I took a short family holiday to Vietnam over the Ramadan holidays and on the schedule was a visit to the War Remnants Musuem in Ho Chi Minh City. Before normalization of relations with the US, this museum was called “Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression”. Ahhh Vietnam, not burying the lead at all. Anyway, the military geek in me was excited.
The Musuem is 3 floors with different sections. On the main court are captured American equipment filled with aircraft and ground armored vehicles. Of note to me is the wrongly applied markings on the F-5A as it was flown by the South Vietnamese Air Force and not the USAF.
As I was in a guided tour and had limited time, I was specifically led into 2 rooms only: the Agent Orange exhibit and a photographic exhibit of horrible acts the US enacted on Vietnam. The photos are graphic and disturbing and going for maximum impact. Off the top of my head there were photos from effects of Agent Orange, the My Lai Massacre, photos of villagers ran over by tanks and mass executions and graves. None of them censored and accompanied by damning descriptions. It’s a lot to take in. Taking center stage was also the famous photo of Napalm Girl. One particular curious exhibit was a piece of fuselage from (purportedly) a downed B-52 Stratofortress.
There was also a gallery where they showed captured small arms. Interestingly, there were FN FALs (which are Belgian) and UZIs (Israeli) on display. Of interest to me are what looks to be field modified M79 grenade launcher and a (to me) unknown grenade launcher with heat shield attached to an M-16.
There are a lot more displays that I didn’t have time to see. If I ever come back to Vietnam I’ll definitely visit this place again. It’s a worthwhile visit for anyone interested in military history. As to the perspective being shown here, I’ll just say that history is written by the winners. But I think both sides would agree that war is hell.