5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2010
These documentaries are riveting viewing for 2 reasons: For the extent and level of propaganda put out by the government to sell this war to the American people, and for the other extreme, the brutal footage of the war itself, as in the "To Save a Soldier" segment on disc 4, which shows such incredible heroism among the enlisted men and women. Some are in b&w, some color, and most are in good condition despite their age. There are some clips you will see in more than 1 film, especially the one of Sgt. Bill Belch speaking Vietnamese as he shows villagers how to use a gun. Part spin, part deception, and part truth, this set is a treasure trove for anyone interested in Vietnam, where now the Ford Motor Co. has an assembly plant 35 miles from Hanoi (in a strange twist of fate, Robert McNamara was once a president of Ford).
1: "Why Vietnam" starts with a speech by LBJ, that is interspersed with Hitler and Chamberlain at Munich, a short history of Vietnam including a clip of Pres. Eisenhower. Also Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara saying "We seek no wider war."
2: "There is a Way." This one is quite lame...fun and frolic with the Air Force...and also somewhat degraded in film quality.
3: "War and Advice." US advisors teaching Vietnamese soldiers. "American Special Forces are present, but will not take action until fired upon."
4: "Another Day of War." A day in the life of an Air Force pilot.
5: "1st Air Cavalry." Helicopters in 1965, with the innovation of using helicopters instead of road vehicles.
6: "Marines 1965." Includes footage of the April, 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic, and another LBJ speech clip. This one quite degraded in quality and is in sepia tones.
7: "Year of the Dragon." About the stalwart nature of the Vietnamese people, narrated by Charlton Heston. Very crisp, clear, color film quality.
8: "Ready to Strike." 25th Infantry Division from Hawaii. Includes work with scout dogs.
9: "82nd Airborne." Fort Bragg high pressure training, making tough guys tougher. Includes WWII footage in Africa, Sicily, Salerno, and also Dominican Republic in 1965.
10: "Beans, Bullets and Black Oil." "The mail must get through," as well as other supplies. "Stretched to new dimensions" because of the distance from home.
11: "Operation Montagnard." The Montagnard are a fascinating people living in the highlands, and we see them being trained for combat.
12: "The Sky Soldier." 173rd Brigade in 1965, covered by a war correspondent, through dense jungles and difficult terrain.
1: "No Substitute for Victory." Unlike most of these documentaries, this comes from the latter days of the war, with John Wayne as host, and journalist Lowell Thomas and actress Martha Raye as fellow celebrities, as well as many military men who ask us to "Let the boys finish what they were sent to do."
2: "History of the Air Force" was made after the war, and deals with the humanitarian use, and other aspects of the Air Force. Fabulous footage of jet fighters.
3: "The Sparrow Hawks." Small single engine planes that fly low on incredibly dangerous missions.
4: "This is Parris Island." Marine Corps recruits in training.
5: "The Unique War." "Helping to build a nation at the grass roots level," and "Winning the hearts and minds of the people."
6: "The US Air Force in Vietnam." The escalation starting in 1964 of the air war, expansion of bases, etc.
7: "Faces of Rescue." "Those who go into combat that others might live," featuring Lt. James Devoos, USAF Ret., and the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service.
8: "11th Armored Cavalry Regiment." From their arrival in 1966, history of mechanized vehicles in Vietnam.
9: "1st Cavalry Division Airmobile." Helicopters as aerial cavalry, and their many uses in the "vast tactical arena."
10: "The Battle of Khe Sanh." The battle explained in detail, with David E. Lounds, Col. USMC, starting with the topography of the area.
11: "A Day in Vietnam." Narrated by Jack Webb, and refuting the protestors of the war in the US by showing the military "Winning the hearts and minds of the people."
12: "The Drill Sergeant." A look at the "man behind the title," in the training of drill sergeants and the instilling of leadership qualities.
13: "River Patrol." From June 1967, patrolling a 1000 miles of waterways, the "Lace-like patterns of waterways" that are prevalent in Vietnam. Very clear, crisp color film quality in this one.
1: "Vietnam! Vietnam!." Produced by John Ford for the US Information Agency and narrated by Charlton Heston, this is a long and well photographed documentary in 2 parts. Part 1 is "The People and the War," about the dissent at home, and in Vietnam, "a nation in disorder." Peaceful scenes of rice paddies contrasted by graphic, bloody images of massacres committed by the Viet Cong. The harrowing footage of emaciated prisoners of the Viet Cong, and our POWs is heart wrenching. Part 2 is "The Debate," and has intelligent, conflicting ideas presented by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and (then governor) Reagan, Senators William Fulbright, Eugene McCarthy, John Tower, as well as Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dean Rusk, and many more.
2: "Sand and Steel." Building an airfield "out of sand and heat" with the Seabees on a beach.
3: "The Full Blade." Civic action in Vietnam in its rich agricultural countryside, and "liberating hearts and minds."
4: "Vietnam Crucible." In a war without clear borders, the army "is testing the steel and sharpening the edge."
5: "Hall of Honor." From the Pentagon, Medal of Honor recipients and their extraordinary courage.
6: "Hidden War in Vietnam." James Arness narrates this film about the Special Forces. "It's a dirty war fought without uniforms in a battlefield without boundaries. "
7: "The Gentle Hand." The extraordinary medical team helping the Vietnamese people. The compassion, seen here is incredibly moving. Not to be missed.
8: "1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 1965-70." The Big Red One and their many battles.
9: "4th Infantry Division." The 4th had one of the toughest areas to fight in, against some of the best trained Viet Cong. Includes WWI and WWII footage.
10: "American Navy in Vietnam." The many facets of the 7th Fleet. Military and civic action.
11: "POW. A Report on Captivity in Southeast Asia, 1963-73." Capt. Charles Redman and Claude Watkins (WWII POW) describe with maps, photos, and diagrams, the many prison camps in the area as well as the "Hanoi Hilton," in this history of what our POWs went through.
12: "Marines 1968." Helping out after Hurricane Inez in Haiti, and helping in the villages of Vietnam, Hoa Khanh Children's Hospital, Capt. John Dyer's Combat Art, and much more.
1: "To Save a Soldier." Amazing footage of medics flying into dangerous ground to pick up the wounded, This film is gritty and tragic. Also the nurses preparing the soldiers for return home is astounding.
2: "For Thou Art With Me." About the chaplains in the field. This one is half-baked propaganda.
3: "Khe Sanh." Non-stop "shock and awe." Some spectacular action footage.
4: "Know Your Enemy." Behind enemy lines with the Viet Cong propaganda films. Fuzzy audio on this one.
5: "Nation Builds Under Fire." Starts with a few agonizing minutes of VP Hubert Humphrey reading from cue cards, then moves to John Wayne, some military men and NGOs, in a film about "reaching the hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people.
6: "The Battle." By water, by air, and by land, the enemy is routed from caves, etc.
7: "The Screaming Eagles." 101st in action. Includes Gen. Westmoreland and actor Robert Mitchum.
8: "Small Boat Navy." The swift boats patrolling the rivers, etc.
9: "Twenty Five Hour Day." Aerial footage of bombing raids, etc.
10: "POW Code of Conduct." Stories of those who had been held captive by the Viet Cong...some of them held for as long as 7 years, as told by the ex POWs and actor William Jordan. Very moving.
11: "Contact!" The marines patrolling for "spider holes," mines, and other primitive but deadly devices.
12: "Progress to Peace." Narrated by Raymond Burr, "Vietnamization," or what it was meant to be and hoped for.
13: 9th Infantry Division." Starting in 1967, the 9th in the jungle, rice paddies, swamps and waterways.