Ming the Mechanic:
Leading or Managing

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Leading or Managing2003-01-12 16:54
22 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Britt Blaser has a weblog called Escapable Logic - Design Study for a New MicroEconomy, and he writes about many things that interest me greatly. And he's one of those people who write so eloquently and put things so precisely that I sometimes feel like a neanderthal when I go back and look at my own writings. John-Perry Barlow is another person like that. Oh, no great reason to cheer me up, I know that I occasionally manage to say something clear and compelling as well. As to Britt, well, I'm from Denmark, so I would have expected from his name that he'd be a pretty blonde Swedish girl, but he's very much a guy. He's been around, and he's a Viet Nam veteran. Yesterday he talks about the difference between leaders and managers, and he also rants a bit about his resentment against somebody like George Bush, Jr. who belongs to a class where he can put an apparent military career on his resume, without really having to show up much. Managing without leading. I can very much understand that.
"The current manager-in-residence, George II, went through the motions of flying F-102s on training missions with the Texas Air National Guard during the Viet Nam unpleasantness, in a squadron noted for its population of the scions of the Texas elite. (He was admitted to pilot training ahead of a coupla hundred more qualified other rich kids, despite having flunked the entrance exam. As if that weren't little enough, the record seems clear that he was too busy on a political campaign to show up for service when assigned to Alabama for his last year of duty. Can you imagine what Colin Powell, a real soldier, thinks of this guy?

My personal resentment may stem from the fact that I enlisted in the Air Force at the same New Haven office as George, about 3 years earlier. About a week before he enlisted, I was on the C-130 that evacuated the last Marines from Kham Duc Viet Nam (the one before us was shot down on takeoff, killing all 150 souls on board). A month after George started his USAF Adventure Camp, I got shot down at Katum, Viet Nam. The real world has real work to be done. Leaders do that work and teach others. Managers arrange the doing of real work."
And, in case you don't know about Kham Duc, this is from one of the references mentioned:
Although very little has been written about it, the events of May 12, 1968 are among the most heroic of the Vietnam War, in fact of any war. On that day, a handful of American US Air Force C-130 and US Army and Marine helicopter crewmembers literally laid their lives on the line to evacute the defenders of the Civilian Irregular Defense Corps camp at Kham Duc, an outpost just inside the South Vietnamese border with Laos.
I think war is a horrible and often senseless thing, but there is something to say for the guts and courage of those people on the ground or in the air who actually DO sfuff, and who end up putting their lives on the line to save the lives of others. A lot to say.



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22 comments

7 Aug 2003 @ 21:41 by Bill Schneider @152.163.253.67 : Kham Duc Group
Saw you as I was searching Kham Duc sites. I was there from 10-12 May 1968. We have a group of well over 200 vets, USAF, Marines, Arty, Grunts etc. Have had 3 Reunions so far and more are planned. I was with "A" Co 1/46th Inf., a Grunt, was evacuated by Chinooks from "Boxcars". Have a roster and newslettter, will add your name if you want. Have anumber of USAF pilots on roster. Thanks.
Call anytime, Retired. 636-942-4042 Bill Schneider.  



7 Feb 2007 @ 19:48 by Elizabeth Jane Herring @72.146.211.235 : Kham Duc
My dad was T/Sgt Blaine William Jones and he was a flight engineer on C-130's. In Sept 2001 he finally told us the story of Kham Duc, he was there. It was the only time I saw my Dad cry. He knew the crew on the C-130 that was shot. My sister and I are trying to pull as much information as we can so that we may pass this part of history of our children. I am a civilian with the USAF and worked for 4 years in the C-130 program office here in Georgia. My Dad passed in Aug 2004. I would like to say to all of you Thank you and I am so glad your home. You are all Heros. God Bless You. Elizabeth.  


21 Jun 2008 @ 14:50 by Larry K Kestler @205.167.42.1 : Kham Duc Viet Nam
I was there with the 70th Engineer Battalion in 1968. We were air lifted up there in early 1968 to re-do the air strip and make it longer for sorties into North Viet Nam. We have a web site with information on the evacuation of Kham Duc by the Air Force. It it wern't for them and thier courage we would not be here today. Please go to http://www.a70thvets.com and you will see a numbere of articles on Kham Duc and the Engineers that were involved in trying to save it from the NVA.  


23 Oct 2008 @ 14:13 by harvey goldberg @71.16.164.3 : kham duc 70th. eng.bat.
i was sent there in april 1968,i was a medic with another medic i think his name was petersen.i was injured and medivac on the 12th. saw the marines coming in ,saw a prop fighter shot down and the pilot parachute out.never heard much until i went to library and and tried to get this info.i was with the 70th. went to the wall last week .we must never forget.  


3 Nov 2008 @ 01:48 by Sam Kerro @99.169.249.107 : Kham Duc
I was the Loadmaster on the C-130 that went into Kham Duc to evacuate after the C-130 with 150 passengers went down with all on board. I consider myself very lucky to be here today reading about the Battle of Kham Duc. We named our plane "The Lucky Duc" after that mission. There was an article about our mission and crew in the Airman Magazine (1970). If anyone knows how I can get a copy of that magazine please let me know. To all of you who where there welcome home.  


11 Nov 2008 @ 13:50 by ming : Viet Nam
It's an honor to hear from you guys!  


11 Nov 2008 @ 21:47 by Merlin Silk @76.168.217.251 : heros and politicians
Even though I read lots of this blog I had missed that article initially - so this time around I read the whole thing plus the comments.
Made me cry and mad - cry because I always get my eyes wet if I learn about the real heroes that just do what is necessary without any concern for themselves - and mad because there is this bunch of politicians that USE those real people for their own sneaky agendas. What really makes me mad is that these heroes are totally defenseless against these exploitations.  



16 Dec 2008 @ 01:05 by Al Means @24.126.19.105 : I was there too.
I was in charge of a 3 man ALCE (Airlift Control Element)team from the 15th Aerial Port Sq at Danamg. I had been TDY there over a month but was replaced on the morning of May 10th. We were there at first to receive PSP to make the runways longer. We brought in the Army Engeneers, a Navy Seebee team, Quanset Hut material, bulldosers, the Marine 105 battery and offloaded all the misc crap the C130's, C123's, C7As and misc hellos. I remember Cpt Henderson the CO before Cpt Silva, (who I also knew)and especially Sgt Melvin Dodge. There were 2 USAF Comm guys already there. The guy who replaced me was wounded in the head, but just lost some scalp. I left right after the guys from Ngok Tavak arrived. I had previously been to Ngok Tavak on a Cobra with Cpt Silva, plus we had lifted the 105's and pallets of Ammo down there with hellos. Even though I missed the real crap, (thank God) I will never forget my time there and will always honor the ones who died there.  


13 Jan 2009 @ 20:51 by Rudy Hernandez @75.15.226.3 : kham duc
I too, was with co.A 70th engineers. although a couple of names sound familiar, i cant picture who they are. I was evacuated on the third and final day. Thank god for the brave helicopter crews. I believe it was the 178th? AS we lifted off the runway,(chinook) an nva rocket hit just where we were a minute earlier.I have about a dozen pics of Kham Duc.  


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