After lunch we headed west, to Khe Sahn, the site of much bitter fighting during the war. This is very near the Laotian border – which was part of the war situation, as the Ho Chi Minh Trail ran through this area. Mountainous terrain, cut by rivers that are treacherous during the monsoon season. This stretch was the area of the huge battle in 1972, when US helicopters were called in to evacuate a South Vietnamese force that failed to invade Laos. Over 500 were shot down. It gives me pause – I think our war dead would not want such sacrifices to be forgotten.
Later we visited the demolition of unexploded ordnance, with two of the mine clearance teams. This struck me as a very professional operation. They made a small size blast from a collection of smaller pieces; some larger bombs will be transported to a dunes area, further away from town, for demolition.
The US Ambassador, David Shear, was in train with us from the tree planting onwards through dinner. He’s an Asia specialist, and shares some wonderful stories of past adventures. This is a great opportunity to share the Peacetrees story.
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