Laurence Stimeling

Larry Stimeling

Larry served with the US Army in Vietnam from March 1970 to February 1971. A Lineman/Wire Team leader (mos 26c40), he served with the 595th Signal Company, 36th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade and was based at Di An, near Saigon, SVN


At the time the Paris peace talks started on May 10, 1968, shortly after the defeat of the Viet Cong during the Tet offensive of 1968, a total of 27,479 Americans had died in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were, according to General Giap, ready to unconditionally surrender. That is, until he realized he was winning the war on the streets of America.

He had already heard Walter Cronkite declare the war unwinnable. With support like this from the U.S. media, Giap determined that he would delay until the Americans lost their fight at home. From the negotiations to the cease-fire on Jan. 28, 1973, the number of Americans killed was 29,380, more than before the talks began.

SPC Brannon, Larry (without shirt) and Upright, their truck
SPC Brannon, Larry (without shirt) and Upright, their truck
Vietnam, 1970
During this time, Hanoi Jane was doing here thing. David Horowitz was protesting at Cal Berkley (Horowitz has since admitted that what he did bordered on treason). John Kerry met with the negotiation representatives of both the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong before testifying before Congress when he urged them to accept the terms demanded by the North Vietnamese representatives.

The Kent State shooting and pictures of the execution in Saigon and the Vietnamese girl fleeing naked from a napalm attack all caused the war to be prolonged by giving the enemy hope.

Returning soldiers were met with protesters throwing rocks at buses, with spits and shouts of “baby killer.” Soldiers were instructed not to wear uniforms and were released from service in the early morning to lessen the chances of running into hostile Americans. Today’s veteran must not be put in the same situations. Nor can we let the protesters take out their hostilities on out returning heroes.

Yes, protesters have the right to disagree with policy, but they do not have the right to endanger our military personnel, including my son, who will be spending his second consecutive Christmas in the war zone. We must not permit terrorists to feel they are gaining strength or winning by their tactics of fear.

To those against the war, let your voice be heard by those who need to know – political leaders – not by everyone, including the enemy.