Vietnam War: The Early Years, 1965-1967. The guerrilla died in a foxhole following a battle between a battalion of South Vietnamese Marines and a unit of Viet Cong. Note the attacking Skyhawk in the lower right and one directly left of the explosions on the bridge. Wounded and shocked civilian survivors of Dong Xoai crawl out of a fort bunker on June 6, 1965, where they survived murderous ground fighting and air bombardments of the previous two days. A slideshow of my tour of duty in Vietnam with 1st Sig Bg at Lang Bian Mountain, Cam Ranh Bay. Funeral services were held at the Saigon Airport with U.S. In 1965-1967 the demand for field artillery officers with highly professional skills in the Vietnam War finally caused the Army and the Continental Army Command to reorganize the artillery. Meet Woman Guard Member Driving 'Wrecker' In D.C. A Viet Cong fighter in Vietnam in an undated photo. The singing group the “Korean Kittens” appear on stage at Cu Chi, Vietnam, during the Bob Hope USO Christmas show, to entertain U.S. troops of the 25th Infantry Division. Seven Americans were killed in the attacks. Controversy about the use of Agent Orange erupted in 1969 when reports appeared that the chemical caused serious damage to humans as well as to plants. THE PILOT AT WORK . The guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett fires its Mark 38 25mm machine gun during a live-fire exercise. The helicopter crashed and exploded on a hill, killing one crewman and 12 Marines. The 9th Viet Cong Division launched an attack on the South Vietnamese outpost at Loc Ninh on Oct. 29. On 28 July, Johnson announced that 50,000 U.S. troops would go to South Vietnam immediately. Military police, reinforced by Army troops, throw back anti-war demonstrators as they tried to storm a mall entrance doorway at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 1967. A consensus formed among Johnson’s advisers that the United States would have to initiate air warfare against North Vietnam. A napalm strike erupts in a fireball near U.S. troops on patrol in South Vietnam in 1966. In 1967, Westmoreland made his big push to win the war. After six infantry, armor and cavalry battalions sealed the 40-square-mile area on January 9, 1967, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11th ACR) attacked west of Ben Cat. Lieutenant Commander Donald D. Sheppard, of Coronado, California, aims a flaming arrow at a bamboo hut concealing a fortified Viet Cong bunker on the banks of the Bassac River, Vietnam, on December 8, 1967. Johnson’s choice of gradual escalation of bombing and incremental troop deployments was based upon the concept of limited warfare. She was being led away after interrogation, clothes soaked from the “waterprobe” on October 29, 1966. Sergeant Ronald Payne, 21, of Atlanta, Georgia, emerges from a Viet Cong tunnel holding his silencer-equipped revolver with which he fired at guerrillas fleeing ahead of him underground. Monthly draft calls increased from 17,000 to 35,000 to meet manpower needs, and deficit spending, with its inherent inflationary impact, funded the escalation. The buildup of formal U.S. military units had begun on 8 March 1965, when two battalions of Marines landed at Da Nang. Within a week, the administration began ROLLING THUNDER, a gradually intensifying air bombardment of military bases, supply depots, and infiltration routes in North Vietnam. She was taken back to the Australian headquarters where she told under sharp interrogation (which included a “waterprobe”; see her wet clothes after the interrogation) that she worked as a Viet Cong nurse in the village of Hoa Long and had been in the tunnel for 10 days. In July 1972 this group formed the basis for the US Army Criminal Investigation Centre, Vietnam Field Office. Throughout his administration, Johnson insisted that the only possible negotiated settlement of the conflict would be one in which North Vietnam recognized the legitimacy of South Vietnam’s government. Although doubts existed about these reports, the president ordered retaliatory air strikes against the North Vietnamese port of Vinh. On the night of 2 August, North Vietnamese gunboats fired on the USS Maddox, a destroyer on an intelligence‐collecting mission, in the same area of the Gulf of Tonkin where South Vietnamese commandos were conducting raids against the North Vietnamese coast. V. FROM TET TO STAND-DOWN. In July 1955, Diem rejected the national election, claiming South Vietnam was not bound by the Geneva Accords. Thousands attend a rally on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington on April 17, 1965, to hear Ernest Gruening, a Democratic senator from Alaska, and other speakers discuss U.S. policy in Vietnam. The president wanted to concentrate on his ambitious domestic program, the Great Society, but his political instincts told him that his leadership would be damaged fatally if America’s client state in South Vietnam succumbed. U.S. forces killed many enemy soldiers and destroyed large amounts of supplies. Despite incredible losses, the Vietcong still controlled many areas. In June, Marine and army units began offensive unit operations—“search and destroy” missions. In 1967, the Army leadership in Saigon advocated that the Marines concentrate their efforts on large unit search and destroy operations. The Buildup of 1967 Riverine Operations Dak To The 54th and the Kelly Tradition Dust Off Wins Its First Medal of Honor Dust Off in the Saddle . Right: The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C, Vietnam, in 1966. Throughout 1964, the United States assisted South Vietnam in covert operations to gather intelligence, disseminate propaganda, and harass the North. In January, Operation Cedar Falls was a 30,000‐man assault on the Iron Triangle, an enemy base area forty miles north of Saigon. North Vietnam infiltrated troops and matériel into South Vietnam by sea and along the so‐called Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Infantry operations. 1st Infantry Division operations in Binh Guong Province that extended to include the Loc Ninh area of Bình Long Province after PAVN/VC attacks on Loc Ninh on 29 October 1967. Johnson’s decisive but restrained response to the Gulf of Tonkin incidents helped him win the 1964 election, but Saigon’s prospects continued to decline. Under the terms of Geneva Accords, France agreed to withdraw its troops from Indochina while Vietnam was temporarily divided into North and South Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh and Bao Dai respectively, at the 17th parallel. Recognizing the interdependence of political, economic, sociological, and military factors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that American military objectives should be to cause North Vietnam to cease its control and support of the insurgency in South Vietnam and Laos, to assist South Vietnam in defeating Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in Sout… From February through April, Operation Junction City was an even larger attack on nearby War Zone C. There was major fighting in the Central Highlands, climaxing in the battle of Dak To in November 1967. From the beginning of the bombing, American strategists debated the effectiveness of air power in defeating a political insurgency in a predominantly agricultural country. A. On 14 July 1965, the Commandant of the Marine Corps issued Marine Corps Order 5750.2 (MCO 5750.2), which The NLF continued to exercise more effective control in many areas than did the government, and Vietcong guerrillas, who often disappeared when U.S. forces entered an area, quickly reappeared when the Americans left. On May 07, 1954, Viet Minh forces won the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and ended French involvement in Indochina. The rally followed picketing of the White House by students demanding an end to Vietnam fighting. By the end of the year, there were 184,300 U.S. personnel in the South. In June, a monk dramatically burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection. Through much of November, in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, U.S. and North Vietnamese forces engaged each other in heavy combat for the first time. They were brought in by government troops from a village where they were used as labor force by communist Viet Cong forces. A father holds the body of his child as South Vietnamese Army Rangers look down from their armored vehicle on March 19, 1964. In October, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the PAVN commander, launched a major offensive in the Central Highlands, southwest of Pleiku. Right: Army nurse 2nd Lieutenant Roberta “Bertie” Steele in South Vietnam, on February 9, 1966. The White House had expected that some type of incident would occur eventually, and it had prepared the text of a congressional resolution authorizing the president to use armed force to protect U.S. forces and to deter further aggression from North Vietnam. The “Eagle Flight” choppers were loaded with Vietnamese airborne troops who were dropped in to support ground forces at the first sign of enemy contact. There are many security checkpoints around the Capitol, and as you can see behind me, they are armed. First, they feared that the general elections would not be fair and free under the communists’ influence. Several third countries, such as Poland and Great Britain, offered proposals intended to facilitate negotiations. Marines wade ashore with heavy equipment at first light at Red Beach near Da Nang in Saigon on April 10, 1965. August 3rd: Operation Prairie. Poe had already fought in the US Marine Corps in World War II, and later joined the CIA and served in Korea and in several secret US wars. Consequently, he relied on other means. Under U.S. guidance, the Diem government also began construction of “strategic hamlets.” These fortified villages were intended to insulate rural Vietnamese from Vietcong intimidation and propaganda. American troops found 100-degree temperatures a tough part of the job. Two nights later, under stormy conditions, the Maddox and another destroyer, the Turner Joy, reported a gunboat attack. Without such recognition, the United States would continue to provide Saigon as much help as it needed to survive. The Montagnards, dark-skinned tribesmen numbering about 700,000, live in the highlands of central Vietnam. General Wallace M. Greene Jr., a Marine Corps commandant, after a visit to the area, authorized light short-sleeved uniforms as aid to troops’ comfort. General elections were to be held within two years, by July 1956, to unify the country. IV. The “Buddhist crisis” and dissatisfaction with Diem by top Vietnamese Army leaders made U.S. officials receptive to the idea of a change in South Vietnam’s leadership. A diplomatic resolution of the conflict remained elusive. Thus, Westmoreland chose a strategy of attrition in the South. A man brews tea while a U.S. Marine examines a pinup in Vietnam in September of 1967. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. A South Vietnamese Marine, severely wounded in a Viet Cong ambush, is comforted by a comrade in a sugar-cane field at Duc Hoa, about 12 miles from Saigon, on August 5, 1963. Remembering the Vietnam War 50 Years Later: The U. S. Mobile Riverine Force Succeeds in Operations Coronado Monday, February 26, 2018 In the jungles of Vietnam, American forces battled the North Vietnamese Army and their Allies, the Viet Cong, an unrelenting enemy with both regular army … The Operations Database includes over 1300 operations, but does not include every operation conducted during the course of the war. The infantrymen who explored the complex are known as “Tunnel Rats.” They were called out of the tunnels on January 21, and nauseating gas was pumped in. The vast majority of the documents in this series were created between 1965 and 1979. Risks of a wider war with China and the Soviet Union meant that the United States would not go all out to annihilate North Vietnam. Prior to this, on 3 November 1966, a provisional MP Group (Criminal Investigation) had been formed to charge control of all criminal investigations within the Vietnam theatre with the exception of the Saigon metropolitan area. To stave off defeat, the JCS endorsed Westmoreland’s request for 150,000 U.S. troops to take the ground offensive in the South. An American officer serving with the South Vietnam forces poses with group of Montagnards in front of one of their provisionary huts in a military camp in central Vietnam on November 17, 1962. Late May 1967 In the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, Americans intercept North Vietnamese Army units moving in from Cambodia. Second and most importantly, if the communists won in Vietnam, communism could spread throughout Southeast Asia and become a greater threat to the U.S. The U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, reinforced the base. (U.S. Army photo) ''I've seen atrocities in Vietnam that make Tiger Force look like Sunday school,'' Doyle told the New York Times. MACV declared vast areas to be “free‐fire zones,” which meant that U.S. and ARVN artillery and tactical aircraft, as well as B‐52 “carpet bombing,” could target anyone or anything in the area. By the spring of 1964, the Vietcong controlled vast areas of South Vietnam, the strategic hamlet program had essentially ceased, and North Vietnam’s aid to the southern insurgents had grown. A Vietnamese litter bearer wears a face mask to keep out the smell as he passes the bodies of U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers killed in fighting against the Viet Cong at the Michelin rubber plantation, about 45 miles northeast of Saigon, on November 27, 1965. The government was trying to win their alliance in its war with the Viet Cong. operations against the Viet Cong. With U.S. aid, the ARVN also expanded to eleven divisions, supplemented by local and irregular units. In 1965, U.S. aircraft flew 25,000 sorties against North Vietnam, and that number grew to 79,000 in 1966 and 108,000 in 1967. Following through on that commitment, American aid to South Vietnam began as early as in January, 1955. By early 1955, Diem had consolidated his power and control over South Vietnam. In Berkeley-Oakland City, California, demonstrators march against the war in Vietnam in December of 1965. Four days after Kennedy’s death, Johnson, now president, reaffirmed in National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 273 that the U.S. goal was to assist South Vietnam in its “contest against the externally directed and supported communist conspiracy.” U.S. policy defined the Vietnam War as North Vietnamese aggression against South Vietnam. A six month operation against NVA forces located south of the demilitarised zone. A strategic air command B-52 bomber with externally mounted, 750-pound bombs heads toward its target about 56 miles northwest of Saigon near Tay Ninh on November 2, 1965. Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, burns himself to death on a Saigon street on June 11, 1963, to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. Despite the American bombs, dollars, and military advisers, the Vietcong continued to inflict heavy casualties on the ARVN, and the political situation in Saigon grew worse. The JCS wanted a mobilization of the reserves and National Guard, and McNamara proposed levying war taxes. The battery was involved in 17 major operations before their withdrawal in May 1971. Gaynor, now 70, spent more than a year in Vietnam between 1967 and 1968, taking photographs as he went. Pedestrians cross the destroyed Hue Bridge in Hue, Vietnam, in an undated photo. William Doyle, center, in soft-brimmed hat, received a medal at Phan Rang in November, 1967. In addition to ground combat, the Marines Corps provided air support from helicopter squadrons and fixed-wing aircrafts striking targets in South and North Vietnam. Late in 1967, with 485,600 U.S. troops in Vietnam, Westmoreland announced that, although much fighting remained, a cross‐over point had arrived in the war of attrition; that is, the losses to the NVA and Vietcong were greater than they could replace. It doesn't exist officially. A U.S. Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter comes down in flames after being hit by enemy ground fire during Operation Hastings, just south of the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam, on July 15, 1966. The Australians did not believe her because she seemed to lack any medical knowledge. In 1967 annual bombing tonnage reached almost a quarter million. A trooper of the U.S. 1st cavalry division aims a flamethrower at the mouth of cave in An Lao Valley in South Vietnam, on April 14, 1967, after the Viet Cong group hiding in it were warned to emerge. Smoke rises from wreckage in background. However, the accords apparently did not please the United States. Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost and tactical center south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. In a letter to Ngo Dinh Diem – the new Prime Minister of the Bao Dai government on October 23, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower promised American support to his government to ensure a non-communist Vietnam. With South Vietnam’s forces assigned primarily to occupation, pacification, and security duties, massive U.S. combat sweeps moved to locate and destroy the enemy. Flying out of bases in Thailand, U.S. Air Force fighter‐bombers—primarily F‐105 Thunderchiefs and later F‐4 Phantoms—joined U.S. Navy Phantoms and A‐4 Skyhawks from a powerful carrier task force located at a point called Yankee Station, seventy‐five miles off the North Vietnamese coast in the Gulf of Tonkin. FORT BRAGG, N.C., - Today marks the 55th anniversary of the activation of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) in the Republic of Vietnam. 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