Cedar Falls-Junction City: A Turning Point has been written at the request of General William C. Westmoreland, Chief of Staff of the Army, who, concerned about the lack of authoritative accounts of various actions and activities in Vietnam, desired that a series of monographs be prepared to fill the void in the Army's historical library.
Operations CEDAR FALLS and JUNCTION CITY took place during the first five months of 1967 and were the first multidivisional operations in Vietnam to be conducted according to a preconceived plan. They were to result in a turning point in the war: they confirmed that such operations do have a place in counterinsurgency warfare today; they brought an end to the enemy's thinking that his third phase of the war- large-scale operations throughout the country -would be successful; they caused the enemy to re-evaluate his tactics and revert to smaller-scale guerrilla operations; they destroyed his camps, pillaged his supplies, and killed hundreds of his best troops; they proved to the enemy that his old sanctuaries were no longer inviolable, thus causing him to depend primarily upon those located over the border in Cambodia; they helped convince the enemy that the maintenance of large bases and main force units near urban areas was risky business; and they enhanced immeasurably the confidence of the allied forces in South Vietnam, a confidence which had been growing since the dark days of the first half of 1965. Thus CEDAR FALLS and JUNCTION CITY were to become the most important operations of the war to that time, and perhaps since.
For the military history buff, Operation CEDAR FALLS will not be nearly so interesting as JUNCTION CITY because it consisted primarily of small unit contacts and the onerous tasks of finding and destroying base camps, storage facilities, and tunnels and of clearing jungles. CEDAR FALLS was unique, however, in that one of its missions was to evacuate some 6,000 inhabitants of the Iron Triangle area and destroy their villages. JUNCTION CITY, on the other hand, was more varied in view of its scope and the fact that there were five battles interspersed among the air assaults and the numerous search and destroy activities.
As an assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division from November 1966 to August 1967, I had the opportunity first-hand to observe and participate in the planning and execution of the two operations. From a personal standpoint, it was an extremely rewarding experience to serve with the Big Red One during the period when its commanding general for CEDAR FALLS was Major General William E. DePuy and for JUNCTION CITY was Major General John H. Hay, Jr. Their intricate planning, rapid and decisive execution of actions, and employment of new concepts, coupled with the bravery and skill of our troops, made these two operations the success they were.
I have expanded this monograph somewhat by including an introduction which covers those major events from the time of our initial commitment in Vietnam to Operation ATTLEBORO in November 1966, events which led to and influenced CEDAR FALLS and JUNCTION CITY. The hope is that the introduction will assist the reader in putting these two operations in perspective.
In assembling the data for this monograph, I have drawn primarily from after action reports and interviews, documented lessons learned, newspaper and magazine articles, personal letters, written and tape-recorded material, and my recollection of events. For the historical information contained in the introduction, I have relied exclusively upon the excellent document, Report on the War in Vietnam, by Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp and General William C. Westmoreland.
I would like to thank the members of the Office, Chief of Legislative Liaison, Department of the Army, who have assisted in the compilation of the material for this monograph. I would particularly like to express my appreciation to Lieutenant Colonel John R. Vilas for researching and organizing this document. The final product is mine, and for it I assume full responsibility.
BERNARD W. ROGERS
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
15 June 1973 Washington, D.C.
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