An episode of a British television series focusing on the Vietnam
War includes interviews with a University of Southern Mississippi
history professor and a Vietnam veteran from Picayune.
Wiest, an expert in military history, and John Young, who served
two and a half tours of duty with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam,
will be featured in "Vietnam's Bloody Secret," an episode
of the Granada Television series "Battlefield Detectives."
The episode is scheduled to air on the History Channel this fall.
a course on the Vietnam War and has led an award-winning Southern
Miss study abroad-program to Vietnam, which is facilitated by the
Southern Miss Center for International and Continuing Education.
Young has traveled with students on the study abroad-program and
is a regular speaker in Wiest's Vietnam class, recounting his experiences
as a soldier during the war.
programs and documentaries about war, the "Battlefield Detective"
series takes a unique perspective, Wiest said. "What they try
to do is use 'modern-day detectives,' whether they be scientists
or historians, and take them to the battlefield to scientifically
test theories about what went on there," he said.
the program examines Vietnamese reaction to American technological
advantages in the war, including its air power and use of the chemical
weapon Agent Orange. A complex system of underground tunnels served
as protection for both civilians and soldiers for much of the war,
including at Cu Chi, the site of one of the more famous tunnel systems,
you would have entire battalions living underground for about 10
years during the war," he said.
studied the weapons used by soldiers to determine which side had
an advantage in the field, another aspect of the scientific approach
used in the documentary. "They tested infantry weapons like
our M-16 and the AK-47 used by the Vietcong and compared them for
durability and accuracy."
Ho Chi Minh trail, used as a supply line by the North Vietnamese,
was also examined, Wiest said. "We know a lot about it (the
trail) from what we have read in books, and it's enshrined in history
and myth, but they sent someone to see how it functioned, how it
worked. That's the difference between this documentary and others."
Wiest was interviewed
for the series episode last year at the Granada Television studios
in Manchester, England, while he was leading a group of students
in the British Studies program. In addition to being interviewed,
he has also acted as a consultant, providing expert advice about
battle sites in Vietnam, along with other information about the
producers pursued an interview with Young after seeing him in a
video of the Southern Miss Vietnam Studies program. "They saw
him as someone that they had to have for their program," Wiest
Granada Television flew Young from Mississippi to England and taped
interviews with him during his four-day visit.
like John bring their insight into the war and then they (television
producers) blend that with science," Wiest said. "He (Young)
put the reality into it (the program). When they talk about search-and-destroy
missions, he puts a face on the battles in this documentary."
Young has been
involved in the Southern Miss Vietnam Studies program for seven
years, and recently returned from his fifth trip to the country.
proud to be a part of this program at Southern Miss," he said.
"It's great to see it get this kind of publicity in this television
In his many
trips back to Vietnam, Young said he has seen much progress in the
land he left behind as a soldier, despite the absence of a democratic
has been serious improvements made to the infrastructure of Vietnam,"
he said, citing the construction of new roads and bridges, among
other improvements. "Plus, everyone there is involved in some
kind of business. Capitalism is rampant, but the government is still
Miss Vietnam Studies Program received the American Council of Higher
Education Distinguished Credit Program Award last year.
(documentary featuring Wiest and Young) is testament to Dr. Wiest's
internationally recognized stature as a scholar of military history,
and particularly, the Vietnam War," said Susan Steen, director
of the Southern Miss CICE. "The Vietnam Studies Program was
created through collaboration with John Young and other veterans.
Mr. Young has served as an invaluable resource for students and
professors alike since the program's beginning. Through John Young's
and Andrew Wiest's efforts, a new generation of students is coming
to understand the war's impact on not only the United States and
Vietnam, but the veterans themselves."