Interview with James E. McCloskey, US Army
Name: James E. McCloskey
Military Branch & Rank: US Army, Colonel
Dates of Service: 1965-1999
Date of Interview: May 16, 2019
Interviewer: Michael D. Brown
Audio Producer: Laura Bang
Length of Interview: 35 minutes
Transcribed by: Nicholas Coscarelli
Edited and annotated by: Meg Piorko
MICHAEL BROWN (INTRO): Thank you for joining us today. My name is Michael Brown, and we are here today at Villanova University recording another installment of the Voices of Villanova’s Veterans.
BROWN: Good afternoon. Today is May 16, 2019, and we are here at Villanova University in the Rare Book Room within Villanova’s Falvey library. And today I am interviewing –
JAMES MCCLOSKEY: Jim McCloskey.
BROWN: Jim McCloskey. He was a Vietnam veteran, and we are honored to have you here today, and we look forward to hearing your story from when you were raised, where you were raised, your time in the service, and up until today. And I’m excited to do that. So, welcome. And are you ready to get started?
BROWN: All right, sir. So, tell me a little bit about where you were born and when you were born.
MCCLOSKEY: I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the date was December 13, 1946. Not to be confused with anything, but it happened to be a Friday the 13th. Now that may be the excuse for my father down the road, having done what he’s done. But we moved from there up to Bucks County, Lower Bucks County, and found ourselves in St. Charles Church, all of probably three minutes from where my father was born. I went to school, and went to school at St. Charles Barmeo, graduated there in 1929, something like that. And long story short, much of my career from then was really patterned after my father. My father decided at 1941, December 7, it was time to go to war. And he and his two brothers did the same thing. And my one uncle, named Jim McCloskey, after I would imagine, my older brother was John. But Jim McCloskey flew V-24, my father, father flew V-17, and was known as sort of the go to pilot top gun, and spent a lot of time in the United States, before he went to Europe. And my uncle, John, or Jake, or whatever it was, decided he was in a V-24 and his copilot was killed. And he was wounded. And his rear tail gunner, who was on the flip side of the aircraft, V-24, he flipped it over, and came in heads up, and reversed, and was killed as a result, but saved his tail gunner. And I think that story sort of built my pattern of events after that. It wasn’t really the script. It was I played football in high school, played football in college, and nothing to write home about. But I decided that Vietnam was going to be my place. And it was going to be a place that I really found myself. And I really didn’t have any direction prior to that. I was a business major, finance major, in college, and much the same at LaSalle High School. But I decided that I was going to really build my spirit around Vietnam. And I went and I volunteered for the most extreme element, which was the Special Forces Group, tied into special operations, tied into then eventually villages. I had 11 villages under my control. And I had very few means of getting from point A to point B. And we had one Jeep, and that was oftentimes not the script. And it didn’t work. So, I said it’s time to elevate myself and go into Da Nang, which was 37 miles northwest of where I was. And I said, “I’m going to get a Jeep.” So, I told my gunner sergeant, who was then Marine Corps, and I was in a Marine area of operation—
BROWN: But you were not you were not in the Marines, is that correct?
MCCLOSKEY: I was not in Marines. I was in the Army, but I was in a Marine AO. The area of operation was strictly Marine. And so, I found myself involved with, very directly, the Marines. And the battalion commander would always say, “McCloskey, come to the front, the briefings, and we’re leaving at 0400,” which meant the chopper was ready to take off. And I led the Vietnamese. And I led also Marines, because oftentimes the Marine lieutenant wouldn’t be there. So, he was in Chu Lai, which was 20 miles south of where we were. So, I took the Marines, some 200 of them, and assigned them to various helicopters, and went into throughout the highlands of the … And I found myself leading Marines, the entire 17 and a half months that I was there. I extended myself, I was going to extend myself even further, because my unit was under the gun and under the threat of being taken over. So, I stayed there, and I worked with the 11 villages, and it got most of them – nine of 11 – up the curve from Viet Cong, Pro-Viet Cong to at least borderline, what they call “government of South Vietnam.” And they weren’t completely pacified, but they were in and of themselves, extreme – the rightist. Not quite conservative, not quite liberal. So, it all worked out, but I found myself directing Marines quite often, and it was a challenge. I found myself coming back three shots later. I was shot three times. First one off the helicopter, the last one to leave one of those. And so, I instructed the Marines. I instructed the Vietnamese who are militia. They were my militia. My militia, in defending their perimeter, defending their forms, defending their villages.
BROWN: And what was that training consisting of?
MCCLOSKEY: The training consisted of everything from – which I also stole – an 81 mortar, which I commandeered from a captain. That captain hadn’t seen his feet in some 30 years. I was wearing, understandably, Marine outfit, and I had two captain bars on, and I was nowhere near a Marine other than where I was. I was not a Marine. I always started off in PLC, platoon leader course. I graduated number one in the company and that, and I switched over to Army, but that was my only connection with Marines. But they followed me anywhere. Anywhere I went, because they knew I’d be the first to go in. And again, the Marines were a great group, but a great group to be with, because we had constant action. And, it was like, “Let’s go with McCloskey.” I had Navy SEAL teams. I had Special Forces. I had Marines. I had everything I needed. And I was the commander. I never wore a rank. And when I went in to commandeer, the 81 mortar, I said, “I need that mortar. What’s the timeframe? What do I need?” And they said, “well, you need six months to eight months. You’re in a Vietnamese triangle.” And I said, “well, I was 37 miles northeast.” And I wasn’t. I was southwest. I was 37 miles southwest. That’s all he needed to know. But he thought I was northeast. But I then asked him to step into the contained area. And I said, “Let me see the mortar.” When he leaned over the mortar, I strapped his hands and tied him up and then put a pistol to his head and told him I was taking the 81-mortar, because I needed it. So, I got the 81-mortar. I got the Jeep. I got a helicopter, too. I got a lot of things that I didn’t take back with me. I left them over there. OK? And I had no choice because I was at extreme distance from any of the logistical channels. I had Marines. I had to go through their net. I had the Army I had to go through them by way of the Vietnamese. And I had six months to eight months out. And there was no point in any of that. So again, that’s the long and short of what I was doing in Vietnam. I was training militia. I was training the Navy Seals. I was trading the Marines. The Marines are being traded for CAPs, combined action platoon, where they had to obviously operate within the villages. They had operated on longer term stretches, where they’re dealing with LRPs, long range patrol, rations, that kind of thing. We were sent out for 23 days and you’re struck and pulled back for one. So, that was the building of my base for Vietnam. I also spoke the language. I spoke the language. I lived like the Vietnamese. I smelled like the Vietnamese. I lived next to a water buffalo. I did all of it. OK? And everything I did was Vietnam. And I said someday I’m going to come back. I looked out over the plane on the way back. And most of the men were yelling, “yeah,” screaming, “yeah!” “Hey, hey, we’re going home!” And I was watching them. And they were sitting there with their bags, which were encasing a mortar, a rifle, whatever, most of which I sold them. I sold it to them because I took it to Camp Tien Sha. And I had one of the girls in my village make Viet Cong flags. Viet Cong flags with the gold star right in the middle, NVA. And I dipped them in pig’s blood. And I told them that in fact, I just took over a battalion of NVA and everything else. And I got to fly along with it. So, I sold that to them. I sold everything to them. And I split it with my double agents, which … problems reconnaissance unit. And that element, again, they had great remorse when I left. It was like, “oh my god, where are we going? Our source of capital.” So, I made everybody a happy fellow. And so, when I came home, I’m looking out the window. And I’m looking at these guys cheering. And I had a tear rolling down the aisle. Because I’m leaving my friends behind. That was the sad part about it. And they were my friends. And I said, someday I’m going to come back. And I did 11 years ago. 11 years ago, I’ve come back every year but one. I’ve come back to teach. I’ve come back on my own university, School of Economics. I’ve come back to Ho Chi Minh University, Hanoi National University. And I met some people from Villanova over there. The connection with Villanova was very direct in Hanoi. One of the guys that builds most of the cranes and everything else in Hanoi, he was from Villanova. His name was Al … And I was sitting with the State Department. I go see the State Department every time I’m over there. I go into Hanoi, and I just say, “I’m glad to be here” and all that. And here’s what I’m doing. They go, “Wow, that’s great.” And the people from the State Department I’m looking for, or I’m sitting now with, are already thinking about their next assignment. They have a two-year assignment. They don’t get to know the Vietnamese. They don’t know the Vietnamese. They listen to me. They sit there and go, “Wow, we didn’t know that. We didn’t know that.” I said, “I’m taking one of your books.” And it was the Chief of State Department, head in Hanoi that briefs the ambassador. And I took one of his books and I said, “I can use this.” It was 2018. That was last summer. I said, “It’s got everything about Vietnam and all. It’s got everything I need.” Everything in there from construction through there. And I said, it’s got a picture of Al on the outside. And I go – and this was the equivalent of their Forbes magazine – I said, “Do you know Al?” They said, “yeah, I sort of know him.” And he goes, “Whoa, could you do us a favor? Could you have him call the PM, the Prime Minister, so we can call the ambassador, the guy that’s upstairs down the hall, and tell the ambassador that they’re going to set a meeting up. He’s been trying to set a meeting up for three weeks, the ambassador, with the PM, Prime Minister.” He can’t get through it. I said, “yeah, sure, if I get a chance I will.” So, I started talking about something else. I go back in the vehicle and sort of an Uber way ahead of the game. And I’m driving, we’re driving to the Hanoi National University, which by the way, Dwayne Mars, which is located in Philadelphia, which is also in Washington. The ambassador to Dwayne Mars is also an attorney. He set up the meeting for – in fact, he put the first law school in the Hanoi, Hanoi Law School, where Dwayne Mars was in Philadelphia and Washington. And so, I was talking to him and I said, “Listen, can you get a hold of the PM for me?” He said, “Yeah,” he said, “I’ll call Al.” He said, “you know Al?” I said, “yeah, yeah. He gave me his phone number.” This is five minutes into the car. So, I call and I said, “yeah, Al do me a favor.” I said, “could you have the PM Prime Minister call the ambassador?” “Yeah, what’s the matter? Okay. Yeah, anything else?” He said, “yeah, I’ll see you tonight, Jim. I’ll see you tonight. You know, with Sofitel.” And that was Softitel that was in Hanoi, which was the East Softitel built in 1904 by the French. So, I said, “I’ll have dinner with you tonight.” I said, hung up. I said, 10 minutes later, State Department called, and he said, “who are you?” I go, “what do you mean? Prime Minister just called the ambassador. And we asked you that down the road, and we didn’t think it was going to be done right away. The thing was going to be done. What do you think it could do?” “Well, that’s fine.” But the connections with the Villanova are very strong. Al died over there two years ago. As a sequel to that, trying to build into a 501c3, trying to build a situation where a church in Hanoi is looking for stained windows. It doesn’t have to be blown out by our bombing and everything else. So, and the priest doesn’t have the money. The priest was a friend of Al. I said, “that’s enough for me.” So, I’m starting that campaign. So, I’ve been going through that. And I have to tell you, honestly, Vietnam, which is a small piece, 91 million people against 1.37 billion. Where is everybody else now? Where are they talking about on CNBC? And all the other programs. They’re talking China and Vietnam. Vietnam is that big. China is that big. Why are they leaving China? They’re leaving China because Vietnam is the only country that has the unique capacity to deliver on the Confucian principles: family, education, and work ethic. And they’re the only ones they do. That’s why Vietnam is such a big part of my life. And honestly, I have to tell you that it’s been that way for eons. The best students I have at Villanova are from Vietnam in the last 10 years. So, that’s sort of a back step that stops right there. What more do you want? What more do you need? What more do I don’t know?
BROWN: Sure. So, I want to take a step back to your decision to join the military. You’re where you want to train for, you know, before you did anything going into country. And then once you got into the country, the units you were attached with, that kind of stuff. So, talk to me about when you first joined, where did you go first?
MCCLOSKEY: Well, when I first went, I was 17 years old. I joined PLC, platoon leader course, Marine, and I graduated number one in the company. I said, “Hey, you got it made, you can go Navy Seal.” I said I want a little more control over my life. And I want to get there before the storybook closes.
BROWN: And what year was this?
MCCLOSKEY: It was 1965. 1969, I was in Vietnam. Prior to that, I had gone to Fort Benning. I distinguished myself by way of number one graduate of those all. Actually, it was number two. One guy beat me academically. I was a DMG, distinguished military graduate. So, I had my choice of rank. I’m not right, choice of grade or not grade, but choice of branch. My branch was infantry. I was the first to go infantry ever, ever. No one ever has gone. It’s a field artillery school. Everybody goes into field artillery, because they expect to be in El Paso, Texas. I see half these guys in Vietnam. El Paso, Texas. Branch doesn’t mean anything. I was infantry and I was attached to the Marines. I was attached to the Marines because all the Marines have been killed. And I was attached to the Marines because I had some connection with the Marine Corps. They’d read your 201 every once in a while. So I started off at Fort Benning. I went to Fort Bragg. Went to Fort Bragg down in Panama. Jungle training. Jungle training to Monterey. Monterey language school. And then over.
BROWN: So, you were fluent in Vietnamese?
BROWN: And how hard of a language was that for you to learn?
MCCLOSKEY: It wasn’t hard at all. I wanted to. I wanted to and I knew I needed to. And it was a life source because I was dealing with villages. These villages in 1969 knew nothing about English. They saw the English as just sort of an extension of the thousand-year history. China, Japan, French, American.
MCCLSOKEY: And they said, “Well, why should we learn English? It’s going to be going anyway.” And then I told them 11 years ago in school, learn English. And this is the way you’ll be able to get to the next step. When those companies come over here to interview you, you’re going to be ready. And they won’t be necessarily American companies. They’re going to be world companies. World companies have recognized English as the world business language. Ok? And no, that’s what I give them. But I also satisfy something else. I say, how are my students? I said, how are my kids in that orphanage that are totally disabled? You know, I mean, totally disabled. Third generation agent orange, whatever you want. How do I teach them English? And I said to the kids one day, I said, “look, I’m meeting out of the court. I’m meeting out of the court under the net.” There is no net. There’s a round little symbol about halfway up. I go so they can dunk it. And a dirt floor. And it’s a dirt floor. And I said, “I’m teaching outside.” I said, “I teach from eight to four.” I get there at nine o’clock at night at the Furama and then I don’t sleep in rice patties anymore. I stay in the first-class hotel. So, I say, I don’t really care. It’s my money. So, I stay the Furama. I get there at nine o’clock. I’m in bed 10:30, a quarter to 11, after three beers. But I get up. I get up at six. I’ve got them meeting me out front at 7:30. They’re there with their bus, a little van, you know, pick me up, take me down. I go to the university at nine. Then I tell the kids, meet me out of the court. And then I’ll take you over after I do eight to four. I’ll take you over if you want. And I figure there’d be three of them out there. 492 kids. I go, I felt like the pied piper going down the street. And I had these kids behind me. We’re going to teach these kids how to speak English because we’re going to learn English through you. So, part of my economics course was, it’s global economics, but I was talking about China. And I said, “by the way, if China decides that they’re going to attack along here, I’m with you. I’m going with you.” And I said, “I’ll teach you some of the other techniques that I picked up along the way.” But that never happened. But they are fearful of China. They hate China. They hate Korea. And they’re at a point now where I am going to go back and not this summer. I’m going to have to take off. I got the Vietnam horn. I got brain mass. I’ve got a tremor in my right hand. I’ve got agent orange type two diabetes. I got all that hit me in the last eight months. I’m going to conquer it somehow. The next year, I’m going back. I’m just telling them I’m going to Europe. But I will go back. It’s a great country. It’s a country you’re going to hear more of. I have a cousin over there that has a furniture manufacturer. It’s called Riverside. And his name is James P. McCloskey. I know what the P is that one. But I’m glad he had the differential there. But he was the son of James McCloskey, the pilot, B24 pilot. But, you know, it’s one of those things. That’s how I got there. While I was there, I knew that training was a big part of it. And I did decide to stay in. I retired as a colonel. I should have been a general. But I didn’t like the four guys that were interviewing me. And they were two stars all the way through. One was a one star. And not one of them. I’ve been out of the state of Pennsylvania. Nothing wrong with that. I don’t care. But I don’t know how you got general. And I just looked at them. I said, “I got to stop here. I don’t want to be any part of you. I’m really don’t.” And I just walked out. I said, “see you.” I gave him a high sign. So, I walked out. But I retired as a colonel.
BROWN: How long were you in?
MCCLOSKEY: 30 years.
BROWN: And what year did you get out?
BROWN: And what, during your time, did you go anywhere else deployment wise?
MCCLOSKEY: Yeah. Germany, Rwanda. I suggested Rwanda when Rwanda was Rwanda. I suggest that we come up with another strategy than what we did. And I was the only guy that was with me was the deputy of the U.S. or European USA. His name was General Schroeder. He was a great guy. But he got ousted. Because he came up with the same solution. I had the guts to tell him he said he looked at me for about five minutes. And he bumped to a two star. He was a three star. And he bumped a two star on the meeting. I was there at five of eight. I figured that was all I was going to do anyways, show and tell. But he sat there for about an hour and a half. And he listened to you guys. He looked at me for five minutes here. “McCloskey, I agree with you. I’m going with it.” He went with me to Rwanda. We were in Rwanda ‘94. So, I was Germany, offering some of the defense to Germany. I was in Rwanda, offering some of that, gave some of the ideas to Iraq. And they listened. But not any active component other than sending people. And I felt that it was time to send people, especially reserves. I wanted to get out of my unit, the strap hangers that were there only to avoid Vietnam. I never remember. I was the only Vietnam guy. I went into the unit. And it took him 11 months to get me in the unit, register, letter register, sign here. I didn’t sign any of them. My brother signed one. I said, “What’d you sign it for?” And I said, “now I got to go.” I went in the football jersey, long hair. And I said, “I’m here.” And the guy came up to me as a major, major Rich. He said, “the first time they ever had had open ranks in the spectrum,” never happened… The guy stood in front and he said, “How long have you been in this unit soldier?” I looked at my watch and I said, “27 minutes asshole… Got a problem with that?” He said, “I got a problem with you.” So they spent the next five years trying to figure out how they’re going to get rid of me. They couldn’t get rid of me. They kept promoting me all the way through. So, I got promoted all the way through. I then went to the Archon, which was a standard command. The Second World War guy was a general Walsh, who was a commander. And every guy told him to get rid of, he got rid of colonels, mostly colonels. And I was a major, something like that. But yeah, went along with the program completely.
BROWN: What units were you attached with, signed to?
MCCLSOKEY: I signed the 304 civil affairs, which is the most non-descript union in the world. I made the civil affairs, “Rucksack ready,” let’s say. I took them down to Fort Bragg before I did. I cut the deal at Fort Bragg when I stood against Navy SEALs and smoked them out in swimming, which I swam in high school. I smoked them out of everything, and I just had them attached to me. And so, I said, it’s time I finally flushed the unit down to 68 percent. We were not deployable. But I said, I’ll get it back up. Three months later, we’re 115 percent. I brought an 82nd Airborne scale platoon leaders, Navy SEALs, and we smoked out the unit down at Fort Bragg. And we were at Fort Bragg, come Rwanda, faster than the active duty, which is impossible. So, they called it CA, combat air assault. It wasn’t; it was civil affairs. But that was a unit I used to get into the Fort Bragg element. I showed up in the 304th. I went to the 79th Archon. Archon was the overarching element of the reserves that oversaw. And I changed a lot of the units to a lot of things. I didn’t even bother with that. And 330th engineers, a few others. I built a platoon at the period of a month. There was a guy up there. It didn’t cost him anything. Nothing. I said, “I’ll build it on my own.” So, I had about six sergeants helping me. I wanted to get mandates for them. I couldn’t get mandates, couldn’t get anything. The late, the colonel who was at the Archon in charge of recruiting later got indicted for stealing the money. I couldn’t get a three days mandate for one of my sergeants. But we recruited. We did in one month what they couldn’t do in five years. And I got non-prior service people. I said, “here’s what it’s all about.” You got an engineering firm? Come on over, “wow, that’s great.” “Then come over.” So, I was involved with a lot of them. A lot of different ones, mostly reserves, not national guard. The National Guard then didn’t have any part to play. They were sort of like not as good on the side. And now the National Guard has taken over the reserves. They’re being assigned a lot of the operations that reserves were, but I won’t be …
BROWN: So, you’ve been to Vietnam now, what nine times in the last 11 years? Do you go the same time of year every year? Do you go to the same places?
MCCLOSKEY: No, I mix it up. I’ve gone in January. I’ve gone in July. I’ve gone mostly in June and July.
BROWN: Is that the best time of year to go?
MCCLOSKEY: It’s not the best time of year. The best time of year is when they’re teaching. They want me to go there in March, April, and catch the end of it. Where I put everything together in a context. I have, I always have three people in the hotel, three people sitting behind sitting in the back of 370 students. I have 370 students, not 10. OK? 370 students are taking those. There’s three Vietnamese sitting all the way in the back. And they’ll text me. I go, “could you stay within the context of the text?” And I say, no, no, could you not pay me? Yeah, I do that. Yeah, so I’ll just do what I want. So, I throw it away and they start laughing. But they didn’t laugh in the beginning. They were like, “what’s this guy you’re going to teach?” You know, three of them came to the Sofitel in Hanoi. And they were like, I got a call. “Sir, could you come down in lobby? We have three government officials and supported by 10 guards.” If I came down, I just went through the whole track of what I was going to teach. There we go. They were like, one of those firsts, they go, they looked at each other. They go, “well, that’s not such a bad idea.” I said, “I want to see Vietnam established.” Yeah. “Wow. He’s here to help us.” So, I built on that scenario from that on.
BROWN: And what’s your attachment to Villanova?
MCCLOSKEY: Attachment to Villanova. I started here 34 years ago.
BROWN: Doing what?
MCCLOSKEY: Teaching, negotiation, business, communication, all the above. A course called “Whole Communication” and all the above. Adjunct, not full. But I’ve become very close to going, they always call me and they did this most around. I can’t do 8:30. Not interested. I don’t get up there really. So, yeah, they called me back every year.
BROWN: And what do you like about Villanova?
MCCLSOKEY: I like the students primarily. They’re willing to learn. They want to learn. And it’s close on.
BROWN: Sure. Where else have you taught other than in Vietnam?
MCCLOSKEY: I taught at Penn State. I taught at Penn State, Temple, Valley Forge or so. It’s the adjunct.
MCCLOSKEY: But it’s been fun.
BROWN: And talk to me about some of your mentors through your time in the military. You served for 30 years. Who were some of the folks that you looked up to and had good relationships with while you were in?
BROWN: I had to say none of them. I have very little respect for them. I know a few guys out of Fort Bragg, you know, good people will fall in sort for you. But I never, never made a comparison. I just, I wrote my own script, and they bought it. I was very unconventional, very unconventional.
BROWN: Sure. No, I appreciate that. And if you were to talk to someone or someone from a class approach, you said, “should I join the military?” What would you tell them today?
MCCLOSKEY: I would say it’s the greatest experience of your life. But it’s entirely what you want to make out of it.
MCCLOSKEY: I made it, but I wanted to. And had fun doing it.
BROWN: Well, good. Anything you want to add before we part ways?
MCCLOSKEY: No, I just again, I’d have to tell you that, you know, in a very small piece of life, but Vietnam is a very big part of it. I had a lot of other experiences with three children and a wife. I’ve been married all the way through. You know, I’m not easy to put up with, but who is? I don’t have anybody that’s worth hanging. No, I’m very, very individualistic and very focused. And I try to be, and I try to not do it at 70 hours of expense. And that’s about it. And that’s what I’ve learned. And reinforced by Marines, reinforced by the Army. And I have to tell you, one of the worst tastes I have in my mouth is from Vietnam, not getting the kind of support that we should have. And I applaud you for what you’re doing. But I, you know, I have a great respect for the system. I really don’t. And I appreciate what you’re doing. But again, the story was untold for a long, long time. I went down to Washington seven or eight times and talked to senators and said, you know, if, if you guys repeat, what you did for the Vietnam vet to the guy returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, I’m going to make sure personally that it’s your last election. Guarantee it. So, you know, I’d like to have more respect for it. I really would. I have more respect for the Viet Cong than I do sometimes the American troop. The American troop was dedicated. It says it wasn’t American troops, it was commanders. They were bad news.
BROWN: Well, sure. I appreciate you coming in. I thank you for telling your story and being a part of this project. And until we talk again, have a great day, sir.
MCCLOSKEY: I appreciate it. Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you.
BROWN (OUTRO): That concludes this installment of the Voices of Villanova’s Veterans. A joint project of the Villanova University Office of Veterans and Military Service members and Falvey Memorial Library’s distinctive collections and digital engagement departments. Thank you for listening. For more information and to listen to more interviews, please visit us online at veteransvoices.library.Villanova. edu.
 AO: Area of Operation. An AO is an operational area defined by the force commander for land, air, and naval forces conduct of combat and non-combat activities.
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 An 81-mm mortar is a medium-weight mortar. It is a smooth-bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for long-range indirect fire support of light infantry, air assault, and airborne units across the entire front of a battalion zone of influence.
 Camp Tien Sha is a former United States Navy base located in Danang, Vietnam.
 NVA: North Vietnamese Army.
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 Confucianism is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China, and is variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or a way of life.
 Agent Orange is a chemical herbicide and defoliant, one of the tactical use Rainbow Herbicides. It was used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.
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