February 8 was the 46th anniversary of the beginning of the second phase, the main phase, of Operation Lam Son 719. It was supposed to be a demonstration of the success of Nixon's 'Vietnamization' - training and prepping the ARVN to take over on their own. It was supposed to be a spoiling attack, to disrupt future NVA campaigns in the south. ARVN forces were to punch across the Laotian border and drive in on Tchepone.
It was a disaster. US forces were not permitted to cross into Laos, but provided air and logistical support.
In doing so, we lost 253 Americans; another 1149 were maimed to varying degrees; and you might also remember the 38 missing next time you see one of those POW/MIA flags. We lost 168 helicopters destroyed with 618 more shot to shit, also to varying degrees.
Can you imagine the reaction were losses like that reported out of Afghanistan?
ARVN suffered 50% casualties, with over 20,000 killed, wounded, or missing. It would likely have been a lot worse, but for massive B-52 strikes run by the COMBAT SKYSPOT sites in South Vietnam and Thailand, as well as tactical air support from USAF, USMC, and USN fighters and attack bombers, and USA gunships. I was on my third tour for this one.
USA Huey crews rescued hundreds of fleeing ARVN troopers; it was so bad that ARVN troopers had to be pushed off the Hueys so the choppers could fly. A good many ARVN troopers, hanging on the skids, fell to their deaths. Gilbert Alvarado's accounting of the affairs at LZ Lolo makes mention of this, and gives some first-hand idea of just how bad it was. Alvarado was in the Comancheros, Alpha Company, 101st Assault Helicopter Battalion,101st Airborne Division.
Richard Nixon declared it a rousing success. I have always thought that Richard Nixon was the lyingest son-of-a-bitch in US history, followed closely by Lyndon B. Johnson. That dubious honor has been usurped by our current beloved leader, but that's another story.
Here's the thing.
When the Yemen raid became public knowledge, Sean 'My Lips are Movin' So I'm Lyin'' Spicer went on record as saying that the mission was not a success. After all, we lost a Navy SEAL, others were wounded, and a bunch of civilians were killed.
Then John McCain commented that the mission had not been a success.
Suddenly, Ol' Heel Spurs, he of the 1-Y draft deferment on which he is a bit fuzzy, unleashed a Twitterian torrent of vitriol. How dare McCain make such a statement?
And Spicer also went on the attack. Now, the mission was a smashing success, claiming that anyone who said otherwise was besmirching the memory of the KIA SEAL. It was a classic case of gaslighting.
It was also cheap, a total lie, and completely dishonorable. In other words, it was precisely what we now know to be normal behavior from this 'commander-in-chief.'
Nixon and Ol' Heel Spurs - who thinks avoiding the clap is up there with serving the nation - have much in common. Lying through their teeth is chief among the points of commonality.