A quiet American POW was nicknamed “The Incredibly Stupid One” by his Vietnamese captors. Upon his return to the US, he provided the names of over 200 prisoners of war, which he had memorized to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
When they threw him out of Vietnam, he came out with 256 names that Joe Crecca had taught him memorized by service, by rank and alphabetically; next to each name he had a dog’s name, kid’s name or social security number to verify the quality of the name which we had picked up by tap code, deaf spelling code or secret notes. He still has those names memorized today and sings them to the tune of “Old MacDonald Has a Farm.” One of our intelligence officers asked him if he could slow the recitation down to make for easier copying. Doug replied “No” that it was like riding a bike, you had to keep moving or you would fall off.
Professors of universities during the Vietnam War inflated students’ grades in order to help them avoid the draft.
The first American to die in Vietnam was actually murdered by a fellow soldier in 1956. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. gave candy to local children when he bumped into a drunk colleague that shot him on sight. It took 43 years for his name to be added to the Vietnam War Memorial.
Top Gun was produced in collaboration with the Pentagon to rebrand the US military’s image post-Vietnam war, and attract new Navy recruits. Top Gun was the first full-blown collaboration between Hollywood and the US military.
Project 100000 was a recruitment effort during Vietnam that brought in mentally and physically unfit people for service to fill the ranks. Many brought in had a 5th grade level education and were considered mentally challenged.
In 1973, during his stay in Vietnam, Henry Moak was issued a combat ration that included a can of pound cake, manufactured in 1969. He vowed to eat the pound cake when he retired from the Army. On July 24, 2009, Colonel Moak opened the forty-year-old can and kept his word.
According to unclassified audio tapes of president Johnson, Nixon prolonged Vietnam War for political gain and Johnson knew about it.
30,000 American draft dodgers went to Canada during the Vietnam War, while 30,000 Canadians joined the US military to fight in the Vietnam War.
A lot of famous directors begin their careers by making weird, experimental films. For instance, there’s the case of Martin Scorsese and his odd, six-minute film The Big Shave that he made in 1967. It had an alternative title, Viet ’67, because it was apparently a metaphor for the war in Vietnam, even though the entire film involves a guy shaving.
According to Slate.com, “the director conceived of the film after emerging from a ‘spell of deep depression,’ during which he apparently had trouble shaving.”
Over at Cinephilia & Beyond, they’ve posted Scorsese’s original script for the film.
In 2011, the singer Dave Hause made a music video that recreated the scenes from the film.
On his second day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned all evaders of the Vietnam War drafts.