1st MIBARS In Vietnam!


Disclaimer and Terms of Use


"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"

-- Clare Booth Luce

 

Photo Credit: MIV

The Thai Elephant Statue:   Pictured is a hand-carved novelty brought back by some GI's who served in the Vietnam War and who took their R&R (Rest and Recuperation) leave in Bangkok, Thailand, where the elephant is highly esteemed.  Aside from its naughtiness value in the 1960s, the carving seemed to produce a visualization of the war -- a whole lot of trumpeting and raising of dust by two large and ponderous entities with little discernable result.  A soldier could only stand by and watch in helpless fascination -- hoping not to be trampled before it was over.  


Welcome Home!

It's been nearly 45 years since I completed my tour of duty with "B" Detachment, but I have never forgotten that one year spent in wartime Vietnam with the 1st MIBARS.  It led to powerful insights that have remained with me ever since.  The most significant of these include the widespread destruction that can be caused by modern technology, the magnitude of what may be accomplished by human endeavor, the folly of false pride, the consequences of poor planning and lack of due diligence, the impact of timing and random chance on the course of one's life and the absurdity of the situations in which people and nations may find themselves.  A more wistful realization is that simple people who lack voice and are unable to defend themselves sometimes fare badly in this world.

Photo Credit: Site Administrator's Commanding Officer

This website began as my witness to that experience; a substitute, perhaps, for the yearbook that I intended to produce for the unit in 1967 but never quite got around to doing before a brightly-painted Braniff Airlines Boeing 707 brought me back to the USA.  Perhaps this site will be more interesting to MIBARS veterans and their families today than a mimeographed booklet would have been then.  Many of the photographs published herein for the first time were fogged long ago by heat and inexact processing, in addition to suffering from various degrees of faulty focus and exposure.  Nevertheless, they seem appropriate to illustrate a world once viewed with the unfailingly crisp black and white certainty of youth but now, perhaps, more realistically recalled amid shades of gray added by the lessons of age and experience.

In sifting through the personal materials used in creating this site, I was for the first time forced to acknowledge the singular lack of curiosity that marked my time in Vietnam -- the photographs that were left untaken, the questions that were left unasked, the scant attention paid to the natural surroundings and culture of a people who were no less concerned with survival and happiness than American soldiers.  Luckily, there are fine books available today that recall the many nuances of the country and the war from the standpoints of people involved from many different aspects of the conflict.

It must be noted that the original iteration of this site has been augmented by the contributions and outreach efforts of others who were there -- both veterans of "B" Detachment and men who served in other organizational units of the 1st MIBARS and, indeed, other branches of the military.  Through the structured recollections of many of those who were there, we hope that 1st MIBARS In Vietnam! will reach the objectives set forth in the 1st Sergeant's Pep Talk at Yo! Listen Up! which is linked from the Main Page.


Right:  Illustrating the difficulty of the 1st MIBARS' mission to examine aerial photography for evidence of enemy presence on the ground, this photograph shows, at its center, circled, open bunkers on a forested mountain top in the Republic Of Vietnam in 1968.  This site-specific photograph was taken at an altitude of about 100 feet from a U.S. Army 0-1 Bird Dog aircraft, much lower than U.S. Air Force reconnaissance jet aircraft flew in taking miles-length imagery of wide swaths of jungle, mountains, and flat lands that constituted the 1st MIBARS' raw working material.  While bunkers, as fortified defensive positions, were sometimes visible from above, entrances to fortified tunnel systems used for storage and living space -- "spider holes" barely the size of a man and obscured by foliage -- were literally impossible to see.   


Photo Credit: Gene Zwarycz, "B" Detachment, Imagery Interpretation Section, 1968-1970.

Not everything remembered will be documented here, of course.  The inherently stressful and often confusing environment of warfare, even in rear areas, is sometimes host to individual missteps, particularly among young men who are away from home for the first time. Most are of no consequence and are best left to fade away.  For "B" Detachment, there were few missteps indeed, at least for the period covered by this site.  In 1967, the unit was a well-functioning organization comprised overwhelmingly of skilled and maturing team players who made deliberate and thoughtful contributions to the war effort.  This website is intended to recall those contributions and add to the general knowledge of "B" Detachment and 1st MIBARS during that period, hopefully serving also as a fitting addition to the overall record of the U.S. Army's experience in Vietnam.


Disclaimer and Terms of Use

 1.     1st MIBARS In Vietnam! is a non-commercial undertaking.  Revenue-generating arrangements are not used with this site.

  2.    1st MIBARS In Vietnam! does not collect, share or otherwise distribute information on visitors to this site.  However, commentary contributed by visitors, either now or to an eventual Guest Book, may be made available to all visitors.   

  3.     The purpose of 1st MIBARS In Vietnam! is to provide a shared memoir for 1st MIBARS veterans and their families of their service in the Vietnam War.   A concurrent goal is to provide a reasonably complete, illustrated, factual, educational and historically accurate "snapshot" of this unit, its mission, and its operating environment for researchers and historians, who may wish to know, or members of the general public who, as American citizens, have a right to know.  Suggestions that support these objectives are welcomed.

  4.     Narratives and photo captions on the environment of the war zone -- including alleged attitudes, activities or behaviors -- are generalizations only and are in no way intended to be ascribed to any specific individual pictured or named, or to "B" Detachment personnel, or to 1st MIBARS as an organization, or its personnel.

  5.     Because the events shown on this site took place long ago and coverage is extensive, it is not practical to even attempt to obtain concurrence from all of the individuals pictured.  However, photographs of persons who object to being pictured on 1st MIBARS In Vietnam! will be promptly removed -- or the particular image(s) altered to conceal identity -- upon request of the individual concerned.  To facilitate removal or alteration, an individual pictured should contact the Site Administrator at the E-Mail address provided on the site's main page and request removal, providing their name and the specific location of their image on the web site.

  6.     In deference to those 1st MIBARS veterans who may have taken assignments to the covert or clandestine intelligence services after 1966-1967, or to those who simply prefer to remain anonymous, names will not be used in conjunction with individual photographs.  Veterans who have contributed material to the site and have given permission for the use of their names will be so identified.  A 1967-era  roster of "B" Detachment's personnel, constructed from memory and copies of wartime rosters obtained from the National Personnel Records Center, may assist 1st MIBARS veterans in putting names to faces.  However, any 1st MIBARS veteran who specifically wishes to be identified by name with their photograph on this site may contact the Site Administrator.  

  7.     In many instances -- where 1st MIBARS-era remembrances may be more clearly explained or emphasized -- photographs, graphics and/or text have been borrowed from other sources under the concept of fair use for non-profit, research or scholarly purposes.  The sources of these materials are credited.

  8.     This is a personal nostalgia site that is not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense or any other organization, public or private.

  9.    Contributed photographs and boxed and attributed text are clearly acknowledged and remain the personal [or copyrighted, as the case may be] property of the contributor and all rights to publication for profit are considered to be reserved.  Photographs and text believed to be in the public domain or released to public use are so identified.  All other content -- including photographs credited to "MIV" and unboxed or un-attributed text authored by the Site Administrator of 1st MIBARS In Vietnam! is 2014 -- All Rights Reserved.

10.      The Site Administrator for this website is Jeff Walker, a veteran of the 1st MIBARS during the Vietnam War.


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