The Vietnam War, grew to become an unpopular war, for Americans. It lasted 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day. It is also known, in history, as the Second Indochina War, a bitter and costly conflict. This conflict was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.
Only ten short years had passed, after the end of hostilities of World War II. During those ten years, by 1955, warfare had been perfected. Science has been working overtime, as military nations prepared for an uneasy post World War II peace.
New weapons technologies and new types of chemical warfare were created to ensure an international peace that came from the knowledge of global mutually assured destruction. All of these new weapons of human destruction were unleashed during the twenty years of the Vietnam War.
Europe largely stayed out of the Vietnam War. Many European cities, towns and villages were still in ruins. War debts were mounting. Germany had been divided into two. The war dead was still being counted. Nazis were still being hunted, imprisoned, tried and executed. The Bahamas, in 1955, when it all began, was still very much a British colony.
This may explain why, the war memorial observation, in Nassau, on every November 11th, since the first armistice day in 1918, has largely observed those who served and were lost in the two world wars. These were British fought wars. The Vietnam War wasn’t.
Nevertheless, there were Bahamians, who fought on the side of America, in Vietnam . They have been largely overlooked in history. We should know that there were some very brave young Bahamians, who willingly enlisted to help the United States.
Some came back home. Some didn’t.
Tony Hicks, son of Mr and Mrs Ron Hicks of Shirlea, Nassau
Tony Hicks, from Shirlea in Nassau, enlisted in the American army at 18 years old. Hicks was sent to Vietnam, after completing the required 3 months basic training. He served in Fourth Calvary Division.
Tony served a 12 month tour of duty in Vietnam starting sometime in 1966.
While there, he fell sick with malaria, not once, but twice and was shot in the leg. Hicks flew back to Nassau on Wednesday 26th July 1967, for a recovery break. He was on a 45 day army leave and flew straight back home to be with his parents. Young Tony Hicks was then, just 19 years old.
Hicks was scheduled to report back to Fort Dix in New Jersey, where he had another 14 months or so to serve.
As part of the army package, Tony Hicks hoped to go the college after his enlisted period had expired.
Wellington Pinder, of FoxHill, Nassau – Paratrooper, Attached to the 101st Airborne Division, First Brigade
Wellington Pinder of FoxHill, was trained to jump out of planes, in preparation for battle in Vietnam. He was a paratrooper, trained to parachute into combat. He arrived back in Nassau, on 26th July, 1967, to recuperate from serious injuries sustained in the Vietnam War.
Serving in the 101 Airborne Division, First Brigade, this specialised unit, trained for air assault operations.
During the Vietnam War, the 101st Airborne Division fought in several major campaigns and battles, including the Battle of Hamburger Hill in May 1969.
Wellington Pinder had sustained some sort of serious injury while serving in Vietnam. In fact, he had been injured twice with the second injury landing him in hospital back in the United States in a military hospital in Washington DC.
Wellington hoped to join the Royal Bahamas Police Force after his contracted time in the American army was completed.
In 1967, as Pinder recuperated in Nassau from serious war injuries, he was only 19 years old.