U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War
CMH Pub 76-2, Paper
2015; 60 pages, illustrations, maps, further readings
GPO S/N: 008-029-00588-3
Buying Time, 1965–1966, by Frank L. Jones, begins with President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to commit the U.S. military to an escalating role in the ground war against the Communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam known as the Viet Cong.
Beginning in 1965, William C. Westmoreland, the commanding general of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), sent large numbers of soldiers on search-and-destroy missions against Viet Cong forces. His strategy in Vietnam depended on the superiority of U.S. firepower, including intensive aerial bombardments of regular enemy units. The goal was to inflict more losses than the Communist forces could sustain.
During 1966, the United States gradually built up not just its forces, but also the logistical and administrative infrastructure needed to support them. Pacification, which took a lesser role during the military buildup, remained central to the allies' approach to the war, with the White House taking additional measures to elevate its importance.
As 1966 drew to a close, General Westmoreland was in position to launch the type of large, sustained military campaign that he hoped would both cripple the enemy and enable the South Vietnamese to make substantial progress toward pacification. The tide had been stemmed, yet no one was under the illusion that the task ahead would be either easy or quick. Indeed, the events of 1965 and 1966 had shown the enemy to be a dangerous and able foe, unshaken despite heavy losses in his own pursuit of victory. The true struggle had just begun.
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