See me? I’m awkward.
The guy I’m with is Nguyen Duc Soat, former CoS of the Vietnamese Peoples Army. And, he flew the MiG-21 in the background. He’s credited with 6 victories against American airplanes during the Vietnamese war.
So, I’m at General Soat’s golf club (see the nets in the background? I’ll explain later…) and drinking too much wine, eating too much food…and having as many laughs as my interpreter can translate when Gen Soat puts his hand on my shoulder and says (through the interpreter), “You Americans have got to get past the (Vietnam) war.”
I was stunned. For one, he was right. For two, I wondered what that meant.
Since then, I’ve spent a significant (for me) time in Vietnam and have met a number of “old guys” of their air force. It’s weird to look at a former enemy and realize they may, today, be friends. But, truth be told, the experience is profound and good. General Soat is a class act, gentleman and successful student of the art of leadership.
I hope this story is not over…but we’ll see.