America’s forgotten heroes– Vietnam Vets

Andrea Shea King
© 2009

On Jan. 10, 1970, U.S. Army Capt. Herbert C. Crosby disappeared without a trace.

“Herby” Crosby was piloting “Firebird 91,” a UH1C Iroquois Huey helicopter combat gunship in Vietnam. He was leading three Hueys returning from Tien Phuoc to the unit’s home base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam. On board were Warrant Officer George A. Howes, co-pilot; Spc. 5th Class Wayne C. Allen, crew chief; and Spc. 4th Class Francis G. Graziosi, door gunner.

The 22-year old Crosby’s tour of duty was scheduled to end a few weeks later, and the young serviceman looked forward to returning home to Donaldsonville, Ga.

But on that day, Capt. Crosby and his three-man crew got lost in bad weather over Quang Nam Province. Their helicopter disappeared.

For 36 years, Crosby’s family awaited word on the fate of their son and brother. On Dec. 8, 2006, they learned the truth. Herby’s remains had been recovered, and all that was left to do was bury him with a full military funeral. The following Memorial Day, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Today, we remember Capt. Crosby and all who have served our country, defenders of our liberty and that of oppressed countries the world over.

On this Veterans Day, I watched The “Forgotten Heroes,” a film conceived in 1985 and produced by filmmaker Jack Marino, who wanted to tell the real story of those who fought in Vietnam.

“Forgotten Heroes” isn’t a documentary. Rather, it’s the story of brothers in arms who were drafted, fought, overcame incredible hardships and came home to the jeers of fellow Americans who hated this war.

As one Blue Star Mom described it, “‘Forgotten Heroes’ is the polar opposite of so many Hollywood movies of the Vietnam War. You know, the ones that show the soldiers and Marines as bloodthirsty murderers and depraved and crazed killers of women and babies.”

The “Forgotten Heroes” website explains:

In 1986 after watching the film “Platoon,” Jack Marino realized that since John Wayne’s “Green Berets,” Hollywood was increasingly reluctant to say anything positive or portray in a heroic sense anyone that fought in the Vietnam war. He felt he had to do something to counter all the negativism that seemed so pervasive within the city limits of Tinsel Town towards America’s war vets. He had been kicking around this idea of a World War II style film in a Vietnam setting for some time.

Marino explains, “I wanted to portray on film that generation who answered JFK’s call to defend freedom anywhere and anytime.”

He continues, “Every Sunday possible during my childhood, my dad and I would spend a few hours watching all the great black-and-white World War II movies together. Still, decades later, when I came home for a visit, we would fight the war together again in front of the TV. John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Van Johnson, Audie Murphy and so many more are a major part of my childhood memories.”

The Blue Star Mom adds, “My husband and I have pretty much stopped watching movies coming out of Hollywood. We’re just plain sick and tired of sitting down to let go of our daily stuff and be entertained to find we’re being lectured on the liberal’s agenda of hating America and/or our military. There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories about our military out there, just waiting to be told. But the media can’t even bring itself to report on our finest unless its report after report about torture (mostly bogus), civilian deaths (so many found to be untrue) and how ‘demoralized’ and ‘broken’ our troops are.

“So, to think Hollywood (the bastion of liberalism and ‘blame America first’) would even consider making a movie that showed the truth of all the great things and personal sacrifice our troops are willing to stand up and carry out?” she asks. “Well, I’m not holding my breath on that!”

We remember our veterans today, Nov. 11, with hearts filled with gratitude for all they’ve given to make our nation and the world a safer place. And we say a prayer for our fighting men and women and their loved ones. May God bless every one of them.