THE TET OFFENSIVE 1968: Those Who Forgot History Have Repeated It 53 Years Later in Afghanistan

I served in the 101st Airborne Division during Tet of 1968.

In late January, 1968, during the lunar new year (or “Tet”) holiday, North Vietnamese and Communist Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated attack against a number of targets in South Vietnam.

The Tet Offensive played an important role in weakening U.S. public support for the war in Vietnam because Walter Cronkite and the legacy media began telling the public that the Vietnam War was lost.

WATCH: 53 years ago Walter Cronkite calls for the U.S. to get out of Vietnam.

The reality on the ground was that Tet 1968 was a total and complete military disaster for the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC). Once the Tet Offensive began it became clear that U.S. and allied forces, using their military advantage in capabilities and their air supremacy, killed or captured tens of thousands of enemy Communist forces.

Those of us who were on the ground during Tet 1968 saw us winning and winning big. said this about the Tet Offensive:

As far as traditional military thought goes, the North Vietnamese were soundly beaten. Almost overnight, the tide turned against the communists. American and ARVN forces pushed them out of most major cities and towns. Within two weeks, an estimated 32,000 NVA troops had been killed. No South Vietnamese uprising ever came, and the Americans and South Vietnam suffered only around 1,500 and 2,700 casualties, respectively.

I was at that time a Field Artillery Forward Observer (FO) with A Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 501st Infantry Regiment. When Tet began I and my band of brothers were near the city of Hue in Vietnam. My battalion was tasked with retaking the Western wall of the city of Hue.

Beginning on January  30th, 1968, Hue became the site of one of the longest, bloodiest battles the Americans would fight against the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, and its Viet Cong guerrillas living in South Vietnam.

My infantry company was part of that bloody battle to drive the NVA and VC out of Hue and eventually out of South Vietnam. We accomplished both missions with minimum casualties on our side but massive casualties on their side.

Cronkite was wrong. His assessment was fake news

53 Years Later Afghanistan Looks Like Vietnam

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his biography wrote that in 1975 President Gerald Ford had tried to convince a number of senators to help Vietnamese refugees fleeing persecution and claimed Biden, along with other Democrats, “dissented.”

Fast forward to Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

As I watched the disaster in Afghanistan I had a feeling of déjà vu. Biden abandoned the South Vietnamese and now has abandoned American citizens in Afghanistan.


Of course we left South Vietnam in March of 1973. We, the military, did our job. We won the war on the battlefield but lost the war in the streets of Washington, D.C. Because of the anti-war protests Congress in June of 1973 mandated the ended of all aid to South Vietnam.

Just two years later, in March of 1975 Communist units launched a massive invasion of South Vietnam against a weakened South Vietnamese army that literally ran out of ammunition because Congress defunded them.

Finally, in April of 1975 Saigon fell.

To this day I lament that fact that we abandoned those brave South Vietnamese we fought shoulder to shoulder with against the Communists and how the United States Congress totally abandoned the brave people of South Vietnam.

Just like we have now totally abandoned those who fought with us in Afghanistan.

I believe that the United States should always enter a war with one purpose in mind – win at all costs. We must demand the unconditional surrender of our enemies, just as we did in World War II.

Airborne, all the way.

©Lieutenant Colonel Richard M. Swier, U.S. Army (Retired)

1 reply
  1. Rob
    Rob says:

    All these wars could have been avoided if Patton wasn’t killed by the NKVD and OSS and George Earle III was able to become President instead of FDR to remove the Soviets.

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