“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elizabeth in Charlotte in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial

Dedicated November 11, 1989

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
1. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
In honor of those men and women who served and to those who gave their lives in Vietnam from the people of Mecklenburg County.

With this we reflect on the past share with the present and educate ourselves for the future.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
President Eisenhower links America's own national interest to the survival of a non-Communist regime in South Vietnam. Civilian and military advisors arrive in Vietnam to train South Vietnamese forces. Two American advisors killed in surprise attack at military compound near Bien Hoa. North Vietnam Premier Pham Van Dong vows we will drive the Americans into the sea.

685 advisors in Vietnam, twice as many as 1959. John F. Kennedy elected president. South Vietnamese attempt military coup to oust President Ngo Dinh Diem. Hanoi forms National Liberation Front, later called Vietcong. VC. U.S. forces increase to 900 by years end.

President John F. Kennedy
President Kennedy warned that Laos is key to Southeast Asia. U.S. Task Force sent to Gulf of Siam. Diem government asks U.S. Ambassador Nolting for

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
2. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
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U.S. combat troops. Joint Chiefs of Staff estimate 40,000 combat troops could eliminate Vietcong threat. First helicopter unites arrive. Special forces units start providing assistance. First Mecklenburg County resident killed was Charles H. Mateer. Downed while flying a helicopter over Laos. U.S. troops authorized to return enemy fire. U.S. forces total 3,200.

U.S. Air Force conducts defoliation activities called Operation Ranch Hand. First Marine helicopter units arrive Presidential Palace in Saigon bombed by insurgent Vietnamese. 3,000 Marines land in Thailand. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first elected U.S. official who refuses to make optimistic statement about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara orders planning of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. Cuban Missile Crisis occurs U.S. forces total 12,000.

Vietcong defeat South Vietnamese forces at Battle of Ap Bac. Buddhist monk burns self to death in protest of Diem government. Henry Cabot Lodge appointed new U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. President DeGaulle of France proposes North and South Vietnam unite into neutral state. President John F. Kennedy rebuffs proposal until Vietcong menace eliminated. Diem slain in military coup. U.S. announces 1,000 troops to be withdrawn. PResident Kennedy assassinated. Lyndon Johnson becomes

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
3. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
president. 16,500 U.S. troops in Vietnam.

President Lyndon B. Johnson
General William Westmoreland becomes commander of all U.S. troops in Vietnam. U.S. Navy ship sunk in Saigon Harbor. North Vietnamese attack U.S. destroyer in Gulf of Tonkin. President Johnson orders first retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnamese. Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing the president to take necessary steps to maintain peace. South Korea sends troops to Vietnam. First U.S. women advisors arrive. Australian and New Zealand troops arrive. 25,000 US. troops in Vietnam.

Enemy forces attack U.S. bases near Pleiku. U.S. begins Operation Rolling Thunder. Continuous bombing of North Vietnam. PResident Johnson's proposed peace talks with President Ho Chi Minh rejected by North Vietnam. First North Vietnamese army (N.VA) regiment confirmed in Kontum Province. Soviet Union constructs surface-to-air missile sam sites around Hanoi. First major combat offensive by U.S., Australian, and Vietnamese troops occurs in Central Highlands. General Westmoreland's request for 44 more combat battalions approved.

Sam missiles attack U.S. aircraft near Hanoi. Vietcong attack U.S. installations at Danang and Chu Lai destroying 40 aircraft. While addressing the United Nations Pope Paul VI pleads for peace in Vietnam. Two prisoners of war

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
4. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
release by Vietcong. U.S. defeats North Vietnamese units in Ia Drang Valley. President Johnson suspends Operation Rolling Thunder on Christmas Day in hopes of peace. U.S. pursues enemy forces into Cambodia for first time. 200,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam.

Operation Rolling Thunder resumes largest search and destroy operation of the war takes place in Binh Dinh Province. President Johnson rejects U.S. Senate call for direct peace talks with North Vietnam. Major escalation of the air war over North Vietnam with B-52's bombing fuel depots near Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time. First air-to-air combat battle over North Vietnam. U.S. downs MIG-21. Two NVA regiments move into central highlands from Laos.

NVA divisions cross Demilitarized Zone DMZ. U.S. aircraft bomb enemy positions in DMZ and Cambodia. Operation Attleboro, war's biggest battle to date, involves 20,000 U.S. troops. President Johnson visits Cam Ranh Bay. First Thai combat troops arrive. U.S. Navy destroys 47 Communist supply barges on the Mekong River. Monthly number of aircraft missions reach 25,000. New Year's Truce begins. 330,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam.

U.S. troops take up positions in Mekong Delta for the first time. North Vietnam refuses peace talks until U.S. halts bombing. NVA forces shoot down 13 helicopters in one day. Operation Junction City, the largest

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
5. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
search and destroy mission to date, takes place near Cambodia. U.S. artillery shells. NVA forces in DMZ. Marines engage NVA in heavy battle near Laos. NVA forces attack across DMZ. Intense fighting erupts near Dak-To. NVA forces 450,000.

Major fighting is now occurring throughout Vietnam. Vietcong NVA launch rocket and mortar attack on U.S. Air Force base at Danang. White House asks North Vietnam for international Red Cross inspection of U.S. Prisoners of War. General Westmoreland orders major fortification at Khe Sanh. 10,000 U.S. troops protect Pentagon from thousands of anti-war protesters. Hanoi appeals to all governments to help stop U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. Battle of Dak-To ends with capture of Hill 875 on Thanksgiving Day. U.S. troops attack NVA positions in the DMZ to break up winter spring offensives. U.S. troops strength close to 500,000.

Vietcong overrun U.S. airfield at Kontum. 77 day siege of Khe Sanh begins. NVA/VC launch Tet Offensive attacking all major cities throughout South Vietnam. Vietcong breach walls of U.S. embassy in Saigon. Hanoi wants reenactment of Dien-Bien-Phu at Khe Sanh. President Johnson gives the order to defend at all cost. U.S. forces recapture Hue after savage house-to-house fighting. NVA use tanks for first time in war. NVA are sighted in Mekong Delta for the first time. General Westmoreland becomes Chief

Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 17, 2021
6. Mecklenburg County Vietnam Memorial
of Staff. General Creighton Abrams assumes command of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Reverend Martin Luther King assassinated.

Siege of Khe Sanh ends. NVA/VC suffer major defeat in largest operation of the war involving 42 U.S. and 37 Vietnamese battalions in the central highlands. United States and North Vietnam elect Paris, France as site of peace talks. Xuan Thuy and Averill Harriman head delegations for both countries. Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated. Communist offensive begins with shelling of 119 cities and towns. Le Duc THo joins first round of Paris Peace Talks. President Johnson announces he will not seek reelection.

U.S. bombs missile sites in North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh wants the war escalated. Allied forces begin sweep in Ashua Valley. Heavy fighting erupts in Mekong Delta. Richard Nixon pledges to bring an honorable end to the war if elected president. Anti-war riots occur during Democratic convention in Chicago. President Johnson halts all bombing over North Vietnam. United Nations Secretary General U. Thant addressing the General Assembly in New York states "Let the Vietnamese resolve the war themselves." U.S. wants to attack into Laos and Cambodia to break up heavy NVA/VC build-up battleship New Jersey arrives on station and shells enemy positions in the DMZ.

Richard Nixon elected president. South Vietnam joins Paris Peace Talks. 35,000 enemy troops

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are targeted by B-52's in Tay-Ninh Province near Cambodia. NVA troops fire on U.S. positions from within DMZ. U.S. mission in Saigon states that 75% of South Vietnam is relatively secure. Phoenix Program is cited as one reason. U.S. Troops strength at 534,000.

President Richard M. Nixon
Henry Cabot Lodge appointed new chief U.S. negotiator at Paris Peace Talks. Vietcong representative joins Peace Talks. President Thieu of South Vietnam wants U.S. troops withdrawn. Chicago Seven tried for anti-war rioting. President Nixon proposes simultaneous withdrawal of U.S. and North Vietnam troops. Battle of Hamburger Hill takes place in Ashua Valley. President insists on North Vietnam troop withdrawal from Laos and Cambodia as part of agreement for troops reduction. Vietcong present 10-point peace plan for overall solution to the war.

President Nixon pledges 35,000 troop withdrawal by December. Battle for Ben Het in the central highlands lasts for 8 weeks. President Nixon visits Vietnam breaking an 8 week lull. NVA/VC attack 100 cities with mortars, rockets, and infantry. Ho Chi Minh dies. Philippine forces withdrawn from Vietnam. U.S. increases raids into Cambodia. Thailand withdraws 12,000 troops from Vietnam. Vietcong proclaim 3-day New Year's Truce. U.S. requests status of 1,406 U.S. servicemen Missing in Action at Paris Peace Talks. U.S. troop

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strength at 479,000.

National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho begin secret peace talks. NVA violate cease fire agreement at DMZ. Government of Cambodia overthrown by Lon Nol. President Nixon orders 150,000 troop reduction by Spring. American and South Vietnamese forces invade NVA/VC sanctuaries in Cambodia. Four anti-war protesters killed by National Guard at Kent State University. U.S. Naval flotilla enters Cambodia on the Mekong River. Former Cambodian leader Norodom Sihanouk in Hanoi pledges Cambodians with Vietnamese Communists will fight to defeat U.S. Imperialists. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution repealed.

Ambassador David Bruce heads up U.S. negotiating team in Paris. Last major operation involving U.S. troops begins Code Named Jefferson Glen. South Vietnamese Air Force starts taking over responsibility for U.S. airbases in Vietnam. U.S. SVN troops withdrawn from Cambodia. Vietcong terrorism is growing throughout South Vietnam. U.S. forces raid Sontay Prisoner of War Camp in North Vietnam in hope of freeing POW's. War escalates in U Minh forest. America's role in the war decreasing as U.S. troop strength drops to 280,000.

Congress forbids U.S. ground troops from going into Laos or Cambodia. One hundredth session of Paris Peace Talks concludes without any significant progress. President Nixon reports that "Vietnamization" has succeeded. New York Times starts publishing the Pentagon Papers. William porter appointed new Chief U.S. Negotiator in Paris. NVA forces increase attacks in the South. Heavy U.S. air strikes continue in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Paris Peace Talks enter 4th year. U.S. troops strength down to 159,000.

North Vietnam launches new offensive across DMZ. President Nixon authorizes bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. U.S. Navy begins mining of Haiphong Harbor. General Frederick C. Weyand replaces General Abrams as commander of U.S. forces. Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger state peace is at hand. Hanoi releases three Prisoners of War. Last U.S. ground troops leave South Vietnam. U.S. Aircraft continue heavy bombing in North Vietnam. Communists agree to resume talks when bombing stops. International protesting of bombing continues. Peace talks break down. President Nion orders more bombing of the north. 14 B-52's lost in one week. U.S. troop strength is down to 24,000.

Cease fire agreement formally signed in Paris on January 23. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird states the military draft has ended. Graham Martin, new U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. North Vietnam Government begins the release of 587 U.S. Prisoners of War. The last U.S. bombing mission ends. After 12 years, Congress overrides President Nixon's veto of War Powers Act. U.S. Naval forces clear Haiphong Harbor of mines. Canada ends peacekeeping operations and is replaced by Iran. Vietcong gives order to fight the Saigon government. The U.S. is now out of the war.

President Thieu declares war has begun again. North Vietnam planning general offensive to recapture the south. NVA captures all territory in the Mekong Delta. Communist Forces capture towns throughout the south. South Vietnam government asks for U.S. assistance. North Vietnamese troops flooding across DMZ. Watergate scandal forces President Nixon to resign. Gerald Ford becomes new president. U.S. government concludes that the Saigon government is doomed. Hanoi receives more aid from Soviet Union. Le Duc Tho presses U.S. for money for war wounds. U.S. warns North Vietnam about their violations of peace agreement. South Vietnam suffers highest war casualties of any year.

President Gerald R. Ford
Communists invade South Vietnam on all fronts. President Thieu orders commanders to abandon all areas in the north. Hanoi orders push to Saigon in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign. President Ford calls the war finished. President Thieu leaves Vietnam succeeded by General Minh. President Ford orders Operation Frequent Wind, the final evacuation of all U.S. personnel from Vietnam. April 29, U.S. Ambassador Martin leaves. April 30, General Minh surrenders the south to Colonel Bui Tin. General Minh states "You have nothing to fear. Between Vietnamese there are no victors and no vanquished. The war is over for our country. More than 58,000 American men and women died in the longest war our nation has fought.

In Memory of the Servicemen From Mecklenburg County Who Gave Their Lives During The Vietnam War
Thomas Edward McMahan, Jr. • Harry William Love, Jr. • Edward Dean Brown, Jr. • Troy Miller Thompson, Jr. • Reginald Alvin Watkins

Russel Wilford Kistler • James Baker Woods III • Gerrald Aundre Stansell • Freddie Wallace Green • Johnson Francis Frank • Loomis Oglesby III • Robert Lewis Dial • Larry Edward Cransford • Richard S. Howie • Charles Roger Fleming • Ronald Martin Sutton • Charles Michael Martin • William Allen Johnson • Nathaniel Brown • John Mayo • Walter Holt Jones II

Raymond Samuel Orr • Edward Harding Ballard • Robert Harold Pettit • Royd Steve Kerley, Jr. • John Dudley Wiley • Ronald Edward Niles • Michael Ray Smith • Whilton Anthony McCarthy • Bickett Orlando Wade, Jr. • Douglas Lloyd • Randy Alton Harrill • Harry Allen Kelly • Barron Allen Frazier • Emery Capers Sullivan III • Archie Monroe Carlyle • Charles J. Huneycutt, Jr. • Daryl Lee Davis • Clarence Walter Scott • Bennie Alston • James Randall Williams

Fred Melvin Wrenn • Ted Willis Edwards • Howard Duncan Bennett • Michael Stephen Lane • William Wilson Norman • Robert Edward Caldwell • Edward Lee Hoover • Donald Ray Chamblin, Jr. • Billy Don Kennington • David Culp, Jr. • John Lee Coleman • Ronald Devone Griffin • Arthur Lavelle Davis • Charles RUssell Menton, Jr. • William Joshua Moses • John Westley Bowden • Stephen Archie Walker • Ralph Milton Havnaer • Robert James Ross • Donald Michael Furr • William Glenn Brewer • William Samuel Irby • Terry Alan Hodges • Lewis Nance • Marshall Eugene Callahan • Marvin Vincent Bell • James Mack Lawing • George Michael Price • Woodrow Wilson Bradley, Jr. • David Allen Knox • Donald Larry Keeter • Warren George Haugen, Jr. • Billy Charles Hunter • Dwight Cutler Sarjeant • Aaron Andre Barnes, Jr.

Eric Stuart Gold • Johnny Samuel Holt • Robert Merrill Campbell • George Lewis Davis, Jr. • John Marvin Greene • Wiley Barry Moss • David Brennan Schachner • Keith Newton Starnes, Jr. • Garry McCollough • William David Hegwood • Abbie Eugene Leazer • Jack Craven Johnston, Jr. • Fred Andrew Griffin, Jr. • Glenn Richard Cook

Charles Randolph Willard, Jr. • William Henry Smith, Jr. • Robert Lane Fallows • Sidney E. Plattenburger • Paul Wayne Anthony • Wilson Lewis Webb, Jr. • Ansel Wendell Morse

Stephen Lee Whisenant • Robert Marshall Gribble • Johnny Saxon • MArion Tracey Griffin • William Carroll Hines • Oscar Burdett Williams

Ricahrd Bryan Lineberry

So many years have passed
But still I remember
That distant place…hot, sunwashed, verdant.

Memories swarm, hordes
Of them crowding, tangling
Monsoons, damp winds, droning,
Earthshaking rain, mud and rot
Artillery thundering, miniguns
Belching, spewing, streaking the night
With tracers…
Helicopters clattering overhead, convoys
Rumbling by troops moving about
And the lush green countryside.
Thatch-roofed huts shadowed doorways.
Framing narrow darkeyed faces haunting
Faces that linger in dreams.

Yes I remember
Vividly the intensity, the fear
The horror, the strangeness, the fascination

Endure. Never relenting. Always reminding.
Recalling that momentous year.

I cannot cease remembering
Long heat-blurred days
And huge star-filled nights
Lovely jungle-thick distances
Hideous with danger
Recollections continuously surface
High white sun.
Quiet, ancient village
Wide green patterns
of paddies and dikes
and weaponry reverberating
rattling raging.

Always I'll remember.

from the poems "Vietnam and Indochina" by Lochlin Walker, Vietnam Veteran and Mecklenburg County Resident
Born August 4, 1943
Died October 1, 1987

This memorial honors those men and women from Mecklenburg county who served in Vietnam. It was built entirely with private contributions.

Erected 1989 by The People of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Vietnam. A significant historical year for this entry is 1959.
Location. 35° 13.001′ N, 80° 50.008′ W. Marker is in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Mecklenburg County. It is in Elizabeth. Memorial can be reached from East 4th Street (State Highway 16) 0.1 miles west of South Kings Drive, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1116 E 4th St, Charlotte NC 28204, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. They Came From Mecklenburg… / Dedicated To Those Who Serve (here, next to this marker); Ben Nash (within shouting distance of this marker); This Land Once was Thompson Orphanage (within shouting distance of this marker); Thompson Orphanage (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Thompson Orphanage (within shouting distance of this marker); Thompson Orphanage Campus (within shouting distance of this marker); Thompson Orphanage: A Place to Grow (within shouting distance of this marker); Lewis Thompson and Pattie Clark Thompson (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlotte.
Additional commentary.
1. Biased language in the memorial

There are several words that demonstrate biased language in the memorial, particularly the use of:

compound -- Groups of buildings may be described as a campus, a complex or a compound. Often compound is often used when an organization is not painted in a positive light, particularly enemy governments and cults.

insurgents -- Whether a person is an insurgent or a freedom fighter or patriot often depends on the point of view of the speaker.

Additionally, the marker notes only holidays that are celebrated in the United States. These holidays may or may not have been celebrated by people who lived in Vietnam.

This memorial was officially dedicated a couple days after the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the language on the memorial reflects America's sentiments at the end of the Cold War.

    — Submitted June 21, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 3, 2023. It was originally submitted on June 21, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 139 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 21, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Mar. 31, 2023