VN War Lecture at Air University


Kính thưa quý độc giả,

Sau gần 44 năm Cộng Sản cưỡng chiếm Việt Nam Cộng Hòa, nhiều người tưởng vậy là cuộc chiến đã tàn. Nhưng không phải. Dù tiếng súng đã ngưng, nhưng cuộc chiến đấu của quân cán chính VNCH chống lại chế độ phi nhân “xã hội chủ nghĩa” chưa hề ngừng nghỉ. Những chiến sĩ năm xưa vào sinh ra tử còn sống đến nay, ai cũng bước vào tuổi 70 hay 80 cả rồi, nhưng tinh thần chiến đấu không hề già nua, mà ngày càng thêm sắc bén. Chúng tôi muốn nói đến người anh hùng Không Quân Trần Bá Hợi. Ông đã một thời lái phi cơ ra miền Bắc dội bom, nay ông vẫn còn tiếp tục dội bom vào thành trì còn lại của chế độ phi nhân Cộng Sản để tiếp tục nêu cao chính nghĩa của quân cán chính Miền Nam Tự Do. Tiếng nói của người chiến sĩ VNCH chắc chắn không bao giờ bị lẻ loi, vì mới đây TT. Donald Trump cũng như phó TT. Mike Pence vẫn còn công khai nghênh chiến với “xã hội chủ nghĩa”. Các thành viên của nhóm “CodePink” của Hoa Kỳ vẫn còn đang hăng say vạch mặt chỉ tên những tên phản bội như Henri Kissinger, kẻ đã bán đứng VNCH cho Cộng sản quốc tế.

Chúng tôi rất vinh hạnh và rất cám ơn NT Trần Bá Hợi đã chấp thuận cho Saigon Echo được  đăng bài thuyết trình của ông về cuộc chiến Việt Nam do Tiến Sĩ Martin Scott Catino tổ chức vào ngày 12 tháng 2 năm 2019 cho Trường Đại Học Không Quân (Air University), thuộc Maxwell Air Force Base, TB Alabama và những nhận xét của thính giả sau khi nghe bài thuyết trình bằng Anh ngữ của ông.

Dưới đây là đôi hàng về diễn giả Trần Bá Hợi:

1953 – Quân dịch phục vụ Quân chủng Không Quân trong Quân Đội Quốc Gia Việt Nam tại Hà Nội, Bắc Việt. 1954 – Di chuyển theo đơn vị vào Nam sau Hiệp Định Geneve chia đôi Việt Nam.

1955 – Du học tại Hoa Kỳ ngành cơ khí hàng không qua Không Lực Hoa Kỳ.

1958 – Du học tại Hoa Kỳ ngành phi hành qua Không Lực Hoa Kỳ.

1960 – Huấn Luyện viên phi công tại Căn Cứ Huấn Luyện Không Quân tại Nha Trang.

1961 – 1964 – Phi Tuần Trưởng Khu Trục Phi Đoàn 516 Phi Hổ, Biệt Đoàn 83 Thần Phong.

1965 – Chỉ Huy Trưởng Liên Đoàn 74 Tác Chiến thuộc Không Đoàn 74 Chiến Thuật.

1967 – Chỉ Huy Trưởng Khối Chiến Tranh Chính Trị thuộc Không Đoàn 33 Chiến Thuật.

1968 – Biệt phái ngoại ngạch sang Bộ Giao Thông Vận Tải – Hàng Không Việt Nam.

1975 – Di tản sang San Jose, California Hoa Kỳ.

Tháng 6 - 1975 - Phó Giám Đốc Cơ Quan Demonstration Projects for Asian Americans tại Seattle, Washington State.

Tháng 9 - 1975 - Công Chức Tiểu Bang Washington điều hành Trung Tâm Việt Nam Di Cư.

1980 – Di chuyển về San Jose, California. Giám Đốc Vùng (Area Manager) cho Công Ty Desert Petroleum, Inc.

1981 – 2003 - Chuyên viên/Giám sát điều tra và bồi thường về thương tích vì tai nạn xe cộ với Công Ty AAA và Insurance Consulting Associates, Inc.


VN War Lecture at Air University Feb 12, 2019


sach TBHGood evening ladies and gentlemen. Good evening Dr. Catino. Do you all hear me OK?  I want to thank all of you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak about the Viet Nam War, a very controversial subject that our late U.S. President Nixon had written in his book No More Vietnams published by Arbor House in 1985 as follows, and I quote: “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Viet Nam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much!!! Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic. End of quote.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Hoi Ba Tran and I am a former veteran of the South Vietnamese Air Force. I was born and grew up in Ha Noi, the Capital City of North Viet Nam in 1935. By 1953, at the age of eighteen I was drafted and I chose to serve in the newly organized Viet Nam Air Force (VNAF). As a soldier, I served in two Viet Nam wars, from the Dien Bien Phu battle in North Viet Nam in 1953 to the long war in South Viet Nam in various capacities. Following the collapse of the Republic of South Viet Nam in April 1975, I had to take my family to the U.S as political refugees. Today, as an old American of Vietnamese descent, I am very happy to relate to you my personal experience about the Viet Nam war as a living witness, a direct participant and as a victim of those two wars. At this stage of my life, I am now 84, I don’t belong to any political party either from Viet Nam or in the U.S, nor do I have any hidden political agenda to pursue so my only ambition is to voice the honest truth in hope to clarify, debunk as much as possible all the filthy lies propagandized by the North Vietnamese communist’s propaganda machine. Additionally, I want to refute all the misreporting, all distortions about the war in Viet Nam circulated by the liberal U.S. news media in the sixties and seventies.      

As you are aware, the Viet Nam War deeply and bitterly divided the American people. It was also a war that American veterans were denigrated and mistreated when returning home from the battle field after their tour of duty. To some people in America, it’s been over forty years and it is no fun to talk about this dark chapter and they want to put a closure on this bitter event. But as an American, I firmly believe that we Americans have a duty to refute all the filthy lies propagated worldwide by the Vietnamese communists claiming that the American Imperialist forces invaded South Viet Nam and were defeated by them in their April 1975 Big Spring Victory. As a Vietnamese soldier who had fought in that war from the beginning, I am compelled to tell the truth about this war and now, as an American, I feel obligated to try my utmost best to erase this unjust stain smeared upon the U.S military annals by the bold-faced Vietnamese communists from North Viet Nam. To fulfill this task, I would like to address the six most distorted and misunderstood issues:

1 – Did Ho Chi Minh fight and expel French government in 1945 to restore independence for Viet Nam?

2 – Did the United States invade South Viet Nam forcing Ho Chi Minh and the North Vietnamese communist to start the war to liberate South Viet Nam?

3 – Did the United States and the Republic of South Viet Nam fight the North communist invaders the way it should have been fought

4 – Were the U.S Armed Forces defeated by the ragtag Vietnamese Communist forces in Viet Nam on April 1975?

5 – What was the true cause leading to the collapse of the Republic of South Viet Nam?

6 – Were people in South Viet Nam happy with the North Vietnamese communist invaders after the so-called liberation of the South in April 1975?


Now let me begin with the first one: 

Did Ho Chi Minh fight and expel French government in 1945 to restore independence for VN?

No, Ho Chi Minh did not!!! It was the Imperial Japanese Army that staged a surprise attack and overthrew the French government on March 9th, 1945. On the contrary, it was Ho who, later agreed for French forces to return to Viet Nam in 1946. After defeating French forces, a Japanese envoy met Emperor Bao Dai and granted Viet Nam her independence within Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Following this joyful event, Emperor Bao Dai appointed Prof. Tran Trong Kim to form a legitimate government. While the Vietnamese were enjoying their independence, the United States dropped two atom bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki in early August 1945 forcing Japan to surrender on August 14,1945. The capitulation of Japan created a political chaos in North Viet Nam. Ho Chi Minh promptly exploited the chaotic situation and mobilized his armed propaganda units embedded in Ha Noi to seize power. On Aug 28, 1945, he formally declared the country to be the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and proclaimed himself President and also Minister of Foreign Affairs concurrently. The following week, he convened a meeting at the Ba Dinh Square to introduce his government and he cited the Declaration of Independence he plagiarized from the United States.

I was a naïve 10 year-old Vanguard Youth Troop and I was present along with my group to sing patriotic songs as taught by communist cadres. 

After becoming President of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, Ho showed his true colors as a cruel communist and a boldfaced traitor. He launched the brutal Land Reform Campaign that killed from 60,000 to 150,000 people that he labeled as wicked landlords and imprisoned about 50,000 to 100,000.  And with his death squads, Ho cruelly assassinated many political opponents if they were non-communist patriots. Then on March 6, 1946, it was this traitor who signed an agreement with France government to allow French forces to return to Viet Nam for 5 years. In return France would recognize his government. But the honeymoon between Ho Chi Minh and the French did not last long.  In Nov of 1946, a French ship bombarded Hai Phong, a coastal city in North Viet Nam. This incident and many subsequent clashes between French and Ho’s forces led to the first Viet Nam War at Dien Bien Phu in the Northwest of Ha Noi in 1953.  Dien Bien Phu garrison was set up by French Gen. Navarre, to lure Ho’s forces into a set piece battle so they could destroy them with air power and artillery. But Gen. Navarre’s plan failed because communist China supplied Ho’s forces with modern weapons along with technicians and military advisors. They even had the deadly Stalin Organ rocket launchers from the Soviet Union. So they outgunned the French and numerically outnumbered the French defenders by five to one. French Air Force in North Viet Nam at the time was limited and ineffective. By May 7, 1954, Dien Bien Phu garrison fell into the hands of the communist attackers. The fall of Dien Bien Phu forced French government to sign an agreement in Geneva on July 21st, 1954 that divided Viet Nam into two countries at the 17th parallel. North Viet Nam remained under Ho Chi Minh as the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and south of the 17th parallel was a separate non-communist country under Emperor Bao Dai and Premier Ngo Dinh Diem. 


Now the second issue:

Did the U.S invade South Viet Nam forcing Ho Chi Minh and the North Vietnamese communist to start the war to liberate South Viet Nam?

No, the U.S never invaded South Viet Nam. It was Ho Chi Minh who violated the Geneva Accords of July 1954 and invaded the Republic of South Viet Nam that caused the war. If Ho Chi Minh had been a true patriot, he should have contented with the independence that Viet Nam inherited bloodlessly at the departure of the Japanese after they were defeated by the U.S.  He must have known that he was very lucky to be at the right place at the right time to, all of a sudden, have become president of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. Under the circumstances, Ho Chi Minh should have concentrated all his efforts and committed all available resources into rebuilding the war-ravaged country and reviving the dying economy in North Viet Nam. 

In principle, the Geneva Accords of July 1954 had afforded Viet Nam her independence with two political regimes similar to North and South Korea.  What most Vietnamese had been longing for had been achieved, not having to live under French colonial rule.  If Ho was not too greedy wanting to take over South Viet Nam by force, both countries, the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and the Republic of (South) Viet Nam would have been peaceful and prosperous.  There would have been… no war.  But it was unfortunate for the Vietnamese people on both sides, North and South, to have such an evil man like Ho Chi Minh. And to stop communist expansion in South East Asia at the time, not only the U.S but the free world also jumped in to help South Viet Nam.  Apparently, the U.S did not invade South Viet Nam as propagated by Ho Chi Minh’s propaganda machine. And clearly, it was Ho Chi Minh who caused both wars in Viet Nam.  In my fair opinion, the free-world and the U.S involvement in Viet Nam to help a small country in their legitimate self-defense against the barbaric communist invaders was not only Just but also Noble.  


Now the 3rd issue:

Did the United States and the Republic of South Viet Nam fight the North Vietnamese communist invaders the way it should have been fought?  

Based on my personal experience in the war coupled with the benefit of hindsight substantiated by declassified secret documents, I’m certain that we did not fight the communist invaders from North Viet Nam the way it should have been fought, militarily, politically & diplomatically!

On the military front, President Johnson's limited war policy, his desultory strategy and his micromanagement of the war detrimentally affected the outcome of the war and the destiny of South Viet Nam.  While our cunning enemy could use every dirty trick to destroy us and to kill us, we had to follow Pres. Johnson’s limited war strategy and abide by his Rules of Engagement. In March 1967, South Viet Nam Premier Nguyen Cao Ky had a meeting with Pres. Johnson & Defense Secretary McNamara in Guam. In this meeting Premier Ky proposed to President Johnson to equip the South Vietnamese Armed Forces properly, provide adequate logistical support and he would lead a counter attack in North Viet Nam with 100% South Vietnamese forces. This would most likely compel North Viet Nam leaders to retreat their regular forces from the South to defend their territory or they would face the risk of losing the war. But Premier Ky’s proposal was flatly denied. 

President Johnson’s limited war policy truly tied the hands of the Armed Forces of the Republic of South Viet Nam (ARVN). When the communist troops were equipped with modern weapons like AK 47s and AK 50s, the U.S equipped the ARVN with WW2 Garand M1 rifle, Carbine and Thompson automatic rifle. When the South Viet Nam Air Force was equipped with WW2 propeller aircrafts like A1-H Skyraider, T-28 Trojan converted into light fighter/bomber, the communist Air Force was flying Mig 15, Mig 17, Mig 19 and Mig 21. Not until 1967 that we were given jet aircraft, the T-38 jet trainer converted into fighter F-5A and in 1969 we received the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly, also a small jet trainer converted into a fighter to replace the A1-H Skyraider. We, the ARVN had no authority to conduct air or ground operations north of the DMZ.  After the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in August 1964, Pres. Johnson ordered retaliatory air strike in North Viet Nam but the VNAF was not allowed to participate. Until Feb 8th 1965, Pres. Johnson allowed the VNAF to partake in the air strike against North Viet Nam but the VNAF had no authority to decide on which target in North Viet Nam to strike.  Target in North Viet Nam must be selected by the U.S and assigned to the VNAF.  Also the VNAF was restricted to fly only up to the 19th parallel, and subsequently, the VNAF was completely banned from flying strike missions in North Viet Nam.

When Pres. Richard M. Nixon sworn in as the 37th President of the U.S. and became the 5th U.S. President handling the Viet Nam War, his inauguration speech on Jan. 20th, 1969 seemed to offer the North Vietnamese communist a tacit proposal that he wanted to end the conflict through negotiation, not war. This is what he said in the middle of his speech, and I quote:  “After a period of confrontation, we are entering an era of negotiation. Let all nations know that during this administration our lines of communication will be open.” End of quote. And by June 1969, President Nixon decided to gradually withdraw U.S combat troops from South Viet Nam as part of his Vietnamization plan. All these suggested to the communists that the U.S has changed their plan and no longer wanted to continue the war in Viet Nam.

On December 13th, 1972, the intransigent North Vietnamese communist negotiators in Paris refused to continue peace negotiation with the U.S and the Republic of South Viet Nam because their unreasonable demands were not acceptable. The breakdown of the Peace talk in Paris caused by the communist negotiators infuriated Pres. Nixon and on December 18, 1972 he ordered the military to resume bombing of North Viet Nam with B-52 bombers. After 11 days of heavy bombing, North Viet Nam negotiators obediently agreed to continue with peace negotiation. Shortly thereafter, the Peace Accords were signed in Paris on January 27, 1973. In principle, the signed Peace Accords ended the Viet Nam conflict diplomatically.

If President Nixon really wanted a military victory for the U.S, he could have achieved it by continuing the Xmas bombings of Hanoi in December 1972 only a few more days. A British expert on Asia, Sir Robert Thompson, assertively said and I quote: “In my view, by 30th December 1972, after eleven days of those B-52 attacks on Hanoi, you had won the war, and it was over. They fired 1,242 Surface to Air Missiles and had none left.  They and their rear base at that point were at your mercy. They would have taken any terms. And that is why, of course, you actually got a peace agreement in January which you had not been able to get in October.”  End of quote.


On the political warfare front, the U.S. and South Viet Nam, in my opinion, were in a disadvantaged position. The freedom and democracy that we treasure was also a double-edged sword that really hurt our cause. For example; the tyrannical regime of North Viet Nam aligned well with communist China and the Soviet Union. They did not have an influential TV news anchor like Walter Cronkite who distorted the truth and publicly announced on Feb 27, 1968 following our victory in the TET offensive, and I quote: “It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.” End of quote.  They did not have a horde of hostile war reporters to sully and denounce their military. They had no freedom of assembly allowing their citizens to gather in large number to organize antiwar or to protest against their government. They did not have celebrity like Jane Fonda or high-ranking government official like former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark to smear them while praising the enemy. They had no antiwar movements in Hanoi, in Peking or in Moscow. Because of increasing political turmoil & antiwar movements in the U.S and in South Viet Nam, the communist leadership in North Viet Nam believed they would win the war, not in the battlefield, but from Washington D.C. 


On the diplomatic front, communist China and the Soviet Union, two major allies who generously provided military and economic support to Ho Chi Minh in North Viet Nam dealt with Ho, at least publicly, very diplomatically while the U.S considered their South Viet Nam ally like their pawn. For example, when Pres. Nixon eagerly wanted to achieve his Peace with Honor plan, he sent a letter to Pres. Thieu of the Republic of South Viet Nam on December 17, 1972 threatening and coercing Thieu to sign the flawed Peace Accords! This is what President Nixon said in the last paragraph of his letter, and I quote: “I have asked Gen. Haig to obtain your answer to this absolutely final offer on my part for us to work together in seeking a settlement along the lines I have approved or to go our separate ways. Let me emphasize in conclusion that Gen. Haig is not coming to Saigon for the purpose of negotiating with you. The time has come for us to present a united front in negotiating with our enemies, and you must decide now whether you desire to continue to work together or whether you want me to seek a settlement with the enemy which serves U.S interests alone. End of quote. This undiplomatic treatment of the U.S coupled with the presence of over half a million U.S combat troops in South Viet Nam strengthened Ho Chi Minh’s propaganda claiming that “the American Imperialists were invading our country and we must liberate the South to save our fatherland.”  Evidently, we offered the “just cause” to Ho Chi Minh, the barbaric communist invader.


Now the 4th issue:

Were the U.S Armed Forces defeated by the ragtag Vietnamese Communist forces in Viet Nam in April 1975?

Regardless of how the communist propaganda machine in North Viet Nam shamelessly and unconvincingly propagated or how the antiwar movements and the liberal news media at the time distorted it, my answer is a resounding NO!!!  And my following three facts are very difficult to deny or refute:

1- Anyone with a minimum understanding of the war in Viet Nam would acknowledge that President Nixon forced the Republic of South Viet Nam to sign a flawed Peace Accords along with the U.S. on Jan 27th, 1973 in Paris to end the conflict diplomatically. And two months following the signing of this Peace Accords, on March 29, 1973 to be exact, the last U.S combat units left South Viet Nam in compliance with the signed Paris Peace Accords.

2- After all U.S troops had completely left the theater, the North Vietnamese communist invaders continued to violate the signed Paris Peace Accords. South Viet Nam Armed Forces had to fight the well-supplied, better-equipped North Vietnamese invaders with no U.S ground troops for a little over two years after the signed Peace Accords and finally collapsed on April 30, 1975.  How could the bold-faced communists of North Viet Nam brag about defeating the U.S militarily when there was not one single U.S combat troop on the battlefield in South Viet Nam in April 1975? 

3- I believe some of you have heard about the two-day summit meeting of the leaders of the (ASEAN) Association of Southeast Asian Nations hosted by the U.S. at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif on Feb 15, 2016. In this meeting Nguyen Tan Dung, the communist prime minister of Viet Nam asked the U.S. President for a greater U.S. role and Washington’s support in preventing militarization and island-building in the South China Sea and to curb China's maritime expansionism. Apparently, this stupid Vietnamese communist prime minister forgot what he had said only a year ago in Saigon South Viet Nam on April 30th, 2015 when commemorating their victory of April 1975.  He arrogantly boasted and lied in his speech to accuse and insult the U.S. publicly on this event. Let me summarize what he had said, and I quote:


Following the victory in the war fighting against the French colonist the Vietnamese people deserve to live happily in a peaceful, independent and free country. But the U.S Imperialist arrogantly imposed a neo-colonial rule on South Viet Nam and transformed it into a military base to cruelly suppress the Revolution in the South and carried out a violent, destructive war in the North. But the Vietnamese people were not afraid. Under the brilliant guidance of beloved uncle Ho our entire nation overcame all hardships, steadfastly sacrificed and fought to expel the American imperialist and to defeat the South Viet Nam puppet troops in the Big Spring victory of 1975. The victory in the war against the American to save our country was a result of our thirst for independence, of our creative military strategy, of the brilliant leadership of our party and our skillful military generals. End of quote.

My point here is if they were that brilliant, that skillful, that powerful and had defeated the U.S. in April 1975 then why they had to beg the U.S. for help to save them from the communist China’s threat in South China Sea???      


Now the 5th issue:

What was the true cause that led to the demise of the Republic of South Viet Nam?

In all honesty, I’m not trying to defend or to vindicate the imperfect Armed Forces and the government of the Republic of South Viet Nam. I have to admit that they were not perfect. Like any other Armed Forces and governments in the world, they had their share of bad leaders, incompetent commanders and some coward troops in some units. Despite the imperfection, they served honorably and fought ferociously against their communist invaders from North Viet Nam. I am sure many of you have heard about the Big Tet offensive of 1968 in the Viet Nam War. Tet has always been an important, a very solemn holiday for all Vietnamese. Taking advantage of this solemn occasion, the North Vietnamese communist violated the signed truce agreement and launched a surprise general attack across South Viet Nam in an attempt to cause an uprising and to take over the South by force. But they miscalculated the anti-communist situation in South Viet Nam, underestimated the courage of the Republic of South Viet Nam’s Armed Forces and therefore, suffered huge casualty and failed.

Four years later, taking advantage of President Nixon’s Vietnamization plan and the U.S’s decision to withdraw its forces from South Viet Nam, the North Vietnamese launched another major surprise attack known as the Easter offensive of 1972. This time they committed 12 North Vietnamese Army Divisions supported by many tank regiments and the deadly Soviet Made 130MM long range artillery to attack 3 South Viet Nam’s Military Regions, 1, 2 and 3.  But in both operations, the TET Offensive of 1968 and the Easter Offensive of 1972, the communists failed miserably. The failure of the Easter Offensive of 1972 caused North Viet Nam communist General Vo Nguyen Giap to loose his job.

I cited these two major general offensives to prove that the Armed Forces and the government of the Republic of South Viet Nam were not as incompetent and bad as the biased mainstream news media and the antiwar movements in the U.S. slandered them.

In my opinion the main factors leading to the collapse of South Viet Nam were as follows:

1 – The flawed Paris Peace Accords that President Nixon coerced South Viet Nam to sign allowed over 200,000 North Vietnamese troops to remain in the South giving them the advantage.

2 – Less than five months after the signing of the flawed Paris Peace Accords, U.S Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment forbidding any further U.S military involvement in Southeast Asia effective August 15, 1973. This nullified President Nixon’s promises to retaliate if the North violates the signed Paris Peace Accords.

3 – In Sept 1974, U.S Congress cut military aid to the Republic of South Viet Nam to the bone while North Vietnamese communist received increasing logistical supports from the communist China and the Soviet Union. The shortages of fuel, ammunitions and spare parts crippled the Armed Forces of South Viet Nam and the fighting moral of the troops seriously deteriorated.  

4 – On Dec 13, 1974, North Viet Nam tested America’s decision toward Viet Nam by attacking the city of Phuoc Long in South Viet Nam. President Ford only protested diplomatically against this blatant violation of the Accords. Then in a press conference on January 21, 1975, President Ford firmly said, and I quote: “the U.S is unwilling to re-enter the war”.  Clearly the U.S president gave Ha Noi a big green light to go ahead with the invasion of South Viet Nam.

Evidently, the main factor that caused the collapse of the Republic of South Viet Nam in April 1975 was the balance of power was too lopsided in favor of the North Vietnamese communist invaders. If the South Vietnamese Armed Forces were properly equipped and adequately supplied, I am quite certain the outcome would have been different.


Over forty years have gone by since the collapse of the Republic of South Viet Nam. Many secret documents have been declassified giving the general public an opportunity to know the truth of what happened in the Viet Nam War. I believe it is only fair to ask: “Would other Armed Forces of any country do any better under the conditions that faced the South Vietnamese Armed Forces in 1975?  Would any military unit of any country fight better with shortages of ammunition and fuel, with broken vehicles and communications, with a crippled medical system, and little or no air support against a powerful, well-supplied & cruel enemy?”  Ladies and gentlemen, you are the judge. 


And now the last one:

Were people in South Viet Nam happy with the North Vietnamese communist invaders after the so-called liberation of the South in April 1975?

At long last, the whole world now know that the North Vietnamese communist invaders were very tricky and dangerous. They shielded their fiendish revenge against those of the former regime they labeled “lackeys of the U.S Imperialists owing a blood debt to the Vietnamese people” by sending them to hard-labor death camps under a nice name: Re-education Camps. I have met and talked to my unfortunate classmate who was incarcerated in these re-education camps for 13 years and he came to the U.S. through the ODP program. He told me he was locked up in a big metal container placed under the sun where the temperature could easily reach 105 degrees because he refused to sign a written confession prepared by the prison wardens describing the war crimes he committed with the U.S. imperialists.

Another inhumane invention the invaders from North Viet Nam created following their invasion of the South was nicely called: “New Economic Zone”. These New Economic Zones were set up in the wilderness, virgin jungles barely tolerable living conditions with serious threat of malaria disease. These zones were for the communist invaders to penalize all family members of military officers, politicians, bureaucrats, religious or labor leaders of the former regime in South Viet Nam. The brutal revenge committed by the communist invaders caused a large number of Vietnamese to escape Viet Nam in what became known as the exodus of the boat people.

There are two high ranking communist cadres who revealed the true living condition in South Viet Nam under the regime of the North Vietnamese communist invaders after April 1975. The first one is Truong Nhu Tang, the founder of the National Liberation Front (NLF) in South Viet Nam. The NLF was a military and political arm of the communist from North Viet Nam. After only three years working directly under communist leaders coming from the North, Mr Truong discovered the bitter reality about communist manifesto and he escaped Viet Nam in a ramshackle boat. Another reason that urged the founder of the NLF to escape was because his two brothers were also incarcerated in the re-education camp by his communist comrades from the North.  After resettled in France, he wrote his memoir titled “A Viet Cong Memoir – An Inside Account of the Viet Nam War and its Aftermath”. His book was translated into English and published in the U.S in 1985. He dedicated his book as follows, and I quote: “To my mother & father.  And to my betrayed comrades who believed they were sacrificing themselves for a humane liberation of their people”.  End of quote. 

In the last paragraph of the foreword of his book, the author, a loyal servant of the communist from North Viet Nam has this to say, and I quote: “The West knows, I think, extraordinarily little about the Viet Cong, its plan, its difficulties, especially its inner conflicts.  The circumstances of war and the great care taken to conceal its workings combined to mask the revolution in secrecy.  But the Viet Cong was no monolith, the motives of its members often clashed, violently. And many of us who composed its political core have felt that its goals were, in the end, subverted.  The human motives, the internal struggle, the bitter resolution, these are the things I have attempted to record here.  End of quote.                 

The second man is Col. Bui Tin, a man who joined the communist party since 1945 and his father was a close friend of Ho Chi Minh.  He was the high-ranking communist cadre who was in the Independence Palace in Saigon, South Viet Nam on April 30th, 1975 when Gen. Minh surrendered to North Viet Nam.

After the so-called Liberation of the South, Bui Tin had the opportunity to see and witness the real living condition of the people in South Viet Nam and he became disillusioned. Col. Bui Tin defected in 1989 and lived in France. Since his defection he critically denounced the communist manifesto he once naively, blindly and conscientiously served. He wrote an essay in Paris on April 28, 2008 and this article was posted on the Free Republic Website in Fresno, Calif. This is one short sentence in his long essay and I quote: “After April 30th 1975, the Communist Party monopolized authority, not allowing freedom of assembly, the press, or elections. Is this what is called national liberation? Is this freedom? And today the party is rich, filthy rich. And the people are poor, dirt poor. What kind of unification is this? End of quote.

Then on the 33rd anniversary of the fall of South Viet Nam on April 1975 known as Black April, Col. Bui Tin openly said, and I quote: “Today I am ready to raise my voice and let all of the people hear clearly: Our nation Viet Nam was not liberated after April-30-75, nor was it unified. On April 30th the Communist Party won, but all of the people lost, to be ruled from that point on by a one-party dictatorship. The Communist Party then implemented a policy of dominant occupation in the South, arresting millions of people and seizing property, discarding the South Viet Nam National Liberation Front, and brought about the tragic scene of millions of boat people fleeing the country. Is this liberation? Is this unification? End of quote.

In 2002, Col. Bui Tin published a book titled “From Enemy to Friend” in the U.S. This is what he said about South Viet Nam after the so-called liberation by the North, and I quote: “I was a witness to what happened in the South after April 1975.  I lived in Saigon for four consecutive years, going to Hanoi only occasionally. My mission was to organize the Southern Edition of People’s Army newspaper and to gather information for this newspaper while based in the South. The Southern population had just had time to reassure itself that there would be no bloodbath or people’s courts set up at every street corner when a series of chilling measures was suddenly launched. The officers and government workers of the old regime, members of old political parties, and many others were ordered to report for “rehabilitation or reeducation”, which turned out to be imprisonment for an indefinite period!”  End of quote.

Ladies and gentlemen, the honest truth of the Viet Nam War, from my honest personal experience will always be as follows:

1- Ho Chi Minh was a vicious, wicked communist and a despicable traitor who betrayed his country, Viet Nam, and his compatriots.  

2- It was Ho Chi Minh who dragged Viet Nam into the long 30-year war from the North to the South. The United States of America never invaded South Viet Nam. U.S Armed Forces were in South Viet Nam to help the South Vietnamese in their legitimate self-defense against the communist invaders from the North.

3- If the U.S truly wanted a military victory in Viet Nam, they could have achieved it with the massive bombing of North Viet Nam in December 1972 known as the Christmas bombing. But the shameless Vietnamese communist party continue to lie that they had defeated the American Imperialist to liberate the South and unify the country.

5- Following the so-called liberation of South Viet Nam, the barbaric invaders from the North showed their true colors. Two high ranking communist members, one from North Viet Nam, Col Bui Tin, and one was the founder of the National Liberation Front in the South, both firmly admitted they were wrong about communist manifesto and confirmed that the living condition in Viet Nam has been extremely miserable in the postwar years under the communist regime!!!

Ladies & gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and your attention.


Feedbacks from VN War Lecture Feb 12 2019:


13 February 2019

TO: Mr. Hoi B. Tran

FROM: Dr. Scott Catino

RE: Teleconference on the Vietnam War, 12 FEB 2019

Dear Hoi:

Please note the student emails and correspondence that I have captured below for your consideration.  The results of your presentation were outstanding! The audience gained renewed respect for the service you, our South Vietnamese allies, and U.S. Armed Forces as well as others undertook gladly. Also, the emails indicated those in attendance gained a deeper understanding of the destructive and corrupt nature of Communism. Given our current political climate, your message was timely.

Thank you again for your presentation.


Martin Scott Catino, Ph.D.


Air University




The teleconference with Hoi B Tran was outstanding.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to hear his account directly.

Under Tran’s first point, ‘Did Ho Chi Min fight to expel the French government to restore independence?’ he mentioned tactics used by Ho Chi Min to exploit the chaos after Japan left as the Vietnamese liberator.  There is a pattern to communist takeover in a country, specifically using a time of chaos to bring, to the ‘lost people/masses’ a perceived order.  The masses always seem to be willing to hand their lives over to this benevolent new leader who promises greatness; in the case of Vietnam, independence, unification, and land reform.  Tran mentioned that the land owners were killed when their land was confiscated.  The masses never see that those first killings are just the first and that they will be swept up in the death toll.  This is the lie of communism.  Tran ended it perfectly when he quoted one of the N. Vietnamese defectors to the effect, “there were the rich in power, and the poor people.  What kind of unification is this?”  That is the farce of utopia under communism. 

That our people (not masses yet) seem to be mesmerized by the socialist/communist lie more and more is disconcerting.


Kristen M. Lewis



Dr. Catino:

Good evening;

Mr. Hoi B. Tran's discussions with our class last night was enlightening, educational and brutally factual.  It was surprising to find out the behind the scenes what really happened in the 2 Vietnam Wars, especially the one the US was involved withfrom 1965-1975.

It was good to hear from Mr. Tran that the US military strategy was correct in supporting and working with their Allie South Vietnam ,but due to the politics and later false propaganda set back the Untied States efforts to keep South Vietnam from falling to the communist north under the evil regime Ho Chi Minh set up.   

I learned a lot especially on the "eye opening" facts on Mr. Tran's explanation of the political agenda and strategy and back door dealing by the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.  In sacrificing South Vietnam to the North after all the blood and sweat of the US-South Vietnam alliance, it was criminal in my mind that it was all in vain.   The democratization of South Vietnam despite all the corruptness of the South was very doable if the political, ideological and liberal media was kept out of the scene.  The information Mr. Tran discussed on the US holding back state of the art, current weapon systems to include AK-47's and modern Jet fighters  from being used by South Vietnam is inconceivable.  

In retrospect it was a informational and interesting learning session, and i was personally glad to know that our military in conjunction with South Vietnam performed magnificently and had victory snatched away only due to politics and such.  In failing to follow-up on the Christmas B-52 bombings  of Hanoi, North Vietnam that were wasted by the politicians and liberal media. to include Walter Cronkite, Jane Fonda and others.   I did not know that the North had almost no rockets or artillery left at that point to where if the US was allowed to keep going a few more days we would have had victory,  according to Mr. Tran.   This is how Ho Chi Minh knew the communists would prevail.  

In summary Mr. Tran was very knowledgeable and articulate in his synopsis of the Vietnamese Wars from a first hand account, and his extraordinary life and service to his country and the US.

Excellent forum.




Hello Dr. Catino,

I enjoyed being a part of the teleconference last night with Hoi B. Tran. I have always been very interested in the Vietnam War, so it was a great experience to be able to hear from someone who was much closer to it. I will certainly look into his book. I appreciated that he started by letting us know that he had no political agenda or ambition, but that he truly wanted to voice the truth and address what he found were the distorted issues of the war. I probably found the most interesting issues that he addressed- "Did the U.S and South Vietnam fight in the way that they should?" and "U.S. Armed forces defeated by Communists." It was very eye-opening to hear him say that he truly believed the United States could have had the victory there with the Christmas bombing. Thank you for giving us that opportunity to hear from him.

Kaitlyn Leach



The teleconference with South Vietnamese Airman Hoi Tran was very enlightening. Mr. Tran is incredibly knowledgeable and well-spoken on the relationship between the United States and South Vietnam and the way that relationship affected the fighting and outcome of the Vietnam War. Most surprising to me, as someone who had only gathered the general overtones from the politically charged discussion about Vietnam in our American culture, was the true nature of the war. The war was “won” and “lost” in a political sense without having a true military victor. American politics, propagandized as it was by the Communist point of view, removed the will to fight from the political leaders who then manipulated the South Vietnamese and withdrew support at a critical stage in the conflict. As has happened in past conflicts, the governments who are free to deceive and withhold information from their citizens are the ones who are at the greater advantage in conducting war for complete victory.

Thank you for providing us with this opportunity.

Tammy O’Callaghan



response to phone conference.

I was able to call in at 7:55PM cause of getting of work late, however the information I heard amazed me. Hoi B Tran helped to give a perspective of the Vietnam War I had never heard before. In our society now and with the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam, I thought the Vietnam War was totally different. He put into perspective the true role that America played in the Vietnam War and its assistance of trying to defeat the spread of Communism. One point that truly stands out for me is that when he said that if America would have been into the war 100%, south Vietnam would have won. Instead America was split and many citizens, not even in the war, were protesting back in the states that America should get out of Vietnam. 

I think Mr. Tran's talk helps to put a lot of present day foreign policy into perspective. Is America trying to spread "American Imperialism" as north Vietnam wanted the world to believe or is America trying to help out citizens, whether in Africa, Middle East, or South America, to defend against ideologies that will ruin their societies and countries.

Joseph Bucher

cell- 540-383-8545

gmail- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Dr. Catino

I was very pleased with the teleconference and the perspective that was given by Hoi Tran.  He possesses a unique perspective that is hard to find in the methods which normally give narrative of the Vietnam War.  He was poignant with his views on the communist government and Ho Chi Minh and the devastation that was brought to Vietnam, North and South.  The restrictions on the South Vietnamese military to fight its war is not the narrative that I remember from my classes in school and it was always presented that there was not a full willingness to fight their own war.  Listening to him today and his references to the liberal narrative and propaganda used to sell the version of the war which suited the communist north forced me to rethink much of what I think about the South Vietnamese military.  

Charles Spory



Good evening Dr. Catino,

Below are my thoughts on the teleconference with Mr. Tran.

I thought the presentation by Mr. Tran was really fascinating. His perspective regarding the traitorous behavior of Ho Chi Minh as well as the political and military shortcomings of the United States was enlightening. More specifically, to hear the negative effect that the Paris Peace Accord played in the downfall of South Vietnam and the crippling consequences that American politics played in sealing its fate revealed how far the balance of power favored the North Vietnamese. I cannot imagine the frustration felt by the South Vietnamese knowing that their national security was in the hands of an ally willing to distance itself from conflict at all cost. The points made by Mr. Tran were well made. I thought he took great care to point out and explain the controversial points of the Vietnam war and with great logic. His explanation revealed the fallacies that the liberal media of the time based their representation and the massive misunderstanding it created.

Thank You

Colton James



Sir, The presentation given by Hoi Tran was very powerful. It was great to hear a perspective on the war from a source that witnessed two wars in Vietnam. Hoi Tran addressed the six most misreported or misunderstood events concerning the Vietnam War and he presented his views from an unbiased position. Personally, I thought the presentation was very valuable to me because the Vietnam War is surrounded by controversy and it is something that I did not fully understand. After listening to Hoi Tran?s presentation, I have a greater understanding of the misreporting and misunderstandings of the Vietnam War. Hoi Tran?s third point about whether the United States and the South Vietnamese Army fought the Vietnam War the right way was the most interesting point. Tran describes this point as a failure of the United States and South Vietnam. The United States failed to properly equip South Vietnamese soldiers ensuring that they continued to fight a modern military with World War II era weapons and equipment. Overall, I thought the presentation was great and I am glad that I was able to hear Hoi Tran speak about his experiences in the Vietnam War.




            Thank you for organizing the conference with Mr. Tran! His presentation was fantastic. I will be looking for his response to the Ken Burns documentary. It has been a while since I watched it, but I remember enough to realize Mr. Tran’s memories of Ho Chi Minh were different than the depictions in Mr. Burn’s film. It makes me wonder if the research was simply flawed, or was the (mis)representation of “Uncle Ho” intentional? I recall in the series it was claimed that Ho Chi Minh liked America and was fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson. The documentary left me with the sense that the filmmakers felt Ho was someone that could’ve been reasoned with and was open to peaceful overtures. Mr. Tran’s presentation did not give me that sense at all! Mr. Tran seems to have some strong feelings about the true character of Ho Chi Minh. I look forward to reading his book.







I enjoyed Mr. Tran's presentation very much. The hour flew by. ~Marcos


Lisa C

Mr. Tran, Scott has spoken of you many times, and so it was truly a pleasure to hear you speak this evening. Thank you kindly for taking the time to share your insights and service.


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