The United States Army has met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army has fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia has required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.
As this assignment nears an end, the U.S. Army must prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.
Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities has prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have throughout our history, to exacting and trying demands.
The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.
All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the author. To facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is filed with the Office of the Chief of Military History.
Lieutenant General Bernard William Rogers is especially well qualified to write Cedar Falls-Junction City because of a broad and varied military career. His military experience includes action in Korea and Vietnam as well as assignments in Germany. In Korea he served in the 2d Infantry Division as commander of the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry, and later joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, United Nations and Far East Commands, in Tokyo, Japan. While assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, Germany, he served as commander of the 1st Battle Group, 19th Infantry, and for fourteen months as chief of staff of the division. In Vietnam he served as assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division, where he participated in Operations CEDAR FALLS and JUNCTION CITY.
General Rogers attended Oxford University, England, from 1947 to 1950 as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving the B.A. and M.A. degrees in philosophy, politics, and economics. Later from September 1967 to June 1969 he served as commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy. He was Chief of Legislative Liaison on the staff of the Secretary of the Army from January 1971 until November 1972. He is currently Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, U.S. Army.
VERNE L. BOWERS
The Adjutant General Major General, USA
15 June 1973 Washington, D.C.
Return to the Table of Contents