MACV was created on 8 February 1962, in response to the increase in United States military assistance to South Vietnam. MACV was first implemented to assist the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) Vietnam, controlling every advisory and assistance effort in Vietnam, but was reorganized on 15 May 1964 and absorbed MAAG Vietnam to its command when combat unit deployment became too large for advisory group control. MACV was disestablished on 29 March 1973 and replaced by the Defense Attaché Office, Saigon (DAO). The DAO performed many of the same roles of MACV within the restrictions imposed by the Paris Peace Accords until the Fall of Saigon.
The first commanding general of MACV (COMUSMACV), General Paul D. Harkins, was also the commander of MAAG Vietnam, and after reorganization was succeeded by General William C. Westmoreland in June 1964, followed by General Creighton W. Abrams (July 1968) and General Frederick C. Weyand (June 1972).
|U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam|
U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
shoulder sleeve insignia
|Country||United States of America|
|Part of||United States Pacific Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Tan Son Nhut Airport, South Vietnam|
|Decorations||Gallantry Cross (Vietnam) with Palm|
|Paul D. Harkins|
William C. Westmoreland
Creighton W. Abrams
Frederick C. Weyand
Admiral Harry D. Felt, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, established the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, on 8 February 1962, as a subordinate unified command under his control. Lieutenant General Paul D. Harkins, the Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific, who, as the commander-designate for the task force headquarters (HQ) in the event of operations in Southeast Asia, had participated in the planning for such operations, was appointed commander, and promoted to general. General Harkins became the senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam and, responsible for U.S. military policy, operations, and assistance there. General Harkins had the task of advising the Vietnamese government on security, organization, and employment of their military and paramilitary forces. As provided for in the organization of the task force headquarters in the contingency plans, MACV's commander was also his own Army component commander. With an initial authorized strength of 216 men (113 Army), MACV was envisaged as a temporary HQ that would be withdrawn once the Viet Cong insurgency was brought under control. In that event, the Military Assistance Advisory Group would be restored to its former position as the principal U.S. headquarters in South Vietnam. For this reason, the MAAG was retained as a separate headquarters.
In March 1962 Headquarters, U.S. Army, Pacific, removed the "provisional" designation from the U.S. Army Support Group, Vietnam, attached it to U.S. Army, Ryukyu Islands, for administrative and logistical support, and made its commanding officer the deputy Army component commander under MACV. In turn, all U.S. Army units in Vietnam (excluding advisory attachments) were assigned to the Army Support Group for administrative and logistical needs. Over the course of 1962 U.S. military strength in Vietnam rose from about 1,000 to over 11,000 personnel, though each service continued to provide its own logistical support.
Throughout 1963 the duties of the U .S. Army Support Group steadily increased, particularly regarding to combat support activities and logistics. During the year, the U.S. buildup continued, especially in aviation, communications, intelligence, special warfare, and logistic units, reaching a total or 17,068 man, or which 10,916 were Army. Because or this expansion, General Stilwell late in 1963 proposed that the name or the support group be changed to U.S. Army Support Command, Vietnam. General Harkins concurred and General Collins and Admiral Fell approved the redesignation. The new designation went into effect on 1 March 1964. (p.37)
MACV was reorganized on 15 May 1964, and absorbed MAAG Vietnam within it, when combat unit deployment became too large for advisory group control. A Naval Advisory Group was established, and the Commanding General, 2nd Air Division, became MACV's Air Force component commander. (p.41) That year the U.S. strength in Vietnam grew from about 16,000 men (10,716 Army) to about 23,300 (16,000 Army) in 1964 (p.43) though logistic support operations were highly fragmented. As a result, the 1st Logistics Command was established (p.44-45).
Large scale combat deployments began when the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade was deployed in the Da Nang area from March 1965. When the III Marine Amphibious Force moved to Da Nang on 6 May 1965, its commanding general, Major General William R. Collins, USMC, was designated MACV's naval component commander (p.45). In May 1965, the Army's 173d Airborne Brigade from Okinawa arrived. In July 1965, in response to the growing size of U.S. Army forces in the country, United States Army Vietnam was established, and both the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division as well as the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, deployed from the United States. The brigade from the 101st Airborne Division was originally planned to replace the 173d Airborne Brigade but, with the need for additional combat forces, both brigades remained in Vietnam. Two months later, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), recently reorganized from an infantry formation, reported in country, and the remainder of the 1st Infantry Division arrived in October.
Two corps-level HQs were also established in 1965-66, Task Force Alpha (soon to become I Field Force, Vietnam) for U.S. forces in the II Corps Tactical Zone, and II Field Force, Vietnam, for U.S. Army forces in the III Corps Tactical Zone (p.52-54). The 5th Special Forces Group was also established in-country by 1965. A brigade of the 25th Infantry Division arrived in late 1965, with the 4th Infantry Division deploying between August and November 1966.
In April 1967, General Westmoreland, who had arrived in June 1964 as Commander of MACV, organized a division-sized blocking force along the border between North and South Vietnam. The deployment of a division-sized U.S. ARmy force would allow the 3rd Marine Division to move north, to provide greater support for the 1st Marine Division in the northern portion of the I Corps Tactical Zone. Designated as Task Force Oregon, it included the 196th Infantry Brigade; the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Chu Lai; and the 1st Brigade, 10lst Airborne Division. On 25 September 1967 the new Americal Division (technically, the 23rd Infantry Division) was activated to control the blocking force, replacing the provisional task force HQ. With the elapse of five months, all the three same brigades remained in the new division, but the brigade at Chu Lai was now named the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, after a responsibility swap that had occurred in August.
In April 1966, all Army communications-electronics resources in Vietnam were combined in a single formation, the 1st Signal Brigade. It supported the combat signal battalions of the divisions and field forces in each corps area. Additionally, the 1st Signal Brigade operated the many clements of the Defense Communications System in Vietnam. To improve co-ordination and management of communications-electronics assets, the brigade commander also served as the U.S. Army, Vietnam, staff adviser on all matters pertaining to Army communications-electronics.
In contrast to the carrier, amphibious, and naval gunfire support forces and, at least during early 1965, the coastal patrol force, which Commander Seventh Fleet directed, the Navy's forces within South Vietnam were operationally controlled by COMUSMACV. Initially, General William C. Westmoreland exercised this command through the Chief, Naval Advisory Group. However, the increasing demands of the war required a distinct operational rather than an advisory headquarters for naval units. As a result, on 1 April 1966, Naval Forces, Vietnam, was established to control the Navy's units in the II, III, and IV Corps Tactical Zones. This eventually included the major combat formations: Coastal Surveillance Force (Task Force 115), River Patrol Force (Task Force 116), and Riverine Assault Force (Task Force 117). The latter unit formed the naval component of the joint Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force.
Commander Naval Forces, Vietnam (COMNAVFORV) also controlled the Naval Support Activity, Saigon (NSA Saigon), which supplied naval forces in the II, III, and IV Corps areas. Naval Support Activity Danang, provided logistic support to all American forces in the I Corps area of responsibility, where the predominant Marine presence demanded a naval supply establishment. NSA Danang was under the operational control of Commander III Marine Amphibious Force.
Major component commands of MACV were:
The "Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam" was known by the abbreviation COMUSMACV (/ˌkɒm.juːɛsˌmækˈviː/ "com-U.S.-mack-vee"). COMUSMACV was in one sense the top person in charge of the U.S. military on the Indochinese peninsula; however, in reality, the CINCPAC and the U.S. ambassadors to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia also had "top person in charge" status with regard to various aspects of the war's strategy.
|General Paul D. Harkins||1962–64|
|General William C. Westmoreland||1964–68|
|General Creighton Abrams||1968–72|
|General Frederick C. Weyand||1972–73|
Under the terms of the Paris Peace Accords MACV and all American and third country forces had to be withdrawn from South Vietnam within 60 days of the ceasefire. A small U.S. military headquarters was needed to continue the military assistance program for the South Vietnamese military and supervise the technical assistance still required to complete the goals of Vietnamization. This headquarters was to become the Defense Attache Office, Saigon. That headquarters was also to report operational and military intelligence through military channels to DOD authorities. In addition a multi-service organization was required to plan for the application of U.S. air and naval power into North or South Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, should this be required and ordered. Called the United States Support Activities Group & 7th Air Force (USSAG/7th AF), it was to be located at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base in northeast Thailand.:18
The advance echelon of USSAG/7AF moved from Tan Son Nhut Air Base to Nakhon Phanom on 29 January 1973. Transfer of the main body, drawn largely from the operations and intelligence sections of MACV and Seventh Air Force, began on 10 February. USSAG was activated on 11 February 1973 under the command of commander of MACV, but at 08:00 on 15 February, USAF General John W. Vogt Jr., as USSAG/7AF commander, took over from MACV control of American air operations.:397:48 U.S. air support operations into Cambodia continued under USSAG/7th AF until August 1973.:18
The DAO was established as a subsidiary command of MACV and remained under the command of commander of MACV until the deactivation of MACV on 27 March 1973 at which time command passed to the Commander USSAG/Seventh Air Force at Nakhon Phanom.:52 The DAO was activated on 28 January 1973 with United States Army Major General John E. Murray, formerly MACV director of logistics, as the Defense Attaché and United States Air Force Brigadier General Ralph J. Maglione, formerly the MACV J-1 (Director for Manpower and Personnel), as deputy Defense Attaché.:18-9
By 29 March, the only American military personnel left in South Vietnam were the U.S. delegates to the Four-Party Joint Military Commission established under the Paris Peace Accords to oversee the ceasefire, themselves in the process of winding up work and departing; the fifty man DAO military contingent; and a 143-man Marine Security Guard. At 11:00 on the 29th, in a simple ceremony, General Weyand furled the colors of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and formally inactivated it.:400
The original MACV Headquarters were colocated with MAAG at 606 Trần Hưng Đạo, Cholon, but in May 1962 were moved to 137 Pasteur Street ( ) in central Saigon. The Trần Hưng Đạo site subsequently became the headquarters of Republic of Korea armed forces in Vietnam.
As the US military presence in South Vietnam grew, MACV quickly outgrew these quarters and on 2 July 1966 construction of a new purpose-built facility (Tan Son Nhut Airport and the ARVN Joint General Staff Compound was commenced. Due to the size of this facility, the new headquarters were labelled Pentagon East. The building was designed and constructed under the supervision of the U.S. Navy Officer in Charge of Construction RVN. The construction contractor was RMK-BRJ at a cost of $28 million.) adjacent to
Following the closure of MACV and the establishment of the DAO, the MACV Headquarters became the DAO Compound.
The 18th Division was an infantry division in the III Corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam considered the 18th as undisciplined and was well known throughout the ARVN for its "cowboy" reputation. In 1975 the 18th was made famous for its tenacious defense of Xuân Lộc, the last major battle before the Fall of Saigon.Barbara Dulinsky
Master Sergeant Barbara Jean Dulinsky (1928–1995) was a member of the United States Marine Corps who, in 1967, became the first female United States Marine to serve in a combat zone, when her request to be sent to Vietnam was granted. She served at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) Headquarters in Saigon. She died in 1995.Civilian Irregular Defense Group program
Civilian Irregular Defense Group program (CIDG, pronounced "sid-gee") was a program developed by the U.S. government in the Vietnam War to develop South Vietnamese irregular military units from minority populations.Forward Operating Base 4
Forward Operating Base 4 (also known as FOB 4) is a former Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group Command and Control North base near the Marble Mountains, Vietnam.Harkins
Harkins is an Irish surname. Notable people with the surname include:
George W. Harkins Native American leader, a chief of the Choctaw tribe during the Indian removals
James M. Harkins
John Harkins (actor)
John Harkins (footballer) (1881–1916), Scottish footballer
Josh Harkins, American politician.
Lida E. Harkins
Paul D. Harkins U.S. General, first commander of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV)
William Draper HarkinsII Field Force, Vietnam
II Field Force, Vietnam was a United States Army Corps-level command during the Vietnam War.
Activated on 15 March 1966, it became the largest corps command in Vietnam and one of the largest in Army history. II Field Force was assigned the lineage of the XXII Corps, a World War II corps in the European Theater of Operations. II Field Force was a component of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and had its headquarters in Long Binh.I Field Force, Vietnam
I Field Force, Vietnam was a corps-level command of the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Activated on 15 March 1966, it was the successor to Task Force Alpha, a provisional corps command created 1 August 1965 (renamed Field Force Vietnam on 25 September) for temporary control of activities of U.S. Army ground combat units arriving in Vietnam. I Field Force was a component of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) and had its headquarters at Nha Trang.Iraq Assistance Group
The Iraq Assistance Group (IAG) was a U.S. military command underneath Multi-National Corps-Iraq that coordinated military transition teams assigned to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) including the Iraqi Army, Federal Police, Department of Border Enforcement, Ports of Entry Directorate and provincial police. These teams provide partnership, mentoring and training to assist their ISF partners in achieving full operational effectiveness and facilitating the transition of internal security to Iraqi control. The Iraq Assistance Group itself was a joint command formed from the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division and composed of mostly Army soldiers but also including a sizable contingent of sailors, airmen and marines as well as members of foreign militaries.
The setup and mission of the Iraq Assistance Group was similar to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) and Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) that sent American military advisors to train, advise and mentor members of foreign militaries in Indochina, specifically the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps,
Republic of Vietnam Navy and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force.
The Iraq Assistance Group and the transition teams it supported played a pivotal role in the success of the coalition strategy in Iraq which has made possible the planned redeployment of all US forces in Iraq in accordance with the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement.Joseph A. McChristian
Joseph Alexander McChristian (October 12, 1914 – May 13, 2005) was a United States Army Brigadier General and the assistant chief of staff for intelligence, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (J-2, MACV) (then commanded by General William Westmoreland) from July 13, 1965 to June 1, 1967.From August 5, 1968 to his retirement on April 30, 1971, as a Major General, he was assistant chief of staff for intelligence in the Department of the Army. As J-2, MACV, he predicted that the North Vietnamese would attack in full force, which they did during the 1968 Tet offensive. His prediction was unpopular because the official policy was that US and South Vietnamese forces were winning the war.
McChristian is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Vietnam War.
Established on 24 January 1964, the unit conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; carried out the capture of enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, and conducted rescue operations to retrieve prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia; and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations.
The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Gulf of Tonkin incident which precipitated increased American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was formally disbanded and replaced by the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972.Operation Tailwind
Operation Tailwind was a covert incursion into southeastern Laos during the Vietnam War, conducted between 11–14 September 1970. The purpose of the operation was to create a diversion for a Royal Lao Army offensive and to exert pressure on the occupation forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). It involved a company-sized element of US Army Special Forces and Montagnard commando (Hatchet Force) of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG or SOG).
Nearly 30 years later, Peter Arnett narrated a CNN/Time magazine investigative report about Operation Tailwind produced by April Oliver, Jack Smith, Pam Hill, and others. The report Valley of Death claimed sarin nerve gas had been used, and other war crimes had been committed by US forces during Tailwind. The reaction to the controversial assertions prompted an internal investigation that ended in retraction of those claims by both news organizations, the firing of the producers responsible for the report, and the reprimand, followed by the resignation, of Arnett.Paul D. Harkins
Paul Donal Harkins (May 15, 1904 – August 21, 1984) was a career officer in the United States Army and attained the rank of general. He is most notable for having served during World War II as deputy chief of staff for operations in George S. Patton Jr.'s commands, and as the first Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) commander, a post he held from 1962 to 1964.Project DELTA
Project DELTA was the first of the four Special reconnaissance (SR) units with a Greek letter formed by the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) during the Vietnam War to collect operational intelligence in remote areas of South Vietnam.Project DELTA was established at Nha Trang in 1964 and consisted of six reconnaissance hunter-killer teams each composed of two United States Special Forces (USSF) and four Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces (LLDB) and later supported by the 91st Ranger battalion. It was designated Detachment B-52, 5th Special Forces Group.Reconnaissance Projects
There were three Greek letter special forces Reconnaissance Projects formed by the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, MACV during the Vietnam War to collect operational intelligence in remote areas of South Vietnam.Samuel Tankersley Williams
Lieutenant General Samuel Tankersley Williams (August 25, 1897 – April 26, 1984) was a senior United States Army officer. Williams became prominent in army history for being reduced in rank from brigadier general to colonel, and then resuscitating his career to again advance to general officer rank. He also commanded the 25th Infantry Division during the Korean War and served as commander of Military Assistance and Advisory Group – Vietnam, the predecessor to Military Assistance Command – Vietnam.Tet Offensive attack on Tan Son Nhut Air Base
The attack on Tan Son Nhut Air Base, headquarters of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force as well as Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, occurred during the early hours of 31 January 1968. Tan Son Nhut Air Base was one of the major air bases used for offensive air operations within South Vietnam and for the support of United States Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) ground operations. The attack by Vietcong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces was one of several major attacks on Saigon in the first days of the Tet Offensive. The attack was repulsed with the VC/PAVN suffering heavy losses; no material damage was done to the base.The Uncounted Enemy
The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception was a controversial television documentary aired as part of the CBS Reports series on January 23, 1982. The 90-minute program, produced by George Crile III and narrated by Mike Wallace, asserted that in 1967 intelligence officers under General William Westmoreland, the commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAC-V), had manipulated intelligence estimates in order to show far fewer communist personnel in South Vietnam than there actually were, thereby creating the impression that the Vietnam War was being won.
In response, Westmoreland publicly rebuked these claims and demanded 45 minutes of open airtime to rebut them. CBS refused the request, so Westmoreland sued Crile, Wallace, and CBS for libel on September 13. A conservative public-interest law firm, Capital Legal Foundation, brought the suit on Westmoreland's behalf, and its president, Dan Burt, served as Westmoreland's pro bono attorney. The suit was funded by grants from several conservative organizations, such as the Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation whose goals were to kill CBS Reports and turn back the 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan rule, which required that public officials or figures prove actual malice to win a libel suit against the press.The case went to trial two years later. The trial, Westmoreland v. CBS, was approaching its end in 1985 when Westmoreland suddenly dropped his lawsuit, citing a statement by CBS that Westmoreland interpreted as an apology. CBS did not retract anything that had been said in the broadcast, but stated that it had “never intended to assert, and does not believe, that General Westmoreland was unpatriotic or disloyal in performing his duties as he saw them.” CBS subsequently lost its libel insurance over the case. Additionally, serious, in-depth documentaries became produced far less frequently on CBS and the other two major networks of the time than had been the case during the 1960s and 1970s, a development that perhaps coincides with less aggressive investigative reporting on television on all news programs generally since the time of the suit.Vietnam Magazine
Vietnam Magazine is a full-color history magazine published bi-monthly which covers the Vietnam War. It was founded in 1988 by the late Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. Colonel Summers served in the U.S. Army in both Korea and Vietnam, where he was twice wounded and decorated for valor. The current editor is David T. Zabecki, a major general in the U.S. Army Reserve and currently the Deputy Chief of Staff for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs for U.S. Army Europe.
Contributors to Vietnam include journalists, military historians, political analysts and the commanders and men who served. Many article's are first-person accounts of combat operations, including personal interviews with enlisted men and officers, and specs on units and weaponry.
Some notable contributors to Vietnam include:
Major General Huỳnh Văn Cao, commander of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam 7th Division
Colonel David H. Hackworth, Vietnam veteran and prominent military journalist
General Nguyen Duc Huy, commander of the NVA 351st Division
Senator John McCain, retired U.S. Navy aviator and senator from Arizona
Oliver Stone, Vietnam veteran and director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July
General William Westmoreland, Commander U.S. Military Assistance Command, VietnamVietnam is published in Leesburg, Virginia, by the Weider History Group, along with the publications America's Civil War and Civil War Times.
Vietnam has a number of recurring departments, including:
Personality – Study of an individual person in the Vietnam War
Arsenal – Profiles on the armament, artillery, armor and supplies used in the war
Fighting Forces – Study of an individual unit in the war
Perspectives – First-hand accounts of experiences in the Vietnam WarWilliam B. Rosson
General William Bradford Rosson (August 25, 1918 – December 12, 2004) commanded the U.S. Army, Pacific from October 1970 to January 1973. He was commissioned in 1940 through ROTC and saw combat in World War II, earning the Distinguished Service Cross for valor on the Anzio Beachhead in Italy. He also fought in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany.
Rosson obtained his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon. After retirement from the military he earned a Master of Letters degree in International Relations from New College, Oxford University in England. His military schooling includes the U.S. Army War College and the National War College.
Major command experience for Rosson includes Commanding General for Task Force Oregon (Provisional), Commanding General for I Field Force, and Commanding General, Provisional Corps, for the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Later he was Deputy Commander for the same command. Rosson concluded his career as Commander in Chief of the United States Southern Command in Quarry Heights, Panama Canal Zone.
Additional assignments include serving in General Eisenhower's NATO headquarters in Paris, and duty with the French Forces in Vietnam in 1954. Because of this experience, he was valuable to General Westmoreland as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam. Rosson also served as Director of the Plans and Policy Directorate, J5, for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C..
In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest decoration for valor, General Rosson's awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. In 1962, German magazine Der Spiegel featured him on its frontpage. He died on December 12, 2004 of a heart attack in his home in Salem, Virginia. Rosson was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.