The question, “did America leave troops in Vietnam,” is a multifaceted question.
The reason is, its really many questions rolled into one. For example, why would Vietnam want prisoners after the war? Why would we abandon them? What did the Nixon impeachment have to do with it? How far had the Soviet Union entrenched itself into the Democratic Party?
My opinion is, yes, we did leave troops behind in Vietnam.
In the 80’s I used to belong to Lucy’s Tiger Den, a little bar/ American Legion post in Bangkok. I went there looking for a hangover cure and was talked into becoming a member by Tiger Rydberg, the proprietor.
Lucy’s, back in the day had a lot of customers but less than 100 members, as I recall. The vast majority of the people who came in were tourists and journo’s and 99% of them were totally full of shit. They came in, bought tee shirts, took selfies and went back to the states and told everybody they were “near Vietnam.”
But the members were different. Many, if not most were Veterans and many lived in Bangkok, or Pattaya. Some had businesses. One I remember ran a salvage company that sold old Huey parts. Lucy’s figures prominently in my first novel, 39 Down.
The time to go to Lucy’s was not whenever you felt like it. It was the annual American Legion meeting held there. It was a real American legion post. I went to two meetings and both were surprisingly well attended.
What I’m getting at is, THEY believed America left troops in Vietnam.
So did two defense secretaries. But…
“John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home.” The Nation Sept, 18, 2008
Contrary to you might believe, the United States doesn’t give a flying shit about its soldiers. To this day, they lack adequate medical care. The VA hospital system is as corrupt as they come. I almost froze to death one night in Camp Lejeune, but I was lucky. I had a friend that almost froze to death in Que’ Son. I had another that was air dropped into Cambodia alone for a month. Go to the death ward at the VA and you’ll see dozens of men who are falling apart from Agent Orange.
Most civilians never see this because the Pentagon and its butt-buddies have created this concept called “conspiracy theory.” If you question them, you become an aluminum foil hat wearer.
In the 80’s at Lucy’s, John McCain wasn’t talked about. As I said, most of the journo’s that came there were total assholes. They’d actually try to film the inside of the bar, as if Vietnam kept prisoners there. Of course, Tiger, being an ornery old bastard would threaten to kick their asses and throw them out.
His arguments with Bo Gritz are legendary! Gritz would make a big splash about going in and rescuing them, get 20 miles outside Bangkok and go home. This bullshit behavior is what made the troop issue seem like conspiracy theory. But…
“The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a Special Forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington and even sworn testimony by two defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” Ibid, above.
Did America leave troops behind in Vietnam?
Yes. Why? Read the evidence and make your own conclusions. In the meantime, don’t expect the Pentagon to care as much about your kids as you do.