John Kozlowski and I went on a trouble shooting trip in late April 1970 to
an area on the Mekong River on the border of Cambodia. The pictures are of
John and the helicopter and two shots of the village or town or
whatever it was. I think it was near Hong Ngu
From there we were sent out to an outpost where they were having trouble
with their crypto equipment. It was a spooky place to say the least. We
couldnít fix it, and it was getting late in the day. They wanted us to stay
with them overnight but we didnít, said we would come back the next day with
a replacement machine. Nixon was on Armed Forces radio and Iím sure on the
radio and TV back home denying the bombing of Cambodia. That night we could
hear the pounding from the B-52s and if I remember right see the flashes
coming from Cambodia.
The next morning we asked to get a helicopter back to the outpost but found
out it had been overrun during the night and we could go back to Can Tho. We
went to get a helicopter but had to wait most of the day as journalists were
fleeing the area and all the copters were occupied. We were told journalists
had been killed in Cambodia, one I believe from CBS. There was a rumor of
CIA involvement but I doubt it.
The New York Times revealed the secret bombing within the week and Nixon was
now forced to come clean to the American people, sparking the protests on
college campuses and the Kent State Massacre. In his paranoia of the press
and leaks from inside the DOD and NSA he ordered illegal wiretaps,
ultimately leading to the Watergate break-in and his impeachment.
The carpet bombing in Cambodia and Laos killed by some estimates 450,000
innocent civilians, by other estimates over 1 million.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was written and became law
in 1978 to prevent future abuse by the administration.
I enlisted in the Army as I was petrified of getting drafted and going in
the infantry. I also believed we needed to stop the spread of communism. I
spent part of the break between basic training and Ft. Monmouth in Berkley
and hanging out with some college friends and started to question my values
and beliefs. While training in New Jersey I went to see the Jefferson
Airplane in Asbury Park, the Family of Man exhibit at the New York Art
Museum, and spent a few weekends in Cambridge hanging out with hippies with
some guys from Boston. Home on leave after completing training at Ft.
Monmouth and heading to Vietnam feelings about the war had deteriorated
further, and my father objected to my going. I still didnít get it.
I knew things were really wrong early on in my tour of Vietnam but honestly
it didnít really hit home until that night watching the bombing.