The big news on this particularly day in October of 1945 was the seemingly nationwide outbreak of labor disputes and strikes, the most prominent being the one at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. And there were reports of undergound groups in Germany forming a sort of insurgency against Allied occupation forces. But the ominous news came somewhat buried in the middle of this newscast by way of a shortwave report from Tokyo. The reporter, Guthrie Jansen of NBC asked a pilot about the news there may be commercial airline routes to Indo-China:
Mark Magnin (B-17 Pilot): “Believe me, after walkin’ on flak over Germany I didn’t much appreciate getting’ shot at by the natives. And bein’ protected by Japs, of all people, in a fight to kick the French out of Indo-China . . .
Guthrie Jansen (NBC News): “I didn’t like getting shot at either Mark, but most people say that we haven’t got anything to do with that fight . . . .”
Magnin: “The heck we haven’t. Didn’t you see those American (garbled) cars the British were using? We were in a fight all right, and providing the ordinance. And those people forget Jan, that hundreds of American airmen fought over these areas, got shot down and died, or rotted in prison camps because we had to defend these areas . .
Jansen:” Right Mark, we did die defending them. It’s something few Americans realize that what we do affects what happens in Indo-China. And what happens there affects us.
Magnin: “Hold it Jan, that’s politics and it’s too deep for me. As an Airman, I’m interested in the airlines we’re going to run after the war.”
Yes Jan, that was politics and we were busy being distracted by our domestic situation. But it goes to show our involvement in Vietnam goes way back and commercial airline routes were just part of the bigger scheme of things.