Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones
Vietnam Veterans Day
Did anyone (besides Bill Janssen and buddies at the VFW) know that it was Vietnam Veterans Day March 29? I didn’t.
day or so before March 29, I got an email from my sister Jackie --
Barbara Walters on Jane Fonda. Barbara Walters does not like Jane Fonda
and is upset that Fonda is being named one of the “100 Women of the
Vietnam was my generation’s war. I
watched friends leave and fortunately for me (and them!) I was able to
welcome all of them home.
The news every night
was filled with scenes from Vietnam. None of them pretty or pleasant.
And I remember the entire Jane Fonda “incident.”
I’m quoting from Barbara Walters’ story here:
many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms.
Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who
served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War.
“The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot.
pilot’s name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1968, the former
Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the
“Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell,
cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ’s, he was ordered to describe for
a visiting American ‘Peace Activist’ the “lenient and humane treatment”
He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged
away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp
Commandant’s feet, which sent that officer berserk.
“In 1978, the
Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently
ended his flying career) from the Commandant’s frenzied application of
a wooden baton.
“From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the
47FW/DO (F-4E’s). He spent six years in the “Hanoi Hilton” ... the
first three of which his family only knew he was missing in action. His
wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the
cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a “peace
“They, however, had time and devised a plan to
get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man
secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it,
in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman,
she walked the line, shaking each man’s hand and asking little
encouraging snippets like: “Aren’t you sorry you bombed babies?” and
“Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent
Believing this had to be
an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all
without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera
stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to
the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper...
men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost
number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her
actions that day.
“I was a civilian economic development advisor
in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in
South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over five years.
spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia
; and one year in a ‘black box’ in Hanoi.
North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female
missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Banme Thuot, South Vietnam,
whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I
weighed only about 90 pounds (my normal weight is 170 pounds).
“We were Jane Fonda’s ‘war criminals.’
Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political
officer if I would be willing to meet with her. I said yes, for I
wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received... And how
different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese,
and parroted by her as “humane and lenient.”
“Because of this, I
spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms
outstretched with a large steel weight placed on my hands, and beaten
with a bamboo cane.
“I had the opportunity to meet with Jane
Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing
to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.
experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of
‘100 Years of Great Women.’ Lest we forget.... ‘100 Years of Great
Women’ should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the
blood of so many patriots.
“There are few things I have strong
visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane’s participation in blatant
treason is one of them. She needs to know that we will never forget.
Ronald D. Sampson, CMSgt,
USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron,
Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431
friends Dave and Terry came back with no outside wounds, but as long as
I knew them, they were horribly scarred inside. And they were just
soldiers, not prisoners of war.
One of my friends married a Vietnam vet, who had been a prisoner of war -- only a couple of months, but long enough.
To this day he has horrifying nightmares and many, many “inside” scars.
Pop’s cousin David came back wounded, scarred and scared. He died from “Agent Orange” contamination.
watched Hanoi Jane on the news and vividly remember her waving her arms
around and enjoying her visit with the North Vietnamese leaders.
I can’t watch her in movies or TV without remembering her on the news.
a travesty for her to be even considered for “100 Women of the
Century.” What a slap in the face to every patriotic American woman.
I won’t forget either...