“There’s been five big fights in my lifetime, and our guest has been in three of the big ones and a whole bunch of the little ones,” said Gen. Larry Taylor, who introduced Singlaub as the speaker at the Vietnam Veterans Business Association’s monthly luncheon Tuesday at the Retreat of Dunwoody.
Of the three wars, Singlaub said, “The Vietnam experience was one of the most interesting ones that I had.”
The Franklin, Tenn., resident earned 45 military awards during his years of service in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1977, including a Silver Star Medal, Soldiers Medal and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Singlaub said the best thing for a young man to do in the military is to “follow the sound of the cannon.”
“Go to the battlefield, solve the problems on the battlefield and if you survive, your career will take care of itself,” he said.
However, Singlaub said he is “absolutely opposed” to the idea of allowing women to “weaken our military forces.”
He said he was called a “chauvinist pig” at a meeting with the secretary of army’s staff during a conversation about co-ed combat training and service.
“Where they trained women in combat, they learned male soldiers were losing place of duty unguarded to find out where their female partner was,” Singlaub said. “The whole concept of a gentler, more friendly army does not have much basis and logic historically on record.”
Additionally, Singlaub said his experience with the media has been unpleasant.
Most recently, “Operation Tailwind” was what he calls a “media firestorm.”
It occurred in the late ’90s when CNN broadcasted a story about when, during the Vietnam War, Singlaub sent a team into Laos to take pressure off the guerilla battalions formed by the CIA inside Laos.
“It was an incredibly important mission. … Our team went from Vietnam over the border directly inside,” Singlaub said. “It was reported to have been a disaster. … It was totally false. CNN had created a story that I was using illegal sarin gas on a regular basis,” Singlaub said, who filed a lawsuit against CNN as a result.
“We did use tear gas in some areas inside Vietnam and it causes people to have an unpleasant reaction,” Singlaub said. “But CNN put on this elaborate story.”
Although he added he does not like to generalize, Singlaub said he has learned to never trust the media because it is “endangering the security of this country.”
After an investigation of CNN revealed false accusations, the Department of the Army awarded his command a Presidential Unit Citation.