Many of the greatest lies of my time are those told about the Vietnam War. As a Vietnam veteran who served with the 101st Airborne Division during Tet of 1968, I recommend the book ‘Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph‘ by Richard Botkin. I also recommend every American see the film, based upon Botkin’s book, which tells the truth about those American and Vietnamese soldiers who fought and died.
Those with whom I served, men like Captain Ken Crabtree, Lieutenant Mike Watson, Lieutenant Jim Ritter and Captain Cleo Hogan, are still brothers-in-arms in an ‘honorable and just cause.’ There are two refrains you will often hear from Vietnam veterans. The first is “when I left Vietnam we were winning” and second is “welcome home brother” when one Vietnam veteran meets another. Both are telling as both are the truth and the unfortunate result of the many lies told about those who served in Vietnam. The greatest sadness, that stays with me even to this day, is that America, the greatest nation on this earth, abandoned our Vietnamese brothers and sisters in their greatest time of need.
I know that we won the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people and won the ground war in South Vietnam. I also sadly understand that we lost the hearts and minds of the American people, because of anti-war activists such as John Kerry, Jane Fonda and Bill Ayers. We lost the war in the halls of Congress when our elected officials voted to break their promise of support to the people of South Vietnam and abandoned men like Lieutenant Colonel Le Ba Bihn in 1972.
That stark history lesson is playing out even today in the Middle East in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today America faces enemies who are as or more vicious than the Communists of North Vietnam. During the Vietnam War the threat doctrine of our greatest enemies was Communism. The threat doctrine of our greatest enemies today is Islam.
In his book, “Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph,” author Richard Botkin tells the amazing true story of the remarkable collaboration between U.S. Marine Capt. John Ripley and South Vietnamese Marine Maj. Le Ba Binh. In the process, he vigorously dispels the notion that the military situation in Vietnam was lost, even as American war correspondents and policy makers were surrendering to the winds of political and economic pressure.
“For men like Ripley and Binh, who fought long and hard only to have victory pulled from their grasps, ‘Ride the Thunder’ celebrates their heroism, their humanity, their story,” says Botkin.
Using his keen Marine insight and years of in-depth research, Botkin takes the reader back in time, deep into the heart of the jungle and into the midst of the American-Vietnamese struggle for liberty.
In the prime of their youth, the two noted warriors were inspired by their fathers to fight for their country’s freedom – one American, Capt. John Ripley, and the other South Vietnamese, Maj. Le Ba Binh. Their destinies would collide in Vietnam.
Watch the official trailer of ‘Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph‘: