"The Vietnam War" - new Ken Burns series begins on PBS tonight

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Everybody just wants to forget about it, especially if you know anyone who went, or almost had to, like me.

Might have been fun to fly an F4 Phantom, that was a beast of a plane. Although not a perfect design. All those weird
tilted parts were to try to fix handling problems.

I like his series on the civil war, so will check this out, but am pretty burned out on the subject. Have met too many people who were there that are just gone. War is hell.
The first one was well done, great pictures and narration, like all of Kens productions.

A lot of mostly boring history of Ho Che Min, he was a pivotal figure, a hero to his country. Looks like the French
were to blame for starting the whole thing, along with excessive anti-Red sentiment in the USA, and the proven false
DOMINO EFFECT. All we needed to do was wait around for Reagon to destroy them with Star Wars! Bankrupt USSR.

Can't wait for the real battles. Punji sticks, Claymore mines, Bouncing Betties! :y:

No problem. Other than that the truth is too much for many people to handle. I give Ken credit for an interesting presentation,

but the fact is we never should have gone there in the first place.

Let's just hope his next one is not "Looking back at the nuclear war with North Korea". :surprised:
Excellent documentary by Burns, et al.

As for what was revealed by those at the time who knew it wasn't winnable but kept on pushing, this comes to mind...

The fog was mainly in McNamara's brain. A beady eyed bean counter from the auto industry, he proved incapable of running weapon procurement programs properly. Like Hitler, who wanted to turn the ME-262 into a bomber!

The AF and Navy told him they need 2 different fighters, and he forced them to buy the F-111, an attempt to combine them in one. What a mess.


Boeing won all four stages of the competition, but McNamara overruled the source selection board. After extensive study of the recommendations of a joint Air Force-Navy evaluation board, McNamara decreed on 24 November 1962, that the General Dynamics and Grumman Team would build the TFX.
In 1963, political turmoil surfaced as a special Senate subcommittee chaired by Senator McClellan of Arkansas held hearings on the award of the TFX Program. The decision, based on cost-effectiveness and efficiency considerations, irritated the chief of naval operations and the Air Force chief of staff, both of whom preferred separate new fighters for their services and Boeing as the contractor. Under the new management policies of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the "flexible response" military strategy of Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen Maxwell D. Taylor, Air Force Chielf of Staff Curtis E. LeMay found himself at constant odds. In his four years as chief, LeMay argued strenuously for new air weapons like the Skybolt missile and B-70 bomber, and against the swingwing "fighter" plane, the General Dynamics TFX. He lost all these battles.
As a result of a poorly thought-out development specification, both the Navy and Air Force had become committed, much against their will, to the civilian-inspired TFX program. The program was designed to save $1 billion in development costs by using a common airframe to fulfill the Navy's fleet air-defense fighter requirement and the Air Force's long range nuclear and conventional tactical fighter requirement. In retrospect, this was impossible to achieve, especially since planners placed priority upon the Air Force requirement, and then tried to tailor this heavy landplane to the constraints of carrier-based naval operations.
Because of high cost overruns, trouble in meeting performance objectives, flight test crashes, and difficulties in adapting the plane to Navy use, the TFX's future became more and more uncertain. In 1968, the Navy TFX program was canceled due to the test aircraft's poor performance and incompatibility with carrier operations. After 1968, the Air Force was left with a TFX design that was compromised by McNamara's original commonality requirement. Ultimately, the Air Force fielded the TFX as different variants of the F-111 at five times the planned unit cost per airframe. The aircraft never developed all the performance capabilities proposed in the original program. The problems with the TFX can be directly attributed to the restrictions and requirements imposed by the common development program. Some of McNamara's critics in the services and Congress labeled the TFX a failure, but versions of the F-111 remained in Air Force service two decades after McNamara decided to produce them.
Secretary McNamara's reach exceeded his grasp. The contrast between his success with the F-4 (an operational Navy fighter that McNamara persuaded the Air Force to buy by refusing to authorize purchase of any more F-105's) and his failure with the F-111 is instructive. In the first, he could get what he judged best for the nation by saying: no. In the second. his affirmative decision amounted to an order, the accomplishment of which depended on actions over a period of many years by individuals and organizations, semi-independent of his control, with objectives different from his. By stopping Air Force purchase of F-105's, and offering the Air Force F-4's if they liked, McNamara had leverage. In telling the Air Force and Navy to develop an aircraft jointly (the thought of which they abhorred) for a limited war mission (which TAC regarded as secondary), McNamara asked for too much. The principal power of a Secretary of Defme (and Secretaries in other departments) is the power to say no.

HE ALSO HAD A HAND in messing up the M-16!

After a Missouri Senator launched a full-scale investigation, it was found that the change in gunpowder was one of the main causes of jams in the M16. Another big problem was that the chamber was not chrome plated. This caused serious problems, and was one of the most common reasons for an M16 to jam.
Coating a rifle’s chamber with chrome was a well-known technique for rust and corrosion prevention. It was McNamara’s Wiz Kids who had vetoed the idea of a chrome-plated chamber, when it was proposed by the Army. Their assumption was that if a chrome-plated chamber was essential, Stoner would have made that part of the original design.