Page 29. " It was after seeing Bonnie and Clyde "
Bonnie and Clyde, c.1933
Public DomainBonnie and Clyde, c.1933 - Credit: Barrow Gang

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were notorious outlaws from Texas who operated across the Central United States during the early 1930s. Their gang robbed about a dozen banks and were said to have killed nine police officers and committed several civilian murders. The couple were finally ambushed and killed by law officers in Louisiana.

The movie Bonnie and Clyde was an important cinematic milestone in the 1960s because the violent final scene helped end the Hays Code of censorship guidelines; the movie also helped shape the image of the anti-hero. The final scene from the movie, which Jimmy Cross describes, can be contrasted with this clip of footage from the actual location where Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were killed:



Bonnie And Clyde [1967] [DVD]

Page 33. " And like the time we enlisted an old poppa-san to guide us through the mine fields out on the Batangan Peninsula "

Batagnan Peninsula
Public DomainBatagnan Peninsula - Credit: US Marine Corps
The Batangan Peninsula is in Quảng Ngãi Province. It is a very productive agricultural area, with flat fertile land and rolling hills covering about 48 square kilometers.

During the Vietnam War, the peninsula was a stronghold of the Vietcong. They built fortifications in the shape of a V pointing inland. This was the scene of several operations: Operation Piranha, Operation Bold Mariner, and Operation Russell Beach were all planned with the goal of capturing and securing the peninsula.

Page 33. " the place was littered with Bouncing Betties "

Bouncing Betty
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBouncing Betty - Credit: Warinhari, Wikimedia
A Bouncing Bettie, also known as the German S-mine, is a special mine which, when triggered, has a delay of 1-2 seconds then shoots up into the air and explodes, firing hundreds of steel balls in all directions.

The S-mine was designed to disable whole squads. It was developed by German forces during World War II. There were two types: the SMi-35 and the SMi-44.

Page 34. " spends it all on a Shetland pony "

Shetland Pony
Creative Commons AttributionShetland Pony - Credit: Paddy Patterson

The Shetland pony is an intelligent, independent breed, used for riding, driving, and pack purposes. They are very strong, with heavy coats and short legs. They originated in the Shetland Isles off Scotland.

Shetland ponies range up to a maximum height of 10.2 hands. 

Page 35. " Shacks up in Danang with a Red Cross nurse "

Han River Bridge
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHan River Bridge - Credit: Dragfyre
Đà Nẵng is a major port city on the central coast of Vietnam. The city dates back to the ancient Champa Kingdom established by Indonesian settlers in 192 AD.

During the war, the US air base established here was the highest volume airport in the world.

Page 36. " Or Kiowa teaching a rain dance "

Also know as rain making, the rain dance was a Native American ritual performed to "inspire" the earth to bring the tribe rain. The dance was mostly practiced in the drier southern United States. Dancers wore turquoise and goat hair, and women, children and men all participated in the dance.

Page 40. " What about SEATO and the Cold War? "

SEATO stands for South-East Asia Treaty Organization. It was created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia.

SEATO came into existence when the Manila Pact was signed in 1954, as part of the Truman Doctrine. Members of SEATO included Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the UK, and the US.

It is generally considered to have been a failure.

Page 40. " Was Ho Chi Minh a Communist stooge "

Ho Chi Minh
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHo Chi Minh - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv
Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) was a Vietnamese revolutionary leader who became Prime Minister and President of Vietnam. He was also a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, having led the independence movement against the Japanese occupation since 1941.

After defeating the French in 1954, ending the First Indochina War, he stepped down in 1955 due to health problems. But he still remained an important figurehead in Vietnam, and he became an inspiration to the country during the Vietnam War.

Page 40. " What really happened to the USS Maddox on that dark night in the gulf of Tonkin? "

The USS Maddox was an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer named for Captain William A. T. Maddox. She received four battle stars for World War II service, and six for Korean service.

On the night of August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox was on a signal intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations. The destroyer engaged three Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats, and a sea battle took place, during which the Maddox fired 280 3-5in shells. The Vietnamese boats were also strafed by USN F-8 fighter jets. One U.S. aircraft was damaged, and a 14.5mm round hit the destroyer. All three Vietnamese boats were damaged and 4 Vietnamese sailors were killed with 6 others injured; there were no U.S. casualties.


A second, similar incident was claimed to have occurred two days later, however this was later found to be untrue.

As a consequence of these two alleged incidents, the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, paving the way for massive US military escalation in South Vietnam and open warfare against North Vietnam.

Page 42. " I spent the summer of 1968 working in the Armour meatpacking plant in my hometown of Worthington, Minnesota. "

Worthington was just a water station for the St. Paul & Sioux City Railway Company up untill 1871. Then, it was settled by a colony of religious freedom seekers--freedom from the sins of alcohol. Yet, along with the Homestead Act came many other types of settlers to the area. 

A year later, a curious event took place. On Worthington’s very first Fourth of July celebration, one of the original temperance loving settlers heard that there was a keg of beer in the Worthington House Hotel. Professor Humiston entered the hotel, seized the keg, dragged it outside, and destroyed it with an axe. A witness described the following events:

''Upon seeing this, the young men of the town thought it to be rather an imposition, and collected together, procured the services of the band, and under the direction of a military officer marched to the rear of the hotel, and with a wheelbarrow and shovel took the empty keg that had been broken open, and playing the dead march with flag at half staff marched to the flagpole in front of Humiston’s office where they dug a grave and gave the empty keg a burial with all the honors attending a soldier’s funeral.

They then, with flag at full mast and with lively air, marched back to the ice house, procured a full keg of beer, returning to the grave, resting the keg thereon. Then a general invitation was given to all who desired to partake, which many did until the keg was emptied… In the evening they reassembled, burning Prof. Humiston in effigy about 10 p.m. Thus ended the glorious Fourth at Worthington, Minn." —Sibley Gazette July 5, 1872

Page 45. " They didn't know Bao Dai from the man in the moon "

Bảo Đại was the 13th and last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Vietnam. He abdicated in August 1945, but went on to become chief of state of South Vietnam from 1949 until 1955.

Page 47. " Near dusk I passed through Bemidji, then turned northeast toward International Falls. "

Bemidji is an Ojibwe word which means "lake with cross waters". Lake Bimidji lies north of the much smaller Lake Irving. This town is home to over 13,000 residents and lies in the northern central region of Minnesota.

Page 49. " After all, it was 1968, and guys were burning draft cards, and Canada was just a boat ride away. "

Draft Card Burning, 1967
Creative Commons AttributionDraft Card Burning, 1967 - Credit: Universal News

During the Vietnam war, many anti-war demonstators burned their draft cards in public. In no other US war has the disapproval rating been so high. Those who did not want to be drafted into the army often fled to Canada.

Page 50. " the Royal Canadian mounted Police "

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the police force of Canada. It was formed in 1920. It currently has a task force of 29,325 men and women.

As well as patrolling on horseback, the RCMP use SUVs and helicopters to cover their widespread terrain.