Skip to comments.U.S. Navy warship visits Vietnam
Posted on 03/29/2005 7:04:21 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - An American warship made a rare visit to Vietnam on Tuesday, a sign the two countries are looking to improve military ties 30 years after the Vietnam War.
Sailors dressed in white lined the decks of the USS Gary as the frigate docked in Saigon Port, where it is to remain for five days. The warship was just the third Navy vessel to make a port call in the communist country since the war ended on April 30, 1975.
The Stars and Stripes flew alongside the Vietnamese flag as the ship eased up the muddy Saigon River. Many of the more than 200 sailors aboard snapped pictures or videotaped its arrival.
Most were too young to remember when Ho Chi Minh City was called Saigon, but U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Quoc Bao Tran remembers fleeing the country by boat when he was 7, just before South Vietnam fell to the communist North. This was his first trip back.
"I'm overwhelmed, overjoyed and of course excited," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the place where I was born."
The visit marked the 10th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations. More importantly, it signaled a warmup in military relations between the former foes, officials in both countries said.
The two sides signed a landmark bilateral trade agreement in 2001, and business has exploded in recent years. But work in the sensitive area of military cooperation has only just begun.
As the United States and Vietnam find common ground on issues of counterterrorism and regional stability, future military ties will likely include more ship visits and high-level exchanges such as Vietnamese Defense Minister Pham Van Tra's historic trip to Washington in 2003.
"The most important thing for both of our nations and peoples to do is to continue to look forward, not backward," U.S. Ambassador Michael Marine said.
Some in Vietnam believe the U.S. military may be looking to their country as a future strategic area to establish a base to counter growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. But Marine said that was not the case.
A Vietnamese military official said the visit showed how far the two countries have come in the past 30 years. Col. Bui Van Nga, the highest-ranking Vietnamese navy officer to greet the ship, said he remembers when the two countries were enemies. "Now we must put aside the past, and I think we should look forward to the future."
The USS Gary is attached to the Seventh Fleet based in Japan. Two other ships in the fleet, the USS Vandegrift and USS Curtis Wilbur, made port calls to Ho Chi Minh City and Danang in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Gee, ya think?
Let the commies starve to death first, then go in and set up shop. Let Hanoi John be the representative to the North.
Perhaps we could give them Jane Fonda as a gesture of good will? They could bronze her and use her as a Statue of Liberty, or whatever.
Seems pretty obvious. But we know the real reason, right??? OIL! Haliburton's greasy hands are all over this./sarcasm
Actually, there may be oil in the South China Sea..... Vietnam and the Chinese and the Phillipines are having some friction over that.
Until the Vietnamese Commies account for the thousands of American MIA & POW's I couldn't care less what is done over there.
Of course Ford Motor Company, for one, has no problem doing business with the Commies. Heck, Ford proudly flies the Vietnamese Communist flag at corporate headquarters in Michigan.
As far as Ford is concerned, to hell with the thousands of unaccounted for American POW's & MIA's and their families!
They've had their revolution. Let them enjoy it.
"Some in Vietnam believe the U.S. military may be looking to their country as a future strategic area to establish a base to counter growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia."
This makes sense. It also makes me get over my desire that some sailor slip up and accidently fire a couple of 500pounders into the city for old times sake.
Of course. That's why I mentioned it.
Evidently you don't give a damn about the men who went over there and fought for your country...or their families.
BUT I DO!
Vietnam is communist in name only, its one of the most capitalistic places I've ever been, and they have a booming economy. I hope to go back soon, its a great place.
Why would we go to a country that is awash in bird flu??
I don't like it, but then, who am I? IMHO, we should completely ignore them and let them rot. In their last death throes, we should then ask them if they want democracy. When that is established, we help them. We can't forget the price we paid--oh, I forgot, our own media and Fondas and Kerrys caused us to lose Vietnam. Who will punish these?
You've read too much into what I said.
"Vietnam is communist in name only, its one of the most capitalistic places I've ever been, and they have a booming economy. I hope to go back soon, its a great place."
My cousin just came back from a hunting expedition there and liked it very well. He was particularly impressed with the women being single and all.