In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, and in salute to all Americans who proudly and bravely served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, America Remembers proudly announces the Tet 50th Anniversary Tribute Pistol. For this historic Tribute, we selected a working Colt® Government Model® pistol in caliber .45 ACP, a classic military firearm, and a trusted sidearm during the Vietnam War. Only 1,000 Tributes will be issued in this exclusive edition. The artwork on the Tribute features banners and artwork highlighting important battles and scenes from the Tet Offensive. Craftsmen commissioned specifically for this project by America Remembers decorate each pistol in sparkling 24-karat gold and gleaming nickel, with blackened patinaed highlights to accentuate the details of the artwork.
On the slide, you’ll find six important battles of the Tet Offensive. On the left side, you’ll find a banner reading Hue, Khe Sanh and Saigon. On the right side, you’ll see Da Nang, Quang Tri and Bien Hoa. Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam and the surprise attacks on Saigon during the first night included an attempt to overrun the US Embassy and to capture the National Radio Station.
A Marine Corps Combat Base was located at Khe Sanh, which was located 14 miles south of the DMZ, and about 6 miles from the Laotian border and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. For months, the NVA had built up significant forces around Khe Sanh, far outnumbering Americans and South Vietnamese forces. During the Tet Offensive, the NVA subjected the base to day and night artillery bombardment and mortar and rocket fire, and cut off the overland supply route to the base. The base would remain under siege for more than two months. America responded with heavy air strikes against the NVA forces.
The imperial City of Hue was a cultural center in South Vietnam, and formerly the capital of a united Vietnam. It’s reported that in a 1966 strategy meeting with President Lyndon Johnson, General Westmoreland had expressed the importance of Hue to the South Vietnamese. He realized that if the NVA ever captured Hue, it would have profound psychological impact on the South Vietnamese. The leaders of North Vietnam also recognized this important point, and so Hue was a key target in their planning for the Tet Offensive.
The fighting in Hue was intense, and lasted for four weeks. The Marines and South Vietnamese forces had to fight building to building, street by street, to reclaim the city. Much of the city was destroyed and losses on both sides were high. Hue was the longest sustained infantry battle the war had seen up to that point.
Quang Tri City was a target of the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive. It was in the north of Vietnam and an important government headquarters. It was an important target in 1968, but the attack was quickly defeated by the South Vietnamese and American forces. It was a major defeat for the NVA, and an important victory for the allied forces.
Bien Hoa and Da Nang were home to major military air bases for the United States Army, Air Force, and Marines. They were both attacked at the start of the Tet Offensive, but attacks were turned back by the allied forces.
The artwork on the Tribute features battles scenes from urban settings, like Saigon and Hue. You’ll also see an image of the flag raising over the Thuong Tu Gate at the Citadel in Hue. When Hue was overrun by the Communist forces, they quickly replaced the South Vietnamese flag which flew at the Citadel with a huge Viet Cong banner. This banner could be seen throughout the city and was a daily reminder of the overthrow and occupation of this treasured Vietnamese city by the Viet Cong and the NVA. This scene shows a South Vietnam banner once again flying over the citadel after allied forces reclaimed the city on February 24, 1968.
On both sides of the slide, you’ll find crisscrossed M16 and M14 weapons used during the Tet Offensive, with the date 1968 between the rifles, and Tet Offensive scrolled at the top and Lest We Forget at the bottom, flanked by the familiar bamboo that was everywhere in Vietnam. Both sides of the slide also feature a banner that reads Tet Offensive January 1968, commemorating this pivotal period in the war.
The artwork on the right side includes an M48 tank. The M48 “Patton tanks” helped provide cover and firepower in the urban setting, as our troops reclaimed the cities, street by street.