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
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 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