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Military History Paper - Kyle Fleming American Military...

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Kyle Fleming 12/9/07 American Military History Everything We Had Karl Phaler was an U.S. Advisor to the Vietnamese Navy who tells of his experiences in of service around the U Minh Forest, which was primarily a free air strike zone. These were locations in which B-52s would bomb freely in attempts to eradicate the VC. Though the bombings caused many VC casualties there were also many civilians who were caught up in the bloodshed. The VC would send the injured civilians offshore where the U.S. would intercept and take them into hospitals. Karl Phaler brought in many of these injured civilians. One of the most significant aspects of Phaler’s story was the one day he came across a beautiful young girl who had been maimed from the bombing. She had survived, but the rest of her family was “Blown away.” (pg. 46). For that reason Phaler felt a certain level responsibility to take care of her. He also genuinely felt responsible for dropping the bombs, because he knew no one else would. Phaler brings out a level of compassion for the Vietnamese people that I have never heard of before. Not only does he feel sorry for the civilians he sacrifices his job and position in order to raise money to build and orphanage for the war orphaned children. His dedication and compassion allowed him to receive donations that totaled between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars. That money went towards building the orphanage and supposedly it still stands there till today.
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Thomas Bird was an eighteen year old rifleman who served in Ia Drang. Bird’s story is significant because it depicts how actual battle changes a soldier’s mentality of a “Living a Gung-Ho life” (pg. 33) Bird entered Vietnam expecting to walk off the boat and into a battlefield. Instead he entered on a calm beach and was greeted by generals. Bird’s initial reaction was, “What a letdown.” He wanted to be an infantry man but got placed on a helicopter. He didn’t like it and punched a
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