Deepening Involvement, 1945-1965
Richard W. Stewart
Deepening Involvement, 1945-1965 is the first brochure published in the U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War series. Dr. Richard W. Stewart examines the activity of the U.S. Army in Vietnam beginning with members of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services in early 1945 through the aftermath of the Tonkin Gulf incident of early August 1965. During this time the United States saw its role evolve from supporting the French position after World War II to becoming an increasingly involved military advisor to the South Vietnamese. Stewart covers early U.S. support to South Vietnam through equipment and training as well as the increase of U.S. troops to protect air and naval bases from North Vietnamese attack. This 68-page brochure includes five maps.
Buying Time, 1965-1966
Frank L. Jones
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.
The U.S. Army Before Vietnam, 1953-1965
Donald A. Carter
Complementing the Benning Experiment volume, this study describes the work of the Fort Ord Training Center in developing and promoting the concept of a modern volunteer Army through the practical application of policies developed in Washington.
Taking the Offensive, October 1966-September 1967
Glenn F. Williams
The U.S. Army Before Vietnam, 1953–1965, by Donald A. Carter, covers the period between the end of the Korean War and the initial deployment of ground combat troops to Vietnam. It describes the organizational and doctrinal changes the Army implemented as it attempted to digest the lessons of one conflict and to prepare the force for another. The pamphlet also discusses the service's efforts to maintain its position in national defense within the parameters of President Eisenhower's New Look strategic policy. A key issue for the Army was the question of how to prepare a force to operate on an atomic battlefield. In order to compete with the Air Force and the Navy for a diminishing defense budget, the Army had to show that it, too, was a modern, forward-thinking organization, prepared to integrate a new family of tactical atomic weapons into its organization and doctrine. The resulting experiment with the Pentomic division forced Army leaders to reexamine some of their most basic assumptions about future conflict. With the increasing influence of Communist China throughout Southeast Asia, the Army also began to pay greater attention toward counterinsurgency and guerilla warfare. President Kennedy's interest in a doctrine of flexible response and his concern for combatting Communist inspired insurrections prompted the Army to increase training in unconventional warfare and to highlight the capabilities of its developing special forces—the Green Berets.
Turning Point, 1967-1968
Adrian G. Trass
The U.S. Army Center of Military History recently published a new pamphlet in its U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War series, Turning Point, 1967–1968, by Adrian G. Traas. The author describes several key operations that took place in South Vietnam. During October 1967, the United States appeared to be making slow but steady gains against the Viet Cong insurgents and their North Vietnamese allies who were attempting to destroy the South Vietnamese government. The enemy was suffering enormous casualties. Hammered from the air by B–52 bombers and disrupted by allied ground sweeps, the Viet Cong base areas in South Vietnam were no longer the safe havens they once had been. The author discusses a turning point in the war that came in 1968 with the Tet offensive, a massive campaign launched by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong against major urban areas and military installations in South Vietnamese. As a result of the surprise attack, the U.S. press and public began to challenge President Johnson's assurances of success and to question the value of the increasingly costly war. The author concludes that although Tet was a military disaster for the Communists, the conflict had shaken America's will to continue to fight.
Transition, November 1968–December 1969
Adrian G. Trass
The U.S. Army Center of Military History recently published a new pamphlet in its U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War series, Transition, November 1968–December 1969, by Adrian G. Traas. The author discusses the gradual reduction of the U.S. Army's involvement in Vietnam that began after Richard M. Nixon was elected president in November 1968. Even as U.S. and South Vietnamese forces battled an increasingly-elusive enemy, Army officials stepped up efforts to create a South Vietnamese military strong enough to defend their nation with only minimal support from American troops. In the spring of 1969, President Nixon announced his plan for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam, a policy quickly dubbed "Vietnamization." As the American public's support for the war continued to erode, U.S. military leaders spent the remainder of 1969 preparing for further troop reductions and the inevitable turnover of bases and equipment to South Vietnamese forces.