Veteran organizes tours to Vietnam for ex-soldiers
Tex Stiteler travelled back to Vietnam in 2001, three decades after his first visit as a U.S. Marine ended with a neck wound. Since then, he's been back 17 times. Stiteler is the president of Vietnam Battlefield Tours, a not-for-profit organization based in San Antonio that is dedicated to taking veterans back to where they served. The 14-day tours, which leave from LA, cost $3,200 and draw veterans from all over the country. Sheila McCann, who served as an Army nurse in Saigon in 1968, stated: "I had never seen anything of Vietnam except Saigon. I didn't realize what a beautiful country it is."
Tourists hunt vietnam war memorabilia, militaria
Paying just a few dollars, tourists can get keepsakes like id tags, coins, zippo lighters in Vietnam. Selling war memorabilia has been a business for several years, starting with the Demilitarised Zone Tour (DMZ). Tran Ha, a collector and provider of memorabilia, explained: "I collect war objects from hundreds of waste collectors... There are two things that foreign visitors favour the most: dog tags of US soldiers and medals – the older, the better. A waste collector said that 5 years ago, war objects were present in great quantity and they were melted down. But since tourists have been purchasing these things, they have become quite rare.
We Are Soldiers Still - A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam
Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway authored one of the classics of military history: "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young." The story of the first major battle between American and North Vietnamese forces in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965 was made into a film "We Were Soldiers." Moore and Galloway have penned a sequel "We Are Soldiers Still - A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam." They recount their return visits to Landing Zone X-Ray and Landing Zone Albany, as well as a tour of the decisive battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, where the Vietnamese defeated French forces in 1954.
Cu Chi battlefield is one of Vietnam's biggest tourist attractions
Living out war-movie fantasies: Bob might be a middle-aged builder back in Essex, but you can see a gleam of martial determination in his eye as he pays $60 for a clip of ammo for his rented M-60 and instructs his Thai girlfriend to sit at the bar, sip rice wine, and watch. His beer-belly is vibrating as the US machine gun hammers away. He probably wouldn't have struck fear into the Viet Cong, but he is getting a lot of worried looks from a party of Australian tourists. 40 years ago, Cu Chi was the real thing: a napalm-scoured battlefield. Deep underground, the guerrillas excavated a network of tunnels stretching around Saigon.
Vietnam: Themed for war - Tourist gunfire at Cu Chi
The young American woman weighs the machine-gun in her arms. "Try it. It makes you feel so powerful," she enthuses in a southern drawl. We politely demur, it doesn't seem right. We are just a short distance from Cu Chi, where 18,000 Vietcong spent most of the 1960s living in 250km of tunnels, rising only to strike against US soldiers. After a string of unsuccessful ground raids, the Americans dealt with the impasse by shelling the Cu Chi region, 50km north-west of the southern capital Saigon, back to the Funan age. 12,000 died. Less than 40 years on, the tunnels are a low-budget war theme park.
A sampan tour along a delta - Where war once rages
Just over 30 years ago, the Mekong River Delta was the center of some of the most intense fighting of the Vietnam War. Today, a traveler can spend a leisurely day cruising the river with little sense of the bloodshed that occurred here. As I depart at dawn from Can Tho the Mekong emerges from the fog in all its muddy splendor. Many of the more than 3 million visitors to Vietnam each year are veterans of the Vietnam War, revisiting scenes of their youth and battle sites that stir profound memories.
The last time I visited Vietnam as a tourist somebody shot at me
The last time I visited Vietnam, somebody shot at me - and I was a tourist - not a soldier. Thankfully, lots of things are different today: Saigon is Ho Chi Minh City, except that almost everyone still calls it by its original name. In 1966, when my wife and I visited Saigon, the only accommodation was a modest room one flight up. "No one wants that room," said a war correspondent Malcolm W. Browne: "It's considered within grenade-lobbing distance from the street below." Mal said he would like us to see the Mekong Delta, at that point, American troops were beginning to support South Vietnamese forces, although the fiercest battles were yet to come.