Battle of Đồng Xoài

The Battle of Đồng Xoài (Vietnamese: Trận Đồng Xoài) was a major battle fought during the National Liberation Front Summer Offensive of 1965 as part of the Vietnam War. The battle took place in Phước Long Province, South Vietnam, between June 9 and 13, 1965.

In 1964, General Nguyễn Khánh gained control of the South Vietnamese government after General Dương Văn Minh was overthrown in a military coup. Although General Khánh was able to gain control of the military junta, he failed to garner support from the civilian population when he implemented various laws which limited the freedoms of the South Vietnamese people. He then had a falling-out with the Catholic faction within his own government, when he became increasingly reliant on the Buddhist movement to hold on to power. Consequently, on February 20, 1965, General Khánh was ousted from power and was forced to leave South Vietnam forever. The political instability in Saigon gave North Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi an opportunity to step up their military campaign in the south. They believed the South Vietnamese government was able to survive because it still had a strong military to combat the growing influence of the Viet Cong. With the summer campaign of 1965, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces aimed to inflict significant losses on the South Vietnamese military. In Phước Long Province, the Communist summer offensive culminated in the Đồng Xoài campaign.

The fight for Đồng Xoài began on the evening of June 9, 1965, when the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment attacked and captured the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and U.S. Special Forces camp there. In response to the sudden Viet Cong assault, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Joint General Staff ordered the ARVN 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, to retake Đồng Xoài district. They arrived on the battlefield on June 10, but were quickly overwhelmed by the Viet Cong 271st Regiment near Thuận Lợi. Later that day, Đồng Xoài was recaptured by the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion, which had survived an ambush while marching towards the district. On June 11, further South Vietnamese reinforcements arrived in the form of the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion. The South Vietnamese paratroopers, while searching for survivors of the 1st Battalion in the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation, were defeated in a deadly ambush by the Viet Cong. On June 13 U.S. Army General William Westmoreland decided to insert elements of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade into a major battle for the first time, because he feared the Viet Cong could secure a major base area in Phước Long Province. By that time, however, the Viet Cong had already withdrawn from the battlefield, so the U.S. paratroopers were ordered to return to base without a fight.


In January 1964, General Khánh ousted General Dương Văn Minh as the leader of South Vietnam's military junta in a bloodless coup.[2] Although Khánh had made considerable efforts to consolidate his power, opposition to his rule began to grow as he tightened censorship laws, banned protests and allowed police arbitrary search and imprisonment powers. Khánh drafted a new constitution, which would have expanded his power within the military junta. In response to General Khánh's political manoeuvres the South Vietnamese people, predominately Buddhists, held large demonstrations in the cities calling for an end to the draconian laws which had limited the people’s political freedom.[3] Fearing that his power could be weakened by those demonstrations, General Khánh immediately repealed his constitution and new police powers. He promised to reinstate civilian rule and remove members of the Catholic-based Cần lao from power.[4]

Internally, the concessions made by General Khánh had the effect of unsettling Catholic officers such as Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and Trần Thiện Khiêm, because they were concerned by what they perceived to be the handing of power to Buddhist leaders. Subsequently, General Khiêm fell out with General Khánh over policy issues along religious lines, even though an alliance between both men had enabled Khánh to remove General Minh from power.[5] As military support for his regime diminished, Khánh had to rely upon civilian Buddhist activists to maintain power. For the Americans, Khánh's increased reliance on the Buddhists was a cause for concern, because the Buddhists favoured a political resolution to the conflict with the Communists. Thus, by the end of 1964 the Americans looked for someone to overthrow Khánh, in order to continue the military effort against the Communists. On February 20, 1965, Khánh was finally removed from power, and he was forced to leave South Vietnam.[6]

From the Communist perspective, even though South Vietnam was plagued by political instability, it still had a strong army to resist the Viet Cong. So shortly after the Binh Gia campaign, North Vietnamese leaders reached a resolution to launch a summer offensive, to destroy the regular units of the South Vietnamese military.[7] During the early stages of the Communist summer campaign, Viet Cong forces in Quảng Ngãi Province successfully destroyed a South Vietnamese task force, led by the ARVN 51st Infantry Regiment, in the village of Ba Gia. Following their victory at Ba Gia, the National Liberation Front (known in America as Viet Cong) turned its attention to the Mekong Delta region. To prepare for their next offensive, Major-General Le Trong Tan was given the task of directing Viet Cong military operations in the provinces of Phước Long, Bình Phước.[8] For the first time, the newly created Viet Cong 273rd and 274th Regiments was ordered to join the 271st and 272nd Regiments on the battlefield; their objective was to destroy the regular units of the South Vietnamese military, and eliminate the strategic hamlets to enlarge what North Vietnam viewed as 'liberated zones'.[9]


Since May 1965, the Viet Cong offensive in Phước Long Province had been in full-swing. Beginning on May 10, the Viet Cong 271st Regiment, supported by the 840th Battalion and local sapper units, attacked the district town of Phước Long, capital of the province. Simultaneously, the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment overran South Vietnamese government positions in the sub-sector of Phước Bình. During their brief occupation of Phước Long district, the Viet Cong destroyed several major strategic hamlets in the surrounding areas, such as Ba Ra, Thuan Kiem, Thuan Loi, Phu Rieng, Da Kia, Bu Dop, Duc Bon and Song Be.[10]

In response to the Viet Cong occupation of Phước Long district, the ARVN 36th Ranger Battalion was ordered by the ARVN Joint General Staff to recapture government positions there. On May 11, two companies from the battalion sustained heavy casualties in battles with Viet Cong units positioned along Inter-Provincial Road 13 and National Highway 14.[11] On May 12, the Viet Cong 271st Regiment and other support units withdrew from Phuoc Long district.[11]

In the Phước Bình sub-sector, the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment were able to overrun South Vietnamese government positions within 25 minutes, and they claimed to have killed 115 South Vietnamese soldiers in the process[12][13] At 9 am on May 11, the ARVN 34th Ranger Battalion was airlifted into a small town located about 14 kilometres away from Phước Bình in the south-east. As the ARVN 34th Ranger Battalion marched upward towards Phước Bình, the Viet Cong 272nd and 273rd Regiment was ordered to destroy the South Vietnamese Rangers. However, by the time the 272nd Regiment arrived at the South Vietnamese staging area, the Rangers had already pulled out and successfully recaptured Phước Bình.[11] Meanwhile, on May 15, the Viet Cong 274th Regiment defeated two South Vietnamese Regional Force companies along Route 20, and destroyed 20 vehicles in the process.[11][14]

After those operations in Phước Long district and Phước Bình sub-sector, the Viet Cong 9th Division was ordered to attack Đồng Xoài.[13] In 1965, Đồng Xoài was a district town situated at a road junction which connected Inter-Inter-Provisional Road 13, National Highway 1 and Highway 14.[11] The district was defended by 200 local Vietnamese soldiers drawn from the 327th and 328th Militia Companies, and the 111th Regional Force Company. They were supported by one armoured squadron (6 armoured vehicles) and two 105mm howitzers.[15] There were also 200 Cambodian soldiers of a Civilian Irregular Defense Group, 11 United States Army Special Forces personnel, and nine men of Seabee Team 1104. Prior to the battle, the U.S Special Forces had assumed control of Đồng Xoài's defences; they stepped up guard and patrol activities, and ordered the construction of new defensive fortifications around the district headquarters, the Special Forces Camp, and the armoured and artillery positions on the eastern side of the district.[16][17]


Dong Xoai Map
Đồng Xoài in 1965

On the evening of June 9, 1965, the Viet Cong made final preparations for their assault on Đồng Xoài. While the Viet Cong assembled their formations, U.S.-led forces inside the Special Forces Camp were suddenly placed on alert, forcing the Viet Cong to commence their attack 70 minutes earlier than scheduled.[18] At 11:30 pm Viet Cong heavy mortar rounds began to fall on South Vietnamese and American positions around Đồng Xoài, soon followed by an infantry assault led by the 272nd Regiment. During the initial assault, the Viet Cong sustained heavy casualties as they tried to navigate through the surrounding minefields and barb wire fences, which they had failed to pick up during previous reconnaissance missions.[18] At about 1:30 am, two helicopter gunships from the U.S. Army's 118th Aviation Company were dispatched to support the Special Forces Camp, they fired on the Viet Cong around the compound, and returned to base only after their weapons load was emptied.[19] At around 2:30 am, the Americans and a few of the Cambodian soldiers retreated to the district headquarters, where other local troops were holding out. Meanwhile, at Biên Hòa Air Base, all flight crews of the 118th Aviation Company were on the flightline preparing for combat assault at first light. By that time, however, the Viet Cong had captured the Special Forces compound, and they began massing for an attack on the district headquarters.[19]

An aerial view of Đồng Xoài

While fighting raged inside the district, all flyable aircraft from the 118th Aviation Company flew out from Biên Hòa to Phước Vinh, a small town about 30 kilometres from Đồng Xoài. From Phước Vinh the first contingent of the ARVN 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, was airlifted into the battlefield. At around 8 am, the UH-1 formations of the 118th Aviation Company descend on the landing zone near the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation, about 4 kilometres north of Đồng Xoài; they immediately began to receive fire from bunkers and foxholes surrounding the area.[19] The South Vietnamese command believed the landing zone near Thuận Lợi would be ideal to land their troops, because it was distant enough that the Viet Cong would not find and engage them immediately. However, the Viet Cong had anticipated the South Vietnamese would land troops in the area, and had prepared for an ambush.[20] As a result, after U.S. helicopters had departed from the landing zone, soldiers of the Viet Cong 271st Regiment immediately turned their attention on the South Vietnamese. Within 15 minutes the main body of the ARVN 1st Battalion was completely destroyed.[21]

At around 11:55 am the last remaining soldiers of the ARVN 1st Battalion were discharged near the original landing zone in Thuận Lợi, and they too were put out of action within three minutes of touching down on the field.[22] During the afternoon, the Viet Cong had managed to destroy parts of the district headquarters building using their 57mm recoilless rifle. Second Lieutenant Williams then ordered 14 Americans inside the building, along with an equal number of Vietnamese women and children, to retreat to the artillery position located east of the town where they continued their resistance.[23] Late in the afternoon on June 10, the U.S. 118th Aviation Company was joined by other elements of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion in their final sorties for the day; airlifting the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion from Phước Vinh into Đồng Xoài, with the objective of recapturing the road junction and the Special Forces Camp. Following their last mission, the 118th Aviation Company immediately returned to Biên Hòa. During the first day of heavy fighting, every helicopter in the unit had sustained damage, including the loss of one helicopter and its entire crew.[19]

At 3:20 pm the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion were discharged on a landing zone about 3 kilometres south of Đồng Xoài. As the South Vietnamese Rangers marched towards the town centre, their lead company was decimated in an ambush mounted by elements of the Viet Cong 271st Regiment.[21] Undeterred by the strength of the Viet Cong, they continued their march towards the district. On the night of June 10, the battalion began attacking Viet Cong positions around the Special Forces Camp, and they gradually recaptured the compound and much of the town. The Viet Cong eventually launched a counter-attack in an attempt to win back the loss ground, but they failed to dislodge the soldiers of the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion.[18][22][24] The next morning, on June 11, the 118th Aviation Company was back at full strength in Phước Vinh. Like the previous day, they flew air-support and airlifted further reinforcements from the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion. After the South Vietnamese paratroopers were dropped off on a soccer field, the 118th Aviation Company started large-scale evacuation of South Vietnamese casualties. In contrast to the previous day, the 118th Aviation Company encountered only isolated rear guard actions.[19]

Just before the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion landed on the battlefield, the Viet Cong had intercepted a radio conversation between the aforementioned unit and the 52nd Ranger Battalion in the district centre; several months earlier the 7th Airborne Battalion was involved in the battle at Bình Giã, so they vowed to avenge the loss of their comrades.[25] Thus, from the soccer field, the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion marched up to Thuận Lợi, against only light opposition. The South Vietnamese paratroopers arrived at the area where the first group of the ARVN 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, was dropped off and they collected seven survivors and 55 bodies.[26] In the afternoon, as elements of the 7th Airborne Battalion moved through the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation to search for remnants of the second group of the ARVN 1st Battalion, the Viet Cong 271st Regiment started attacking the South Vietnamese paratroopers in a manner which had characterised earlier ambushes. Taking advantage of the poor weather conditions that had limited U.S. air strikes, as well as their numerical superiority, the Viet Cong broke the South Vietnamese formation into small groups and destroyed many of them. On the next day, the strength of the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion was reduced from 470 to just 159 soldiers.[26][27]

After the defeat of the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion, U.S. General William Westmoreland concluded that the Viet Cong still had the strength to continue the attacks on Đồng Xoài. In contrast, South Vietnamese forces within the vicinity of Đồng Xoài were severely depleted, and did not have sufficient strength to defeat the Viet Cong. Furthermore, there was only one remaining battalion in South Vietnam’s strategic reserve, and it may not be enough to drive the Communist out from the area if it was committed.[26]

Westmoreland was unwilling to leave the Viet Cong with a position from which they could dominate Phước Long Province. So, on June 13, he made the decision to insert U.S. combat forces. Subsequently, 738 men of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, were flown out to the staging area in Phước Vinh. Elements of the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 319th Artillery also followed later in the day. Upon arrival at Phước Vinh, the U.S. Army task force waited for five days, but it soon became apparent that the Viet Cong had withdrawn from the area and had no intention of holding territory. On June 18, the 1/503rd Infantry was ordered to return to base.[28]


In this battle both sides of the conflict had paid a heavy price to achieve their objectives. After the battle, search parties found several hundred VC bodies within small arms range of the Special Forces compound and district headquarters, and another 126 VC bodies inside these compounds. Numerous other Viet Cong casualties had been evacuated or incurred in the fighting beyond the town's borders. In their efforts to recapture the district town of Đồng Xoài, the South Vietnamese military lost 416 soldiers killed in action, 174 wounded and 233 missing.[1] In addition, over one hundred South Vietnamese civilians were believed to have been massacred by the Viet Cong during their brief occupation of the area.[15] Total casualties sustained by U.S. military personnel included 20 soldiers killed or wounded, and 13 missing. According to Vietnam's official account of the Đồng Xoài campaign, the Communists claimed to have put 4,459 enemy soldiers (including 73 Americans) out of action. Furthermore, 1,652 weapons of various kinds were captured, 390 weapons and 60 vehicles were destroyed, 34 aircraft and 3 helicopters were shot down.[29]

Even though the Viet Cong had won a clear victory over the regular units of the South Vietnamese army, they did not get away with light casualties. After the battle, a combined total of 126 Viet Cong bodies were recovered within the Special Forces compound and the district headquarters, and several hundred more were strewn all over the battlefield.[1] Indeed, individual Viet Cong soldiers usually spared no efforts to evacuate their dead or wounded comrades; but as military operations were conducted during the rainy season, the Viet Cong struggled to evacuate all their casualties from the battlefield as conditions on the main roads deteriorated.[30] Despite the minor setbacks, the Đồng Xoài campaign marked the rapid maturity of the Viet Cong 9th Division as a fighting force. For their efforts during the battle, the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment received the title of 'Đồng Xoài Regiment' to mark their achievements.[31]

Six days after large-scale fighting in Đồng Xoài had concluded there was another change of government in Saigon. South Vietnamese Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ was appointed prime minister and executive chairman of the government by the military junta, and General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu became a figurehead president.[1] Unlike previous leaders, Air-Marshal Kỳ and General Thiệu were more interested in fighting the Communists, and they intended to stop the Buddhist factions from interfering with their decision-making processes. However, due to Air Marshal Kỳ's lack of experience in civil government, the Americans were not entirely pleased with the formation of a new government with him as the leader. In contrast, General Thiệu's appointment to the office of president was considered to be a positive development by the American Embassy and military command, because he possessed the political skills required by Saigon’s political establishment. Nonetheless, Kỳ's ascension to the position of prime minister had effectively ended the cycle of military coups which had plagued Saigon since the downfall of Ngô Đình Diệm.[1]

In a significant contrast to the political scene in South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese government in Hanoi were far more occupied with their military effort. The North Vietnamese Transportation Group 559, then under the leadership of Major-General Phan Trong Tue, was ordered to open new transportation and communication lines through southern Laos and South Vietnam. The purpose was to facilitate the movement of troops and material through the Pathet Lao-occupied section of the Ho Chi Minh trail.[32] They were supported by 1,500 workers from the Ministry of Transportation and 7,600 volunteers. By the end of 1965, the strength of Group 559 had grown to 24,400 personnel organised in six battalions of motor vehicles, one battalion of boats, 18 battalions of combat engineers, four battalions of anti-aircraft artillery and guard units.[32] In addition to the expansion of their logistical abilities, the North Vietnamese also decided to establish five infantry divisions and one artillery in South Vietnam. Thus, the stage was set for a major military struggle with American and other allied forces.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Moyar (2006), p. 402
  2. ^ Shaplen (1966), pp. 228–240
  3. ^ Moyar (2004), p. 756
  4. ^ Moyar (2004), p. 761
  5. ^ Moyar (2004), pp. 762–763
  6. ^ Kahin (1986), pp. 232–235
  7. ^ Moyar (2006), p. 359
  8. ^ Guan (2002), p. 90
  9. ^ Guan (2002), p. 91
  10. ^ Anonymous (1965), p. 15
  11. ^ a b c d e Uoc & Minh (1997), p. 116
  12. ^ Anonymous (1965), pp. 11–122
  13. ^ a b PLAF (1967), p. 22
  14. ^ Anonymous (1965), pp. 21–23
  15. ^ a b Mekong Republic
  16. ^ Moyar (2006), pp. 396–397
  17. ^ PLAF (1967), p. 23
  18. ^ a b c Uoc & Minh (1997), p. 117
  19. ^ a b c d e "Battalion History, Battle of Dong Xoai, 10–20 June 1965". 145th Combat Aviation Battalion (Vietnam) Association.
  20. ^ Moyar (2006), p. 339
  21. ^ a b Anonymous (1965), p. 30
  22. ^ a b Anonymous (1965), p. 31
  23. ^ Moyar (2006), p. 399
  24. ^ Moyar (2006), pp. 400–401
  25. ^ Anonymous (1965), p. 32
  26. ^ a b c Moyar (2006), p. 401
  27. ^ Anonymous (1965), p. 33
  28. ^ Carland (2000), p. 28
  29. ^ Anonymous (1988), p. 76
  30. ^ Anonymous (1965), pp. 53–54
  31. ^ PLAF (1967), p. 26
  32. ^ a b Guan (2002), p. 99


  • Anonymous. (1965). The Song Be—Đồng Xoài Victory. Binh Thuan: Liberation Publishing House.
  • Anonymous. (1988). The Great Anti-U.S. War of Resistance for National Salvation: Military Events. Hanoi: People's Army Publishing House.
  • Ang Cheng Guan. (2002). The Vietnam War From the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists’ Perspective. London: Routledge.
  • George Kahin. (1986). A Death in November: America in Vietnam, 1963. New York: E.P.Dutton.
  • John M. Carland. (2000). Stemming the Tide: May 1965 to October 1966. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Mark Moyar. (2004). Political Monks: The Militant Buddhist Movement During the Vietnam War. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mark Moyar. (2006). Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War 1954–1975. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Nguyen Dinh Uoc & Nguyen Van Minh. (1997). History of the War of Resistance Against America (3rd edn). Hanoi: National Politics Publishing.
  • Robert Shaplen. (1966). The Lost Revolution: Vietnam 1945–1965. London: Andre Deutsch.
  • People’s Liberation Armed Forces. (1967). History of 272nd Regiment, PLAF 9th Division. Binh Thuan: Giai Phong Publishing.

External links

1965 in the Vietnam War

In 1965, the United States rapidly increased its military forces in South Vietnam, prompted by the realization that the South Vietnamese government was losing the Vietnam War as the communist-dominated Viet Cong gained influence over much of the population in rural areas of the country. North Vietnam also rapidly increased its infiltration of men and supplies to combat South Vietnam and the U.S.. The objective of the U.S. and South Vietnam was to prevent a communist take-over. North Vietnam and the insurgent Viet Cong sought to unite the two sections of the country.

Political instability and internal dissent continued to plague the government of South Vietnam, although in June General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and Air Marshall Nguyễn Cao Kỳ took control of the country and remained in power for the remainder of the year. In the United States, a majority of Congress and the people supported U.S. participation in the war, although protests against the war became larger and more frequent, especially among college students.

The U.S. began bombing North Vietnam in March, in Operation Rolling Thunder. The U.S. Army and Marines began ground operations to ferret out and defeat the communist forces. General William Westmoreland commanded U.S. forces in South Vietnam. Westmoreland's strategy was attrition, employing U.S. superiority in firepower, technology, and mobility. The usual military tactic of the United States was search and destroy operations in which large U.S. and South Vietnamese units, supported by air and artillery, swept through an area to attempt to engage the communists in battle. North Vietnam and the Viet Cong, by contrast, relied on hit-and-run operations and ambushes, avoiding set-piece battles except at their own initiative.

In November, the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies met head-on for the first time in the Battle of Ia Drang. Both sides claimed victory. The U.S. inflicted heavy casualties on the North Vietnamese, but the battle vindicated the conviction by North Vietnam that its military could slowly grind down the U.S.'s commitment to the war.

South Korea contributed an army division to South Vietnam, while Australia, New Zealand and other countries provided smaller numbers of soldiers. North Vietnam received military aid from the Soviet Union and China.

At year's end, President Lyndon Johnson declared a temporary halt to the bombing of North Vietnam and undertook a diplomatic initiative to seek negotiations with North Vietnam. North Vietnam, on its part, aimed to achieve a decisive military victory, but prepared also for an expanded war if the U.S. continued to escalate its involvement.

Most of the reports and conversations mentioned below were secret and not made public for many years. They reflect the ongoing debate among American officials, military leaders, and the American people about the scope and character of American intervention in the Vietnam War.

5th Division (South Vietnam)

The Fifth Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975—was part of the III Corps that oversaw the region of the country surrounding the capital, Saigon.

The Fifth Division was based in Biên Hòa, a town on the northern outskirts of Saigon, and due to the Division's close proximity to the capital Saigon was a key factor in the success or failure of the various coup attempts in the nation's history. As a result, the loyalty of the commanding officer of the Division was crucial in maintaining power.

9th Division (Vietnam)

The 9th Infantry Division is a division of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), first formed from Viet Cong units in 1964/5 in the Mekong Delta region.

Bình Phước Province

Bình Phước (listen) is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the Southeast region of the country, to the north of Hồ Chí Minh City (formerly Saigon). It shares a border with Cambodia.

June 9

June 9 is the 160th day of the year (161st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 205 days remain until the end of the year.

List of United States servicemembers and civilians missing in action during the Vietnam War (1961–65)

This article is a list of US MIAs of the Vietnam War in the period 1961–1965. In 1973, the United States listed 2,646 Americans as unaccounted for from the entire Vietnam War. By August 2017, 1604 Americans remained unaccounted for, of which 1026 were classified as further pursuit, 488 as no further pursuit and 90 as deferred.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 (NMCB 11) is a United States Navy Construction Battalion, otherwise known as a Seabee Battalion, presently home-ported at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (Gulfport, Mississippi). The unit was formed during World War II as the 11th Naval Construction Battalion at Camp Allen on 28 June 1942. On 1 July, she moved to the new Seabee base Camp Bradford. Seabee battalions were numbered sequentially in the order they were stood up. The battalion lost one man during the war to an accident. The 11th NCB was inactivated on 1 December 1945, at Subic Bay, Philippines.

The unit was reactivated as Mobile Construction Battalion 11 in the fall 1953, only to be decommissioned again in December 1969. However, MCB 11 made four tours in Vietnam. Eleven's fourth Seabee Technical Assistance Team (STAT) was sent to a Special Forces camp near the junction of two jungle routes, one called the Ho Chi Minh trail. It was the main route for the Viet Cong into South Vietnam, and lead to the most decorated group of Seabees in Seabee history. The battalion's 1967 tour exposed the men to the most severe combat the Seabees had seen since World War II. They came under fire 128 times, costing them 12 KIA. There were construction fatalities as well. In addition, the battalion suffered 102 wounded. NMCB 11 had one man make all four tours, getting a ribbon that matches the battalion's battle streamer. The battalion was deactivated in 1969.

Reactivated in 2007, NMCB 11 has since deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. It has also undertaken international engagement activities in the Pacific, and has supported relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Homeport for NMCB 11 is NCBC Gulfport Mississippi

Outline of the Vietnam War

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Vietnam War:

Vietnam War – Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War (1946–54) and was fought between North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies—and the government of South Vietnam—supported by the United States, Philippines and other anti-communist allies. The Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units to battle.

Phạm Quốc Thuần

Lieutenant General Pham Quoc Thuan was an officer of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Thuần served as commander of the 5th Division from 1962 and was a protégé of Nguyễn Văn Thiệu.

Following the Battle of Đồng Xoài in June 1965, when the 5th Division's 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment was ambushed by Viet Cong forces in the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation suffering heavy losses, the Division's US adviser reported that Thuần, had "gone to pieces" over the mauling his 7th Regiment had received.In 1966 US advisers regarded Thuần's 5th Division and the 25th Division as the two worst units in the ARVN. In 1967 MACV assessed that the three ARVN divisions surrounding Saigon, the 5th, 18th and the 25th Division had shown no improvement, and US advisers considered their commanders, Thuần, Do Ke Giai (18th Division) and Phan Trong Chinh (25th Division), flatly incompetent. The senior Junta generals had repeatedly agreed on the need to replace them, but, for political reasons, had taken no action. Although continually judged by American leaders as corrupt and incapable, Thuần had strong political ties with the Junta generals, in this case, Thiệu. John Paul Vann noted the widespread public belief that Thuần not only controlled most of the local bars and prostitution houses but also extorted protection fees for convoys moving through his Division tactical area. General William E. DePuy, commanding the nearby US 1st Infantry Division, agreed. He made the convoy protection charge public, as did a local Vietnamese province chief, perhaps with Vann's encouragement. COMUSMACV General William Westmoreland could do little. He already had taken up the matter previously with Chief of the Joint General Staff General Cao Văn Viên, but to no avail. Thuần had been Thieu's chief of staff when the latter had commanded the 5th Division back in 1962, and the division, together with General Dong's airborne units, remained Thiệu's major basis of power. In the interests of political stability, nothing could be done.In September 1968 MACV rated General Thuần as inept and 5th Division advisers noted that the Division had "withdrawn into a shell" and was doing nothing constructive." Minor incidents, like Thuần's daily pot shots at birds from the second story balcony of his home and the subsequent accidental wounding of his intelligence adviser, were not uncommon and at times trivialized and mocked the entire war effort. II Field Force, Vietnam commander Lt. Gen. Walter T. Kerwin, Jr. appealed to COMUSMACV General Creighton Abrams for help, and the MACV commander reportedly "raised hell" with President Thiệu over the matter, but Thiệu did nothing.In August 1969 Thuần was finally removed and replaced by General Nguyễn Văn Hiếu.He served as the commander of III Corps, which oversaw the region of the country surrounding the capital Saigon, from 29 October 1973 until 30 October of the next year, when he was replaced by Lieutenant General Du Quoc Dong.

Republic of Vietnam Airborne Division

The Vietnamese Airborne Division was one of the earliest components of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces (Vietnamese: Quân lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa – QLVNCH). The Vietnamese Airborne Division began as companies organised in 1948, prior to any agreement over armed forces in Vietnam. After the partition of Vietnam, it became a part of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. This division had its distinct origins in French-trained paratrooper battalions, with predecessor battalions participating in major battles including Dien Bien Phu and retained distinct uniforms and regalia . With the formation of an independent republic, the colonial paratroopers were dissolved, however regalia and aesthetics alongside the nickname "Bawouans" would be retained.

The Airborne Division, alongside the Vietnamese Rangers and the Marine Division were often regarded as among the most effective units, with former airborne advisor General Barry McCaffrey noting that "those of us privileged to serve with them were awe-struck by their courage and tactical aggressiveness. The senior officers and non-commissioned officers were extremely competent and battle hardened." Eight of nine battalions and three headquarters had earned US Presidential Unit Citation (United States) of which eight of these were earned by the Airborne between 1967-1968 which included the Tet Offensive period. Airborne commanders were often highly rated, with Airborne Commander Ngô Quang Trưởng once described by former Airborne-adviser and Gulf War commanding General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. "as the most brilliant tactical commander I have ever known"

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

American military advisors began arriving in what was then French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state. The Việt Cộng, also known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a

guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U.S. involvement escalated in 1960, and continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels gradually surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963.By 1964, there were 23,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U.S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces. Every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, proved to be the turning point of the war; despite years of American tutelage and aid the South Vietnamese forces were unable to withstand the communist offensive and the task fell to US forces instead. The Tet Offensive showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders; bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were used by North Vietnam as supply routes and were heavily bombed by U.S. forces.

Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. The capture of Saigon by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action. The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and confllict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, and the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea. Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.

Vietnamese Rangers

The Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân and commonly known as the ARVN Rangers, were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in daring search and destroy missions. Initially trained as a counter-insurgency light infantry force by removing the fourth company each of the existing infantry battalions, they later expanded into a swing force capable of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, and were relied on to retake captured regions. Later during Vietnamization the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program was transferred from MACV and integrated as Border Battalions responsible for manning remote outposts in the Central Highlands.Rangers were often regarded as among the most effective units in the war, the most well-led ARVN unit and formed part of the highly-mobile response units operating in key areas. Part of this was due to the specialized role of these units, given that they had their origins in French-raised Commando Units, the GCMA which were drawn from Viet Minh defectors and Tai-Kadai groups, operating in interdiction and counter-intelligence roles, and were trained specifically for counter-insurgency and rough-terrain warfare in the region. Ranger Units often had a US Military Adviser attached to these units although operated independently. The foremost counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked in 1974 that the ARVN as a whole were the third-best trained army in the free-world and second only to the Israelis in counter-insurgency, with the Rangers, ARVN Airborne and Marine Division forming the vanguard. With improvements in the ARVN from 1969 onward and the growing prestige of the Airborne and Marine Division, depredation had caused the Central Highlands-based Rangers to become manned by deserters, released convicts and Montagnards nevertheless the unit continued to perform critical roles in the Easter Offensive and frontier skirmishes in 1973 and 1974.

A total of 11 U.S Presidential Unit Citation (United States) were issued to the 22 original Ranger Battalions, including one unit whom earned three total citations from two different presidents. See List of Non-US Presidential Unit Citations in Vietnam.

Đồng Xoài

Đồng Xoài (listen) is the capital city of Bình Phước Province in the Southeast region of Vietnam. The city was the site of the 1965 Battle of Đồng Xoài during the Vietnam War. As of 2009, the district had a population of 88,380, and a total area of 168 km². The district capital lies at Đồng Xoài.

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