CBS network officials are facing outrage after an episode of The Amazing Race used the wreckage of a downed US bomber in Vietnam as a reality-show prop.

Last Sunday's episode of the globetrotting reality show, hosted by expat Kiwi Phil Keoghan, was set in Hanoi and featured contestants racing around the wreckage of a B-52 bomber shot down during the Vietnam War and displayed in the Vietnamese capital as a "memorial". Two American airmen died.

Contestants sat under a portrait of communist leader Ho Chi Minh and listened to a concert by a group of young people who sang a patriotic song with lyrics like "Vietnam Communist party is glorious ... Socialism is growing more beautiful with time. Follow the party's step."

The segment was only part of Sunday's episode but drew fire from the American Legion, whose national commander demanded an apology from CBS.


"The show is called The Amazing Race but I call it 'The Amazing Gall'," national Commander James E Koutz said in the letter reported by the New York Post. He called the segment a "disgraceful slap-in-the face for American war heroes" and also scolded CBS for showing the Vietnamese singers.

Fox News' co-host of The Five, Bob Beckel, also demanded an apology.

"Do you realise, CBS, there were four Americans that went down with that plane?" Beckel said on the show which aired Thursday night . "Two of them died."

CBS did not respond.