Before my memory fails me, let me recall my coverage in what was then South Vietnam before Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, fell to the communist Viet Congs
The first featured the bloody and confused aftermath of the penetration of the American embassy compound in Saigon by a few Viet Cong
"During the monsoon season, the Viet Cong
were able to dig the tunnels by hand in the moist clayey soil," Olson said.
During the 1967 Tet Nguyen Dan, the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong
entered into a cease-fire with the South Vietnamese army and American forces.
By his successful predictions of insurgent attack plans, he was able to thwart all their efforts by directing barrages of small arms, mortar, and artillery fire in conjunction with devastating air strikes against Viet Cong
positions and attack zones.
Some had come under sniper fire, shelling an attack by the Viet Cong
, ending up dead or wounded.
"This is where the order for the Tet Offensive to begin was given," says Ngoc, a diminutive 64-year-old former Viet Cong
fighter, as he shows me a dusty set of chairs in the middle of the meeting room.
1966: At least eight people are killed when Viet Cong
artillery shells hit the South Vietnamese capital.
The over 200-km-long Cu Chi Tunnels allowed the Viet Cong
to gather within striking distance of then enemy capital Saigon and served as headquarters for the Tet Offensive in 1968, the turning point of the Vietnam War.
Built over two decades (often with mere shovels and bare hands), beginning in the 1940s, the tunnels provided shelter and a base of operations for the Viet Minh, later the Viet Cong
, "peasants in black pajamas," as they were contemptuously dismissed by American soldiers, who wore not boots but so-called Ho Chi Minh sandals, flip-flops with tire cut-out soles, and fought against Japanese, then French and finally American invaders, invaders who brought with them a vastly superior military arsenal to the battlefield, but were still defeated.
More than anything else, Komer is best remembered as the architect of President Lyndon Johnson's ill-fated program--"pacification" it was called in the mid 1960s--to woo the hearts and minds of South Vietnamese peasants away from the Communist Viet Cong
In this remote part of southern Vietnam, rising sea waters, erosion and the impact of upstream dam development on the Mekong River are proving a more serious threat than the Viet Cong
guerrillas whom Kerry battled in 1968 and 1969.