Warrior: From Nazi Occupied Holland to the Jungles of Vietnam

I survived five years of World War II Nazi occupation in Holland and in 1955 my family emigrated to the U.S. In 1962, I joined the U.S. Army and eventually rose to Captain in charge of Howitzer Battery, 3rd Squadron, of the 11th Cavalry.

In Vietnam we were constrained by strict rules of engagement, which often resulted in mediocre results. My main focus is the 1967 Battle of the Iron Triangle to illustrate the effects of those rules.

One significant determinant of tactics is always the consideration of how much collateral damage is acceptable. In World War II, our Air Force eventually used napalm and atomic bombs to destroy cities in both Germany and Japan causing hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

In Vietnam we made concerted efforts [with some widely publicized exceptions, such as in the My Lai massacre] to avoid civilian casualties, because it was essential for us to win over the South Vietnamese people. At the time we had no idea that this was probably a fool’s errand.

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