As the Vietnam War dragged on, some news outlets began weekly reports on the status of fighting, and giving casualty figures. ABC Radio had Vietnam Update – this one; report #38, comes from August 4, 1966.
Fifty years ago this month, this was what the fighting was like – this was part of the daily routine of listening to battled being waged, operations with Patriotic names and hearing about the numbers of dead and wounded.
This week the casualty figures were 99 GI’s were killed in action – down from the previous month at the same time. Good news to some, but hardly mattering to the ones whose platoons were wiped out in fighting the previous week via Operation Hastings.
This was the daily grind; the war as it dragged on – week in and week out. The relentless effort to put positive spins on things. But the dead and the numbers of wounded continued, no matter how great or slight those numbers were. Fifty years ago we were hearing about the battles, the rescue efforts, that relatively new word; DMZ (De-Militarized Zone), and what exactly was a DMZ and the fact that it wasn’t an old word, but rather one which had been used during another Vietnam conflict; one in 1954 when it was about the French and the Vietnamese calling for an end to colonial rule.There were reports of B-52 raids over the DMZ, which the U.S. was accusing the North Vietnamese of using as a staging area for attacks into South Vietnam. Also during this week there were reports from the field as yet another operation, this one named Paul Revere, which had been going on near Pleiku since May 10th when a company sized unit of the 3rd Brigade Task Force of the 25th Infantry Division ran into an enemy battalion. They called in airstrikes and artillery, and as of this week was continuing, as were three other major incidents around Vietnam during this week in 1966.
And that’s what it was sounding like, August 4, 1966 as reported by ABC Radio News.