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Gil Birmingham Tells the Story of Francis Whitebird.

  

Category:  History & Sociology

By:  kavika  •  8 months ago  •  40 comments

Gil Birmingham Tells the Story of Francis Whitebird.

This is a few weeks late but I just came across it and felt that our veterans would understand the story.


Gil Birmingham shared the incredible story of Francis Whitebird, an Army medic who served two tours in Vietnam. One of a long line of Lakota warriors and service members, Francis faced unimaginable hardships during and after the war. His story highlights one man's healing journey from the trauma of war to the embrace of his tribe and brothers in battle- aired on May 29, 2022, on PBS.


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  author  Kavika     8 months ago

Respect to Francis Whitebird and all those that fought in Vietnam.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Kavika @1    8 months ago

Double from me and mine …..

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @1    8 months ago

Thanks Kavika, Extremely moving videos, especially the 2nd one.  I give my deepest respect to combat medics as they are always in the fight and have the dual mission of rendering medical care while being ready to fight when need be.

I didn't look for any statistics, but I suspect that they suffer from PTSD at greater rates than any other MOS.  They witness horrific injuries and death while providing aid while they are also exposed to death or trauma.  

This is also a great reminder, on why going to war, should be a monumental state decision.  The consequences and lasting damages are so great whether you win or lose.  I work with soldiers who have Memorial Day reunions at the grave sites of their fallen comrades from Iraq and Afghanistan.  For them, it's a spiritual day to grieve for the loss.  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.1  author  Kavika   replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.2    8 months ago
This is also a great reminder, on why going to war, should be a monumental state decision.  The consequences and lasting damages are so great whether you win or lose.

Agreed, but it seems that some of our politicians don't have that concern.

I work with soldiers who have Memorial Day reunions at the grave sites of their fallen comrades from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Excellent.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
1.2.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    8 months ago

Very excellent and very telling - always brothers - always.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2  Ender    8 months ago

Wow

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  author  Kavika   replied to  Ender @2    8 months ago

If you haven't watch the second video, Ender it is well worth the 9 minutes.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @2.1    8 months ago

I was a little kid during Vietnam. I have heard some terrible stories though.

I will check out the other one.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @2.1    8 months ago

powerful stories.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.3  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @2.1.2    8 months ago

I was only in the batter's box for this war, but I got to see it's devastating effects on the lives of friends and family first hand. it woke me up politically.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
2.1.4  1stwarrior  replied to  devangelical @2.1.3    8 months ago

Yeah, it woke me politically also to where I friggn' hate politicians.

Notice how few of them have any military service??  Chick'n shytes.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.5  devangelical  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1.4    8 months ago

meh, I'd still be in leavenworth for fragging nixonites...

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
2.1.6  1stwarrior  replied to  devangelical @2.1.5    8 months ago

And Johnsonites.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
3  evilone    8 months ago

Great videos. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  author  Kavika   replied to  evilone @3    8 months ago
Great videos. 

They really were, a lot packed into both of them.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
4  Sparty On    8 months ago

I too was a little young for Vietnam but I have an interesting Vietnam story.    

Had a PE teacher in Jr High.    One of my favorites.   I’ll call him Mr T.    Many of my teachers were Vietnam Vets but you wouldn’t know it.   You know what I’m talking about for the times.    Vets just didn’t advertise it back then.    Thus was the shitty way they were treated.

Anyway, years later sitting around a fire with fellow Vets I look across the fire and there is Mr T.    I didn’t even know he was a Vet but there he sat.    I struck up a catch up convo with him and turns out he was a combat medic in Vietnam.    Saw lots of combat.     Still having trouble with it 50 plus years later.    Needless to say we are fast friends now and have had many beers/cigars across the fire since.

Mr T, still one of my favorites.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  author  Kavika   replied to  Sparty On @4    8 months ago

Good story, and we didn't much talk about it when we came back to the world except within our tribes which had a totally different view. Anyhow that is a good story and very happy that you met him years later that must have been a bit of a shock for you and probably him as well.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Kavika @4.1    8 months ago

Yes it was.    Even more of a shock was finding out many of our other teachers were Vietnam Vets.    Although it made some sense with most of them.    Most were pretty bad mammer jammers …..

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
5  1stwarrior    8 months ago

256

I was a door gunner on my second tour on UH-34D's, YL-24, HMM-362, the "Ugly Angels" from 1/8/68 - 9/18/58, and I got to see/experience some things that will never leave my mind.  1st was "Doc" Jones, our Navy Corpsman who never shirked from duty and went way beyond the limits he should have on numerous occasions.  I know I can count on both hands how many times we had to extract Doc, almost forcefully, during the heat of battle 'cause he just wouldn't let "his people die" - he just wouldn't quit.

2nd from 2 June to 10 July, 1968, when Tet was doing its pure nasty where we were, just off of Cua Viet ,Hill 81 and Khe Sahn.  We were on the USS Princeton (LPH-5), flying troops/supplies/equipment in for the folks at those locations.

One early morning, we lifted a squad of 15 brand new boots, just graduated from AITR at Pendleton and dropped them off a little ways from Hill 81 - cheered them on - "Go Marines, get some" - stuff like that.

Three days later, we airlifted the 15 brand new boots out in body bags - all KIA's.  During the flight back to the Princeton, I was untangling my gunner's belt that had gotten wrapped around two of the KIA Marines.  When finished, I turned back to my window to take my post and noticed that my "Billie Sue" M60 machine gun and ammo box had disappeared - out the window.  The vibration of the chopper was so great that both weapon and ammo had been vibrated out the window.

Next pay day, I was docked $762.00 for the loss of "Billie Sue".

"Billie Sue" I know will forgive me for not remembering her - but, those 15 KIA 18 - 22 y.o kids - never will be forgotten.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1  author  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @5    8 months ago

Some things never ever leave your mind they are always there just waiting for something, a noise, smell, or movement to set them off. 

Eleven of us went into Ia Drang and the Central Highlands and only four came out. The 7/11 club is now down to the last Indian standing. It seems like centuries ago and then other times it was yesterday.  

Our medic was like Whitebird, he was a Creole and carried a weapon (s) and he had more balls than any human I ever met he made it out alive after saving a lot of troopers and ended up teaching at Xavier University in New Orleans. Over the years he begged me to move to NO. I didn't but we had an office there so I would see him quite often. I went to his wedding and a few years ago to his funeral, that was tough.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
5.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @5.1    8 months ago

Those are the ones that tear you up.

Audra still gets concerned during the times I jolt outta bed yelling "INCOMING" and then dropping back to sleep.

One night she was watching some flick that had shooting in it.  She said I sat up in the bed, "drew my six guns", shot the screen, smiled and said "Die M.F.", laid back down - sound asleep.

I just wish the "INCOMINGS" would quit com'n.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  1stwarrior @5.1.1    8 months ago

My dad was in the Navy for both Korea and Vietnam.

My dad told me of the wounded that they would get onboard. He said that the first time he saw how badly they were injured was shocking to him. He realized how bad it was for those who were in country and he said that there was a kind of guilt for those on ships. It was not that they didn't see any action. They did. But nothing like the guys who were on the ground.

Big Chief (Dad) will be turning 90 this October (fingers crossed), but he still talks about the wars with clear memory, like it was recent... I guess you never forget.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
5.1.3  1stwarrior  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1.2    8 months ago

Give "Big Chief" and hug and salute from us, will you?

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
6  Ed-NavDoc    8 months ago

As a FMF Qualified Navy Hospital Corpsman, in a 20 year career I caught the tail end of Vietnam to the 1st Gulf. I flew as medical aircrew on USMC UH-1 Huey SAR/medevac birds from a LPH off the coast. Saw my fair share and did my best to do what I was trained to do in the back of the bird trying to keep the shattered young Marines and others alive long enough to reach proper medical care, sometimes with little more than bare hands. Many made it while some did not. I grieve to this day for those that did not and not a day goes by that I don't second guess myself. I was nobody special. I just tried to do the best I could like I was trained to do. Like 1st said, I owe my life several times over to my Marines, and they were my Marines.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
6.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @6    8 months ago

Semper Fi Ed - Oooh Rah.

And, in my mind, you deserve all the dignity and honor you receive - and more.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  1stwarrior @6.1    8 months ago

Yep, I agree.   Couldn’t believe they did it but when the Corps approved letting combat Corpsman wear the Eagle Globe and Anchor, I fully supported it.

We had a Korean Corpman in our MCL Det that cried like a baby when we pinned it on him.    Good stuff!

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
6.1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Sparty On @6.1.1    8 months ago

They frigg'n deserve it 'cause they were the heart and soul to so many of us.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6.1.3  Sparty On  replied to  1stwarrior @6.1.2    8 months ago

Oorah!

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6.2  Ender  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @6    8 months ago

I know I have no place to say but sometimes one can only do so much. You shouldn't beat yourself up.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @6    8 months ago

Thank you for your service to the wounded, Ed.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7  author  Kavika     8 months ago

I was going through some old articles that I wrote for NT and one going to a reunion in New Orleans with Arnold Valcour my Creole buddy (he was black, Spanish and Homa Indian), and we at that time the last two survivors of our squad in the Nam and it was nine years ago. We started kidding each other as to who would be the ''Last Indian Standing'', Little did I know that 4 years later I would be heading to New Orleans for his funeral. 

Our favorite song was Fats Domino's, Walking to New Orleans.

So here it is again in honor of SP/4 Arnold Vancour (Airborne all the way) I'll never forget him or Rick from El Paso, and Ray from Hawaii. The 4 were the original members of the 7/11 club and those that our squad that didn't make it back to the world. Each has a piece of my heart, Mr. Nik, little Nik, Mercury, Jerald H, Avie, Jimmy B. and Subway Mike.

Fat's Domino Walking to New Orleans to the members of the 7/11 Club.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @7    8 months ago

it's all those that managed to make it thru the battles in vietnam and return home, only to lose the fight in the battle back to normalcy back in the states that pisses me off. it sucks that our military spends so much time and money turning kids into killers, and almost nothing deprogramming them for their return back to american society. my nephew told me the main reason he became a security contractor in afghanistan was because he got tired of going to the funerals of the guys he served with in the army that committed suicide when they returned home.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7.1.1  author  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @7.1    8 months ago
my nephew told me the main reason he became a security contractor in afghanistan was because he got tired of going to the funerals of the guys he served with in the army that committed suicide when they returned home.

Sadly, that is a fact whether we like it or not, dev.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
7.1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  devangelical @7.1    8 months ago

"only to lose the fight in the battle back to normalcy back in the states"

My first four months home, in the civilian world, I was denied employment at 11 companies 'cause "we don't need to hire any baby killers".

Oh yeah, the transition in NE MS was so "sweet"/S.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1.3  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @7.1.1    8 months ago
Sadly, that is a fact whether we like it or not, dev.

it's a problem that needs to be addressed and fixed.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1.4  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @7.1.3    8 months ago

and part of the DoD budget...

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
8  Perrie Halpern R.A.    8 months ago

I was so moved by those videos. Men like Whitebird made all the difference to everyone else who served. 

Many people do not know, that we Indians serve at the highest rate of any other ethnic background in the US to protect this nation that they love so much. Every male member of my Dad's family served and did so willingly, for the love of country. 

And I agree with the last thought in that video. It's a good day to live. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
8.1  devangelical  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8    8 months ago
Indians serve at the highest rate of any other ethnic background in the US to protect this nation that they love so much.

...the original warrior class of the americas.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Participates
8.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @8    8 months ago

And, for most of us, "It is a good day to die" for our people and all our relations.

Thank you Perrie.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
8.2.1  author  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @8.2    8 months ago
"It is a good day to die"

In the spirit of Crazy Horse

''Hoka Hey''.

 
 

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