I agree with Mac Deford that the formative experiences of Vietnam during our youth shaped our outlook on many levels. My two tours (1970-72) in the Central Highlands were on the back end of the war, when our army was literally disintegrating. The MACV commander at the time, Gen. Creighton Abrams, was privately despondent over the destruction of our army as heroin addiction and drug abuse soared, discipline and unit cohesion melted, and we all were waiting for the “last shoe to drop.” See young John Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I was a lowly MP sergeant when, in 1971, a salty old (3-war) sergeant told me that if I stayed long enough, I would one day see NVA tanks moving south (in the open) to bypass Pleiku. He was right. In early 1972, I saw a column moving south down the valley, in a big Tet-related push toward Saigon, without even contesting Pleiku Province. Somehow, their intel told them the USAF Arc Light carpet-bombings would be on hold, and they could move freely in daylight. It was a scene from an old Henry Fonda war movie, and it filled me with dread. I called my personnel officer at MACV and, 48 hours later, I was headed home, back to “the World.”

Burns’ Vietnam series kindled many memories, and begs more than a few questions. Among them; If highly competent politicians (at Statecraft) gave us the quagmire of Vietnam, what does that portend for a fundamentally incompetent president like Trump?

Jon Karr, Lincolnville