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Ken Burns, Vietnam and willful blindness

 At the bottom of this article is the prelude written over one year ago to Ken Burns. 

In Episode 03 at 1:28:12 an error shows that Ken Burns and Associates can’t even get the most basic facts correct.

The voiceover says this “1st Cavalry Helicopters belonging to the 1st Battalion of the 7th Regiment George Armstrong Custer’s old outfit”.

As the saying goes where does one start?  The correct Military nomenclature is this for the 7th Cavalry, “1st Cavalry Division 3rd Brigade 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry. 

If you notice there is no word Regiment listed.  That’s because the term Regiment was lost in favor of Brigade for the 1st Cavalry Division.  Saying 1st Battalion of the 7th Regiment is wrong on many levels.  As mentioned above there is no Regiment for the 1st Cavalry Division.  Some might say what the big deal about Brigade vs Regiment since they are the same size.  Massachusetts is a Commonwealth not a State.  They are the same thing yet aren’t the same at all.

1st Battalion 7th Cavalry means just what it states, 1st Battalion and they have it as 1st Regiment.  They are wrong on two levels, Regiment is actually 1st Brigade and secondly it isn’t at the Brigade level but Battalion level.  A Brigade contains 3 Battalions and each Battalion contains 4 Companies.

That Ken Burns has this most basic fact wrong information gives a jaundiced eye towards all work that he’s ever done.  Ken Burns is a fan of Ambrose and that casts a whole new light on Ken Burns’ work too.

There is an article already written last year in connection with Episode 3 Vietnam at 1:25:43 when Galloway states he was on the ground at Plei Me.  Here is the link to that article Galloway and the Plei Me Incident

Two last bits about the PBS Burns’ Episode 3.  The first is they talk about X-Ray for 16:14 and Albany for: 28 seconds.  That would be like covering Gettysburg this way; July 1st for 10 minutes, July 2nd  for 10 minutes and :30 seconds for July 3, 1863.  The battle at Albany was much more intense and more were killed than the 14-16 battle for X-Ray.

The other point is did anyone notice that someone wasn’t mentioned at all in this episode about the Ia Drang campaign?  That says a lot right there don’t you think?


Brian N. Siddall

September 21, 2017

September 10, 2016 Article

Mr. Burns,

I have been trying to reach out to either yourself or one of your associates. I have heard from several sources that Joseph Galloway was working in some capacity with the Vietnam PBS special coming out in 2017.

Below is a quote from Galloway from Soldiers Army Magazine;

"I have no idea what Hollywood might be considering in the way of Vietnam War movies in the near future. My focus over the last couple of years has been on a Ken Burns production of a documentary history of that war of our youth. Burns’ Florentine Films is producing ten 2-hour episodes for that documentary which will air in November 2017 on PBS. I’ve been interviewed for the project and have consulted with them.

Last fall we went to Mr. Burns’ home in New Hampshire for a week, screening the “roughs” of every episode. They were, simply put, magnificent. I am confident that this documentary series on Vietnam will live up to the very high standards of every production Ken Burns has directed, beginning with his breathtaking Civil War History in 1991".

If Galloway really is working with Ken Burns' Production Company on this I would be shocked. Joseph Galloway's Book "We Were Soldiers Once" is mostly fiction.

Below are the links to the documentation showing Galloway's fabrications. I find it hard to believe that Ken Burns' Production Company did not due their due diligence about Galloway's book and articles.

Attached below is documentation;…

If Ken Burns' Production Company uses Galloway in the Vietnam Production it would call into question all of the work done by Ken Burns and PBS. With the documentation provided above it clearly shows that Galloway is a writer of fiction.

With the documentation provided above it clearly shows that Galloway is a writer of fiction.

Here is a link to the two Plumley articles done in October of 2015 as this is all part of the Galloway fabrications.

Brian Siddall


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