DIA Observance Honors Vietnam Veterans

WASHINGTON — The Defense Intel­li­gence Agency last week marked its 50th birth­day � and the 50th anniver­sary of the begin­ning of U.S. mil­i­tary action in Viet­nam — with a trib­ute to U.S. Sen. John McCain and all Viet­nam War vet­er­ans.

“Your ser­vice and sac­ri­fices for our nation dur­ing Viet­nam and beyond are inspi­ra­tional,” said DIA Direc­tor Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess dur­ing the Nov. 4 obser­vance after ask­ing Viet­nam War vet­er­ans to stand and be rec­og­nized. The event was aired live as a video tele­con­fer­ence viewed by cur­rent and for­mer DIA employ­ees around the world. Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence James R. Clap­per, Jr. and for­mer DIA direc­tors Patrick Hugh­es and James Williams also attend­ed the obser­vance in DIA’s Tighe Audi­to­ri­um on Joint Base Bolling-Anacostia. 

Burgess pre­sent­ed McCain with the DIA Director’s Award and the DIA Oper­a­tional Intel­li­gence report from Oct. 27, 1967, which cit­ed his Navy A‑4E air­craft as downed by sur­face-to-air mis­siles south­west of Hanoi.�

Burgess also brought atten­tion to the final days of the evac­u­a­tion of Saigon, in April 4, 1975, when a C‑5 trans­port plane car­ry­ing the first flight of Viet­namese orphans out of the coun­try dur­ing “Oper­a­tion Babylift” crashed in a rice paddy. 

“This agency saw self­less sac­ri­fice,” he said, not­ing that the casu­al­ties includ­ed five DIA employ­ees charged with car­ing for the chil­dren on that flight.� The crash was the sin­gle largest loss of agency per­son­nel until 9/11.

McCain addressed the over­flow crowd and thanked the agency and its vet­er­ans for the role they played in the fight and close of the Viet­nam War. 

McCain thanked Burgess for the job he is doing lead­ing DIA and the agency’s work­force world­wide. “I only wish that more of Amer­i­cans could see for them­selves the full extent of the remark­able job that that you do every sin­gle day for them,” he said. 

McCain recalled that it was just over 50 years ago that the ink was bare­ly dry on then Defense Sec­re­tary Robert McNamara’s order to estab­lish DIA before the orga­ni­za­tion found itself on the front lines in Viet­nam. Lat­er, as Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy began the grad­ual esca­la­tion of Amer­i­cans involved in that war, DIA set the stan­dard of ser­vice to take it through the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis, the Six Day War, Oper­a­tion Desert Storm, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

“This is the same stan­dard of ser­vice that all of you con­tin­ue to live up to today,” McCain said. “This is a spe­cial year for DIA as you mark your 50th anniver­sary. Of all the agen­cies of our gov­ern­ment, DIA can tru­ly say that it was born fighting.” 

McCain told those in the audi­ence that regard­less of the uni­form they wear or the work accom­plished as a DIA employ­ee, their ser­vice is always worth it.�

“There’s no high­er hon­or than to serve a just cause greater than your own self inter­ests,” he said. “And for those of you who walked away from a con­fus­ing, painful and emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence of your time in Viet­nam, you nev­er­the­less chose to remain faith­ful to the cause of our nation and all who serve it. I com­mend you.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →