Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War

The Best and the Brightest

Day One -- Monday, July 26, 2004 Fourth Session 1530-1715 (Click to see video) (Click here to see transcript) [Suggestion: you might want to listen to the Video while reading the transcript. To do this, open the Video which will take you toWindows Media Player and then minimize it and open the transcript.]

4.  The Best and the Brightest -- Who is the Veteran? Who went, who served, who are they? How are they perceived? Who didn’t go and how are they perceived.

Speaker: B.G. Burkett

Speaker’s biographical information: B.G. Burkett, a military researcher, was co-chairman of the Texas Vietnam Memorial with President George Bush as Honorary Chairman. Mr. Burkett has been the object of an award-winning segment on ABC's 20/20, as well as much acclaimed articles in Texas Monthly and Reader's Digest. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. He served in Vietnam with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Vietnamese Honor Medal, and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. His book, Stolen Valor, How the Vietnam Generation was robbed of its Heroes and its History, received the William E Colby Award for the outstanding military book in the year 2000. He was recently awarded Distinguished Civilian Service Award (the highest award given to a civilian by the Army) authorized by the Secretary of the Army and presented by former President George H. W. Bush.

Website : http://www.stolenvalor.com

Discussion Forum: Click here to discuss this session

Articles of Interest:

B.G. Burkett Wrote the Book on Vietnam, Gil Spencer, Delco Times
Heroes of the Vietnam Generation by James Webb

Suggested Reading:

B. G. Burkett, Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor, How the Vietnam Generation was robbed of its Heroes and its History


"'What outfit were you with?' Gannon asked... .

"'Green Berets,' the bum said. He stared at Gannon with his best I've-been-there-and-back look. 'Spent two years ... with the Special Tactics Group. Assassinations and recon mostly. I could tell you stories ... chill your blood.'.

"Gannon stiffened. His eyes turned cold. 'That's where you got the medals?'

"'Damn straight.'... .

"Gannon tempered his response but, not about to let the man off scot-free, reached over and tore the medals from the bum's jacket and threw them out into the Pond.

"'What the hell you think you're doin'.? I'll take you apart like a cheap watch. I'll knock your dick in the dirt. And don't you think I can't do it. I've got a tenth degree black'

"'Shut up!' Gannon leaned in even closer, ...'I've got no use for people who steal a dead man's glory,' Gannon said. "I had friends who died for those medals, and so do a lot of other guys. I strongly suggest you change your bullshit routine before you run intoa vet who isn't in the mood to let you slide.'

"The bum drew back; his street smarts told him that the man leaning over him was in no mood to hear any more of his stories.

"'Hey, we do what we gotta do, whatever works, ya know? No offense meant.'"

J. C. Pollock, Payback, 1989