New York where I write about my experiences as an unconventional warrior.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My name is David Healy, I served in the United States Army in Vietnam (MAAG-Vietnam Military Assistance Advisory Group). President John F. Kennedy was murdered during that 12 month tour. My tour in Vietnam concluded February 1964.

I supported then and support NOW, Vietnam Veterans Against the WAR. The war was a disaster then as the one in IRAQ is now. I've been active for many years, aiding and providing assistance in Vietnam Veterans problems, in specific: Alcohol and Drug addiction.

I was born in Boston, Mass., my father was aquainted with the Kennedy family at the political level.

My interest in the JFK assassination was revived in 1983 while in Dallas doing a remote television pickup.

In 1998 I assembled a short presentation regarding my Zapruder Film findings and, a how-to regarding 'possible' Zapruder film alteration. Focusing on: If the camera original Zapruder film is altered, was the TECHNOLOGY, EQUIPMENT, KNOW-HOW MANPOWER *and* TIME available to get the job done! The presentation was posted to The Rich Dellarosa's JFK Research Forum <www.jfkresearch.com> and appeared in Dr. Jim Fetzer's 2003: The Great Zapruder Film Hoax.

I'm part of the camp requesting that film density testing be performed on one or two frames of the alledged camera original Zapruder Film, AND the alledged first day (Nov 22nd 1963)- 3 optical film prints created at Jamisen Film Lab in Dallas. These tests will go a long way in determining the validity of the camera original Zapruder Film housed at the National Archives. It is my understanding Roland Zavada (retired KODAK 8mm Film Properties Expert) requested same testing in 1998.

David Healy

Edited by David G. Healy
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  • 2 months later...
Guest Roger Hamann

My name is Roger Hamann and I served in the USAF from June 1970-February 1974. Although my primary AFSC while in the AF was that of a POL ( Petroleum, Oils, Lubricants) troop, I did have the priviledge of experiencing a rather unique tour of ten months duration as an airborne interpreter, flying with the Rustic FACs (Forward Air Controllers). The Rustics, for the most part, flew out of Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Our AO ( Area of Operation) was Cambodia, where we worked with the Cambodian Army in their fight against the NVA, Viet Cong and Khmere Rouge.

Since many of the Cambodian Army radio operators spoke only their native tongue and French, the AF was in desperate need of pilots who could speak French and in need of them in a hurry. With a limited number of French speaking pilots available at the time, a call went out worldwide for AF enlisted men who spoke the language. I had taken a French language test back in basic training and now they needed moi!

Long story short, our mission was to aid the Cambodian Army by supplying visual reconnaisance and directing tactical air (air strikes) against their enemies. The Rustics have a website which contains a brief history of the squadron, along with two books about us, one is self-published, the other, Call Sign, Rustic by Richard Wood was published by The Smithsonian Institution Press in the fall of 2002.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My name is Paul Troglia. I am 58 years old, married and have one son. I am currently employed as a corporate trainer for a lead-acid battery manufacturer. I served in the US Army as a drill sergeant during Vietnam. I have been a professional, semi-professional and amateur actor for 30 years. I am a Conservative, voted for Bush and think we are doing the right thing in Iraq.

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  • 5 months later...

My name is Douglas Hainline and I am an American living in the UK, near Guildford.

I was raised up in Houston Texas in the 1950s, by liberal parents in a conservative city in conservative times. I became active in the Civil Rights movement as soon as the first sit-ins started in Houston, and was actively involved in it for the whole of the 60s, including doing voter registration work in the South during Freedom Summer (1964). My experiences led me to the conclusion that the problems with American society were far deeper than the denial of civil rights to Black people, and I became a Marxist early on. I was also very involved in the opposition to the war in Vietnam. I was a member of SDS and watched that organization self-destruct due to in-fighting.

When I graduated university in 1967 (Cornell, majoring in History) I was drafted, despite my professed support for the military victory of the other side. Trained as a combat infantryman, I deserted on the way to Vietnam and remained in hiding for 18 months. I eventually turned myself in and was tried and convicted of being Absent Without Leave, a lesser charge than desertion, resulting in a sentence of six months at hard labor. When I finished my sentence I was in the Army for a few more months, then thrown out with a Bad Conduct Discharge. I am barred from re-enlistment.

I came to Britain in 1976. I left my communist organization in 1980. I have since rethought my original political beliefs, which I do not, however, find entirely without value. I read a lot and try to approach each new problem and development with an open mind.

I hope to see the spread of liberal democracy throughout the world. I would like to live long enough [but probably will not] to see the first Muslim President of the United States. (And if she's gay it wouldn't bother me a bit.)

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