VBC Happy Hour

Every Monday night at 7pm ET on Zoom and simulcast to Facebook and YouTube. Veterans stories, open conversations, special topics and guests.
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The Tet Offensive Anniversary on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, January 30 @ 7pm ET

Date: January 30, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

 

Fifty-five years ago this day–January 30, 1968–the Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) launched surprise attacks upon American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.

The attacks came when all sides had agreed upon a truce for Tet, Vietnamese Lunar New Year and a traditional holiday for return to home villages. More than 80,000 enemy troops struck more than 100 towns and cities, including the capital city of Saigon, where VC penetrated the outer wall of the US Embassy. They also hit Hue City, and the NVA occupied the ancient citadel there.

The offensive was the largest military operation conducted by either side up to that point in the war, and by any military measure, it was an utter failure on the part of the enemy. US and ARVN troops took back every single location that the enemy occupied and killed the enemy at a ratio of 2:1, at least. Estimates are that the NVA and VC lost 58,000 men killed during the 8 months of Tet Offensive (almost exactly how many Americans killed the whole 15 years of war).

Although the offensive was a military defeat for North Vietnam, it was a psychological and long-term political victory for the enemy largely because it shocked the US public and eroded American support for the war. The American people had been led to believe that the North Vietnamese were being defeated and incapable of launching such an ambitious military operation. In November 1967, General William Westmoreland, commander of American war effort in Vietnam, gave a series of speeches in which he said there was “light at the end of the tunnel” for the Vietnam War. By the end of the year, polls showed that over 50% of Americans believed progress was being made, and they were confident the war would soon be won.

Then came Tet. The horrible images in living color showed that the enemy was capable of launching large-scale attacks and continuing the war despite enormous casualties. Of all turning points during the Vietnam War, Tet was the most dramatic.

We invite all veterans who served during 1968 to join us and share their memories of this time.

Joining us also will be Ray Gleason, author of A GRUNT SPEAKS: A ’Devil’s Dictionary’ of Vietnam Infantry Tales And Terms.

PFC Ray “Frenchy” Gleason, August 1968, a grunt on “LZ Jackie” near Ban Me Thuot, Republic of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Gleason was a rifleman, i.e. grunt, 11 Bush, ground-pounder, with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry (“Cacti Blue”), and he was also a Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team leader with the 75th Infantry (Ranger). During his military career, he was an infantry company commander, an armored cavalry squadron XO, and a division and army-level staff weenie. Gleason has been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm. He still has his poncho liner and P38.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Space Force on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, February 6 @ 7pm EY

Date: February 6, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

The US Space Force just celebrated its 3rd birthday and remains the least understood of the service branches. Carved out of the Air Force by passage of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, USSF was the first new military service since the creation of the Air Force itself in 1947.

Join us for a conversation about all things Space Force with Colonel Matthew A. Morand, who commands one of the largest ROTC programs in the nation at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Col Morand swore the oath of allegiance to Space Force in February 2021, after 25 years as an Air Force officer. He’ll tell us what the move means for him, and what the stand-up of Space Force means for the country and the future of warfare.

The birth of Space Force signals an acknowledgement that the incalculable expanse beyond the atmosphere of earth is now a realm of great power competition. Space Force “Guardians,” as service members are called, are trained to police that realm and protect US spacecraft—satellites, especially—from attack.

Take GPS, for example. The technology that guides our driving, locates our cellphones, and allows us to search the globe on our keyboards–Global Positioning System (GPS)–was created by the Pentagon during the late stages of the Vietnam War.

Today, this satellite-based radionavigation system runs much of the world, from banking transactions to agricultural automations to healthcare infrastructures. If GPS went down, our world would become chaotic.

One of Space Force’s major missions is operating the GPS system and protecting it from harm, accidental or intentional.

Space Force Guardians, then, are aptly named. Bring your questions and insights to the conversation with Col Morand so we can all understand better this new addition to the United States Armed Forces.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Soul Soldiers: Stories of Black Vietnam Veterans on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, February 13 @ 7pm ET

Date: February 13, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

About 300,000 African Americans served in the Vietnam War, and many more wore the uniforms during the long Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 1960s. On this VBC Happy Hour, we talk with some of these veterans as well as historian Samuel Black, author of Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era and Director of the Museum of African American History at the Senator John Heinz History Center. Join us for this conversation about race, history, the military, what has changed since Vietnam.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Fox Company on Iwo Jima, Roi Namur, Tinian, Saipan ơn VBC Happy Hour – Monday, February 20 @ 7pm ET

Date: February 20, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

On the anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, VBC Greatest Generation Live host Glenn Flickinger welcomes Marine Corps World War II historian Steve McCloud to talk about his in-depth study of Fox Company, the Pacific War’s Band of Brothers.

In his book, Black Dragon: The Experience of a Marine Rifle Company in the Central Pacific recounts the experience of a single Marine rifle company—2-F-23, or “Fox” Company—and its drive through the central Pacific in World War II. Through painstaking research of battlefield reports and extensive interviews with surviving members of Fox Company, Steve has reanimated the grueling, day-by-day slog through the Pacific theater through the eyes of the US Marines who endured it.

This is the story of American teenagers who left home, many for the first time, trained together, and formed a team that held strong until, at last, those who survived tried to leave it all behind as they dispersed, returned home, and sought to build their lives. Decades later, Fox Company re-formed through correspondence and reunions and also welcomed McCloud into their midst by telling him their stories. McCloud took notes, chased down company reports and other documents to fill in the gaps, and carefully reconstructed their journey.

As one member of Fox Company recalled after returning to Iwo Jima half a century later, “I think the pilgrimage to Iwo has helped me conquer my black dragons—those bloody and stinking nightmares that made nightly uninvited visits for fifty-six years. My dreams were in color, predominantly bloody red. Those remaining are in black and white and shades of gray, not so violent and stinking. These I can live with.”

Readers who reveled in Stephen Ambrose’s masterful oral history of E Company in the European theater will find similar heroism and heartbreak in the pages of Black Dragon.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

WWII SeaBee and WWII POW on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, February 27 @ 7pm ET

Date: February 27, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour

102-year-old Raymond West joins VBC Happy Hour to share his story of serving in the 28th Division in World War II, being captured in the Battle of the Bulge, and surviving to the end of the war in two POW camps. Also joining us are Vietnam Donut Dolly Rosemary Schwoebel and her sister, Diane Schlosser, who oversaw publication of their father’s WWII memoir. Ivan D. Thunder’s The Pacific War and Iwo Jima is a series of vignettes of daily Seabee life during and after the battle of Iwo Jima. A former Lt. CEC, USNR of the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion, Thunder writes with simplicity and candor describing his harrowing, bloody experience landing on the island under enemy fire; and after the island is secure, describes the sneak Japanese attack where even the Army cooks fought them off with knives. He then switches to the lighter side of living in a foxhole while mimicking FDR. Included in his recollections are essays where Thunder unabashedly expresses his opinion on whether we provoked the Japanese; if the A-bomb was justified; and offers his detailed tribute to Admiral Nimitz. In addition, the chilling diary of a Japanese Marine Officer and a G-2 Intelligence Bulletin recounting a U.S. Merchant Seaman’s POW experience, help to found out the Iwo Jima story. Though written by one man, this book transcends the individual and is a testimony to the extraordinary “Can Do!” spirit of the Seabees. As the Greatest Generation passes away, these inspirational recollections will serve as a useful primary source for young historians.