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American War Stories: Vietnam Previous Broadcasts

Drawdown (Episode #103)

KQED World: Sat, Jun 11, 2016 -- 4:00 PM

Drawdown looks at the "Vietnamization" of the war--the eventual decision by the United States to turn the war over to South Vietnam--allowing the gradual return of American troops home. This hour focuses on the real costs of war, including the broken bodies and spirits that are the inevitable result of conflict. Veterans recount what it was like coming home to a divided nation, when protestors blamed the warrior for the war. Two prisoners of war share how they successfully survived years at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp. Drawdown also highlights the wonderful rescue of thousands of babies from Saigon orphanages, dubbed "Operation Babylift", as South Vietnam began to fall to the Communists. The hour ends with some powerful reflections by Vietnam veterans who describe how profoundly the war affected their lives and discuss how not all the effects were bad.

Turning Point (Episode #102)

KQED World: Sat, Jun 4, 2016 -- 4:00 PM

Turning Point recounts the growth of American forces to over 500,000 troops by 1968, and how some Americans estimated the Communist enemy's days were numbered and the war would be over in months. Yet the shock of North Vietnam's massive Tet Offensive surprised and dismayed a public that was tiring of the weekly scene of flag draped caskets arriving at Dover, Delaware. Stories from Marines trapped in the deadly siege of Khe Sanh and of the terror of "walking point", when a soldier leads his squad into the jungle, highlight the danger and intensity of this phase of the war. Turning Point also explores the illogical set of rules of when, who, and how our troops could attack the enemy, a system that perplexed our men and women to no end. But the war also had its lighter moments when soldiers had a chance to kick back and relax. In this hour, veterans reminisce about going on R&R's - Rest and Relaxation breaks - in Hawaii, and how difficult it was to return. Soldiers also talk about nonsense games they created to beat the boredom. There were even rare moments of romance, and one soldier tells the story of how he fell hard for a South Vietnamese girl with whom he just celebrated their 42nd year of marriage!

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