TV news shows Marines burning village

TV news shows Marines burning village

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CBS-TV news shows pictures of men from the First Battalion, Ninth Marines setting fire to huts in the village of Cam Na, six miles west of Da Nang, despite reports that the Viet Cong had already fled the area. The film report sparked indignation and condemnation of the U.S. policy in Vietnam both at home and overseas. At the same time, the Department of Defense announced that it was increasing the monthly draft call from 17,000 in August to 27,400 in September and 36,000 in October. It also announced that the Navy would require 4,600 draftees, the first such action since 1956.

What Really Happened at Cam Ne

In 1999, the New York University Department of Journalism solicited nominations for the Top 100 Works of Journalism in the United States in the 20th century. The Vietnam War garnered four entries, including a 1965 “CBS Evening News” report by correspondent Morley Safer involving U.S. Marines in South Vietnam. This entry was nominated by New York University journalism professor and writer Mitchell Stephens, who described his submission as a “report for CBS on atrocities committed by American soldiers on the hamlet of Cam Ne in Vietnam.” In his book A History of News, Stephens claims, “The Marines, who faced no resistance, held cigarette lighters to the thatched roofs and proceeded to ‘waste’ Cam Ne.” The film and photos of Cam Ne were widely distributed and are among the most famous images of the Vietnam War. Did Professor Stephens get it right? This article investigates the incident at Cam Ne from the perspectives of both the media and the Marine Corps.

Why Were the Marines at Cam Ne?
After the August 1964 incident in the Gulf of Tonkin between North Vietnamese torpedo boats and U.S. Navy destroyers, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered airstrikes against North Vietnamese military bases and storage areas. Those attacks were conducted by carrier-based aircraft of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet. At the same time, the U.S. Pacific Command activated the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), making it a force in readiness, capable of landing as needed on short notice.

The beginning of 1965 was a period of political instability for the government of South Vietnam. Buddhists led anti-government riots in Saigon and Hue. In February, the Viet Cong launched a major attack on the U.S. military base at Pleiku in the Central Highlands. Again the United States launched retaliatory airstrikes against North Vietnam. In this round the United States would launch attacks from the air base at Da Nang to ensure the participation of the South Vietnamese air force. The possibility existed that North Vietnam might respond by launching air attacks against Da Nang. On February 7, the Marine Corps 1st Light Anti-aircraft Missile Battalion was ordered to protect the airfield there. More VC attacks led to more airstrikes against North Vietnam. On March 7, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered the 9th MEB, which had been off the coast of Da Nang, to come ashore to further protect the airfield. A new phase of the war had begun.

Initially, the Marine intervention was to be limited. The JCS landing order directed that the Marine force “will not, repeat will not, engage in day-to-day actions against the VC.” The role of the Marines was to protect the base. The area around Da Nang would be protected by the South Vietnamese armed forces. But the Marines’ mission was enlarged as the American troop buildup continued. By April they were patrolling into the densely populated area south of Da Nang. In July, an 85-man VC group reinforced by a 13-man North Vietnamese sapper unit launched a ground and mortar attack on the air base from the area to the south. This enemy force was armed with one 57mm recoilless rifle, four 82mm mortars, grenades and assorted demolition equipment. The base perimeter was penetrated at 0115 hours. Three aircraft were destroyed and three more were damaged. The VC quickly withdrew in the same direction from which they had launched their attack. Although no enemy was confirmed killed by the Marines, blood trails leading away from the airfield were found the following morning.

Marine commanders felt they could not adequately defend the air base if they were unable to patrol farther, and in July their tactical area of responsibility (TAOR) was expanded to include the region south of the Cau Do River, a few miles southwest of Da Nang. On July 12, elements of the 9th Marine Regiment moved into the area and quickly received fire from a VC force coming from the hamlet of Cam Ne 4 (numbered in order to identify it in the complex of six villages of the same name). The Marines pulled back and called for close air support. Marine patrols continued in the area around Cam Ne during July and into August. Almost daily contact was maintained with the village chief to obtain information on the civilian population. American intelligence considered Cam Ne a well-known VC stronghold and its residents long-time Communist sympathizers, dating back to the French occupation. On August 3, 1965, Lt. Col. Verle Ludwig, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, was ordered to “search out the VC and to destroy them, their positions, and fortifications.” One company commander involved in the operation instructed his men “to overcome and destroy” any position, including huts, from which they received fire. As the Marines moved into Cam Ne, the VC withdrew, refusing to fight.

Morley Safer and Cam Ne
The American news media accompanied U.S. forces to Vietnam in 1965. Thirty-three-year-old CBS correspondent Morley Safer, one of the first television newsmen to be permanently assigned to Vietnam, was sent to Da Nang. At the beginning of August, Safer was having coffee with some Marine officers in an attempt to get an idea of what sort of activity the Marines were engaged in. One lieutenant told him that an operation was planned for the very next morning, and invited the reporter to come along. On August 3, Safer joined the Marines headed for Cam Ne.

While en route to their objective, the lieutenant told Safer his force was going to level Cam Ne, “really tear it up.” When asked why, the officer said his men had taken a lot of fire from the village. Further, the Vietnamese province chief said he wanted it leveled. Another reporter, Richard Critchfield of the Washington Star, later told Safer the reason Cam Ne was leveled had nothing to do with the Viet Cong rather, it was because the chief was furious with the residents of Cam Ne for refusing to pay their taxes. According to Critchfield, who was an expert on villages in Vietnam, the chief wanted the village punished. Safer was accompanied by a South Vietnamese cameraman, Ha Thuc Can, whose film of the controversial operation was narrated by Safer.

The report was filed on the spot, sent via telex from Da Nang to Saigon to New York. CBS realized that it had a powerful story as soon as it was read in the New York office. CBS News President Fred Friendly asked a staffer to confirm that Safer was sure of his facts. Safer confirmed the validity of the report. Friendly was nervous, aware of the enormous implications of broadcasting the film, as yet unseen by CBS officials. He called CBS President Frank Stanton to warn him about the upcoming broadcast. Next he called Pentagon public affairs official Arthur Sylvester, telling him to listen to the local CBS radio station. At that point the film itself had been transported by airplane from Vietnam to Los Angeles. A data line was leased to Los Angeles. Fred Friendly and Walter Cronkite in New York watched the film of U.S. Marines setting fire to Vietnamese dwellings, watched the burning of Cam Ne. They were shocked by the film images, but felt it was so important they could not fail to broadcast it. CBS called Safer again to ensure they had the proper context of the story. This was confirmed. The film was broadcast on CBS Evening News on August 5, 1965.

Reaction to the Cam Ne report was immediate and powerful. CBS was inundated with calls and letters critical of this negative portrayal of American military personnel. Early in the morning after the film was broadcast, Stanton was awakened by the telephone. “Frank, are you trying to f– me?” yelled a voice.

“Who is this?” asked the president of CBS.

“Frank, this is your president,” answered Lyndon Johnson, “and yesterday your boys shat on the American flag.”

That same morning newspapers across the nation featured an Associated Press photograph of a Marine setting fire to a hut with a cigarette lighter. The president ordered a background investigation on Safer, sure he was working for the Communists. No Communist affiliation was found. LBJ then ordered an investigation of the Marine officer in charge of the Cam Ne operation, certain that Safer must have bribed the Marine to burn Cam Ne. Nothing came of that, either. The Pentagon asked CBS to replace Safer as Vietnam correspondent. The Department of Defense began monitoring the evening television newscasts. Safer followed up his initial report with additional broadcasts critical of Marine operations in the area. The commander of the Marines in Vietnam, Maj. Gen. Lewis Walt, banned Safer from all of I Corps, the Marine Corps’ area of responsibility in South Vietnam, but the order was soon rescinded.

The film that accompanied Safer’s CBS report on Cam Ne showed a Marine, armed with a rifle, lighting a hut with his cigarette lighter. No opposition was evident. According to Safer’s report, the Marines were under orders to burn to the ground any hamlet from which they received even a single burst of sniper fire. The pleas of old men and women for the Marines to spare their houses were ignored. So were pleas from the villagers to delay while their possessions were removed. The houses and all their belongings were burned, as were all rice stores. The day’s operation netted four prisoners, all of whom were old men.

“It first appeared that the Marines had been sniped at before and that a few houses were made to pay,” Safer reported. “Shortly after, one officer told me he had orders to go in and level the string of hamlets that surrounded Cam Ne village. And all around the common paddy fields [camera focuses on a roof being lit by a flamethrower] a ring of fire. One hundred and fifty homes were leveled in retaliation for a burst of gunfire. In Vietnam, like everywhere else in Asia, property, a home, is everything. A man lives with his family on ancestral land. His parents are buried nearby….Today’s operation shows the frustration of Vietnam in miniature. There is little doubt that American firepower can win a military victory here. But to a Vietnamese peasant whose home means a lifetime of backbreaking labor, it will take more than presidential promises to convince him that we are on his side.”

In the days that followed, newspapers, television networks and wire services ran additional reports on the impact of Marine operations on South Vietnamese civilians in the Da Nang TAOR. In a subsequent report, Safer claimed: “These [civilians] are the people to whom the war is a curse. Intimidation and atrocity by the VC, and now to them, equal brutality by the government and its allies.” Safer interviewed Marines involved in the operation at Cam Ne. “You treat everyone like an enemy until he’s proven innocent,” one claimed. “That’s the only way you can do it….Yesterday we were in that village of Cam Nanh [sic], we burned all the houses, I guess.”

Asked if this burning was necessary, the Marine replied that it was, and that his company had done a good job. He said his was the only Marine company that was in Cam Ne that hadn’t had Marines killed, that they showed the civilians the Marines were done playing with them, and that the Marines had proved their point. Another Marine was quoted as saying that he had no remorse for the civilians because they were the enemy, that one couldn’t do his job and also have pity for the people.

Pulitzer Prize–winning author and journalist David Halberstam claims the Marines injured at Cam Ne had been wounded by friendly fire, not enemy fire. “All three wounded in the initial operation,” he said, “received wounds in the back caused by their own men. When the Marines occupied the village they reacted in anger and tore the place apart.” The Americans threw grenades and used flamethrowers in holes and tunnels where Vietnamese civilians were sheltering. Some were burned to death. At one point, cameraman Ha Thuc Can, the only one present who could speak both Vietnamese and English, saw Marines about to fire a flamethrower into a hole and began arguing with the infantrymen, pointing out there were women and children in the hiding place. The cameraman talked to the civilians, urging them to come out. Finally about a dozen people emerged. When Safer asked a Marine officer why no one in his group could speak Vietnamese, the lieutenant answered that he did not need anyone who could speak Vietnamese. Later, Pentagon official Arthur Sylvester tried to have Can fired, objecting to the use of a South Vietnamese cameraman by CBS.

The Marines’ Account
The men of Company D, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, which conducted the mission at Cam Ne, gave a somewhat different account. Their goal was to clear the Cam Ne village complex. U.S. intelligence reported that Viet Cong local and main force troops were present in company strength. The attack began at 1000 hours on August 3, and the attacking force arrived in amphibious tractors (amtracs or LVTs). Three of the LVTs quickly became stuck in the mud. After dismounting from the armored tractors, the Marines took small-arms fire from a tree line to the southeast. Three platoons advanced across open rice paddies along a 1,000-foot front. One Marine was wounded during that stage of the attack. As the Marines pushed forward, the VC withdrew into the hamlets of Cam Ne.

According to the commanding officer of the units involved, Cam Ne had been fortified by the Viet Cong into something not unlike what the Marines had encountered in World War II. Caves, tunnels, fortified trench lines, spider holes and punji stakes were in evidence. Nearly impenetrable hedgerows ran around the perimeter of the village and between village structures. LVTs were used to breach and crush the hedgerows, setting off booby traps as they pushed into the village. The civilian population was uncooperative. Marines received heavy and concentrated small-arms fire, including from automatic weapons and probably one machine gun, from VC hiding in the village.

The Marines returned fire with small arms and 3.5-inch rockets. The impact of one of those rockets caused secondary explosions in the tree line from which fire was being received, indicating the presence of booby traps. That secondary explosion caused a further detonation of explosives from booby traps and mines located in hedgerows around the village. According to the commander’s report, heavy small-arms fire continued throughout the period the Marines were in the village (1000 until 1500). Reportedly most of the structures were burned by rocket fire directed toward hostile fire from the huts. Others were destroyed by flamethrower or grenade action used to neutralize VC positions.

One platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Ray G. Snyder, claimed Cam Ne was an “extensively entrenched and fortified hamlet.” The battalion commander noted that “in many instances burning was the only way to ensure that the house would not become an active military installation after the troops had moved on past it.” By midafternoon Company D had uncovered 267 punji stake traps and pits, six Malayan whip booby traps, three grenade booby traps, six anti-personnel mines and one multiple booby-trapped hedgerow. Fifty-one huts were demolished along with 38 trenches, tunnels and prepared positions. At that point, during midafternoon, it became evident that the Marines would not be able to complete their mission before darkness. Captain Herman West ordered his men to withdraw back to the Yen River. While leaving the village, the Marines received automatic-weapons and small-arms fire from VC who had resumed positions in a nearby tree line. The Marines called in artillery and mortar fire on the VC positions. The fire stopped and the Marines boarded their amphibious tractors. When they entered the Cau Do River, the Marines again came under enemy fire from the south bank. They returned fire and enemy fire ceased.

The Marines estimated the enemy force at Cam Ne at between 30 and 100 soldiers. When the VC withdrew they carried off their dead and wounded no bodies were found, although estimated VC casualties were placed at seven. One 10-year-old Vietnamese boy was killed and four villagers were wounded, having been caught in a firefight between the Marines and VC. Total Marine casualties at Cam Ne were three killed in action and 27 wounded.

Marines had been in the Cam Ne village complex on July 12 and had taken casualties. The subsequent operation of August 3 was not envisioned to be a routine patrol. The Marines expected that Cam Ne would be occupied by VC soldiers, that it was mined and booby-trapped, and that the operation would be dangerous. Those factors governed their conduct. The action at Cam Ne included more than CBS showed during its news report of August 5. Marine commanders were resentful that this was not made clear during Safer’s report. “War is a stupid and brutalizing affair,” wrote the editors of the Marine Corps Gazette. “This type of war perhaps more than others. But this does not mean that those who are fighting it are either stupid or brutal. It does mean that the whole story should be told. Not just a part of it.”

Cam Ne’s Aftermath
The fact that senior American commanders in Vietnam considered Safer’s report to be both distorted and incomplete does not mean the U.S. military was unresponsive to it. The killing of civilians and the intentional destruction of village property was felt to be a serious political mistake in a war in which political success was an essential component of military victory. As one Vietnamese observer explained it, “The 10-year-old children who witnessed their village being burned are the ones who at 15 will take up rifles for the Viet Cong.” Morley Safer noted in an interview that subsequent to his report, several Marine officers told him his story kept things from getting worse, that it was the kind of reporting that kept them honest.

On August 9, another Marine unit operating near Cam Ne was taken under fire. Two men were killed and more than 20 were wounded. The Marines decided to secure the area once and for all. On August 18, the Marines returned to Cam Ne in force to complete the search for Viet Cong hideouts–but this time, the villagers were given full warning of the Marines’ arrival. In addition to searching Cam Ne, the Marines built shelters for the Vietnamese civilian homeless. The entire village was cleared with no difficulty no casualties were taken by the Marines, and no VC were found in Cam Ne. By then, Marines had expended their TAOR from the Tien Sa Peninsula and the South China Sea in the east, to the Yen River west of Cam Ne.

During that period CBS made a continuing and conscious effort to present positive aspects of Marine Corps operations in the area in order to balance the initial Safer reports. General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, operating under pressure from the JCS in Washington, directed his staff to prepare a new set of guidelines governing the relationship between the U.S. military and civilian noncombatants. Those rules, published in September 1965, explicitly prohibited the indiscriminate destruction of populated areas. Whenever possible, units in the field were to use loudspeakers and aerial leaflet drops to warn villagers of upcoming air and ground assaults. South Vietnamese troops were to fight alongside Americans in order to assist in searching dwellings and communicate to the civilian population that the South Vietnamese government had endorsed the military operation.

Pentagon official Arthur Sylvester assigned various officers the task of drawing up plans to censor American reporters working in South Vietnam. Others were convinced that censorship would be both unwise and counterproductive. Eventually all plans to enforce field press censorship in South Vietnam were ended, and the Saigon press corps was allowed to report the war as it saw best.

Regular contributor Peter Brush, a Marine veteran who participated in the Battle of Khe Sanh, is a librarian at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. For additional reading, see: William M. Hammond’s Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962-1968 and Jack Shulimson and Charles M. Johnson’s U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Landing and the Buildup 1965.

For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Vietnam Magazine today!


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SP2"Out Into the Ocean! A Father's Great Big Dream" [4]
"Open Upon the Great Sea! A Father's Huge, HUGE Dream!"
Transcription: " Wan Pīsu: Daiunabara ni Hirake! Dekkai Dekkai Chichi no Yume! " (Japanese: ワンピース 大海原にひらけ!でっかいでっカイ父の夢! )
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SP3"Save! The Last Big Stage" [4]
Transcription: " Wan Pīsu: Mamoru! Saigo no Daibutai " (Japanese: ワンピース 守れ!最後の大舞台 )
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SP4"One Piece Historical Drama Series: Luffy's Detective Story" [4]
"One Piece: End-of-Year Special Plan! Chief Straw Hat Luffy's Detective Story"
Transcription: " Wan Pīsu: Nenmatsu Tokubetsu Kikaku! Mugiwara no Rufi Oyabun Torimonochō " (Japanese: ワンピース年末特別企画!麦わらのルフィ親分捕物帖 )
TBA TBADecember 18, 2005 ( 2005-12-18 ) [6] 42 minutes
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SP5"Episode of Nami: Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends" [4]
Transcription: " Episōdo obu Nami: Kōkaishi no Namida to Nakama no Kizuna " (Japanese: エピソードオブナミ ~航海士の涙と仲間の絆~ )
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Transcription: " Episōdo obu Rufi – Hando Airando no Bōken " (Japanese: エピソードオブルフィ ~ハンドアイランドの冒険~ )
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Transcription: " Episōdo obu Merī: Mō Hitori no Nakama no Monogatari " (Japanese: エピソードオブメリー ~もうひとりの仲間の物語~ )
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Transcription: " Episōdo obu Sabo: San-Kyōdai no Kizuna – Kiseki no Saikai to Uketsugareru Ishi " (Japanese: エピソードオブサボ 〜3兄弟の絆 奇跡の再会と受け継がれる意志〜 )
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SP10"One Piece: Adventure of Nebulandia" [4]
Transcription: " Wan Píszu: Adobenchā Obu Neburandia " (Japanese: ワンピース アドベンチャー オブ ネブランディア )
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SP11"One Piece: Heart of Gold" [4]
Transcription: " Wan Píszu: Hāto obu Gōrudo " (Japanese: ワンピース ハートオブ ゴールド )
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SP12"One Piece: Episode of East Blue: Luffy and His Four Friends' Great Adventure" [4]
Transcription: " Wan Píszu: Episōdo obu Īsuto Burū: Rufi to Yo-nin no Nakama no Dai-bōken " (Japanese: ワンピース エピソードオブ東の海(イーストブルー)~ルフィと4人の仲間の大冒険~ )
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An abridged remake of several East Blue story arcs. [n 8] Luffy is inspired to become a pirate by Shanks Zoro is imprisoned by marine Captain Morgan, rescued by Luffy and later defeated by Dracule Mihawk Usopp defends his village from pirate Captain Kuro with the Straw Hats' help Sanji is rescued by the infamous pirate Zeff as a child and later defends their Baratie restaurant from feared pirate Don Krieg Nami joins the Straw Hats but is forced to steal their ship and return to tyrant Arlong in Cocoyashi village, where Luffy soon defeats Arlong and frees her.
SP13"Episode of Skypiea" [4]
Transcription: " Episōdo obu Sorajima " (Japanese: エピソードオブ空島 )
Tetsuya EndoTomohiro NakayamaAugust 25, 2018 ( 2018-08-25 ) 105 minutes
An abridged remake of the Skypiea story arc. [n 9] The Straw Hats discover a map to Skypiea, a supposedly mythical civilization in the sky. They soon meet Mont Blanc Cricket, who directs them to a natural underwater explosion which serves as transport to the islands in the sky. Once in Skypiea, the Straw Hats are targeted by the tyrannical ruler Eneru and his subordinates, as well as local rebels. Luffy defeats Eneru, bringing peace to Skypiea, and proves to Cricket that Skypiea is not a myth.

Japan Edit

The first special was released on VHS, and specials five onward have been released on Blu-ray. The Log Collections are available on DVD only.

TV news shows Marines burning village - HISTORY

I had a jeep in Da Nang, and the afternoon before, I went out and did a little tour of some of the marine corps units to find out what was happening, to see if anybody was going on operations the next day, because the operations usually began very early in the morning, four-thirty, five o'clock. I came to this unit and they said, "Yes, we're going on a search-and-destroy in the morning. You want to come along? Please come along."

We went out in a bunch of APCs [armored personnel carriers] and some amphibious vehicles, because it was down the river and then through some pretty high-water rice paddies. I talked to a captain, trying to get some idea what the operation was about. And he said, "We've had orders to take out this complex of villages called Cam Ne." I'd never heard anything like that. I'd heard of search-and-destroy operations I'd seen places ravaged by artillery or by air strikes. But this was just a ground strike going in. He said to "take out" this complex of villages. And I thought perhaps he's exaggerating.

It was paddy land but not such high water. The troops walked abreast toward this village and started firing. They said that there was some incoming fire. I didn't witness it, but it was a fairly large front, so it could have happened down the line. There were two guys wounded in our group, both in the ass, so that meant it was "friendly fire."

They moved into the village and they systematically began torching every house — every house as far as I could see, getting people out in some cases, using flame throwers in others. No Vietnamese speakers, by the way, were among the group with the flame thrower. The trooper with the flame thrower was ordered to zap a particular house, and our cameraman, who's Vietnamese — Ha Thuc Can, this wonderful man — put his camera down and said, "Don't do it! Don't do it!" And he walked to the house and then I went with him, and a sergeant came on up. We heard people crying.

Now, every Vietnamese house had a shelter of some kind. Often it was an underground dugout to store rice. There was a family down there, probably six people, including a practically newborn baby. They were frightened stiff. I coaxed they didn't want to come out. Ha Thuc Can spoke softly to them, and he coaxed them out. The house was torched, as every house along the way was torched, either by flame throwers, matches, or cigarette lighters — Zippos.

Those guys, by the way, called themselves "the Zippo Brigade" after that picture was published.

I ultimately got back to Da Nang, tried to file the story, and just managed to get the telex through. It took another day and a half or two days for the film to get back. Harry Reasoner was doing the news that night, and he read my telex.

Of course, the Marine Corps, on the basis of the reading of that telex, went into Red Alert, denying everything, saying that a couple of the houses were burned by collateral damage from artillery or something. It was just blatant bullshit, and that's an example of what really drove me crazy in Vietnam. I mean, if you're going to lie, tell a good one, I mean, please.

Cam Ne was a shock, I think. It's hard for me to know exactly, because I was thirteen thousand miles away, with really lousy communication, so I only got the reverberation of the shock. I think [viewers] saw American troops acting in a way people had never seen American troops act before, and couldn't imagine. Those people were raised on World War II, in which virtually everything we saw was heroic. And so much of it, indeed, was. And there was plenty in Vietnam, too, that was heroic. But this conjured up not America, but some brutal power — Germany, even, in World War II. To see young G.I.s, big guys in flak jackets, lighting up thatched roofs, and women holding babies running away, wailing — this was a new sight to everyone, including the military, I suspect. Which is perhaps one reason why there was such immediate denial.

And the denials themselves were absurd. [Officials claimed] I had gone on a practice operation in a model village — a village the Marines had built to train guys how to move into a village. Or the whole thing was a kind of "Potemkin" story that I had concocted. There are still people who believe that.

I was getting the reverberations from a distance. Subsequently, I heard that President Johnson called Frank Stanton, who was then the president of CBS, and whom he knew quite well. He called Stanton the following morning, very early, and Stanton hadn't seen the broadcast the night before. As I understand it, the president said, "Frank?" "Yeah, who is this?" He said, "This is your president." "Yes, Mr. President?" "You know what you did to me last night?" "What did I do, sir?" "You shat on the American flag."

It was the end of a certain kind of innocence among the public, really. I mean, soldiers aren't innocent. For the most part, I think American armies are awfully good in the business of protecting civilians, of not going over the line. It happens, but not as policy, not as, "This is how we do things." And that's why it was so shocking, because it's not how we do things. And there we were, and seen to be doing it. So it had a really profound effect.

Of course, this wouldn't have happened in World War II, or if it had happened, it wouldn't have been photographed. Or had it been photographed, the photographs would have been censored. I think what makes the story most significant was that it was happening on television, uncensored, either in picture or commentary. There was a realization — perhaps least of all by the press, but certainly by the military and maybe by the public — that the rules have all changed. It's perhaps another reason why the military did not want people covering the Gulf War.

From Reporting America at War: An Oral History, compiled by Michelle Ferrari, with commentary by James Tobin, published by Hyperion, 2003. Copyright ©, 2003 Goodhue Pictures.

California firefighters face 'wall of flames' in dramatic video, 250 Marines and sailors to battle Creek Fire

More than 16K firefighters battling California wildfires

More than two dozen major fires ravaging the state Christina Coleman reports.

Flames tear through homes in a California neighborhood in a shocking video released by firefighters from one of the largest wildfires currently scorching the state as officials announced Wednesday that hundreds of service members are joining the firefight.

The Pentagon said Thursday that 250 Marines and sailors are now assisting firefighting efforts against the Creek Fire burning in central California.

At the request of the National Interagency Fire Center, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, will oversee the military support effort, the second undertaken in California this month.

“Given the unprecedented fire season and the magnitude of the loss the people of California are experiencing, we stand ready to support the National Interagency Fire Center in their effort to help protect people, property and land in California,” ARNORTH and JFLCC commander Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson said in a statement. “Just like the soldiers supporting fire suppression efforts in Northern California, the Marines and sailors who will assist in this mission in Central California are trained and equipped with all of the necessary gear to keep them safe, to include in a COVID-19 environment.”

In this Sept. 7, 2020, file photo, a firefighter battles the Creek Fire as it threatens homes in the Cascadel Woods neighborhood of Madera County, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger,File)

According to Cal Fire, the Creek Fire has reached 228,025 acres and is only 18% contained as of Wednesday night.

"Dozers and crews will work to strengthen fireline on the east side of the fire, attempting to hold the perimeter in its current position," the agency noted in its evening report.

The additional fire crews come as the City of Merced Fire Department shared dramatic footage of the department battling the first 12 hours of the Creek Fire, with helmet cameras showing views of the fire’s destruction.

The montage released on Tuesday shows firefighters dangerously close to the fire with structures and trees ablaze.

“It is hard for our firefighters to put to words what their feelings are sometimes,” the fire department wrote on Facebook. “They work hard and right to the edge of danger, at times they are able save homes and other times they are overran. It breaks their hearts when the fire wins.”

Dramatic footage from the city of Merced Fire Department shows the devastation from the Creek Fire in the first 12 hours of the blaze. (Merced Fire Department)

The department said the firefighters fought as long as they could, then "drove through a wall of flames" to get out.

Dramatic footage from the city of Merced Fire Department shows the devastation from the Creek Fire in the first 12 hours of the blaze. (Merced Fire Department)

“We share these images so communities can see what our firefighters and many other firefighters across the nation are doing to save the homes of those they don’t know," the department said. "Please be safe out there and evacuate when told to do so.”

While officials noted conditions have improved in recent days, change may be on the way for this upcoming weekend.

This year's fires have taxed the human, mechanical and financial resources of the nation's wildfire fighting forces to a degree that few past blazes did. And half of the fire season is yet to come. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

The West is still up in flames with over 80 large wildfires burning across the region.

Current large wildfires burning across the West. (Fox News)

Critical fire conditions also continue for parts of Oregon, Northern California and the Great Basin.

The fire danger for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. (Fox News)

Poor air quality and smoke are still widespread across the region stretching into the Central U.S. and even into the Northeast.

Smoke from the ongoing wildfires in the West will continue to drift eastward. (Fox News)

There is some moisture moving into the Northwest in the next few days that will bring temperatures down and produce some much-needed rain for the region, however, there could also be a risk for stronger thunderstorms as well as a few tornadoes.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Janice Dean contributed to this report.


Heartbeat is period drama set within the 1960s – the specific timeframe is vague, although roughly takes place between 1964 and 1969 – across the district of the North Riding of Yorkshire (part of the county of North Yorkshire), within the fictional village of Aidensfield and the fictional town of Ashfordly, several other fictional villages and farms in the surrounding moors and countryside, and also at times within the real-life town of Whitby. Each episode in the series focuses on a set of at least one or two main storylines and a side story, some or all of which would cross over with each other and influence the outcome of their plots. Political tones for storylines, coinciding with the decade the programme was set in, were rarely featured in episodes, though some episodes featured occasional references to the counterculture movement, while others would sometimes delve into a dramatic single storyline concerning a major incident that characters would deal with and sometimes be affected by.

The programme's title was chosen by writers to represent the series' key characters who worked as police officers and medical staff – "heart" for the medical themes featured regularly in the programme and "beat" based on the phrase "the bobby's beat" ("bobby" being British slang for a police officer (from Robert Peel)). [5] Each episode's set of storylines were inspired from those created for the Constable series of books, written by Nicholas Rhea ( the pen-name of former policeman Peter Walker), which were focused on a police constable in the 1960s who came to Aidensfield, in order to serve the local community and solve crimes that took place on his new patch. Much of the characters and locations in the Constable series were directly used for creating the setting and plots in Heartbeat, under guidance from Rhea.

The series was originally intended as a launch platform for actor Nick Berry, following his involvement on the BBC's soap drama EastEnders, who alongside actress Niamh Cusack, were the prominent main actors of the programme for its first two series. Storylines mainly focused around both their characters, as they offered aid to those around the village and beyond, though the tone of plots were portrayed with grittiness and social realism. From the third series onwards, the role of the village policeman continued to be central to the storyline, but supporting actors were redefined as the programme's main cast, with their characters elevated in presence, effectively evolving Heartbeat into an ensemble drama that was themed as more cosy and comfortable compared to more modern TV police dramas. The changes were more notable by how supporting actors gained more prominence in the opening titles after being elevated into the series' main cast – up until the fifth series, both Berry and Cusack were prominently featured in the opening credits, but this changed in later series, that by the seventh series, all actors in the main cast were given proper credit for their involvement in the drama series.

After the fifth series storylines became less centralized around the village constable, focusing on separate storylines that retained a set structure within episodes: one focusing on a crime solved by the village constable and his colleagues at Ashfordly police one focused on a medical issue that the village doctor and/or nurse would treat and a side story focused on the programme's "lovable rogue" character which mainly was designed as comic relief, but sometimes featured light-hearted plots delving in heart-warming moments. In addition, over-arching storylines covering several episodes or even series, provided sub-plots between main characters, allowing for character and relationship development between them, with additional characters added in over time one particular addition was David Lonsdale, who was given a role in the cast under the character he portrayed in an earlier episode. Following Berry's departure from the programme during the seventh series, Heartbeat saw the cast receive changes throughout its history, taking over prominent roles focused on the three storyline themes it employed in episodes.

Sixties pop music features prominently in episodes, forming the backbone of Heartbeat ' s soundtrack, although music from other decades sometimes is played in episodes. Some 1970s records appear anachronistically, such as the Hollies' 1974 song "The Air That I Breathe", Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" (1971) or Pink Floyd's 1971 instrumental "One of These Days." The series 17 finale "You Never Can Tell" is accompanied by the Flying Pickets' 1983 song "Only You", an episode which featured a guest appearance by the band's lead singer Brian Hibbard.

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11010 April 1992 ( 1992-04-10 ) 12 June 1992 ( 1992-06-12 )
21018 April 1993 ( 1993-04-18 ) 20 June 1993 ( 1993-06-20 )
3103 October 1993 ( 1993-10-03 ) 5 December 1993 ( 1993-12-05 )
4164 September 1994 ( 1994-09-04 ) 25 December 1994 ( 1994-12-25 )
5153 September 1995 ( 1995-09-03 ) 10 December 1995 ( 1995-12-10 )
6171 September 1996 ( 1996-09-01 ) 25 December 1996 ( 1996-12-25 )
72431 August 1997 ( 1997-08-31 ) 22 February 1998 ( 1998-02-22 )
8246 September 1998 ( 1998-09-06 ) 28 February 1999 ( 1999-02-28 )
92426 September 1999 ( 1999-09-26 ) 5 March 2000 ( 2000-03-05 )
102422 October 2000 ( 2000-10-22 ) 8 April 2001 ( 2001-04-08 )
112428 October 2001 ( 2001-10-28 ) 14 April 2002 ( 2002-04-14 )
12256 October 2002 ( 2002-10-06 ) 18 May 2003 ( 2003-05-18 )
13257 September 2003 ( 2003-09-07 ) 6 June 2004 ( 2004-06-06 )
14265 September 2004 ( 2004-09-05 ) 5 June 2005 ( 2005-06-05 )
152611 September 2005 ( 2005-09-11 ) 2 July 2006 ( 2006-07-02 )
162429 October 2006 ( 2006-10-29 ) 5 August 2007 ( 2007-08-05 )
172411 November 2007 ( 2007-11-11 ) 28 September 2008 ( 2008-09-28 )
182412 October 2008 ( 2008-10-12 ) 12 September 2010 ( 2010-09-12 )

Special programmes Edit

The following is a list of specials made for Heartbeat, most of which were behind-the-scene documentaries. All were later included in DVD boxsets for specific series of the programme:


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The development of television systems

The dream of seeing distant places is as old as the human imagination. Priests in ancient Greece studied the entrails of birds, trying to see in them what the birds had seen when they flew over the horizon. They believed that their gods, sitting in comfort on Mount Olympus, were gifted with the ability to watch human activity all over the world. And the opening scene of William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, Part 1 introduces the character Rumour, upon whom the other characters rely for news of what is happening in the far corners of England.

For ages it remained a dream, and then television came along, beginning with an accidental discovery. In 1872, while investigating materials for use in the transatlantic cable, English telegraph worker Joseph May realized that a selenium wire was varying in its electrical conductivity. Further investigation showed that the change occurred when a beam of sunlight fell on the wire, which by chance had been placed on a table near the window. Although its importance was not realized at the time, this happenstance provided the basis for changing light into an electric signal.

In 1880 a French engineer, Maurice LeBlanc, published an article in the journal La Lumière électrique that formed the basis of all subsequent television. LeBlanc proposed a scanning mechanism that would take advantage of the retina’s temporary but finite retainment of a visual image. He envisaged a photoelectric cell that would look upon only one portion at a time of the picture to be transmitted. Starting at the upper left corner of the picture, the cell would proceed to the right-hand side and then jump back to the left-hand side, only one line lower. It would continue in this way, transmitting information on how much light was seen at each portion, until the entire picture was scanned, in a manner similar to the eye reading a page of text. A receiver would be synchronized with the transmitter, reconstructing the original image line by line.

The concept of scanning, which established the possibility of using only a single wire or channel for transmission of an entire image, became and remains to this day the basis of all television. LeBlanc, however, was never able to construct a working machine. Nor was the man who took television to the next stage: Paul Nipkow, a German engineer who invented the scanning disk. Nipkow’s 1884 patent for an Elektrisches Telescop was based on a simple rotating disk perforated with an inward-spiraling sequence of holes. It would be placed so that it blocked reflected light from the subject. As the disk rotated, the outermost hole would move across the scene, letting through light from the first “line” of the picture. The next hole would do the same thing slightly lower, and so on. One complete revolution of the disk would provide a complete picture, or “scan,” of the subject.

This concept was eventually used by John Logie Baird in Britain (see the photograph ) and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States to build the world’s first successful televisions. The question of priority depends on one’s definition of television. In 1922 Jenkins sent a still picture by radio waves, but the first true television success, the transmission of a live human face, was achieved by Baird in 1925. (The word television itself had been coined by a Frenchman, Constantin Perskyi, at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.)

The efforts of Jenkins and Baird were generally greeted with ridicule or apathy. As far back as 1880 an article in the British journal Nature had speculated that television was possible but not worthwhile: the cost of building a system would not be repaid, for there was no way to make money out of it. A later article in Scientific American thought there might be some uses for television, but entertainment was not one of them. Most people thought the concept was lunacy.

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Dulce Sloan

Dulcé Sloan has been a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" since 2017, and her half-hour "Comedy Central Presents" stand-up special premiered in 2019. She was also added to the cast of the upcoming animated FOX series "The Great North," joining an ensemble of comedy heavyweights including Jenny Slate, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Paul Rust. The series, from the creators of FOX's hit animated show "Bob's Burgers," will premiere in 2020. She appears opposite Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne and Alec Baldwin in the indie comedy "Chick Fight," currently in post-production. She can also be seen on OWN's four-part series "Black Women OWN the Conversation."

The new cultural landscape

CBS was the first of the three networks to radically overhaul its program schedule, eliminating several shows that were still delivering very high ratings. Such CBS hits as The Jim Nabors Hour (CBS, 1969–71), Mayberry R.F.D., and Hee-Haw were all in the top 30 the year they were canceled by the network. The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres were also eliminated at the end of the 1970–71 season, and not a single rural comedy was left on CBS, the network that had based much of its competitive dominance in the 1960s on that genre.

Even before 1971, however, more-diverse programming had gradually been introduced to network TV, most notably on NBC. The Bill Cosby Show (1969–71), Julia (1968–71), and The Flip Wilson Show (1970–74) were among the first programs to feature African Americans in starring roles since the stereotyped presentations of Amos ’n’ Andy and Beulah (ABC, 1950–53). Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was proving, as had The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (CBS, 1967–69) a few seasons earlier, that even the soon-to-be-moribund variety-show format could deliver new and contemporary messages. Dramatic series such as The Mod Squad (ABC, 1968–73), The Bold Ones (NBC, 1969–73), and The Young Lawyers (ABC, 1970–71) injected timely social issues into traditional genres featuring doctors, lawyers, and the police. In another development, 60 Minutes (CBS, begun 1968) fashioned the modern newsmagazine into a prime-time feature.

Although 60 Minutes would rank in the Nielsen top 20 (including five seasons as number one) for more than 25 years after it settled into its Sunday night time slot in 1975, the other aforementioned innovative shows were off the air by 1974. They represented, nevertheless, the future of network entertainment television. In canceling many of its hit shows after the 1970–71 season, CBS had identified and reacted to an important new industrial trend. As the 1970s approached, advertisers had become increasingly sensitive to the demographic makeup of their audience, and the ratings services were developing new methods of obtaining more detailed demographic data. As television marketing grew in sophistication, advertisers began to target young audiences, who tended to be heavy consumers and who tended to be more susceptible to commercial messages. In 1970 these audiences also tended to be intensely interested in the cultural, social, and political upheaval of the times. CBS responded to advertisers with a new vision that—despite the high ratings of its older shows—aimed at a youthful audience.

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