Background Information for the humble writer of essays.


Another action below was during the Tet Offensive kill off of Viet Cong.  After this time the VC were replaced by NVA (regular army North Viet Nam) troops. This article appeared in the Tropic Lighting News a publication of the United States Army.  You may view the original article here in the Tropic Lighting News:

There is more to this story that the newspaper did not see fit to print.  We received three to five rounds in the aircraft and were shot down that day (forced landing).  Here I give you my written account, never before published, from a recent email to a veterans group..



Well there is more to the story below.  We took three to five hits as I recall that day.  One, a half inch from my head, impacted into the gunners well, the rest down a line in the tail boom.  We had dropped to 300 feet and were chasing a platoon of Cong we found out in the open trying to make it into the tree line at the Parrots Beak.  I was dropping them one after another when the last man in line apparently realized he would not make it to safety.  He turned looked me into the eyes, and I was close enough to see him screaming, as he emptied his AK 47 into the chopper.  I was shooting at him at the same time.  The whole war disappeared for a moment and it was just him and I.  It was as close as I ever came to a shooting match during 15 months and over a thousand hours flying.  One of my bullets hit the RPG [rocket propelled grenade] he had strapped on him at the same time his rounds impacted the gunners well and boom of the helicopter [Bell UH1D]. The RPG ignited and the cong started running erratically and then it blew just as he reached the tree line.  Meanwhile, we were receiving so much fire that as soon as he was hit I went to the next guy.  Red lights came on up front and the AC [aircraft commander] (W.O. Alan Gould) said we were going to make a forced landing.  As we banked hard right an RPG came close by my side of the ship just barley missing us.
It was only after landing that I discovered how close the AK 47 rounds had come to me from the last man in the line.  If my head had been 1/2 inch to the left he would have had his kill and we would both be dead.  As I recall, they then pipe smoked the helicopter out of the LZ and back to Cu Chi.  Col. Dames gave me the five kills as I did all the shooting.  He also said he was recommending me for the Silver Star as one of the kills had been an "old west" shootout with the RPG carrying V.C.  I rotated home the next month and never heard more about the Silver Star, lost in the paper work I suppose.  I wish I knew the aircraft number for Col. Dames ship.  I was his gunner those last few months during the Tet Offensive.  The after action report would give the number of hits.  Strange the Tropic Lighting News did not mention our being hit and the forced landing.  Perhaps it would not make for such a glowing report of the war---if they put that in...
Thank you for your efforts on the part of the Bears.  It does seem strange after all these years to be reading of events that have made such a large impact on my life.  I thought it was over when I came home.  It turned out it had just begun...
Louis Beam"


This picture is from a Houston, Texas newspaper, which I believe to be the "Houston Tribune." The date would be around November 1969.

 I find that I am labeled

I find it amusing that today I am often considered the "revolutionary" and "radical," by the statist news media when in fact, the event above was my first "political" act that brought me to the attention of the news media and was one directed against communist supporters of the Viet Cong and Marxist/Leninists/Maoist radicals determined to overthrow the United States government by force. I took my oath to defend the Constitution of the United States upon enlistment in the army as seriously as any founding father may have said his oath at the inception of this nation more than two hundred years ago.  Thus I was there at Allen's Landing in Houston, Texas that day with an ear to understanding why people gathered there were opposing the war, and because I had been told that some of those present would actually raise the battle flag of the Viet Cong enemy.  I had spent previous days before the demonstration thinking about such a thing and what I would do if it happened. I already knew when I arrived that day that I could not stand by idle if such a thing were to occur.  For I did most certainly object to demonstrations by communist supporters of the Viet Cong while I knew my friends, who were still there, were under fire and some were dying as each day passed.

 What prompted me to action that day was not the demonstration for peace but the demonstration for support of the Viet Cong.   As I listened, I stood close to the commies, after all they were the enemies the government had trained me to kill and I was in my militant "up close and personal" years.  As I listened to the speakers, I became momentarily confused when the mother of a freshly dead son of but nineteen tender years began to speak against the war.  It became apparent to me that there was in fact a large part of the crowd which were just American citizens opposed to a a no-win war. As I listened to this grief stricken mother I wondered why she was speaking from the podium when these disciples of the murderous Stalin were in the crowd in support of the same cause?  (Of course this mother was there in support of her beloved son, while the communist  wanted to see the defeat of the United States on the battlefield, in the political arena, and destroyed as a nation. In fact the vast majority of the radical communists there supported all "wars of liberation" as they liked to call them.)

When they raised that murderous flag above their heads I could not, and would not, restrain myself from doing what I knew to be right.

Without a moments hesitation I rushed into the throng of flag guards grabbing and yanking the flag down and close to my chest before they knew what had happened or my intent.  Placing it inside of my jacket I attempted to "run with it."  Not a good exit strategy exactly, but I did not care one "hoot" as we say in these parts of the world. I was going to have the flag and did not give or allow myself the smallest thought toward the consequences of the effort.  Before I could clear the crowd of several hundred people I was thrown to the pavement where the "red guard" begin to stomp upon my head and body while kicking me. One of them shouted to throw me over the concrete embankment above the bayou that ran past the rally site so they were concurrently dragging me toward their exit strategy for me.  In those days it was a considerable drop but easily survivable by me as I was an excellent swimmer.  The Houston Police (God bless them) saw my predicament and came charging into the crowd with batons wildly swinging knocking commies off of me right and left.  Suddenly I could breath again as the weight of so many people pummeling and kicking were lifted from my body by the police.  The commies began fighting with the police at the same time so there was considerable ado at that moment.  I felt strong hands around me as I was lifted from the pavement by two brave officers.  Then began the quick exit from the mist of the horde, till we reached safety.  As we broke through the crowd I reached into my jacket and triumphantly raised the wadded VC flag up over my head (a picture in the Houston Post recorded this moment).

The police carried me to the station house where they bought me coffee and lined up to shake my hand.  Later that year The Navy League in December of 1970 had an award ceremony and General Claire Chennault's wife gave me the Navy League's "Citizen of The Year Award."  Several Marines, fresh home from Viet Nam also were at the same ceremony and received medals and awards from her on behalf of the Defense Department.  I was deeply honored to be there for that event.  The following night I was arrested by the Houston police for "driving without a headlights" while I was parked in front of the local communist party headquarter, but that's another tale...

My journeys  into the "left wing"

I feel compelled here to comment about my own experience with anti-war activism.  Many of those who opposed the war in Vietnam have now become close friends and political allies.  In fact I went to the state capital in Austin, Texas, in late1990, and demonstrated against the first invasion of Iraq.  "No Blood For Oil" was my theme when I spoke briefly from the mike to the large crowd gathered there.  (While I knew the war was not over oil, but rather a product of the U.S. doing Israel's bidding, many young people newly enlisted in this generation of activists believed naively that to be the case, and it was certainly a catchy slogan.)  A slogan I believe I had picked up from some of the people of the "left" and I was not hesitant to use it as it conveyed meaning to those just beginning the long process of political eruditeness.  Many of those at the demonstration there in Austin were attending college and could hardly be blamed for believing the politically correct BS they were fed by their learned professors, themselves a poor product of Americas specious institutions of higher learning. 

As anyone was given a turn to speak that night in Austin, if they so desired, and I did not want to miss an opportunity to attack the police state, I too spoke.  I compared this illegal war mongering by the military/industrial police state to the terrible waste of young men's lives in Vietnam.  I told them that had not a previous generation spoken out against the war in Southeast Asia, even more young men would have died.  I can hardly relate to the reader how strange it was to receive a strong round of applause and cheers from the assembled crowd of mostly social liberals.  Or how strange, I must say, it felt at first to be standing with so many people who were for a large part so called liberals or pacifists.  But as I talked to them and they to me, we found out mutually that we all held many issues in common and wanted the best for this country as each of us understood things at that point in time.  It was a liberating experience to work and struggle with those people in a common effort for American soldiers who would needlessly be sent to die once again.  How different this demonstration was to the one twenty years earlier.  No Iraqi flags, no red guard, and no one who wanted to see the U.S. destroyed.  They liked me also.  And I certainly them.  So it went both ways.  As I had conversations with more of them (over one thousand people had gathered there at the state house in opposition to the Gulf War, I realized there were also others there who believed in great part as I did.  These people I speak of now, would be know as "right wingers" by the divide and conquer mouthpieces of the statist media.  Yet they were no more "right" with their concern than the "left" was and all were anxious for impending events. 

Identity Theft

So who was left and who was right?  None?  Not exactly.  For there were many there who certainly believed themselves to be one or the other.  Had the assembled crowd of people been ordered to divide by left and right, many, if not most, would have dutifully followed their masters pasted labels and obeyed by separating from the whole that we were that night.  (Though I happily state here there was a solid core of thinkers there who would have stood in the center of the hall with me in absolute disobedience to any such command.  I understand the thinking that produces this mental division among American citizens.  I had myself many years previously, accepted blindly my state sponsored designation as a "right winger."  It took years for me to understand that such a label is a tool for "divide and conquer" but eventually I broke the chains of mental servitude and freed myself.  I know now that accepting a label placed on you---whether that label be right or left---leads to identity theft.  You become what your labelers call you, rather than what you truly are and could be i.e. a rational thinking person. But then, that is the whole purpose of labeling, to end rational reasoning among people with different points of view.

We had that night politically disparate people united in a common effort, much to the displeasure of the federal police state which was about to launch another war.  What if, I began to ponder, we all summarily shed our mental shackles of state sponsored servile stupidity and suddenly joined together in common effort for issues we both supported?  Would not the system of 'divide and conquer" collapse to it's knees in a matter of a short time?  What if in the future we choose to think for ourselves instead of mindlessly babbling the mental drivel that collects like bilge in our minds from endless lies, distortion, state propaganda, corporate news media, public education and television?  That ever so common, hideously incongruent drivel, that immediately identifies the spouter as "run for the greater good of the state."  What changes could the people of this country bring about if they united as one in a common effort for issues of importance to all of us?  What if?  It is clear to me that state sponsored terrorism begins in the mind.


A Book I recently read deserves some comment:

I finally read the last pages of Forgotten Soldier (July 10, 2009)..  This book is on my mind for weeks and then months now.  I keep going over, and over in my head the pages, the struggle, the destruction, and the ending.  Here are some of my thoughts on it.
I have taken a year to read Forgotten Soldier ( by Guy Sajer).  A year simply because it has been so painful for me to read.  I love the book, yet get physically ill and hurt at times as I read the pages.  This book is an epic of heroism and tragedy for good people.    

It is the story of a 17 year old boy who spent over two years on the Eastern Front fighting the Bolsheviks.  His name:  Guy Sajer, the son of a Frenchman and a German mother. This book should be read for several reasons. It tells a story of terror that most people can not even begin to imagine in their so protected minds of today.  A story with lessons from history so recent, yet so unknown to most all people but scholars and history buffs.  In the utter destruction of Germany 1945+it provides hope for the future.  For Germany fifty years later, no matter how corrupt it's illegal imposed government, is thanks to the German people the powerhouse of Europe today even though almost a third smaller in size then it was in 1945. It is the people that made this happen despite their total ruin such a short time ago.
It hurts to turn almost every page in the book after the first chapter (so much so that I had to quit reading for a month or so at a time). Nonetheless, the book will irresistibly draw one back to it's pages to see what will happen to Guy as a person, to his beloved friends in the trenches with him, and to the Germans as a whole.  A people who were fighting the communists on the Eastern Front as a nation totally mobilized for victory and completely unprepared for defeat.  We Americans do not know this story for it is forbidden in today's world to tell the truth of that period. The victor always writes the history of the defeated. This book is the testimony of a single young man of simple background, who as a private fought in the war and who gives us the truth of the defeated.

Forgotten Soldier, is also in it's tragedy, death, carnage, and utter destruction an anti-war book of the first order. If I had no other reason to be opposed to war (and I have many) this book alone has the power in it's pages to alter my thinking on war.  It should be read by all those young people thinking of enlisting in the military of the United States.  And it should be read by all those who have never yet once considered what the Germans were thinking as they fought to the bitter death of their nation.

By reading this book it becomes entirely clear that war is so terrible that one should only fight when it is the very last resort to save one's existence from an implacable enemy.

Louis Beam



Reading Background:

I have read many hundreds, perhaps over a thousand books.  I read my first novel at twelve "The Silver Chalice."  By the time I finished Junior High school I had read every book in the school library on Southern History.  I but seldom read fiction books.  "Tell me what you read and I will tell you what you think" is truly a great statement.  So I would provide you here with a brief reading list of just a few of the many indispensable authors I think one should make a part of his soul. Since some authors have published several books of merit I will start with an authors list:

(I will work on this as time permits.)

Bowers, Claude G; Heyerdahl, Thor; Cato, Marcus Porcius; Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Bastiat, Fredrick; Jefferson, Thomas; Herodotus; Thucydides; Fell, Berry Prof.; Rig-Veda; Waddell L.A.; Lt. General P.A. del Valle; Britto, Frank L.; Webster, Nesta H.; Ford, Henry Sr.; Hoffman, Michael A. II.; Tolstoy, Leo.

One book I will never forget:  Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajers