View Full Version : How North Vietnam Won The War

01-29-2005, 05:45 PM
How North Vietnam Won the War
Wall Street Journal | August 3, 1995 | Bui Tin

How North Vietnam Won The War

Taken from The Wall Street Journal, Thursday August 3, 1995

What did the North Vietnamese leadership think of the American antiwar movement? What was the purpose of the Tet Offensive? How could the U.S. have been more successful in fighting the Vietnam War? Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.

Question: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?

Answer: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?

A: Keenly.

Q: Why?

A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.

Q: How could the Americans have won the war?

A: Cut the Ho Chi Minh trail inside Laos. If Johnson had granted [Gen. William] Westmoreland's requests to enter Laos and block the Ho Chi Minh trail, Hanoi could not have won the war.

Q: Anything else?

A: Train South Vietnam's generals. The junior South Vietnamese officers were good, competent and courageous, but the commanding general officers were inept.

Q: Did Hanoi expect that the National Liberation Front would win power in South Vietnam?

A: No. Gen. [Vo Nguyen] Giap [commander of the North Vietnamese army] believed that guerrilla warfare was important but not sufficient for victory. Regular military divisions with artillery and armor would be needed. The Chinese believed in fighting only with guerrillas, but we had a different approach. The Chinese were reluctant to help us. Soviet aid made the war possible. Le Duan [secretary general of the Vietnamese Communist Party] once told Mao Tse-tung that if you help us, we are sure to win; if you don't, we will still win, but we will have to sacrifice one or two million more soldiers to do so.

Q: Was the National Liberation Front an independent political movement of South Vietnamese?

A: No. It was set up by our Communist Party to implement a decision of the Third Party Congress of September 1960. We always said there was only one party, only one army in the war to liberate the South and unify the nation. At all times there was only one party commissar in command of the South.

Q: Why was the Ho Chi Minh trail so important?

A: It was the only way to bring sufficient military power to bear on the fighting in the South. Building and maintaining the trail was a huge effort, involving tens of thousands of soldiers, drivers, repair teams, medical stations, communication units.

Q: What of American bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail?

A: Not very effective. Our operations were never compromised by attacks on the trail. At times, accurate B-52 strikes would cause real damage, but we put so much in at the top of the trail that enough men and weapons to prolong the war always came out the bottom. Bombing by smaller planes rarely hit significant targets.

Q: What of American bombing of North Vietnam?

A: If all the bombing had been concentrated at one time, it would have hurt our efforts. But the bombing was expanded in slow stages under Johnson and it didn't worry us. We had plenty of times to prepare alternative routes and facilities. We always had stockpiles of rice ready to feed the people for months if a harvest were damaged. The Soviets bought rice from Thailand for us.

Q: What was the purpose of the 1968 Tet Offensive?

A: To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year.

Q: What about Gen. Westmoreland's strategy and tactics caused you concern?

A: Our senior commander in the South, Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, knew that we were losing base areas, control of the rural population and that his main forces were being pushed out to the borders of South Vietnam. He also worried that Westmoreland might receive permission to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

In January 1967, after discussions with Le Duan, Thanh proposed the Tet Offensive. Thanh was the senior member of the Politburo in South Vietnam. He supervised the entire war effort. Thanh's struggle philosophy was that "America is wealthy but not resolute," and "squeeze tight to the American chest and attack." He was invited up to Hanoi for further discussions. He went on commercial flights with a false passport from Cambodia to Hong Kong and then to Hanoi. Only in July was his plan adopted by the leadership. Then Johnson had rejected Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops. We realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war. Vietnam was not sufficiently important for the United States to call up its reserves. We had stretched American power to a breaking point. When more frustration set in, all the Americans could do would be to withdraw; they had no more troops to send over.

Tet was designed to influence American public opinion. We would attack poorly defended parts of South Vietnam cities during a holiday and a truce when few South Vietnamese troops would be on duty. Before the main attack, we would entice American units to advance close to the borders, away from the cities. By attacking all South Vietnam's major cities, we would spread out our forces and neutralize the impact of American firepower. Attacking on a broad front, we would lose some battles but win others. We used local forces nearby each target to frustrate discovery of our plans. Small teams, like the one which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, would be sufficient. It was a guerrilla strategy of hit-and-run raids.

Q: What about the results?

A: Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise;. Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election. The second and third waves in May and September were, in retrospect, mistakes. Our forces in the South were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely. We suffered badly in 1969 and 1970 as it was.

Q: What of Nixon?

A: Well, when Nixon stepped down because of Watergate we knew we would win. Pham Van Dong [prime minister of North Vietnam] said of Gerald Ford, the new president, "he's the weakest president in U.S. history; the people didn't elect him; even if you gave him candy, he doesn't dare to intervene in Vietnam again." We tested Ford's resolve by attacking Phuoc Long in January 1975. When Ford kept American B-52's in their hangers, our leadership decided on a big offensive against South Vietnam.

Q: What else?

A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.

01-29-2005, 09:08 PM
A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.
<hr /></blockquote>

For the record.

While the United States suffered serious losses --
more than 58,000 of its military killed and
billions of dollars spent -- Vietnam's losses were staggering. More than 3 million
Vietnamese died during the American war, with at least that many wounded.
More than 15 million Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians became refugees.
American weapons -- especially the 6.5 million tons of bombs dropped on
Indochina -- destroyed more than 10,000 hamlets and 25 million acres of forest in
South Vietnam (the land of the U.S. ally in the war); additionally the United States
dropped more than 11.2 million gallons of Agent Orange and 400,000 tons of
napalm on South Vietnam, a nation roughly the size of New Mexico or Arizona.

Since the end of the war, thousands of Vietnamese continued to be killed every
year from contact with unexploded bombs from the war, and their environment
continues to feel the effects of dioxin and other herbicides. <hr /></blockquote>

When and where Agent Orange was used in Vietnam.
Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. military in South Vietnam used more than 19 million gallons
of herbicides for defoliation and crop destruction. Several types and combinations of chemicals
were used. These mixtures were identified by the color of the stripe on the storage drums.
The three most common mixtures were Agent Orange, Agent White, and Agent Blue. Fifteen
different herbicides were shipped to and used in Vietnam. Most of the herbicides sprayed in
Vietnam were Agent Orange, which was used between January 1965 and April 1970. Herbicides
other than Agent Orange were used in Vietnam prior to 1965, but to a very limited extent.
<hr /></blockquote>

20 million gals! Would you call that chemical warfare?
1000lbs of bombs for every man,woman and child! You call that holding back?


01-30-2005, 01:51 PM
A very interesting article, and also interesting commentary from Qtec

01-30-2005, 03:08 PM
I didn't call it anything Q, Bin Tui did.

"Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam."

Please don't put words in my mouth, I repeat I did not say anything, the article is an interview of a former high ranking North Vietnamese official.

01-30-2005, 04:58 PM
SF, if you post an article without comment, one must assume you believe it to be true.
I wasnt quoting you or putting words in your mouth. I was asking you a question, hence the question marks.


01-30-2005, 05:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Qtec:</font><hr> SF, if you post an article without comment, one must assume you believe it to be true.
I wasnt quoting you or putting words in your mouth. I was asking you a question, hence the question marks.

Q <hr /></blockquote>

As you know, the US won practically every single battle. We failed to win the war because we did not let the military commanders run the show.

We should have gone into Laos and Cambodia and cut off the flow of supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but we didn't because we lacked the political will to do so.

Walter Cronkite spun the Tet Offensive of 68 as a huge loss for America and the South Vietnamese when it fact it was a crippling blow to the Communists. Meanwhile we had scum bags like Kerry and Fonda, the SDS, and all the assorted pinko peace activists shilling for the North Vietnamese, right here at home.

In the end 58,000 Americans lost their lives in vain because we lacked the resolve to do what was needed to win.

Bui Tin pretty much confirmed it all in the interview. Gen. Giap, the supreme commander of NV forces also stated as much in a TV interview for PBS which aired a few years ago.

01-31-2005, 12:32 PM
Fats remember we were lied to by another President from Texas. There was no Gulf of Tonkin just like no weapons of mass destruction.####

01-31-2005, 01:54 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr> Fats remember we were lied to by another President from Texas. There was no Gulf of Tonkin just like no weapons of mass destruction.#### <hr /></blockquote>

The original incident of August 2, 1964 was later confirmed by Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap commander of NV forces, although Giap did deny the incident of August 4, 1964. It seems likely that the Aug 4 incident was hyped and was more likely the result of nervous and overeager sonar and radar operators aboard the US destroyer Maddox (if not outright fraud).

LBJ did use the Gulf of Tonkin affair as a pretext for large scale American involvement in the war. However, IMO, once LBJ committed the US to war, he should have had the intestinal fortitude to allow the military, and not the White House, to run the war and to do what was needed to win.

The whole damned thing was a monumental tragedy.

Hell, during WWII Ho Chi Minh cooperated with the OSS (the precursor of the CIA) against the Japanese. In exchange he was given promises that the US would not back the French after WWII and that indeed the US would press for France to abandon all claims to French-Indochina. After the humiliating loss at Dien Bien Phu by the French, he was, of course, betrayed by America out of our fear of growing Communist expansion at the beginning of the Cold War. So sure was Ho of the US promises, that the declaration of Vietnamese independence which he himself penned, began with the preamble of the US Declaration of Independence.

One can only wonder what may have been if we had kept our word to Ho Chi Minh ( a man who initially had great admiration for America).

01-31-2005, 03:26 PM
Fats, never heard the preamble part of the story...I think we helped the French out with $$$ and equipment, before Dien Bien Phu....but betting on the French, was like betting on the Washington Generals, against the Harlem Globetrotters. We didn't do much better though.
Interestingly, as a result of the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina.....(clause #5)...once our supplies left a U.S. Port, they no longer belonged to us, and were bid on by the Viet-Cong, the N. Vietnamese, and the Chinese....if I remember correctly from "Our Own Worst Enemy"
Some of our troops bought needed items from the black market over there.

01-31-2005, 06:09 PM
I first met Ho on the China border between China and Indochina in the last days of April of 1945.

He was an interesting individual. Very sensitive, very gentle, rather a frail type. We spoke quite at length about the general situation, not only in Indochina, but the world at large.


We knew he was a Communist, but we also felt, as they did, and the way anybody who has known, met Ho Chi Minh, who I've ever talked with, had the same feeling: he was first a nationalist, and second a Communist. That is, he was interested in getting the independence of his people and then he thought probably the best thing for them was the Communist type of government. But he was a nationalist first and foremost.

...For the first time, we saw what kind of troops the Vietminh were. They were a very willing, fine young nationalist, really what we used to say "gung ho" type. They were willing to risk their lives for their cause, the cause of independence against the French.


Before Ho's men could prove their willingness, World War II was over.

The sudden Japanese collapse took many in French Indochina by surprise, but the Vietminh were ready for what they called the "August Revolution." Declaring Vietnam independent, they marched in to take Hanoi peacefully.

Ho Chi Minh formed a government in Hanoi, carefully mixing in members of other nationalist groups. But in the South, away from Ho's moderating influence, his followers started purging rival nationalists.

Still with the Vietminh, and perhaps reinforcing the idea of American support, was the OSS.


Two or three days after I met Ho, he asked me to come in and stop and see him at which time he wanted to show me something, and what he wanted to show me was a draft of the Declaration of Independence that he was going to declare several days later. Of course, it was in Vietnamese and I couldn't read it and when it was interpreted to me, I was quite taken aback to hear the words of the American Declaration of Independence. Words about liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness, etcetera. I just couldn't believe my own ears.


On September 2, 1945, on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrendered.

On the same day throughout Vietnam, the Vietnamese celebrated their self-proclaimed Independence Day and the formation of a new country, the Demo-cratic Republic of Vietnam.

In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh read a speech that began, "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights..."


I can say that the most moving moment was when President Ho Chi Minh climbed the steps and the national anthem was sung. It was the first time that the national anthem of Vietnam was sung in an official ceremony.

Uncle Ho then read the Declaration of Independence, which was a short docu-ment. As he was reading, Uncle Ho stopped and asked, "Compatriots, can you hear me?"

This simple question went into the hearts of everyone there. After a moment of silence, they all shouted, "Yes, we hear you!" And I can say that we did not just shout with our mouths but with all our hearts, the hearts of over 400,000 people standing in the square then.

After Uncle Ho finished reading the Declaration of Independence, an airplane, a small plane, circled over us. We did not know whose plane it was. We thought that it was a Vietnamese plane. But when it swooped down over us, we recog-nized the American flag. The crowd cheered enthusiastically.


Ho appealed to Presi-dent Harry Truman but he would probably have accepted anyone's support. Truman did not respond to Ho's letters. He had been in office only four months in August 1945 and had not had time to formulate a policy on Indochina.


There was quite a division in the State Department over Indochina. Both the Far Eastern office and the European office were in complete agreement that we wanted a strong France recovered in Europe from the trauma of Vichy and the defeat in the war, but the European division felt that to help get the French back on their feet we should go along with practically anything that the French wanted.


The Allies had worked out a compromise plan to disarm the Japanese.

Above the 16th parallel, the Chinese would take the surrender of Japanese troops. The British would do the same in the South. They arrived in Saigon in early September.


The British commander, General Douglas Gracey, was a seasoned colonial officer with limited political experience. His orders were to disarm the Japanese, and maintain law and order.


He had absolutely no mandate whatever to start talking about handing over French Indochina to anyone other than the French. He had his straight, strict instructions.


The Vietminh fought back, but they had few weapons to use against the French troops, and the Vietminh's brutal tactics alienated other southern nation-alists.

The French regained control. In the North, Ho's Vietminh had widespread support, but they also faced a problem: 150,000 Nationalist Chinese troops. The Chinese came to disarm the Japanese. They stayed to loot and disrupt and they threatened to remain indefinitely.

Desperate to expel the Chinese, Ho Chi Minh negotiated with the French. In March 1946, they reached an agreement. The French colonial authorities dis-played their power as Ho Chi Minh, President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, came to confirm the agreement permitting French troops back for a limited period.

In return, France recognized the new Vietnamese state, and the Chinese army left.

Ho Chi Minh was gambling that the French would not try to seize power, and that a long-range agreement could eventually be negotiated.


A truce was concluded. There were to be future negotiations to settle the problems between us and France. Under these conditions, we allowed a certain number of French troops to take the place of the nearly 200,000 troops of Chiang Kai-shek, which were to evacuate our country as soon as possible. So we had some breathing time to consolidate our forces.


The French in Hanoi greeted the arriving troops as conquering heroes. The Vietnamese stayed home.

Ho Chi Minh travelled to France to continue the negotiations. But the French cabinet had collapsed. There was no one to negotiate with. He had to play tourist until a new coalition was formed. While he waited, the French administration in Saigon, acting on its own, declared the southern part of Vietnam separate from the North. It was a violation of the March agreement and Ho wondered if there was any point to further negotiations. "Should I go back home?" he asked. He was told the new government would straighten it out in Paris.

In 1946, Ho had been famous as a patriot for a quarter of a century, and the Vietnamese in Paris turned out to welcome this first president of an indepen-dent Vietnam. The French greeted the veteran Communist formally, as a chief of state. At the time in France, Communists were part of the government.

In public, relations were cordial, but in fact the French and Vietnamese negotiators were far apart.


The negotiations, held at the historic Fontainebleau chateau, went badly. The Vietnamese insisted that southern Vietnam was part of their country. The French would not budge.


When the meeting began, the chief of the French delegation, Max Andre, said to me: "We only need an ordinary police operation for eight days to clean all of you out." There was no need for negotiations.

<hr /></blockquote>

More: (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/101ts.html)

01-31-2005, 09:56 PM

Thanks for the post and for the link. I watched the entire series when it first aired. That is when I first learned of the OSS dealings with Ho Chi Minh.

The US saw the VietNam war as part of the larger cold war (the Domino Theory). The Vietnamese saw it within the context of a nationalist struggle and civil war.

I'm no communist sympathizer. But, I can't help thinking that if we had owned up to our commitments, and had at the very least not intervened, we would have found in Ho if not a friend, at least someone reasonable with whom we could deal. 1,280,000 Vietnamese, US and allied lives could have been spared.

Once the decision was made to intervene, we further compounded our mistake by prosecuting the war in a manner which ultimately could only have led to our defeat.

Gayle in MD
01-31-2005, 10:57 PM
I agree Fats,
This was also stated in the Documentary, Fog Of War, our misinterpretation of seeing it as an extention of the cold war, rather than a civil war. McNamara covers it along with WWII and the CMC, and it is spellbinding.

Some of his statements are very interesting, such as stating, in regard to US actions against Japan,
"If we had lost the war, we'd have all been prosecuted as war criminals." He makes the point that our response to Japan was overkill for what they had done to us.

He also says that at the time of the CMC, Cuba had 160 Nuclear Warheads, and 90 Tacticle Warheads.

Also, his statements regarding war, that it is so very complex, it is really beyond the human mind to be able to stay on top of it, that mistakes are inevitable, and that the nuclear presence is such a threat because of this, pointing out that Kennedy, Castro and Kruschev were all reasonable men, yet we came within a breath of nuclear war.

Gayle in Md

01-31-2005, 11:50 PM
Gayle, good post....I just saw that documentary tonite,
and you have summed it up very well......
It was quite an admission, when he said
that if we had lost WWII, both he and Gen. Curtis LeMay could have been prosecuted as war criminals.
I was a little disappointed, when he said he couldn't remember
if he had authorized the use of agent orange....maybe it was
Ollie North????....I can understand though, not wanting to
admit that...if he had in fact,ok'd it's use

Gayle in MD
02-01-2005, 06:06 AM
Thanks you. BTW, I had attributed something to McNamara which was really LaMay, he was the one who was for taking a stronger approach in the CMC, not McNamara. Also, it was this guy Tommy Tomason, I think that was his name, who knew Kruschev, had actually lived with him for a time, who first made the suggestion of using the diplomatic approach with Kruschev, ignore the first letter, and answer only the "Soft" letter, thereby allowing Kruschev to save face, an in "I stopped Kennedy from invading Cuba"

robert Kennedy was for that approach also, but it wasn't his idea, it was Thomason's.

Gayle in Md.

02-01-2005, 06:57 AM
Fats you seem to have a direct line to Militarry Affairs. Find the answer to this Question. In World War Two George Bush was a Pilot who lost two Co-Pilots?

I was always under the impression that the Co-Pilot bailed out first and the Pilot went down with the ship.####

02-02-2005, 12:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr> Fats you seem to have a direct line to Militarry Affairs. Find the answer to this Question. In World War Two George Bush was a Pilot who lost two Co-Pilots?

<font color="blue">George Bush's Comrades Eaten By Their Japanese </font color> <font color="blue">POW Guards
By Charles Laurence in New York, telegraph.co.uk
(Filed: 26/10/2003)

The former President George Bush narrowly escaped being beheaded and eaten by Japanese soldiers when he was shot down over the Pacific in the Second World War, a shocking new history published in America has revealed.

The book, Flyboys, is the result of historical detective work by James Bradley, whose father was among the marines later photographed raising the flag over the island of Iwo Jima.

Lt George Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot, was among nine airmen who escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles south of Tokyo, in September 1944 - and was the only one to evade capture by the Japanese.

The horrific fate of the other eight "flyboys" was established in subsequent war crimes trials on the island of Guam, but details were sealed in top secret files in Washington to spare their families distress.

Mr Bradley has established that they were tortured, beaten and then executed, either by beheading with swords or by multiple stab-wounds from bayonets and sharpened bamboo stakes. Four were then butchered by the island garrison's surgeons and their livers and meat from their thighs eaten by senior Japanese officers.

The future president escaped a similar fate because he ditched his plane further from the island than the other crews, and managed to scramble on to a liferaft. American planes launched a hail of fire at Japanese boats which set out to capture him, driving them back, and he was eventually rescued by a US submarine.

When the black hull of the USS Finback surfaced in front of him, he thought he was hallucinating, he told Mr Bradley in a television film made to coincide with the publication of Flyboys. He had been vomiting, bleeding from a head wound, and weeping with fear. He said only four words to his rescuers: "Happy to be aboard."

Mr Bush's part in the raid - for which he won the Distinguished Flying Cross - has long been known to Americans. Not known until now was the grim fate of his downed comrades - none from his own plane - who swam ashore.

Mr Bradley pieced together the horrific truth from secret transcripts of the war crimes trials, given to him by a former officer and lawyer who was an official witness at the time, and the testimony of surviving Japanese veterans.

A radio operator, Marve Mershon, was marched to a freshly dug grave, blindfolded, and made to kneel for beheading by sword, testified a Japanese soldier, named as Iwakawa, at the war crimes trial. "When the flyer was struck, he did not cry out, but made a slight groan."

The next day a Japanese officer, Major Sueo Matoba, decided to include American flesh in a sake-fuelled feast he laid on for officers including the commander-in-chief on the island, Gen Yoshio Tachibana. Both men were later tried and executed for war crimes.

A Japanese medical orderly who helped the surgeon prepare the ingredients said: "Dr Teraki cut open the chest and took out the liver. I removed a piece of flesh from the flyer's thigh, weighing about six pounds and measuring four inches wide, about a foot long."

Another crewman, Floyd Hall, met a similar fate. Adml Kinizo Mori, the senior naval officer on Chichi Jima, told the court that Major Matoba brought "a delicacy" to a party at his quarters - a specially prepared dish of Floyd Hall's liver.

According to Adml Mori, Matoba told him: "I had it pierced with bamboo sticks and cooked with soy sauce and vegetables." They ate it in "very small pieces", believing it "good medicine for the stomach", the admiral recalled.

A third victim of cannibalism, Jimmy Dye, had been put to work as a translator when, several weeks later, Capt Shizuo Yoshii - who was later tried and executed - called for his liver to be served at a party for fellow officers. Parts of a fourth airman, Warren Earl Vaughn, were also eaten and the remaining four were executed, one by being clubbed to death.

The parents of all the airmen are now dead, but Mr Bradley contacted all their families. "The first reaction was a stunned silence, a hush. But I think that at last knowing how these men died, however horrible their deaths, has allowed closure and in a word I heard from them, healing," he said. Mr Bush's first reaction was also to say nothing. "There was a lot of head-shaking, a lot of silence," the author told The Telegraph. "There was no disgust, shock or horror. He's a veteran of a different generation."

The former president returned to Chichi Jima with Mr Bradley for the first time since his rescue for the CNN documentary broadcast last week. Mr Bush looked sombre but never visibly upset, and ventured into the water in a modern liferaft to re-create his experience.

He recalled that while on the submarine he asked himself why he had survived. "Why had I been spared and what did God have in store for me? In my own view there's got to be some kind of destiny and I was being spared for something on Earth." Earlier he had told Mr Bradley: "I think about those guys all the time." </font color>

I was always under the impression that the Co-Pilot bailed out first and the Pilot went down with the ship.#### <hr /></blockquote>

Pilots are not expected to go down with their planes. Both the pilot and co-pilot are expected to bail out when needed and to attempt to contact friendly forces. To prepare them for such, WWII era flight crews where given extensive survival, evasion, and escape training.

02-03-2005, 01:10 PM
Thanks Fats for the research, I know I read about him losing two co-pilots. There must be another story out there.####