WGBH Openvault

Vietnam: A Television History; Cambodia and Laos; An Ordinary Day over Laos

Part of The Vietnam Collection.

03/13/1971

American chopper pilots face enemy gunfire nearly every day over Laos. American pilots are both audience for and participants in the war over Laos. All around are the sights and sounds of war. For miles, the pilots can see men trying to kill each other. In the distance, a cloud of smoke rises from where a bomb has been dropped. Below the pilots is a section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. On an ordinary day, an American pilot will probably be shot at. Interview with pilot (Tom Hatcher) of chopper carrying newsmen. He says the firing was done by small AK-47s and there is no indication whether he was hit. The chopper was not hit, but another carrying newsmen as well was hit but not seriously. On an ordinary day, about 200 Vietnamese from both sides die, three or four Americans die in choppers or ground action, at least two are shot down. Air view of Laotian jungle. Close up of pilot in cockpit. Air view of South Vietnamese tanks heading into Laos. Close up of chopper gunner, pan down to close up of M60 machine gun. Air view of Ho Chi Minh trail. More air view of jungle including white, billowing smoke from bomb drop. Air view of unnamed river separating Laos and South Vietnam. Close up of whirling blades of chopper. Close up of row of bullets leading into an M60. Interview with co-pilot Don Shaw. He says after he is fired upon he drops a smoke bomb on the area to lead big guns to it and then gets out of the area. Soldiers and newsmen examining damage of press chopper that was hit. Close up of bullet hole in chopper side. This item consists of raw, unpackaged, news materials relating to the US military involvement in Laos.


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Series
Vietnam: A Television History
Program
Cambodia and Laos
Program Number

109

Title

An Ordinary Day over Laos

Series Description

This 13 part series covers the history of Vietnam from France's colonial control, through the 1945 revolution, to the 1975 U.S. evacuation from Saigon and the years beyond. The series' objective approach permits viewers to form their own conclusions about the war. 101--Roots of a War--Despite cordial relations between American intelligence officers and Communist leader Ho Chi Minh in the turbulent closing months of World War II, French and British hostility to the Vietnamese revolution laid the groundwork for a new war. 102--The First Vietnam War (1946-1954)--The French generals expected to defeat Ho's rag-tag Vietminh guerrillas easily, but after eight years of fighting and $2.5 billion in U.S. aid, the French lost a crucial battle at Dienbienphu--and with it, their Asian empire. 103--America's Mandarin (1954-1963)--To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, America replaced France in South Vietnam--supporting autocratic President Ngo Dinyh Diem until his own generals turned against him in a coup that brought political chaos to Saigon. 104--LBJ Goes to War (1964-1965)--With Ho Chi Minh determined to reunite Vietnam, Lyndon Baines Johnson determined to prevent it, and South Vietnam on the verge of collapse, the stage was set for massive escalation of the undeclared Vietnam War. 105--America Takes Charge (1965-1967)--In two years, the Johnson Administration's troop build-up dispatched 1.5 million Americans to Vietnam to fight a war they found baffling, tedious, exciting, deadly and unforgettable. 106--America's Enemy (1954-1967)--The Vietnam War as seen from different perspectives: by Vietcong guerrillas and sympathizers; by North Vietnamese leaders; by rank and file; and by American held prisoner in Hanoi. 107--Tet (1968)--The massive enemy offensive at the Lunar New Year decimated the Vietcong and failed to topple the Saigon government, but led to the beginning of America's military withdrawal. 108--Vietnamizing the War (1968-1973)--President Nixon's program of troop pull-outs, stepped-up bombing and huge arms shipments to Saigon changed the war, and left GI's wondering which of them would be the last to die in Vietnam. 109--Cambodia and Laos--Despite technical neutrality, both of Vietnam's smaller neighbors were drawn into the war, suffered massive bombing, and in the case of Cambodia, endured a post-war holocaust of nightmare proportions. 110--Peace is at Hand (1968-1973)--While American and Vietnamese continued to clash in battle, diplomats in Paris argued about making peace, after more than four years reaching an accord that proved to be a preface to further bloodshed. 111--Homefront USA--Americans at home divide over a distant war, clashing in the streets as demonstrations lead to bloodshed, bitterness and increasing doubts about the outcome. 112--The End of the Tunnel (1973-1975)--Through troubled years of controversy and violence, U.S. casualties mounted, victory remained elusive and American opinion moved from general approval to general dissatisfaction with the Vietnam war. 113--Legacies--Vietnam is in the Soviet orbit, poorer than ever, at war on two fronts; America's legacy includes more than one half million Asian refugees, one half million Vietnam veterans and some questions that won't go away. Series release date: 9/1983

Program Description

Despite technical neutrality, both of Vietnam's smaller neighbors were drawn into the war, suffered massive bombing, and in the case of Cambodia, endured a post-war holocaust of nightmare proportions.

Duration

00:04:23

Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type

Video

Subjects
Military art and science
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Campaigns--Laos
United States--History, Military--20th century
Helicopters
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Helicopter pilots
Locations
Laos
Genres
Documentary
Topics
War and Conflict
Creators
Ellison, Richard (Series Producer)
Contributors
Hatcher, Tom (Interviewee)
Publication Information
CBS News
Rights Summary

Footage courtesy of CBS News Archive Rights Holder: CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com)

Citation
Chicago: “Vietnam: A Television History; Cambodia and Laos; An Ordinary Day over Laos,” 03/13/1971, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 9, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF750E8DB03F4758B275D9C208C49DCD.
MLA: “Vietnam: A Television History; Cambodia and Laos; An Ordinary Day over Laos.” 03/13/1971. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 9, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF750E8DB03F4758B275D9C208C49DCD>.
APA: Vietnam: A Television History; Cambodia and Laos; An Ordinary Day over Laos. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF750E8DB03F4758B275D9C208C49DCD
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