Vietnam: An Education on the War

10 Feb

The Vietnam War is called The American War in Vietnam and I was in need of a history lesson:

The American War lasted approximately 20 years, finishing in 1975.  Fourteen million bombs went off in Vietnam but there are 800,000 bombs that are still missing.  Three million people died in Vietnam.  And now, tragically, the number of US Veteran suicide’s, following the war, has officially exceeded the total number of US fatalities during the conflict.   I took a tour of the Cuchi tunnels, a place where some of the fighting took place, to learn more and see more.



Our guide making his already small body smaller, before he entered the claustriphobic Cuchi tunnels. It was so hot inside people came out drenched in sweat.

There are 100 kilometers of tunnels preserved from the original 250 kilometers.  And on location was a place tourists could shoot big guns, loud guns, machine guns, and other guns, so that during the tour we would hear constant gunfire in the background, adding to the drama.

The ground was hard and difficult, which made digging the tunnels arduous.   I saw many Viet Cong traps with various debilitating implementations.  I saw horrific photos of agent orange’s impact and shuddered at thoughts of becoming a prisoner in any communist prison.


I learned that Viet Kong was not the name of the people from the North.  It was the name of the communist people who were from the south but fighting for the north, against the Saigon government agency.  The people who were fighting from the North were called the North Vietnam Army.

The Viet Cong were very resourceful:

  • Sometimes, when a bomb wouldn’t go off, The Viet Cong would recover it, take it underground, and saw it open with a wet saw.  This was so that the sparks from the metal saw wouldn’t explode the bomb in their confined space.  The Viet Cong would then recover the gun powder and use it to their own advantage.
  • During rainy season, the Viet Cong wore their shoes on backwards to trick enemies into thinking they were walking the opposite way.
  • The tunnels went deep down into the earth and the Viet Cong stuck bamboo straight through in order to draw in fresh air and help them breath easier.
  • The Viet Cong also built underground kitchens with steam chambers that dispersed the steam smoke much farther away from where they were actually cooking.
    • And then they would start to cook only at 5am so to hide the kitchen smoke with fog from the morning ground.


The Cuchi Tunnels were an incredible education.  I took notes (clearly) and felt humbled by how little I knew before I went.  In my defense, it’s much easier to learn about history in the place where the history event happened.  This blog post is so I can easily review what I learned.

Feeling slightly more educated but still have a lot to learn,

4 Responses to “Vietnam: An Education on the War”

  1. Katie Barbaro October 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t know any of this about the Vietnam/American War. Fascinating. Thank you for writing this out and sharing!

  2. deekerson October 30, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Very interesting. Thank you.

  3. Kelly R Young October 30, 2017 at 10:53 pm #

    To read about history is one thing but to be there in the presence of it, puts it all in perspective. Thanks!

    • Sammi Travis October 31, 2017 at 6:20 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Kelly! 🙂 Hope to see you soon!!

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