Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is trying to send a message during a weeklong trip to the Asia-Pacific region: The U.S. is back.
Panetta continues Monday to Vietnam, where he's hoping to build stronger defense ties. The trip began Sunday with a historic return to a key crossroads of the Vietnam War: Cam Ranh Bay.
Panetta boarded a little ferry boat Sunday in the beautiful natural harbor north of Ho Chi Minh City. On board, he asked about his destination: the USNS Richard E. Byrd, a big supply ship docked on the other side of the bay.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is on a week-long trip to Asia, with stops in Singapore, Vietnam and India. As NPR's Larry Abramson tells host Rachel Martin, Panetta's trip highlights the Pentagon's new strategic focus on China and the Pacific.
Vietnam veterans never got the homecoming many feel they deserved. On Monday, a group of veterans, the Department of Defense and others will begin the first of many ceremonies to honor those who served and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. Events will be planned over the next 13 years, concluding with the fall of Saigon. Many will gather Monday at the Vietnam Memorial Wall for a wreath ceremony, including President Obama.
The unlikely bond between a nurse and one of her many patients began at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Ann Remington was with her brother, Army pilot Scott Saboe, when he got a POW/MIA bracelet — on it, the name of an Army airman who went missing in action in Vietnam. Scott died a few months later when his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. Ann found the bracelet in his things and kept it. Years later, the nurse was interviewing a new patient, World War II veteran Ted Soyland, and the name sounded familiar.