Thursday, April 18, 2013

Female Viet Cong Warrior c.1973

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Her name is Lâm Thị Đẹp (Đẹp means beautiful in Vietnamese), the picture was taken in 1972 at Sóc Trăng Province. She was 18 at that time. The picture was taken by a north Vietnam journalist named Minh Trường. 

But why is she carrying an American rifle? The Viet Minh (VC) forces were very successful at acquiring and using American made arms, which led directly to most of their big successes in the early to mid 60s. The weapons weren't necessarily from dead American soldiers. Remember, the US was propping up Diem's South Vietnamese government, and pumping weapons into his extremely flawed and corrupt army. South Vietnamese local garrisons meant to protect rural areas from VC influence often simply gave arms and ammunition to the local VC to avoid being slaughtered. M16s had a 30% failure rate in most of the battles. the VAST majority of the early failures were due to inadequate or even NO care/cleaning of the rifles (in most cases they were issued without cleaning kits!). Most GIs that went into service with the M16 where given virtually no training on how to care for the weapon, they assumed it would need the same amount of cleaning as the M14, and M1-garand designs, and boy where they wrong. Once cleaning kits where dispensed and troops where trained how frequent to clean the weapon, failure rates on the M16 drastically went down, they where still high for a service weapon

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