Smoke rises from wreckage in background. The fighting began there in late April 1967, with the so-called ‘hill fights’, and later expanded into the infamous 1968 Battle of Khe Sanh. 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. General elections were to be held within two years, by July 1956, to unify the country. The Operations Database includes over 1300 operations, but does not include every operation conducted during the course of the war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) favored a massive bombing campaign, but civilians in the State and Defense Departments preferred a gradual escalation. A nurse attempts to comfort a wounded U.S. Army soldier in a ward of the 8th army hospital at Nha Trang in South Vietnam on February 7, 1965. The government was trying to win their alliance in its war with the Viet Cong. The war was at a stalemate. Sgt. 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. A week-long US-Australian naval operation, to halt and intercept sea movement between North and South Vietnam. A U.S. Air Force Douglas A-1E Skyraider drops a white phosphorus bomb on a Viet Cong position in South Vietnam in 1966. The UH-1 Iroquois ("Huey") The Hoist Evacuation Missions Evacuation Problems Enemy Fire A Turning Point . FBI Conducting Massive Vetting Effort Ahead of Inauguration. 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 . American troops found 100-degree temperatures a tough part of the job. Increasingly, however, the U.S. effort focused on the North. The battle convinced the U.S. commander that “search and destroy” tactics using air mobility would work in accomplishing the attrition strategy. 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. Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, in March of 1965. On 1 November 1963, the generals seized power, and Diem and his unpopular brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were murdered. The woman was crouched over a World War II radio set. These were organized into seven divisions and other specialized airborne, armored, special forces, and logistical units. Flares from planes light a field covered with the dead and wounded of the ambushed battalion of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division in the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, on November 18, 1965, during a fierce battle that had been raging for days. Rick Holmes of C company, 2nd battalion, 503rd infantry, 173rd airborne brigade, sits down on January 3, 1966, in Vietnam. A diplomatic resolution of the conflict remained elusive. He has admitted to killing Vietnamese civilians. 2401 ADP Officer, PCM 6101 Accounting Officer 73D Accounting Specialist 225B ADA Command and Control Maintenance Technician 2110 Adjutant or Adjutant General 2120 Administrative Officer 71L Administrative Specialist Payne and others of the 196th light infantry brigade probed the massive tunnel in Hobo Woods, South Vietnam, on January 21, 1967, and found detailed maps and plans of the enemy. With the persuasion of a Viet Cong-made spear pressed against his throat, a captured Viet Cong guerrilla decided to talk to interrogators, telling them of a cache of Chinese grenades on March 28, 1965. operations against the Viet Cong. The critical military questions were how much U.S. assistance was enough and what form it should take. 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. On 14 July 1965, the Commandant of the Marine Corps issued Marine Corps Order 5750.2 (MCO 5750.2), which The soldier was one of more than 100 who were wounded during Viet Cong attacks on two U.S. military compounds at Pleiku, 240 miles north of Saigon. 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. Funeral services were held at the Saigon Airport with U.S. THE PILOT AT WORK . In July 1972 this group formed the basis for the US Army Criminal Investigation Centre, Vietnam Field Office. Soldiers Brave Cold-Weather Training at Fort McCoy, National Guardsman Defending Capitol Doubles as Music Teacher, U.S. Army Rolls Out the Latest Recruitment Campaign for Gen Z, Pentagon Authorizes National Guard Members in D.C. to Carry Weapons, Navy Destroyer Fires Its Mk 38 Machine Gun. She was being led away after interrogation, clothes soaked from the “waterprobe” on October 29, 1966. 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. Left: A Vietnamese child clings to his bound father who was rounded up as a suspected Viet Cong guerrilla during “Operation Eagle Claw” in the Bong Son area, 280 miles northeast of Saigon on February 17, 1966. Infantry operations. 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… Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, on January 1, 1966. They were brought in by government troops from a village where they were used as labor force by communist Viet Cong forces. 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. 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. It doesn't exist officially. IV. By June 1965, there had been five governments in the South since Diem’s death, and the newest regime, headed by General Nguyen Van Thieu and Air Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky, inspired little confidence. Nor does it necessarily include all … General William Westmoreland talks with troops of first battalion, 16th regiment of 2nd brigade of U.S. First Division at their positions near Bien Hoa in Vietnam, in 1965. The U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, reinforced the base. Flying low over the jungle, an A-1 Skyraider drops 500-pound bombs on a Viet Cong position below as smoke rises from a previous pass at the target, on December 26, 1964. There are many security checkpoints around the Capitol, and as you can see behind me, they are armed. The helicopter crashed and exploded on a hill, killing one crewman and 12 Marines. A steady stream of airplanes, helicopters, armored personnel carriers (APCs), and other equipment poured into the South. 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. On 2 January 1963, however, at Ap Bac on the Plain of Reeds southwest of Saigon, a Vietcong battalion of about 320 men inflicted heavy damage on an ARVN force of 3,000 equipped with troop‐carrying helicopters, new UH‐1 (“Huey”) helicopter gunships, tactical bombers, and APCs. The guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett fires its Mark 38 25mm machine gun during a live-fire exercise. 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. 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. The Rome Plow meanwhile had already fully demonstrated its suitability in major tactical operations. August 3rd: Operation Prairie. During 1966 Westmoreland requested more ground troops, and by year’s end the U.S. ground force level “in country” reached 385,000. Thus, Westmoreland chose a strategy of attrition in the South. As Senate majority leader in the 1950s and as vice‐president, he had supported Eisenhower’s and Kennedy’s decisions to aid South Vietnam. Consequently, he relied on other means. 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. He also tripled the level of aid to South Vietnam. 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. The rally followed picketing of the White House by students demanding an end to Vietnam fighting. Marines wade ashore with heavy equipment at first light at Red Beach near Da Nang in Saigon on April 10, 1965. Four “Ranch Hand” C-123 aircraft spray liquid defoliant on a suspected Viet Cong position in South Vietnam in September of 1965. 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. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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. This reference report provides an overview of the electronic data records in the custody of the National Archives that contain data related to military objectives and activities during the Vietnam War.The National Archives holds a large body of electronic records that reflects the prolific use of computers by the military establishment in carrying out operations during the Vietnam War. The Australians did not believe her because she seemed to lack any medical knowledge. 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. 1967 A grim-faced U.S. Marine fires his M60 machine gun, concealed behind logs and resting in a shallow hole, during the battle against North Vietnamese regulars for Hill 484, just south of the demilitarized zone, on October 10, 1966. The Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Indochina was also re-organized into MAAG, Vietnam to train South Vietnamese army. With his ambitious social reform program facing crucial votes in Congress, the president wanted to avoid giving congressional conservatives an opportunity to use mobilization to block his domestic agenda. Throughout 1964, the United States assisted South Vietnam in covert operations to gather intelligence, disseminate propaganda, and harass the North. Right: Army nurse 2nd Lieutenant Roberta “Bertie” Steele in South Vietnam, on February 9, 1966. The battery was involved in 17 major operations before their withdrawal in May 1971. 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. 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. 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. Although doubts existed about these reports, the president ordered retaliatory air strikes against the North Vietnamese port of Vinh. 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. By the end of 1962, there were 9,000 U.S. military advisers under the direction of a newly‐created Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), commanded by U.S. Army Gen. Paul Harkins. From the beginning of the bombing, American strategists debated the effectiveness of air power in defeating a political insurgency in a predominantly agricultural country. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did not interfere as a group of ARVN officers plotted a coup. Three weeks later, President Kennedy was assassinated, and U.S. policy in Vietnam was again at a crossroads. Firebombs were directed against a village on the outskirts of Hue. In January, Operation Cedar Falls was a 30,000‐man assault on the Iron Triangle, an enemy base area forty miles north of Saigon. In June, a monk dramatically burned himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection. Pedestrians cross the destroyed Hue Bridge in Hue, Vietnam, in an undated photo. Realizing the increasingly unpopularity of Diem regime, Hanoi established the National Liberation Front (NLF), better known as the Viet Cong, on December 20, 1960, which consisted of all anti-government activists – both communists and non-communists, as a common front to fight against Diem. The Battle of Ong Thanh took place when U.S. forces were ambushed by a superior communist force. 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. First, they feared that the general elections would not be fair and free under the communists’ influence. U.S. Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawks from Attack Squadrons VA-163 Saints and VA-164 Ghost Riders attack the Phuong Dinh railroad bypass bridge, 10 kilometers north of Thanh Hoe, North Vietnam, on September 10, 1967. 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. V. FROM TET TO STAND-DOWN. The child was killed as government forces pursued guerrillas into a village near the Cambodian border. A consensus formed among Johnson’s advisers that the United States would have to initiate air warfare against North Vietnam. In 1967, the L5s were replaced with 105mm M2A2 howitzers. 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. Escalation of the air and ground war in 1965 provoked Hanoi to begin deploying into the South increasing units of the regular North Vietnamese Army (NVA), or People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), as it was called. Westmoreland used helicopters extensively for troop movements, resupply, medical evacuation, and tactical air support. 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. William Doyle, center, in soft-brimmed hat, received a medal at Phan Rang in November, 1967. The most famous among them, who some experts point to as the "real" Colonel Kurtz, was the CIA operative Anthony Poshepny, Tony Poe for short, but also known as agent Upin or Pat Gibbs. Three crewmen escaped with serious burns. 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. Westmoreland responded with the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Air Mobile). He also launched many political repression and anti-communist campaigns across the country, in which 25,000 anti-government activists and communists were arrested and more than 1,000 killed as claimed by the communists. Although Johnson’s actions meant that the United States had crossed the line from advising the ARVN to actually fighting the war against the Vietcong, the president downplayed the move. U.S. troops of the 7th and 9th divisions wade through marshland during a joint operation on South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, in April of 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. At least two Americans and several Vietnamese were killed in the bombing. By mid -1967, U.S., Vietnamese, and Republic of Korea forces were operational in the combat zone. To stave off defeat, the JCS endorsed Westmoreland’s request for 150,000 U.S. troops to take the ground offensive in the South. Counteroffensive, Phase II, 1 July 1966 - 31 May 1967. Soon after the PAVN departed the battlefield, however, so too did the American air “cavalry.” Clearly, control of territory was not the U.S. military objective. A slideshow of my tour of duty in Vietnam with 1st Sig Bg at Lang Bian Mountain, Cam Ranh Bay. 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. Using mobility and powerful weapons, the MACV commander could limit U.S. casualties while exhausting the enemy, that is, inflicting heavier losses than could be replaced. Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost and tactical center south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. Without such recognition, the United States would continue to provide Saigon as much help as it needed to survive. This victory led to the Geneva Conference where the French and Viet Minh negotiated a ceasefire agreement. A six month operation against NVA forces located south of the demilitarised 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. This assessment was debatable, and there was considerable evidence that the so‐called “other war” for political support in South Vietnam was not going well. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and other key White House aides remained convinced that the assault on South Vietnam originated in the ambitious designs of Hanoi backed by Moscow and Beijing. 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. The Montagnards, dark-skinned tribesmen numbering about 700,000, live in the highlands of central Vietnam. Flag-draped coffins of eight American Servicemen killed in attacks on U.S. military installations in South Vietnam, on February 7, are placed in transport plane at Saigon, February 9, 1965, for return flight to the United States. The father was taken to an interrogation camp with other suspects rounded up by the U.S. 1st air cavalry division. A Vietnamese girl, 23 years old, was captured by an Australian patrol 30 feet below ground at the end of a maze of tunnels some 10 miles west of the headquarters of the Australian task force (40 miles southeast of Saigon). Read more about this picture. Units of the division were battling to hold their lines against what was estimated to be a regiment of North Vietnamese soldiers. A study of the development of the U.S. military command and control structure in Vietnam, focusing primarily on the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the U.S. Army, Vietnam History of Operations Research in the United States Army, Volume 2: 1961-1973 2008; 374 pages, illustrations, charts, figures, appendixes, glossary, bibliography, index In 1967, the Army leadership in Saigon advocated that the Marines concentrate their efforts on large unit search and destroy operations. If the new government in Saigon failed to show progress against the insurgency, would the United States withdraw its support from a lost cause, or would it escalate the effort to preserve South Vietnam as an anticommunist outpost in Asia? By early 1955, Diem had consolidated his power and control over South 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. Injured Vietnamese receive aid as they lie on the street after a bomb explosion outside the U.S. embassy in Saigon, Vietnam, on March 30, 1965. In October, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the PAVN commander, launched a major offensive in the Central Highlands, southwest of Pleiku. President Ngo Dình Diem, part of the Catholic minority, had adopted policies that discriminated against Buddhists and gave high favor to Catholics. Using as a pretext a Vietcong attack on 7 February 1965 at Pleiku that killed eight American soldiers, Johnson ordered retaliatory bombing north of the Demilitarized Zone along the 17th parallel that divided North and South Vietnam. A successful US-ARVN joint operation against the Viet Cong, north of Saigon. USAF tactical bombers and even huge B‐52 strategic bombers attacked enemy positions. A man brews tea while a U.S. Marine examines a pinup in Vietnam in September of 1967. When McNamara concurred, Johnson decided to commit the forces. 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. 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. 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. On 7 August 1964, Johnson secured almost unanimous consent from Congress (414–0 in the House; 88–2 in the Senate) for his Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which became the principal legislative basis for all subsequent military deployment in Southeast Asia. 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