The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat
... Moreions against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944. Hide
Upon assuming the post of chief executive of the CPA in May 2003, L. Paul Bremer also assumed the title of U.S. Presidential Envoy and Administrator in Iraq. He was frequently called Ambassador by num
... Moreerous media organizations and the White House because it was the highest government rank he had achieved (Ambassador to Netherlands). However, Bremer was not ambassador to Iraq, and there was no U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq at that time.
The CPA was created and funded as a division of the United States Department of Defense, and as Administrator, Bremer reported directly to the Secretary of Defense. Although troops from several of the coalition countries were present in Iraq at this time, the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) was the primary military apparatus charged with providing direct combat support to the CPA to enforce its authority during the occupation of Iraq.
While many of Saddam Hussein's ornate palaces were looted in the days immediately following the invasion, most of the physical structures themselves survived, relatively intact. It is in these numerous palaces situated throughout the country that the CPA chose to set up office in order to govern. Several of these palaces were retained by the U.S. Government even after the transition of power back to the Iraqi people. The administration was centred in a district of Baghdad, known as the Green Zone, which eventually became a highly secure walled-off enclave.
The CPA was also responsible for administering the Development Fund for Iraq during the year following the invasion. This fund superseded the earlier UN oil-for-food program, and provided funding for Iraq's wheat purchase program, the currency exchange program, the electricity and oil infrastructure programs, equipment for Iraq's security forces, Iraqi civil service salaries, and the operations of the various government ministries.
The first act of the CPA under Bremer was to issue order of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. On 23 May, CPA Order Number 2 formally disbanded the Iraqi army On 22 July 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members. The Council membership consisted largely of Iraqi expatriates who had previously fled the country during the rule of Saddam Hussein and also with many outspoken dissidents who had been persecuted by the former regime.
Though still subordinate to the CPA, the Iraqi Governing Council had several key responsibilities of its own. Its duties included appointing representatives to the United Nations, appointing interim ministers to Iraq's vacant cabinet positions, and drafting a temporary constitution known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which would be used to govern Iraq until a permanent constitution could be written and approved by the general electorate.
In the late afternoon of 14 December 2003, the CPA held a press conference at the Iraqi Forum convention center within Baghdad's Green Zone to announce that former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein had been taken into custody the previous night from a foxhole in a town near Saddam's home town of Tikrit, Iraq. Present at the announcement was Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez of the U.S. Army, Administrator Bremer, members of the British and American intelligence agencies, several members of the Iraqi Governing Council, and a large room full of journalists representing news organizations from around the world.
In order to defeat possible insurgent planning, the CPA transferred power to the newly appointed Iraqi Interim Government at 10:26 AM local time on 28 June 2004. With the CPA disbanded, Bremer left Iraq that same day.
The United States hoped that Iraq could be reconstructed and democratized in much the same way as Japan and Germany were after the Second World War, using them as "examples or even models of successful military occupations."
Fall of Saddam Hussein's regime
Statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Baghdad's Firdos Square on 9 April 2003.
On 1 May 2003, President Bush declared the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq, while aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with a large "Mission Accomplished" banner displayed behind him.
The weeks following the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime were portrayed by American media as generally a euphoric time among the Iraqi populace. New York Post correspondent Jonathan Foreman, reporting from Baghdad in May 2003, wrote that looting was less widespread than reported, and that "the intensity of the population's pro-American enthusiasm is astonishing". There were widespread reports of looting, though much of the looting was directed at former government buildings and other remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime.
There were reports of looting of Iraq's archaeological treasures, mostly from the National Museum of Iraq; up to an alleged 170,000 items, worth billions of U.S. dollars: these reports were later revealed to be vastly exaggerated. Cities, especially Baghdad, suffered through reductions in electricity, clean water and telephone service from pre-war levels, with shortages that continued through at least the next year.
Canal Hotel Bombing
In the summer of 2003, the U.S. military focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime, culminating in the killing of Saddam's sons Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein on 22 July. In all, over 200 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel.
However, even as the Ba'ath party organization disintegrated, elements of the secret police and army began forming guerilla units, since in many cases they had simply gone home rather than openly fight the invading forces. These began to focus their attacks around Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah. In the fall, these units and other elements who called themselves Jihadists began using ambush tactics, suicide bombings, and improvised explosive devices, targeting coalition forces and checkpoints.
They favored attacking the unarmored Humvee vehicles, and in November they successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SA-7 missiles bought on the global black market. On 19 August, the UN Headquarters in Baghdad was destroyed in the Canal Hotel Bombing, killing at least 22 people, among them Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Saddam captured and elections urged
Saddam Hussein shortly after capture by American forces, and after being shaved to confirm his identity
In December 2003, Saddam himself was captured. The provisional government began training a security force intended to defend critical infrastructure, and the U.S. promised over $20 billion in reconstruction aid in the form of credits against Iraq's future oil revenues. At the same time, elements left out of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) began to agitate for elections. Most prominent among these was Ali al-Sistani, Grand Ayatollah in the Shia sect of Islam.
The United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority, run by Jay Garner and three deputies, including Tim Cross, opposed allowing democratic elections at this time, preferring instead to eventually hand over power to an unelected group of Iraqis. More insurgents stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad to Basra in the south.
In the spring, the United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority decided to confront the rebels with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque, which had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities. In Fallujah four private security contractors, working for Blackwater USA, were ambushed and killed, and their corpses desecrated. In retaliation a U.S. offensive was begun, but it was soon halted because of the protests by the Iraqi Governing Council and negative media coverage.
A truce was negotiated that put a former Ba'athist general in complete charge of the town. The 1st Armored Division along with the 2nd ACR were then shifted south, because Spanish, Salvadoran, Ukrainian, and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Al Kut, and Najaf. The 1st Armored Division and 2nd ACR relieved the Spaniards, Salvadoran, Poles, and put down the overt rebellion.
At the same time, British forces in Basra were faced with increasing restiveness, and became more selective in the areas they patrolled. In all, April, May and early June represented the bloodiest months of fighting since the end of hostilities. The Iraqi troops who were left in charge of Fallujah after the truce began to disperse and the city fell back under insurgent control.
In the April battle for Fallujah, U.S. troops killed about 200 resistance fighters, while 40 Americans died and hundreds were wounded in a fierce battle. U.S. forces then turned their attention to the al Mahdi Army in Najaf. A large convoy of US Army supply trucks manned by civilian contractors was ambushed and suffered significant damage and casualties. Hide
The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 19 March to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the conflict that later came to be known as the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United
... MoreStates (prior to 19 March, the mission in Iraq was called Operation Enduring Freedom, a carryover from the conflict in Afghanistan). The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein. The invasion phase consisted primarily of a conventionally fought war which concluded with the capture of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by American forces.
Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States (148,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), and Poland (194). 36 other countries were involved in its aftermath. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 U.S. troops were assembled in Kuwait by 18 February. The coalition forces also received support from Kurdish irregulars in Iraqi Kurdistan.
According to U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people." General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, describes in his 2003 book, Winning Modern Wars, his conversation with a military officer in the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 regarding a plan to attack seven Middle Eastern countries in five years: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan." Others place a much greater emphasis on the impact of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the role this played in changing U.S. strategic calculations, and the rise of the freedom agenda. According to Blair, the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final opportunity" to disarm itself of alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace.
In a January 2003 CBS poll, 64% of Americans had approved of military action against Iraq; however, 63% wanted Bush to find a diplomatic solution rather than go to war, and 62% believed the threat of terrorism directed against the U.S. would increase due to war. The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some long-standing U.S. allies, including the governments of France, Germany, and New Zealand. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC's 12 February 2003 report. On 15 February 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.
The invasion was preceded by an air strike on the Presidential Palace in Baghdad on 19 March 2003. The following day, coalition forces launched an incursion into Basra Province from their massing point close to the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. While the special forces launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding petroleum fields, the main invasion army moved into southern Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on 23 March. Massive air strikes across the country and against Iraqi command and control threw the defending army into chaos and prevented an effective resistance. On 26 March, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was airdropped near the northern city of Kirkuk, where they joined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several actions against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country.
The main body of coalition forces continued their drive into the heart of Iraq and met with little resistance. Most of the Iraqi military was quickly defeated and Baghdad was occupied on 9 April. Other operations occurred against pockets of the Iraqi army including the capture and occupation of Kirkuk on 10 April, and the attack and capture of Tikrit on 15 April. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the central leadership went into hiding as the coalition forces completed the occupation of the country. On 1 May, an end of major combat operations was declared, ending the invasion period and beginning the military occupation period. Hide
Operation Uphold Democracy (19 September 1994 – 31 March 1995) was an intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elec
... Moreted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The operation was effectively authorized by the 31 July 1994 United Nations Security Council Resolution 940.
The U.S.-led, multinational effort to create a safe and secure environment and support the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti, was conducted from September 1994 through March 1996. In excess of 20,000 American service men and women from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, in conjunction with approximately 5,000 non-U.S. forces from 24 nations, served as part of the Multinational Force, and later, United Nations Mission in Haiti. Upon direction of President Bill Clinton, the operation was conducted by U.S. Atlantic Command, in Norfolk, Va.
President Aristide was elected in December 1990 as the first democratically-elected head of state in Haitian history. Seven months after taking office in February 1991, President Aristide was overthrown in a coup led by Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the head of the Forces Armees d'Haiti (FAd'H). This eventually would be the impetus for renewed U.S. operational involvement in Haiti.
A United Nations international embargo began in late June 1993. In support of the international embargo, USACOM activated Joint Task Force 120 in mid-October to conduct maritime interdiction operations and increase pressure on the illegitimate government of Haiti. To provide humanitarian assistance to more than 21,000 Haitians escaping by sea from political strife, USACOM established a second JTF, JTF 160, on May 18, 1994. The mission of JTF 160 included migrant interdiction and processing, both at sea and at designated migrant camp sites ashore. The largest of these migrant camp sites was at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
On July 31 the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the U.S. to use "all means necessary" to remove Haiti's military-backed government. As military forces began final preparations for an invasion, President Bill Clinton dispatched a negotiating team to Haiti to avert an invasion. The team was headed by former President Jimmy Carter, and included former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. Colin Powell, and Senator Sam Nunn, D-Ga., former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
With U.S. invasion forces enroute to Haiti the evening of September 18, Lt. Gen. Cedras relayed his decision to relinquish control and ultimately leave Haiti through the Carter mission. The following morning U.S. forces began a peaceful entry into Haiti.
Over the next six months, significant accomplishments of the U.S.-led MultinationalForce (MNF) included: ensuring the peaceful restoration of President Aristide; helping standup a fragile Government in Haiti; fostering a safe and secure environment; initiating a weapons buy-back program; eliminating arms caches; restoration of electrical power and commercial communications; commencing police force training; overseeing the return of Haitian migrants from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and establishing conditions for democratic elections.
On March 31, 1995, the MNF transferred command to United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) forces. Under UNMIH, forces continued to maintain a secure and stable environment which facilitated free and fair democratic elections. In addition, civil engineering projects such as repairing schools, roads, bridges, water wells, and distribution systems were undertaken, and thousands of tons of donated materials and supplies were distributed.
On June 25, UNMIH forces provided support and security for Haiti's first round of national parliamentary free elections since the restoration of President Aristide to office.
The last Haitian migrant selected for repatriation from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was returned to Port-au-Prince October 16, 1995. Approximately 75,000 Haitians had been repatriated since the beginning of the maritime interdiction operation; more than 21,000 of which were processed through migrant facilities at Guantanamo Bay.
On December 17, Haiti conducted presidential elections, again with UNMIH forces providing support and security. Former Prime Minister Rene Preval won handily and was inaugurated February 7, 1996, as Haiti's second democratically elected president, succeeding President Aristide.
In 1990, fellow Arab Gulf states refused to endorse Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's plan to cut production and raise the price of oil, leaving him frustrated and paranoid. Iraq had incurred a mountain o
... Moref debt during its war with Iran that had lasted for most of the previous decade, and the Iraqi President felt that his Arab brothers were conspiring against him by refusing to raise oil prices. Therefore, after weeks of massing troops along the Iraq-Kuwait border and accusing Kuwait of various crimes, Hussein sent seven divisions of the Iraqi Army into Kuwait in the early morning hours of 2 August 1990. The invasion force of 120,000 troops and 2,000 tanks quickly overwhelmed Iraq's neighbor to the south, allowing Hussein to declare, in less than a week, that Kuwait was his nation's nineteenth province. The United Nations responded quickly, passing a series of resolutions that condemned the invasion, called for an immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait, imposed a financial and trade embargo on Iraq, and declared the annexation void.
Regarding Iraq's actions as a threat to a vital interest of the US, namely the oil production capability of the Persian Gulf region, President George Bush ordered warplanes and ground forces to Saudi Arabia after obtaining King Fahd's approval. Iraqi troops had begun to mass along the Saudi border, breaching it at some points, and indicating the possibility that Hussein's forces would continue south into Saudi Arabia's oil fields. Operation DESERT SHIELD, the US military deployment to first defend Saudi Arabia grew rapidly to become the largest American deployment since the Southeast Asia Conflict. The Gulf region was within US Central Command's (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. Eventually, 30 nations joined the military coalition arrayed against Iraq, with a further 18 countries supplying economic, humanitarian, or other type of assistance.
Carriers in the Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea responded, US Air Force interceptors deployed from bases in the United States, and airlift transports carried US Army airborne troopers to Saudi Arabia. Navy prepositioning ships rushed equipment and supplies for an entire marine brigade from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to the gulf. During the next six months the United States and its allies built up a powerful force in the Arabian peninsula. The navy also began maritime intercept operations in support of a US-led blockade and United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Coalition forces, specifically XVIII Airborne Corps and VII Corps, used deception cells to create the impression that they were going to attack near the Kuwaiti boot heel, as opposed to the "left hook" strategy actually implemented. XVIII Airborne Corps set up "Forward Operating Base Weasel" near the boot heel, consisting of a phony network of camps manned by several dozen soldiers. Using portable radio equipment, cued by computers, phony radio messages were passed between fictitious headquarters. In addition, smoke generators and loudspeakers playing tape-recorded tank and truck noises were used, as were inflatable Humvees and helicopters.
On 17 January 1991, when it became clear that Saddam would not withdraw, Desert Shield became Desert Storm. Hide
The Liberation of Kuwait was the campaign to retake Kuwait from Iraq after the massive air campaign, between 24–28 February 1991. U.S. troops and the Coalition entered to find the Iraqis surrend
... Moreering en masse; however, pockets of resistance existed, particularly at Kuwait International Airport where Iraqi troops, seemingly unaware that a retreat order had been issued to them, continued to fight, resulting in a fierce battle over the airport itself. The majority of the fighting took place in Iraq, rather than Kuwait. Hide
The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout
... Moreh Vietnam. The actions cited are for the same services that would have resulted in the award of a Valorous Unit Citation by the Army or a Navy Unit Citation. Hide
The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Colors) was authorized to be worn by units individually cited for service in military operations in support of the government of Sout
... Moreh Vietnam. The actions cited are for the same services that would have resulted in the award of a Valorous Unit Citation by the Army or a Navy Unit Citation. Hide
This campaign was from 1 December 1971 to 29 March 1972.. The U.S. continued to reduce its ground presence in South Vietnam during late 1971 and early 1972, but American air attacks increased while bo
... Moreth sides exchanged peace proposals.
In early January 1972 President Nixon confirmed that U.S. troop withdrawals would continue but promised that a force of 25,000-30,000 would remain in Vietnam until all American prisoners of war were released. Secretary of Defense Laird reported that Vietnamization was progressing well and that U.S. troops would not be reintroduced into Vietnam even in a military emergency. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam dropped to 136,500 by 31 January 1972, to 119,600 by 29 February, and then to 95,500 by the end of March.
During the last week of December 1971 U.S. Air Force and Navy planes carried out 1,000 strikes on North Vietnam, the heaviest U.S. air attacks since November 1968. Allied commanders insisted that it was necessary because of a huge buildup of military supplies in North Vietnam for possible offensive operations against South Vietnam and Cambodia. Stepped up North Vietnamese anti-aircraft and missile attacks on U.S. aircraft that bombed the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos also contributed to the decision. During January 1972 American planes maintained their intermittent bombardment of missile sites in North Vietnam and on he Laotian border and also struck North Vietnamese troop concentrations in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.
On 25 January President Nixon announced an eight part program to end the war which included agreement to remove all U.S. and foreign allied troops from Vietnam no later than six months after a peace agreement was reached. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegates rejected the proposal and insisted upon complete withdrawal of all foreign troops from Indochina and cessation of all forms of U.S. aid to South Vietnam. Hide
This campaign was from 1 Jul 1970 to 30 June 1971. Fighting continued in Cambodia during early February before and after South Vietnam began its U.S.-aided drive in Laos, Lam Son 719, the most signifi
... Morecant operation during this campaign.
Lam Son 719 was conducted out of I Corps by Vietnamese troops with US fire and air support. Their object was to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail and to destroy enemy bases at Techepone, Laos. The operation consisted of four phases. In Phases I, called Operation DEWEY CANYON II, the 1st Brigade, US 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) occupied the Khe Sanh area and cleared Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. In the meantime, the US 101st Airborne Division conducted diversionary operations in the A Shau Valley. The US 45th Engineer Group had the mission of repairing Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. This lasted from 30 January to 7 February 1971. During Phase II US forces continued to provide fire support, helilift, and tactical and strategic air support for ARVN units. This phase was 8 February to March 1971. Phase III ran from March to 16 March 1971; Phase IV was the withdrawal phase.
Faced with mounting losses, Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Lam, the commander of the invasion forces, decided to cut short the operation and ordered a withdrawal.
Lam Son 719, though it was less than a signal success, forestalled a Communist offensive in the spring of 1971. Enemy units and replacements enroute south were diverted to the scene of the action. Hide
This campaign was from 1 July to 30 November 1971. This period witnessed additional progress in the Vietnamization program which included turning over the ground war to South Vietnam, sustaining the
... Morewithdrawal of U.S. troops, but also continuing, U.S. air strikes on enemy targets.
South Vietnam assumed full control of defense for the area immediately below the demilitarized zone on 11 July, a process begun in 1969. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced completion of Phase I of Vietnamization on 11 August which meant that the U.S. relinquished all ground combat responsibilities to the Republic of Vietnam. The participation of U.S. forces in ground combat operations had not ceased, however, U.S. maneuver battalions were still conducting missions, and the 101st Airborne Division joined the 1st Army of Vietnam 1st Infantry Division in Operation JEFFERSON GLEN that took place in Thua Thien Province in October. This was the last major combat operation in Vietnam which involved U.S. ground forces. Following the close of Operation JEFFERSON GLEN on 8 October, the 101st began stand-down procedures and was the last U.S. division to leave Vietnam.
U.S. troop strengths decreased during Consolidation I. American battle deaths for July 1971 were 66, the lowest monthly figure since May 1967. By early November, U.S. troop totals dropped to 191,000, the lowest level since December 1965. In early November, President Nixon announced that American troops had reverted to a defensive role in Vietnam. Hide
This campaign was from 1 November 1969 to 30 April 1970. An increase in enemy-initiated attacks, at the highest level since 4-5 September signaled the start of the first phase of the Communist winter
... Morecampaign. This was highlighted by intensified harassment incidents, and attacks throughout the Republic of Vietnam. In November-December these were heaviest in Corps Tactical Zones III and IV (around Saigon), primarily directed against Vietnamese military installations in order to disrupt the pacification program. The most significant enemy activity occurred in November with heavy attacks upon By Prang and Duc Lap in CTZ II (Central Vietnam).
By February 1970 the focus of enemy activity began to shift to CTZ I and II. Attacks increased steadily, reaching a peak in April 1970. Hostile forces staged their heaviest attacks in the Central Highlands near Civilian Irregular Defense Group camps at Dak Seang, Dak Pek, and Ben Het in I CTZ. The enemy also conducted numerous attacks by fire and several sapper attacks against U.S. fire support bases. This high level of enemy activity began in I CTZ in April and continued through May.
During the period 1 November 1969 through 30 April 1970 U.S. and allied forces concentrated on aggressive operations to find and destroy enemy main and local forces, the penetration of base camps and installations and the seizure of enemy supplies and materiel. These operations sought to deny the enemy the initiative and to inflict heavy losses in men and materiel. Further progress was made in Vietnamization through improving the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. As a result of these advances three brigades of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division and several major U.S.M.C. units were withdrawn from Vietnam during this period.
The enemy made several efforts to take the offensive at Dak Seang, which was attacked on 1 April 1970 and remained under siege throughout the month, and at Quang Duc in the By Prong-Duc Lap area which ended on 28 December. Only Vietnamese forces were engaged in both of these operations, the Quang Duc campaign involving some 12,000 ARVN troops. South Vietnamese forces again took the offensive on 14 April in a bold 3-day operation in the Angel's Wing area along the Cambodian border. The Vietnamese Army completed this mission in an aggressive professional manner without U.S. support-further evidence of their growing proficiency. Hide
This campaign was from 1 May to 30 June 1970. This campaign was mainly concerned with the Allied incursion into Cambodia, codenamed Operation ROCK CRUSHER. As American withdrawal from South Vietnam pr
... Moreoceeded, increasing concern arose over the enemy's strength in the sanctuaries inside Cambodia. With the emergence in Cambodia of an antiCommunist government under Lon Nol, President Nixon relaxed the restrictions on moving against the bases inside Cambodia. Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong began to move on the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. At this juncture Lon Nol appealed to the United States for help. American and allied Vietnamese forces began large-scale offensives in Cambodia on 1 May. Eight major US Army and South Vietnamese operations took place in Cambodia in May and June with the object of cutting enemy communication lines, seizing the sanctuary areas and capturing the shadowy Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN) described as the control center for enemy military operations against III CTZ. Hide
This campaign was from 2 November 1968 to 22 February 1969. In November 1968 the South Vietnam government with American support began a concentrated effort to expand security in the countryside. This
... Moreproject was known as the "Accelerated Pacification Campaign."
This period covers the election of President Richard M. Nixon and a change of policy brought about by his administration after January 1969 when he announced a coming end to US combat in Southeast Asia and a simultaneous strengthening of South Vietnam's ability to defend itself. Formal truce negotiations began in Paris on January 25, 1969. The period can be characterized as marking time in preparation for an about face. Forty-seven ground combat operations were recorded during this period, the following being the most important:
(1). Operation NAPOLEON in the Dong Ha area initiated previously (1967) by Marine units, terminated on 9 December 1968.
(2). Operation WHEELER WALLOWA by 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and 196th Infantry Brigade (Light) in north-central Quan Tin Province. This ended on 11 November.
(3). Operation MACARTHUR initiated by 4th U.S. Infantry Division in II Corps tactical zone terminated on 31 January 1969.
(4). Operation COCHISE GREEN conducted by the 173d Airborne Brigade in Binh Dinh Province.
(5). Operation TOAN THANG II consisted of ground operations throughout III CTZ. This was a multi-division operation involving allied forces.
(6). Operation SEA LORDS was a coast and riverine operation. On 6 December Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT was started to disrupt enemy infiltration of materials from the "Parrot's Beak" area of Cambodia. Air operations continued to be important with over 60,000 sorties flown. Hide
This campaign was from 23 February to 8 June 1969. From Tet 1969 through the month of June, the enemy again tried to sustain an offensive. His inability to do so can be largely attributed to aggressi
... Moreve allied ground operations. Between 23 February and 8 June 1969, a total of 70 significant named ground operations were terminated resulting in heavy enemy loss of life and materiel. The main operations concluded during this period were:
(1). The 3d Marine Division's Operation KENTUCKY aimed at preventing enemy infiltration through the Demilitarized Zone in central Quang Tri Province. Throughout the early part of January 1969, Viet Cong/North Vietnamese Army forces continued to avoid major contacts with Free World Forces. Their continual movement to avoid friendly forces or to search for food and supplies contributed to a decrease in the enemy-initiated ground attacks and attacks-by-fire in Quang Tri Province.
(2). Operation NEVADA EAGLE, initiated on 17 May 1968 in Thua Thien Province, continued in 1969 as the U.S. 101st Airborne Division continued to defeat enemy personnel, and capture rice caches, material, and installations within its large area of operations, where it undertook offensive sweeps along Route 547 and around Song Bo.
(3). Two battalions of the 4th Marine Regiment were engaged in Operation SCOTLAND II. Initiated on 15 April 1968, this multi-battalion search and clear operation was centered in and around Khe Sanh.
(4). The IV Corps Tactical Zone Dry Weather Campaign began on 1 December 1968 in support of the overall mission to prevent Viet Cong units from interfering with pacification efforts. This operation, "Speedy Express," interdicted lines of enemy communication and denied him the use of base areas. In 1969 the 1st Brigade, 9th U.S. Infantry Division continued the operation in Dinh Tuong Province, using its highly successful night ambush tactics while the 2d Brigade continued its mission with the Mobile Riverine Force. Although engagements in Operation SPEEDY EXPRESS were typically small, the 9th Infantry Division fought several sizeable engagements with impressive results.
On 23 February U.S. Navy units and installations at Da Nang, Tan An, Ben Luc, Go Dan Ha, and Tra Cu came under numerous and widespread attacks associated with a new enemy offensive, but since many units in these areas were poised to meet these attacks they caused only minimal damage. April saw the heaviest cumulative enemy activity in the barrier interdiction camapign to date. Hide
This campaign was from 9 June to 31 October 1969. During the summer and fall of 1969, conduct of operations was increasingly turned over to Vietnamese, US troops withdrew in greater numbers amid reaff
... Moreirmations of support for the Republic of South Vietnam government. President Nixon announced the reduction of the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam which would be demonstrated initially by the withdrawal of 25,000 troops by 31 August 1969.
American troop strength had peaked at 543,400 in April 1969 but dropped to 505,500 by mid October. More scattered than before, enemy attacks were concentrated on South Vietnamese positions. U.S. combat deaths were down in the early fall as American units switched to small unit actions. The trend was not constant, however, because U.S. troops deaths which had fallen well below l00 a week in the fall, rose above 100 later in the year. Hide
This campaign was from 1 June 1967 to 29 January 1968.The conflict in South Vietnam remains basically unchanged. As Operation JUNCTION CITY ended, elements of the U.S. 1st and 25th Infantry Divisions,
... More the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the forces of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam swung back toward Saigon to conduct another clearing operation, MANHATTAN. This took peace in the Long Nguyen base area just north of the previously cleared "Iron Triangle."
South Vietnamese Armed Forces became more active and capable under U.S. advisors. During the year the Vietnamese Special Forces assumed responsibility for several Special Forces camps and for the CIDG companies manning them. In each case all of the U.S. advisors withdrew, leaving the Vietnamese in full command.
With an increased delegation of responsibility to them, the South Vietnamese conducted major operations during 1967, and, in spite of VC attempts to avoid battle, achieved a number of contacts.
Despite the success of U.S. and South Vietnamese Army operations, there were indications in the fall of 1967 of another enemy build-up, particularly in areas close to Laos and Cambodia. In late October, the VC struck again at the Special Forces Camp at Loc Ninh. Fortunately Vietnamese reinforcements saved the camp. At the same time, approximately 12,000 VC troops converged on a Special Forces camp at Dak To. This camp was located in northern Kontum Province, where the borders of Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam meet. In response to this potential threat, the U.S. and South Vietnam committed a total of sixteen battalions to the region to counter a disturbing enemy resurgence at Kontum and Loc Ninh. Hide
This campaign was from 30 January to 1 April 1968. On 29 January 1968 the Allies began the Tet-lunar new year expecting the usual 36-hour peaceful holiday truce. Because of the threat of a large-scale
... More attack and communist buildup around Khe Sanh, the cease fire order was issued in all areas over which the Allies were responsible with the exception of the I CTZ, south of the Demilitarized Zone.
Determined enemy assaults began in the northern and Central provinces before daylight on 30 January and in Saigon and the Mekong Delta regions that night. Some 84,000 VC and North Vietnamese attacked or fired upon 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 5 of 6 autonomous cities, 64 of 242 district capitals and 50 hamlets. In addition, the enemy raided a number of military installations including almost every airfield. The actual fighting lasted three days; however Saigon and Hue were under more intense and sustained attack.
The attack in Saigon began with a sapper assault against the U.S. Embassy. Other assaults were directed against the Presidential Palace, the compound of the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, and nearby Ton San Nhut air base.
At Hue, eight enemy battalions infiltrated the city and fought the three U.S. Marine Corps, three U.S. Army and eleven South Vietnamese battalions defending it. The fight to expel the enemy lasted a month. American and South Vietnamese units lost over 500 killed, while VC and North Vietnamese battle deaths may have been somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000.
Heavy fighting also occurred in two remote regions: around the Special Forces camp at Dak To in the central highlands and around the U.S. Marines Corps base at Khe Sanh. In both areas, the allies defeated attempts to dislodge them. Finally, with the arrival of more U.S. Army troops under the new XXIV Corps headquarters to reinforce the marines in the northern province, Khe Sanh was abandoned.
Tet proved a major military defeat for the communists. It had failed to spawn either an uprising or appreciable support among the South Vietnamese. On the other hand, the U.S. public became discouraged and support for the war was seriously eroded. U.S. strength in South Vietnam totaled more than 500,000 by early 1968. In addition, there were 61,000 other allied troops and 600,000 South Vietnamese.
The Tet Offensive also dealt a visibly severe setback to the pacification program, as a result of the intense fighting needed to root out VC elements that clung to fortified positions inside the towns. For example, in the densely populated delta there had been approximately 14,000 refugees in January; after Tet some 170,000 were homeless. The requirement to assist these persons seriously inhibited national recovery efforts. Hide
This campaign was from 2 April to 30 June 1968. During this period friendly forces conducted a number of battalion-size attritional operations against the enemy.
... MoreSon 207 relieved the Khe Sanh Combat Base on 5 April and thereby opened Route 9 for the first time since August 1967. This operation not only severely restricted the North Vietnamese Army's use of western Quang Tri Province but also inflicted casualties on the remnants of two North Vietnamese divisions withdrawing from the area. This success was followed by a singular allied spoiling operation in the A Shau Valley, Operation DELAWARE-Lam Son. These two operations prevented the enemy from further attacking I Corps Tactical Zone population centers and forced him to shift his pressure to the III Corps Tactical Zone.
During the period 5-12 May 1968 the Viet Cong launched an offensive with Saigon as the primary objective. Friendly forces defended the city with great determination. Consequently Saigon was never in danger of being overrun. Small Viet Cong units that did manage to get into the outskirts were fragmented and driven out with great loss of enemy life. By the end of June 1968 friendly forces had decisively blunted the enemy's attacks, inflicted very heavy casualties, and hindered his ability to attack urban areas throughout the Republic of Vietnam. The enemy was forced to withdraw to his sanctuaries.
The strength of the U.S. Army in Vietnam reach a peak of nearly 360,000 men during this period. Hide
This campaign was from 1 July to 1 November 1968. During this period a country-wide effort was begun to restore government control of territory lost to the enemy since the Tet offensive. The enemy att
... Moreempted another such offensive on 17-18 August but his efforts were comparatively feeble and were quickly overwhelmed by Allied forces.
In the fall of 1968 the South Vietnamese government, with major U.S. support, launched an accelerated pacification campaign. All friendly forces were coordinated and brought to bear on the enemy in every tactical area of operation. In these intensified operations, friendly units first secured a target area, then Vietnamese government units, regional forces/popular forces, police and civil authorities screened the inhabitants, seeking members of the Viet Cong infrastructure. This technique was so successful against the political apparatus that it became the basis for subsequent friendly operations. Government influence expanded into areas of the countryside previously dominated by the Viet Cong to such an extent that two years later at least some measure of government control was evident in all but a few remote regions. Hide