Frasi di William Westmoreland

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William Westmoreland

Data di nascita: 26. Marzo 1914
Data di morte: 18. Luglio 2005

William Childs Westmoreland è stato un generale statunitense.

Dopo una brillante carriera militare, divenne il comandante in capo delle forze armate statunitensi durante il periodo più cruento della Guerra del Vietnam, dal 1964 al 1968. Propugnatore di una aggressiva tattica di guerra nella penisola Indocinese, Westmoreland non riuscì, nonostante la schiacciante superiorità di mezzi e potenza di fuoco delle truppe americane, ad ottenere successi decisivi contro le forze nemiche; le dure perdite subite dalle sue forze e il crollo della sua credibilità dopo l'inattesa Offensiva del Têt del febbraio 1968, provocarono la sua sostituzione nel giugno 1968.

Frasi William Westmoreland

„Le fila dei vietcong si stanno sempre più assottigliando…abbiamo raggiunto un punto importante dal quale si comincia a intravedere la fine.“

—  William Westmoreland

Origine: Dalla dichiarazione pubblica del novembre 1967; citato in S. Karnow, Storia della guerra del Vietnam, a cura di Piero Bairati, BUR storia, Milano, 2014, p. 246. ISBN 978-88-17-25884-5

„Le speranze del nemico sono alla fine.“

—  William Westmoreland

Origine: Dalla dichiarazione pubblica alla vigilia dell'offensiva del Tet, novembre 1967; citato in S. Karnow, Storia della guerra del Vietnam, a cura di Piero Bairati, BUR storia, Milano, 2014, p. 300. ISBN 978-88-17-25884-5

„Turning to Gavin, he asked in exasperation: "What the hell is your name anyway?"“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 21.
Contesto: Soon after the war- Jim Gavin told me to our amusement- the commandant of the Air War College, Major General Orvil A. Anderson, introduced him as a guest speaker. Anderson was a pioneer flier and balloonist, later fired from the Air Force by President Truman for preaching preventative war. "We were never more privileged," General Anderson intoned, "than we are today to have this distinguished speaker, one of America's great soldiers, one of the greatest since Lee, Grant, Pershing, a man who is going down in history as a tactician and strategist, one of the great soldiers of all time." Then General Anderson began to slow down. "One of the great soldiers of all time," he repeated. By that time it was apparent he was stalling. "One of the great soldiers of all time," he said again. Turning to Gavin, he asked in exasperation: "What the hell is your name anyway?"

„I first met George S. Patton, Jr., before World War II when he was a lieutenant colonel at Fort Sill, and in North Africa, when he was a general, I saw him often. Almost every day he would head for the front, standing erect in his jeep, helmet and brass shining, a pistol on each hip, a siren blaring. For the return trip, either a light plane would pick him up or he would sit huddled, unrecognizable, in the jeep in his raincoat. His image with the troops was foremost with General Patton, and that meant always going forward, never backward.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 21.
Contesto: I first met George S. Patton, Jr., before World War II when he was a lieutenant colonel at Fort Sill, and in North Africa, when he was a general, I saw him often. Almost every day he would head for the front, standing erect in his jeep, helmet and brass shining, a pistol on each hip, a siren blaring. For the return trip, either a light plane would pick him up or he would sit huddled, unrecognizable, in the jeep in his raincoat. His image with the troops was foremost with General Patton, and that meant always going forward, never backward. General Patton had two fetishes that to my mind did little for his image with the troops. First, he apparently loathed the olive drab wool cap that the soldier wore under his helmet for warmth and insisted that it be covered; woe be the soldier whom the general caught wearing the cap without the helmet. Second, he insisted that every soldier under his command always wear a necktie with shirt collar buttoned, even in combat action.

„How could anyone genuinely believe that the South Vietnamese people had no desire to forestall the march of totalitarianism, to maintain their freedom- however imperfect- when for years upon years they bore incredible hardships and their soldiers fought with courage and determination to do just that?“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 409.
Contesto: Dating from the days of the Geneva Accords of 1954, the refugees always flowed south, not north, and even those Americans who long maintained that the refugees were not fleeing the enemy but American shelling and bombing would have to admit that even after American shelling and bombing stopped, the flow was still always southward. So it was until the final deplorable end. How could anyone genuinely believe that the South Vietnamese people had no desire to forestall the march of totalitarianism, to maintain their freedom- however imperfect- when for years upon years they bore incredible hardships and their soldiers fought with courage and determination to do just that? They carried on the fight under a government that many Americans labeled unrepresentative, repressive, and corrupt. No people could have pursued such a grim defensive fight for so long without a deep underlying yearning for freedom.

„Kitsy found herself at the hairdresser's beside General Hays, a widow. "I wish you would get married again," Kitsy said. "Why?" General Hays asked. "Because," Kitsy responded, "I want some man to learn what it's like to be married to a general."“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 264.
Contesto: Not long after I became U. S. Army Chief of Staff, the Secretary of the Army accepted my recommendation that the heads of the Army Nurse Corps and the Women's Army Corps be established as general officers. Soon after I had the honor of pinning stars on the first two female generals in the nation's history, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hosington (and establishing a tradition by giving each a kiss on the cheek), Kitsy found herself at the hairdresser's beside General Hays, a widow. "I wish you would get married again," Kitsy said. "Why?" General Hays asked. "Because," Kitsy responded, "I want some man to learn what it's like to be married to a general."

„Yet Giap persisted nevertheless in a big-unit war in which his losses were appalling, as evidenced by his admission to the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci that he had by early 1969 lost half a million men killed. Ruthless disregard for losses is seldom seen as military genius. A Western commander absorbing losses on the scale of Giap's would have hardly lasted in command more than a few weeks.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 405.
Contesto: In the renewed war in South Vietnam beginning in the late 1950s, the considerable success that Giap and the Viet Cong enjoyed was cut short by the introduction of American troops. In the face of American airpower, helicopter mobility, and fire support, there was no way Giap could win on the battlefield. Given the restrictions they had imposed on themselves, neither was there much chance that the Americans and South Vietnamese could win a conventional victory; but so long as American troops were involved, Giap could point to few battlefield successes more spectacular or meaningful than the occasional overrunning of a fire-support base. Yet Giap persisted nevertheless in a big-unit war in which his losses were appalling, as evidenced by his admission to the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci that he had by early 1969 lost half a million men killed. Ruthless disregard for losses is seldom seen as military genius. A Western commander absorbing losses on the scale of Giap's would have hardly lasted in command more than a few weeks.

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„I learned much from General Gavin in his capacity as a division commander, particularly on leadership qualities and maintaining the morale of the troops. More than any other commander under whom I served, he impressed me with the necessity for a commander to be constantly visible to those he leads.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 21.
Contesto: While in Sicily, I re-established an earlier acquaintance with a dynamic young colonel commanding one of the 82d Airborne's parachute infantry regiments, James M. Gavin, who later commanded the division. When the war was over, General Gavin asked my transfer to the division to command the 504th Parachute Infantry. Since I had yearned to be a paratrooper ever since serving at Fort Bragg in proximity to the first American airborne units, I was delighted at the assignment. I learned much from General Gavin in his capacity as a division commander, particularly on leadership qualities and maintaining the morale of the troops. More than any other commander under whom I served, he impressed me with the necessity for a commander to be constantly visible to those he leads.

„I noted an unwavering peculiarity about the Russians: we always had to go to them; never would they come to visit us or even meet us halfway.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 19.
Contesto: Russians and vodka, I soon learned, were virtually synonymous. Twice I accompanied my division commander, General Craig, with his Russian opposite beyond the Elbe. Since General Craig was an abstainer, his aides had to exercise considerable ingenuity to dispose of the vodka from his glass in nearby flower pots. The Russian general several times did the same. I noted an unwavering peculiarity about the Russians: we always had to go to them; never would they come to visit us or even meet us halfway.

„Serving one's country as a military man is rewarding experience. It is nevertheless a life of constraint. A military man serves within carefully prescribed limits, be it as enlisted man, junior officer, battalion commander, division commander, even senior field commander in time of war. The freedom to speak out in the manner of the private citizen, journalist, politician, legislator has no part in the assignment. Perhaps this is one reason why generals who have hung up their uniforms traditionally turn to the pen, seek an opportunity for free expression that they have long denied themselves, to report to the people they have served.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

From the Preface
A Soldier Reports (1976)
Contesto: Serving one's country as a military man is rewarding experience. It is nevertheless a life of constraint. A military man serves within carefully prescribed limits, be it as enlisted man, junior officer, battalion commander, division commander, even senior field commander in time of war. The freedom to speak out in the manner of the private citizen, journalist, politician, legislator has no part in the assignment. Perhaps this is one reason why generals who have hung up their uniforms traditionally turn to the pen, seek an opportunity for free expression that they have long denied themselves, to report to the people they have served. In these pages I have tried to exercise that prerogative that in the end is mine, while at the same time seeking to make an objective and constructive contribution to the history of a dramatic era. In the idiom of the time, I have tried to tell it like it was. This is my personal story, yet inevitably it represents more than that; for my story is inextricably involved with the stories of those who served with me during thirty-six years in the United States Army- from wooden-wheeled artillery to antiballistic missile, from horse to spaceship, from volunteer army to draftee army in three wars and back to volunteer army. My story is particularly involved with the stories of those who served with such valor and sacrifice in the Republic of Vietnam. My hope is that in telling my story I have in some manner done justice to theirs, that I have to some degree contributed to an appreciation by the American people of arduous, imaginative, valiant service in spite of alien environment, hardship, restriction, frustration, misunderstanding, and vocal and demonstrative opposition.

„In Vietnam the men of Special Forces were the first to go. They frequently fought, not in great battles with front-page attention, but in places with foreign sounding, unknown names; and often times no names at all.“

—  William Westmoreland

Westmoreland's foreword to Beyond Nam Dong (1998) by Roger H.C. Donlon
Contesto: The Green Beret... proudly worn by the United States Army Special Forces... and acclaimed by our late President, John F. Kennedy, as "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom..." In Vietnam the men of Special Forces were the first to go. They frequently fought, not in great battles with front-page attention, but in places with foreign sounding, unknown names; and often times no names at all. One such place was Nam Dong. In July of 1964 this Special Forces Camp, in the jungle-clad mountains near the Laotian border, came under a fierce attack. It was the first time that regular North Vietnamese Army forces joined the Viet Cong in an attempt to overrun an American outpost. The North Vietnamese reinforced battalion of eight hundred men was determined to eliminate this camp- an impediment to their further infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh trail from Laos to the south of Vietnam. Roger H. C. Donlon, then a captain and, commander of Special Forces Detachment A-276 at Camp Nam Dong along with his brave twelve-man team, 60 Nungs and 100 loyal Vietnamese successfully defended the camp. For their valor two of his sergeants were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Four other team members were awarded Silver Stars, and five more Bronze Stars with V for valor. Roger Donlon was the first soldier I recommended to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism which was later presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson. He was the first soldier of the Vietnam War to receive this award. "Beyond Nam Dong" is his personal story... from his scouting days as a boy in upstate New York, through the Vietnam conflict, to his present efforts at reconciliation. It is the inspiring story of a courageous soldier and patriot.

„So immense had been the sacrifices made through so many long years that the South Vietnamese deserved an end- if it had to come to that- with more dignity to it.“

—  William Westmoreland, libro A Soldier Reports

Origine: A Soldier Reports (1976), p. 396.
Contesto: As any television viewer or newspaper reader could discern the end in South Vietnam, in April 1975, came with incredible suddenness, amid scenes of unmitigated misery and shame. Utter defeat, panic, and rout have produced similar demoralizing tableaux through the centuries; yet to those of us who had worked so hard and long to try to keep it from ending that way, who had been so markedly conscious of the deaths and wounds of thousands of Americans and the soldiers of other countries, who had so long stood in awe of the stamina of the South Vietnamese soldier and civilian under the mantle of hardship, it was depressingly sad that so much misery should be a part of it. So immense had been the sacrifices made through so many long years that the South Vietnamese deserved an end- if it had to come to that- with more dignity to it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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