Everything Americans know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong, contends Richard Botkin, former Marine infantry officer and author of the groundbreaking bookRide the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.
Now the inspiration for a major motion picture of the same name Ride the Thunder reveals the heroic, untold story of how Vietnamese Marines and their US advisers fought valiantly, turning the tide of an unpopular war and actually winning ? while Americans 8,000 miles away were being fed only one version of the story.
Focusing on three Marine heroes ? Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Turley, USMC and Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Le Ba Binh ? Botkin tells the real history of the Vietnam War with the grainiest of detail he captured through scores of interviews and thousands of hours of tireless research in Vietnam, Cambodia and the US. Highly readable and thoroughly researched, Ride the Thunder profiles numerous American and Vietnamese warriors who sacrificed themselves and their families in the pursuit of freedom. Many paid the ultimate price in the effort to keep their country free of communism.
Reporters would fly into the combat base just long enough to film Marines being shelled and ducking for cover before flying out again to safe areas. Focusing only on dying US soldiers, the American media refused to cover the atrocities committed by the Communists against their own people. Despite thes horrors and the fact that the South Vietnamese were fighting desparately for their fledgling democracy the 93rd Congress pulled the plug on all US support and funding.
Even though the American troops were winning on the ground, it was the media and politicians, not warriors, who decided the outcome of the war.