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Author Topic: WHAT HAPPENED TODAY IN THE VIETNAM WAR  (Read 57289 times)
AzPatriot
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2011, 09:17:39 PM »

Feb 26, 1965:
First South Korean troops arrive

The first contingent of South Korean troops arrives in Saigon. Although assigned to non-combat duties, they came under fire on April 3. The South Korean contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the United States and South Vietnam. By securing support from other nations, Johnson hoped to build an international consensus behind his policies in Vietnam. The effort was also known as the "many flags" program. By the close of 1969, there were over 47,800 Korean soldiers actively involved in combat operations in South Vietnam. Seoul began to withdraw its troops in February 1972.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:41 AM »

Feb 27, 1962:
Diem survives coup attempt

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem survives another coup attempt when Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilots Lieutenants Pham Phu Quoc and Nguyen Van Cu try to kill him and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu by bombing and strafing the presidential palace.

Lieutenant Quoc was arrested after his fighter-bomber crash-landed near Saigon. Lieutenant Cu fled to Cambodia, where he remained until November 1963. The attack confirmed Diem's conviction that his main adversaries were domestic. As a result, he retreated deeper into himself, delegating more authority to his brother Nhu, who set about eradicating dissidents--dozens of Diem political opponents disappeared, and thousands more were sent to prison camps. Diem and his brother were killed during a coup in November 1963.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2011, 12:21:17 AM »

Feb 28, 1968:
Wheeler says Westmoreland will need more troops

Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returns from his recent round of talks with Gen. William Westmoreland in Saigon and immediately delivers a written report to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Wheeler stated that despite the heavy casualties incurred during the Tet Offensive, North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces had the initiative and were "operating with relative freedom in the countryside." The communists had pushed South Vietnamese forces back into a "defensive posture around towns and cities," seriously undermined the pacification program in many areas, and forced General Westmoreland to place half of his battalions in the still imperiled northernmost provinces, thus "stripping the rest of the country of adequate reserves" and depriving the U.S. command of "an offensive capability." To meet the new enemy threat and regain the initiative, according to Wheeler, Westmoreland would need more men: "The add-on requested totals 206,756 spaces for a new proposed ceiling of 731,756."

It was a major turning point in the war. To deny the request was to concede that the United States could impose no military solution in the conflict, but to meet it would require a call-up of reserves and vastly increased expenditures. Rather than making an immediate decision, President Johnson asked Defense Secretary Clark Clifford to conduct a thorough, high-level review of U.S. policy in Vietnam.

A disgruntled staff member in the Johnson White House leaked the Wheeler-Westmoreland proposal for additional troops. The story broke in the New York Times on March 10, 1968. With the images of the besieged U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive still fresh in their minds, the press and the public immediately concluded that the extra troops must be needed because the U.S. and South Vietnamese had suffered a massive defeat.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk was subjected to 11 hours of hearings before a hostile Congress on March 11 and 12. A week later, 139 members of the House voted for a resolution that called for a complete review of Johnson's Vietnam policy. Discontent in Congress mirrored the general sentiment in the country. In March, a poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans expressed disapproval with Johnson's handling of the war.

On March 22, President Johnson scaled down Westmoreland's request and authorized 13,500 reinforcements. Shortly after, Johnson announced that Westmoreland would be brought home to be Army Chief of Staff. He was to be replaced by Gen. Creighton Abrams.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2011, 05:51:59 PM »

Mar 1, 1965:
U.S. informs South Vietnam of intent to send Marines

Ambassador Maxwell Taylor informs South Vietnamese Premier Phan Huy Quat that the United States is preparing to send 3,500 U.S. Marines to Vietnam to protect the U.S. airbase at Da Nang.

Three days later, a formal request was submitted by the U.S. Embassy, asking the South Vietnamese government to "invite" the United States to send the Marines. Premier Quat, a mere figurehead, had to obtain approval from the real power, Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, chief of the Armed Forces Council. Thieu approved, but asked that the Marines be "brought ashore in the most inconspicuous way feasible." Rumors of the imminent arrival of American troops soon circulated in Saigon, but there was no official word from either government until March 6 when the Johnson administration publicly confirmed that it would be sending the Marines to South Vietnam
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« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2011, 05:53:20 PM »

Mar 2, 1965:
First Rolling Thunder raid conducted

Operation Rolling Thunder begins with more than 100 United States Air Force jet bombers striking an ammunition depot at Xom Bang, 10 miles inside North Vietnam. Simultaneously, 60 South Vietnamese Air Force propeller planes bombed the Quang Khe naval base, 65 miles north of the 17th parallel.

Six U.S. planes were downed, but only one U.S. pilot was lost. Capt. Hayden J. Lockhart, flying an F-100, was shot down and became the first Air Force pilot to be taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. Lockhart was released in 1973 when U.S. POWs were returned under provisions of the Paris Peace Accords.

The raid was the result of President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision in February to undertake the sustained bombing of North Vietnam that he and his advisers had been considering for more than a year. The goal of Rolling Thunder was to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes in the southern part of North Vietnam and the slow infiltration of personnel and supplies into South Vietnam. In July 1966, Rolling Thunder was expanded to include North Vietnamese ammunition dumps and oil storage facilities as targets and in the spring of 1967 it was further expanded to include power plants, factories, and airfields in the Hanoi-Haiphong area.

The White House closely controlled Operation Rolling Thunder and President Johnson occasionally selected the targets himself. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost during Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson halted it on October 31, 1968, under increasing domestic political pressure.
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« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2011, 10:32:42 PM »

Mar 3, 1965:
U.S. jets bomb Ho Chi Minh Trail

More than 30 U.S. Air Force jets strike targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Since such raids had become common knowledge and were being reported in the American media, the U.S. State Department felt compelled to announce that these controversial missions were authorized by the powers granted to President Johnson in the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

The Johnson administration came under increasing criticism at home and abroad because of the bombing raids. Congressional opponents of the Johnson administration thought the president was escalating the war without authorization. Overseas, there was also an immediate response. Not surprisingly, the communists roundly criticized Johnson's actions. In Havana, Premier Fidel Castro condemned the United States and promised that Cuba would aid North Vietnam. On March 4, about 2,000 students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. There was also a reaction in non-communist capitals. Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada expressed concern about the risk of escalation, but said that Canada understood the U.S. position. In Britain, however, there was mounting criticism of the government's support of U.S. policies in Vietnam. In New York City, Women Strike for Peace members demonstrated outside the United Nations to urge an end to the war.
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« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2011, 06:37:21 PM »

Mar 4, 1968:
Task Force sends memo to the president

In a draft memorandum to the president, the Ad Hoc Task Force on Vietnam advises that the administration send 22,000 more troops to Vietnam, but make deployment of the additional 185,000 men previously requested by Gen. William Westmoreland (senior U.S. commander in Vietnam) contingent on future developments.

The Task Force was a group of senior policy advisors including Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford; Central Intelligence Agency Director Richard Helms; General Maxwell Taylor; Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs William Bundy; and Paul Warnke, head of the Pentagon's politico-military policy office. President Johnson requested that the Task Force study a request by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Westmoreland for more than 200,000 additional troops to augment U.S. forces in Vietnam and to strengthen U.S. security in other parts of the world.

President Johnson asked that the memorandum be sent to General Westmoreland, who, in a reply four days later, welcomed the additional 22,000 troops, but insisted that he still needed the full requested reinforcements by year's end. Ultimately, President Johnson and his advisers, seeking a way to disengage from the war, refused Westmoreland's request for more troops.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #52 on: March 04, 2011, 04:48:41 PM »

Mar 5, 1971:
"Blackhorse" departs South Vietnam

The U.S. 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, less its 2nd Squadron, withdraws from Vietnam. The "Blackhorse Regiment" (named for the black horse on the regimental shoulder patch) first arrived in Vietnam in September 1966 and consisted of three squadrons, each with three armored cavalry troops, a tank troop and a howitzer battery, making it a formidable fighting force. Upon arriving in Vietnam, the regiment had 51 tanks, 296 armored personnel carriers, 18 self-propelled 155-mm howitzers, nine flamethrower vehicles, and 18 helicopters.

While in Vietnam, Blackhorse conducted combat operations in the 11 provinces surrounding Saigon and participated in the Cambodian incursion in 1970. During its combat service in Vietnam, Blackhorse suffered 635 troopers killed in action and 5,521 wounded in action. Three of its troopers won the Medal of Honor for bravery on the battlefield.

Upon its departure from Vietnam, the group was sent to Europe where it was assigned to guard the frontier in West Germany. The regiment's 2nd Squadron remained in Vietnam until March 1972, when it departed to join the rest of the regiment in Germany.

Also on this day: Premier Chou En-lai of the People's Republic of China visits Hanoi. After lengthy consultations, Chou and North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong issued a joint communique on March 10, which vowed continued Chinese support for the North Vietnamese struggle against the United States. This support was instrumental in providing the North Vietnamese with weapons and equipment needed for the major offensive they launched in the spring of 1972.

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« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2011, 04:49:50 PM »

Mar 6, 1965:
U.S. is sending Marines to South Vietnam


The White House confirms reports that, at the request of South Vietnam, the United States is sending two battalions of U.S. Marines for security work at the Da Nang air base, which will hopefully free South Vietnamese troops for combat. On March 1, Ambassador Maxwell Taylor informed South Vietnamese Premier Phan Huy Quat that the United States was preparing to send 3,500 U.S. Marines to Vietnam. Three days later, a formal request was submitted by the U.S. Embassy, asking the South Vietnamese government to "invite" the United States to send the Marines. Premier Quat, a mere figurehead, had to obtain approval from the real power, Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, chief of the Armed Forces Council. Thieu approved, but asked that the Marines be "brought ashore in the most inconspicuous way feasible." The Marines began landing near Da Nang on March 8.
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« Reply #54 on: March 04, 2011, 07:08:21 PM »

Thanks for posting these daily reports, AZ.  They are nice little capsules and keep us connected with the era for which this station is a tribute. 

-- RR
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #55 on: March 06, 2011, 07:19:23 PM »

Mar 7, 1966:
U.S. jets launch heaviest air raids of the war

In the heaviest air raids since the bombing began in February 1965, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes fly an estimated 200 sorties against North Vietnam. The objectives of the raids included an oil storage area 60 miles southeast of Dien Bien Phu and a staging area 60 miles northwest of Vinh.


Mar 7, 1967:
Republic of Korea forces operation launch

The largest South Korean operation to date starts, forming a link-up of two Korean division areas of operations along the central coastal area of South Vietnam.

South Korean forces had been in South Vietnam since August 1964, when Seoul sent a liaison unit to Saigon. The South Korean contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the United States and South Vietnam. By securing support from other nations, Johnson hoped to build an international consensus behind his policies in Vietnam. The effort was also known as the "many flags" program. The first South Korean contingent was followed in February 1965 by engineer units and a mobile hospital. Although initially assigned to non-combat duties, they came under fire on April 3 when the Viet Cong attacked them.

In September 1965, in response to additional pleas from Johnson, the South Korean government greatly expanded its troop commitment to Vietnam, agreeing to send combat troops. By the close of 1969 there were over 47,800 Korean soldiers actively involved in combat operations in South Vietnam. Seoul began to withdraw its troops in February 1972, following the lead of the United States as it drastically reduced its troop commitment to South Vietnam.


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AzPatriot
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« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2011, 08:50:00 PM »

Mar 8, 1965:
U.S. Marines land at Da Nang

The USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch, take up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang.

First ashore was the Battalion Landing Team 3/9, which arrived on the beach at 8:15 a.m. Wearing full battle gear and carrying M-14s, the Marines were met by sightseers, South Vietnamese officers, Vietnamese girls with leis, and four American soldiers with a large sign stating: "Welcome, Gallant Marines." Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Saigon, was reportedly "appalled" at the spectacle because he had hoped that the Marines could land without any fanfare. Within two hours, Battalion Landing Team 1/3 began landing at Da Nang air base.

The 3,500 Marines were deployed to secure the U.S. airbase, freeing South Vietnamese troops up for combat. On March 1, Ambassador Maxwell Taylor had informed South Vietnamese Premier Phan Huy Quat that the United States was preparing to send the Marines to Vietnam. Three days later, a formal request was submitted by the U.S. Embassy, asking the South Vietnamese government to "invite" the United States to send the Marines. Premier Quat, a mere figurehead, had to obtain approval from the real power, Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, chief of the Armed Forces Council. Thieu approved, but, like Westmoreland, asked that the Marines be "brought ashore in the most inconspicuous way feasible." These wishes were ignored and the Marines were given a hearty, conspicuous welcome when they arrived.



Mar 8, 1975:
Thieu orders force withdrawal

South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu orders the withdrawal of South Vietnamese forces from the Central Highlands. In late January 1975, just two years after the cease-fire had been established by the Paris Peace Accords, the North Vietnamese launched Campaign 275. The objective of this campaign was the capture of Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands.

The battle began on March 4 and the North Vietnamese quickly encircled the city. As it became clear that the communists would take the city and probably the entire Darlac province, Thieu decided to withdraw his forces in order to protect the more critical populous areas. Accordingly, he ordered his forces in the Central Highlands to pull back from their positions. Abandoning Pleiku and Kontum, the South Vietnamese forces began to move toward the sea, but what began as an orderly withdrawal soon turned into panic. The South Vietnamese forces rapidly fell apart. The North Vietnamese were successful in both the Central Highlands and further north at Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang. The South Vietnamese soon collapsed as a cogent fighting force and the North Vietnamese continued the attack all the way to Saigon. South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally on April 30.



Interesting the begining and almost the end on the same day 10 years apart.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #57 on: March 08, 2011, 09:03:26 PM »


Mar 9, 1965:
Marines continue to land at Da Nang


The 3,500 Marines of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch continue to land at Da Nang. The Marines had begun disembarking from the USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver on March 8 and were the first U.S. combat troops in South Vietnam. Among the arrivals on this day were the first U.S. armor in Vietnam—a tank of the 3rd Marine Tank Battalion. More tanks, including those with flame-throwing capability, followed in a few days. There was scattered firing from Viet Cong soldiers hidden ashore as the Marines landed, but no Marines were hit. The Marines were at once assigned to protect the U.S. base at Da Nang, both from the immediate perimeter and from the high ground along a ridge to the west.

Many others eventually joined this initial contingent of Marines. During the course of the war, the Marine Corps deployed one corps-level headquarters, two Marine divisions, two additional Marine regimental landing teams and a reinforced Marine aircraft wing, plus a number of battalion-size Marine special landing forces afloat with the 7th Fleet. Present at the beginning of U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps was also there at the end. In 1975, Marine Corps elements took part in the final evacuation of South Vietnam as the country fell to the North Vietnamese.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2011, 05:24:29 PM »

Mar 10, 1970:
Army captain charged with My Lai war crimes


The U.S. Army accuses Capt. Ernest Medina and four other soldiers of committing crimes at My Lai in March 1968. The charges ranged from premeditated murder to rape and the "maiming" of a suspect under interrogation. Medina was the company commander of Lt. William Calley and other soldiers charged with murder and numerous crimes at My Lai 4 in Song My village.

The My Lai massacre became the most publicized war atrocity committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam. Allegedly, a platoon had slaughtered between 200 and 500 unarmed villagers at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets in the coastal lowlands of I Corps Tactical Zone. This was a heavily mined region where Viet Cong guerrillas were firmly entrenched and numerous members of the participating platoon had been killed or maimed during the preceding month.

The company had been conducting a search-and-destroy mission. In search of the 48th Viet Cong (VC) Local Force Battalion, the unit entered My Lai but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers. During the attack, several old men were bayoneted, some women and children praying outside the local temple were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped before being killed. Many villagers were systematically rounded up and led to a nearby ditch where they were executed.

Reportedly, the killing was only stopped when Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, an aero-scout helicopter pilot, landed his helicopter between the Americans and the fleeing South Vietnamese, confronting the soldiers and blocking them from further action against the villagers. The incident was subsequently covered up, but eventually came to light a year later. An Army board of inquiry headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 people who knew of the atrocity. Only 14, including Calley and Medina, were eventually charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, who was found guilty of murdering 22 civilians. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced later to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a "scapegoat," Calley was paroled in 1974 after having served about three years.
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AzPatriot
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« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2011, 08:26:03 PM »

Mar 11, 1967:
Heavy battle rages during Operation Junction City


U.S. 1st Infantry Division troops engage in one of the heaviest battles of Operation Junction City. The fierce fighting resulted in 210 reported North Vietnamese casualties.

Operation Junction City was an effort to smash the communist stronghold in Tay Ninh Province and surrounding areas along the Cambodian border northwest of Saigon. The purpose of the operation was to drive the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops away from populated areas and into the open, where superior American firepower could be more effectively used. Junction City was the largest operation of the war to date, involving more than 25,000 troops.

The first day's operation was supported by 575 aircraft sorties, a record number for a single day in South Vietnam. The operation was marked by one of the largest airmobile assaults in history when 240 troop-carrying helicopters descended on the battlefield. In one of the few airborne operations of the war, 778 "Sky Soldiers" parachuted into the Junction City area of operations 28 miles north of Tay Ninh City.

There were 2,728 enemy casualties by the end of the operation on March 17.
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