The Awesome S65 AMG was debuted at the Detroit Auto Show.  0-60 in 4.2 seconds.  Details next month.


CurtÕs Newsletter

January 2006

© 2006

No part of this newsletter may be reprinted elsewhere including internet websites without written permission from the author

2007 S550 Demo

     We have an S550 in stock (before the car has been released) for test-driving and demonstration purposes.  YouÕre welcome to come by and see/taste/fondle/drive it.  An appointment would be appreciated.

     IÕm learning it bit by bit.  ItÕs a really neat car, big, powerful (0-60 in 5.4 seconds), very comfortable, and very high tech.  Fortunately, probably learning from BMWÕs error with i-Drive, the high tech features in this car are easily controlled.  If the first i-Drive was a DOS computer, the Mercedes system is a Mac with the latest upgrades.  Where BMW revels in complexity and difficulty of operation so the people who figure it out can feel superior.  (ŅI just bought the ultimate driving machine!  I must be the ultimate driver!  What did I just hit?Ó) Mercedes seems to have seriously tried to make a myriad of features simple to operate in this car.

     Navigation, for example, is voice controlled. or it can be controlled with the ŅmouseÓ on the console.  For those of us who are accent challenged, most of the commands are just numbers.  YouÕre given a list, and you choose one.  You do need to be able to spell words like Texas and Westheimer.




2007 S550 Details

Standard Equipment:


į  COMAND System with AM/FM/ WD/CD Player (available with SAT Radio only If -listed as optional Equipment).

į  Full Leather Upholstery and Hand-Polished-Wood Trim.

į  GPS Navigation system with 20GB onboard-hard disk

į  14-way adjustable heated seats with memory feature for seats, steering column and exterior mirrors

į  14-speaker, 600 Watt harman/ kardon -LOGIC7Ø Surround Sound System.

į  6-Dlsc In-Dash Changer.

į  Memory Card Slot.

į  Interior Ambient Lighting Feature.

į  Power Rear Window Sunblind.

į  Power Glass Sunroof with Tilt and Express Open/Close

į  Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control System

į  BI-Xenon Headlamps with Active Curve illumination Include cornering Lights and heated washers

į  Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Release

į  Digital Tire Pressure Monitoring System

į  Integrated Telephone Kit with Voice-Control System

į  Power door and trunk closing assist

į  Infrared reflective/noise insulating glass

į  Auto dimming rear/drivers side mirrors


į  New Generation 5.5 Liter V8 engine

į  382 Horsepower@ 6,000 rpm

į  391 lb-ft @ 2,800 - 4,800 rpm

į  0-60 mph 5.4 seconds

į  Top Speed 130 mph (electronically Limited)

į  7-Speed Driver- Adaptive transmission -with new DIRECT SELECT gearshift

į  AIRMATIC suspension with Adaptive-Damping System (ADS II)

į  Power assisted speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion-steering

į  Front Brakes: Internally Ventilated and Cross-Drilled 13.8" discs with 4-piston fixed caliper

į  Rear Brakes: Internally Ventilated 12.6" -discs with single piston floating caliper

į  18" 9-Spoke Light Alloy Wheels

į  255145-R-18 All Season Tires


į  New Vehicle 4 year/5O,OOO Mlle Warranty

į  24 hour Roadside Assistance Program

į  Mercedes-Benz Maintenance System

į  Owner Information Kit

į  Tele Aid Emergency Calling and Communication System

į  10-way protection from 8 airbags

į  Full-Length Head Protection Curtain

į  Front Passenger Occupancy Sensor

į  4-Wheel ABS Disc Brakes with Brake-Assist System

į  Electronic Stability Program II (ESP II)

į  PRE-SAFE System with extended functions

į  Baby Smart System

į  Antitheft Alarm with Engine Immobilizer




S550 Options

Option Packages:

321—AMG Sport Package

į  19Ó AMG Wheels

į  Sportline

į  $TBD

325-Rear Seat Package

į  Electronic Rear Seatback

į  Active Ventilated Seats/Rear

į  Climate Control Rear Compartment


P1A-Premium 1

į  Active Ventilated Seats/Front

į  SIRIUS Satellite Radio

į  $1,250

P2A-Premium 2

į  Parktronic

į  Active Ventilated Seats/Front

į  SIRIUS Satellite Radio

į  Keyless Go

į  $2,850

P3A-Premium 3

į  Dynamic Rear View Monitor

į  Parktronic

į  Active Ventilated Seats/Front

į  Dynamic Multicontour Front Seats w/Massage feature

į  SIRIUS Satellite Radio

į  Night View Assist

į  Keyless Go

į  $6,550

Individual Options:

218-Dynamic Rear View Monitor — $750

220-Parktronic — $1,120

233-Distronic Plus — $2,850

289-Wood/Leather Steering Wheel — $550

297-Power Side Window Sunblinds — $700

401-Active Ventilated Seats/Front — $600

413-Panoramic Sunroof — $1,000

432-Dynamic Multicontour Front Seats w/Massage feature — $1,800

443-Heated Steering Wheel — $450

487-Active Body Control — TBD

536-SIRIUS Satellite Radio —$510

610-Night View Assist — $1,775

881-Electronic Trunk Closer — $520

889-Keyless Go — $1,100

R31-18Ó 5-spoke Alloy Wheel — $0

R47-19Ó Multi-Spoke Alloy Wheel — $0

R67-18Ó Chrome 5-Spoke Wheel — $0




2007 Phone Systems


     The S550 comes 100% factory installed.  Dealer installs Cradle or Bluetooth-adapter.  (Handset not included)

CL, SL, E, CLS, R, GL, and M-Class

     Pre-wiring is not available.  A factory phone kit is offered in various P1/P2 Packages.  The factory installs the complete phone system, while Dealer installs choice of Cradles or Bluetooth-Adaptors.  If package that includes the phone is not selected when the phone is ordered from the factory the phone cannot be retrofitted—vehicle will not have the necessary wiring.  THIS IS A MAJOR CHANGE.

CLK, SLK, C-Class

     Prewire offered only in option packages.  Stand alone option not available.  Factory phone kit not available.  Provided vehicle has been ordered with option package that includes Ņprewire,Ó the customer can order a Ņdealer installedÓ phone and choice of cradles or Bluetooth Adaptors.  If vehicle does not have option package with prewire, the phone canÕt be retrofitted.

     As most of you know. I wish that we werenÕt involved in the phone business at all.  I believe the concept of the ŅCar PhoneÓ is obsolete.  People wear their phones now, and the addition of a $79 Bluetooth earpiece makes it voice activated and hands free.  Most have speakerphone capability.  Having to plug the phone into the car to have those capabilities is a thing of the past.  Additionally the phone companies are trying to make your phone obsolete every 2 years.  Our cars will last 100 years.  This means your phone will be obsolete very quickly.  In the past itÕs not always been possible to update the phone system to the current requirements.  At least a Bluetooth adapter will allow you to use the current phone of choice – until they replace Bluetooth with Purplegum or whatever comes next.

     But there is one major reason to have a car phone, Infrared filtering windshields.  The S550 has that as standard equipment, and it comes with some packages on MLs and Rs.  Your hand-held phoneÕs antenna wonÕt work very well inside those cars.  Additionally, of course, you canÕt charge the phone unless itÕs plugged in.  A Bluetooth adapter will be available for 2007s, and thatÕll work fine for cars without Infra-red filtering windshields. 


     The most common question IÕm getting these days is, ŅIs it Bluetooth?Ó  When I say no, the conversation ends, and the prospective customer goes looking at other brands.  Since some of those brands use the same windshields we do, I suspect thatÕs why theyÕre having Bluetooth reception problems.

The New Breed

     Starting in the fall of Ō04 we started getting the new breed of Mercedes, the ones with the new, 4-valve, 4-cam, variable valve timing low emission engines, and the ones designed and built to stop corroding the three-pointed star with poor quality control.

SLK350—came out fall Ō04 and sold like gangbusters.  It still is.  IÕve never seen one here for anything but routine service.  Additionally the styling, handling, ride, and acceleration are superior to the previous, very successful SLK.  The car magazines called the previous one a ladyÕs car, and now they give men permission to buy this one.  I, for one, wasnÕt fazed by the ŅladyÕs carÓ title.  Women buy a lot of cars, and men wanting women bought a lot of SLKs.

SLK55 AMG—men afraid of being accused of driving a ŅladyÕs carÓ should try this one, joining a well-balanced group of owners who have discovered this thing is REALLY fast, and nothing seems to break.  Like all AMG vehicles it can idle in heavy traffic on a hot day and not even notice it.

E350—Then spring of Ō05 the Ō06 E350 came out, faster than its predecessor with similar fuel economy, it almost obsoleted the E500.  The V-6 has 268 hp.  The V-8 has 302.  A lot more buyers opted for the 350.  If there were any problems with the car theyÕve stayed below my radar.

SLK280—came out as an Ō06.  ItÕs misnamed.  It has a 3.0 liter, 228 hp engine and goes 0-60 in 6.1 seconds.  Men walk past it, sure their wives have to have the big engine.  ItÕs underrated and underpriced.  ItÕs not slow.

C230, C280, C350—If there was anything wrong with the C-Class, adding power sure fixed it.  Now no one can look down at the C230 and say, ŅItÕs a four cylinder, isnÕt it?Ó with the expression that youÕre smelling something foul. 

     The old ŅKompressorÓ engine was great, low maintenance and high fuel mileage and 189 hp.  The new 2.5-liter engine has 200 hp and good mileage and less maintenance.  The C280 replaces the C240 and gains a bunch of horsepower, more than last yearÕs C320.  The C350 makes a very fast C-Class, with 268 hp.  Were I driving a car instead of an ML, I would want a C350 Sport model with the rare 6-speed stick shift.

CLK350—This did the same for the CLK that it did for the C, more power!  Power is good.  Absolute power is better.

ML350 and 500—came out in the spring of Ō05 as Ō06s.  A few had the wrong hose clamp installed at the factory, but it was well handled.  We sent a flatbed to the ownerÕs home or business, brought the truck here, fixed it, and took it back, and Mercedes paid for it.  If you say, ŅGee, isnÕt that the way all warranty service should be handled?Ó IÕll say, when IÕm king of Mercedes-Benz it will be.  But IÕm not, and I wonÕt be.  Since then the MLs just go out and donÕt come back until the dash reminds you that your year or 13,000 miles is almost up.  I have had zero complaints from buyers.  (Non-buyers complain about the lack of seats.  They want 7.  When the GL gets here, theyÕll want 9).

CLS500 and 55 AMG—when this car came out women came in and bought it for its looks alone.  The used car department became adept at getting good bids for Jaguar trade ins.  Men bought it in droves, too.  A E500 or E55 AMG under the skin, the bugs were ironed out in 2003, so they just work.  I love it.  IÕve never faded less heat from angry customers.

R350 and R500—mechanically like the ML series, they started off debugged.  Mercedes did a lousy job of explaining what the vehicle is, and most people see it on the showroom and ask, ŅWhatÕs that?Ó

     But sales are slowly climbing.  The R500s are selling as well as the R350s.  The demographics are such that people who buy it usually want it loaded.  Grandparents and parents who waited to have children are the prime buyers.

     Now weÕre awaiting the new S-Class, the new GL-Class, and the replacement of 500 engines with the new 550 engines.  Cars that now have 302 horsepower will have 382 for the 2007 model year, and theyÕll be cleaner to boot.  WeÕre also eagerly awaiting the new breed of V-6 diesels that meet draconian new regulations coming into play January 1, 2007.  With luck weÕll have 50 state E320 diesels, ML320 diesels, and R320 diesels.

     If only they would pay us to sell them again, the future would be bright for sales people as it is for customers and MBUSA.




Tire Pressure Monitors

Things you should know:

1.   They do not add air to a low tire.  (You laugh?  ItÕs a complaint we get too often.)

2.   The ones that display the actual tire pressures are sometimes overly sensitive.

3.   They should be ŅsetÓ when the tires are cold.

4.   If you get a failure message that a tire is low, the first thing you should do is take the tire pressure gauge from the glove box and check that tire.  If itÕs actually low, the monitor is not malfunctioning.

5.   If you set the tires to 32 all around and calibrated the monitor for that and leave the car in the sun, the sun side tires will be a pound or more higher than the other side.  The monitor is not malfunctioning.

6.   They wonÕt substitute for proper tire maintenance.  Owner tire maintenance includes visually checking all 4 tires every time you get fuel, and checking tire pressures with a gauge once a month.

7.   Tires lose 1 lb. a month, even Michelins.  Put more in.

8.   Tires set in July will be several pounds low in December because of air temperature and density changes and leakage.




Miscellaneous Ravings

Hello Dalai Quote:

     Learn the rules so you may break them properly.

from e-mail wisdom attributed to the Dalai Lama

Bob Boze Bell Quote

     ŅMen have two emotions, horny and hungry.  If he doesnÕt have an erection, feed him a taco.Ó

Bob Bose Bell, Editor of True West

You may be giving aid and comfort to the enemy if:

į      Your speeches are replayed on Al-Jazeera over and over.

į      You disparage the military during a time of war.

į      Osama bin Laden quotes you.

į      You think hazing of prisoners at Abu Grave is torture, but beheading innocents is not.

Minor Neurosurgery

     Now thereÕs a word I never wanted connected to my name, but as this is written IÕm awaiting on minor neurosurgery. TheyÕre either going to repair a herniated disk or do a brain transplant, IÕm not sure.

     I may never again have much sympathy for a customer who is complaining that weÕre not fixing his car fast enough.  ItÕs taken me 5 months, and the problem wasnÕt properly diagnosed until early January.   It took several days to see my 5th choice in neurologists, another week to get test results, and then several more days to see the neurosurgeon, then another week to schedule the surgery.

     ItÕs a simple operation on my spine, no big deal, any intern could probably do it, so I donÕt know why IÕm being picky.  ItÕs not like itÕs neurosurgery—Oh, wait.  Actually it IS like itÕs neurosurgery.

     The surgery is planned for Thursday, January 26, and I should be back at work the following Monday.  So if you get a message on the voice mail saying IÕm out for a few days, IÕm not in Las Vegas with a luscious Redhead or off at a shooting match.

     I probably wonÕt be able to work the Houston Auto Show.  ItÕll break my heart, but IÕll manage not to cry too much.

The Man in the Mirror

     I donÕt know about you, but thereÕs something wrong with my shaving mirror.  It seems to be okay, but I see the same guy IÕve seen for all my adult life, the guy who was always too young for the job he was given, the guy who did a lot of dangerous things (very carefully), the guy who loved beautiful women and captured the best of the bunch, the one whose parents thought I wasnÕt good enough for her, (and they were right), the guy who always felt over his head in most things and eager to learn from people who had been there, done that.  I donÕt know why I see him.  Intellectually I know heÕs no longer there.  I donÕt look like that anymore.  I saw myself on TV last week, Cowboys, on The Outdoor Channel, and those $100,000 HDTV cameras captured the real, current me.  I wondered who the hell that old, grey haired guy was that they got to play Captain Baylor.  I distinctly remember playing Captain Baylor myself, and that old guy is even wearing my clothes and shooting my Colts.  But he doesnÕt sound like me.  He has an older, more distinguished voice than mine, which, of course, is more Donald Duck than Orson Wells.  Either the soundman is a genius, or the actor who dubbed it is fantastic.  I donÕt know where the other me went.  I suppose heÕs on the other side of that hill, the one IÕve obviously been over for a while but didnÕt know it.

     I kind of miss the uncertain kid, though.  He didnÕt have enough good sense to know it when he was doing something really dangerous, and his reaction to survival was, Ņcool.  That was fun, but I donÕt think IÕll do that again.Ó  I would like to say I donÕt do as many dumb things as I did back then, you know, yesterday, in 1969.  I would like to say that, but it would be a lie.  IÕve learned a few things, but only a few.  These pop to mind:

1.  When your cat tells you to keep the Redhead, listen to her.

2.  The secret to a happy marriage is to give the beautiful wife everything she wants.

3.  A Colt .45 beats 4 aces.

4.  ItÕs useless to step on the brakes when your car is upside down.

5.  Dogs and cats are pretty good judges of character, but sometimes they can be fooled by someone with a chunk of meat in his hand.

6.  Liberals seem to want to take everyoneÕs gun except the ones used by their bodyguards.

7.  All tax breaks are for the rich.  The rich are, of course, those who pay taxes instead of living off them.

8.  Friends help you move.  Real friends help you move bodies.

9.  The best military instruction is on the front of a Claymore mine:  ŅFront Toward Enemy.Ó

10.  Women and cats pretty much do as they please.  Men and dogs better get used to it.

     They say 60 is the new 40.  While I would feel better if it were the new 30, IÕm just grateful that medical science and technology have progressed to the point that a guy who didnÕt take any better care of himself in his twenties can still be alive, kicking, and happy at 60.

Tequila and some old fat dude wait for the camera guys to get ready so they can evaluate the Taurus Thunderbolt rifle on Cowboys on The Outdoor Channel (photo by Marshal Halloway)

Not all of working on Cowboys was work

Cowboys TV

     Speaking of Cowboys, The show is on The Outdoor Channel, not The Outdoor Life Network.  ItÕs in its third year and is quite successful.  The episode I was on is TeachinÕ Ōem Right, and it showed in January.  ItÕll show again later this year.  But, so far, nearly all of the episodes have been really good.  Some of it is about Cowboy Action Shooting, but they did an episode on The Winchester Mystery House and one on the singing group ŅRiders in the SkyÓ among other western subjects.  Episodes have been varied and always interesting.  The host is an old friend of mine, Richard ŅTequilaÓ Young, a 5 times World Champion at Cowboy Action Shooting.  He comes across as an exceptionally personable guy, which is pretty much the real Tequila.  The show won the SASS Wooly Award for the best western-themed TV show for 2005.



Vietnam Facts vs Fiction

by Major General (Ret.) David R. Bockel, Director of Army Affairs, Reserve Officers Association.

Vietnam War Facts:

Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled

         9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

         2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.

         240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

         58,148 were killed in Vietnam

         75,000 were severely disabled

         23,214 were 100% disabled

         5,283 lost limbs

         1,081 sustained multiple amputations

         Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21

         11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old

         Of those killed, 17,539 were married

         Average age of men killed: 23.1 years

         Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

         The oldest man killed was 62 years old.

         As of January 15, 2 004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

         97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged

         91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served

         74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome

         Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.

         Vietnam veteransÕ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

         87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

         There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

         Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

         85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.


Interesting Census Stats and "Been There" Wanabees:

         1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August, 1995 (census figures).

         During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958.

         As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between Ō95 and Ō00. ThatÕs 390 per day.

         During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

         The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this errored index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

         Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as  medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. - Nixon Presidential Papers


Common Myths Dispelled:


Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.

Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.


Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.

Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veteransÕ group.


Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.

Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book "All That We Can Be," said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam "and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia - a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war."

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.

Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.

         Here are statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall): Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.

(Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action)

Deaths Average Age

Total: 58,148 23.11 years

Enlisted: 50,274 22.37 years

Officers: 6,598 28.43 years

Warrants: 1,276 24.73 years

E1 525 20.34 years

11B MOS: 18,465 22.55 years


Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.

Fact:  Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.


Myth: The Common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.

Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of AmericaÕs commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.


Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.

Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II ....75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).


Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked

from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972.....shown a million times on American television....was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.

Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We

(Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim PhucÕs brothers were killed in this incident. They were KimÕs cousins not her brothers.


Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.

Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA.


         The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.

         How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sidesÕ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam. Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States.

         As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth.  However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.

         Please give all credit and research to:

Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)

         Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source



Curt Rich         January 2006

This monthÕs Link of the Month:

The Concealed Handgun Law: Ten Years Later

by Commissioner Jerry Patterson


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