Operation Wheeler/Wallowa

Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was a U.S. offensive operation during the Vietnam War, launched on 11 September 1967 and concluding in February 1968. Tiger Force reportedly also killed hundreds of unarmed civilians during the operation who were reported as enemy combatants[1].


Operation Wheeler/Wallowa was launched as part of the operations conducted by Task Force Oregon, a multi-brigade force of the U.S. Army, made up of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division; and the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, with its headquarters at Chu Lai Base Area. Its objective was to "blunt" the offensive by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 2nd Division, and allow units of the 1st Marine Division to relocate to Da Nang. Shortly after the Task Force became operational, Brigadier General Samuel W. Koster took command. Three days later, the Task Force was reconstituted as the 23rd Infantry (Americal) Division. Wheeler/Wallowa actually started as two separate operations, which were merged in November 1967.[2][3]

Operation Wheeler

Operation Wheeler was launched on 11 September 1967, under the control of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. It was launched against the PAVN 2nd Division to the northwest of Chu Lai.[2] The operation was essentially a series of assaults and search-and-destroy missions against the 2nd Division.[4] The operation was coordinated with the U.S. Marine Corps/Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Operation Swift/Lien Ket 116 in the Quế Sơn Valley.[5]:119

Operation Wallowa

Operation Wallowa was launched on 4 October 1967 under the control of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, when it replaced the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and two battalions of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.[3] The operation involved intensive surveillance of the Hiệp Đức District-Quế Sơn Valley. Small units were combat assaulted into the area to find the PAVN prior to the insertion of ready reaction forces.

Operation Wheeler/Wallowa

On 11 November 1967 both Operations Wheeler and Wallowa were merged to facilitate coordination and control, under the authority of Koster, who was now a Major General. Wheeler/Wallowa became a codename for a series of operations throughout Quảng Nam and Quảng Tín Provinces. Seven U.S. Army infantry battalions were participating in the action.[3]

On 12 February 1968, after participating in Task Force Miracle (the defense of Da Nang during the Tet Offensive), the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment returned south and conducted combat operations under the control of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. On 27 February 1968, the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division tactical area of operations passed to the 196th Infantry Brigade and the 1/6th Infantry came under their operational control. The 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division moved out of the Americal Division area and deployed in the II Corps further to the south.


The operation ended on 28 February 1968. Following the disclosure of the My Lai massacre, the Peers Commission, which was charged with investigating the events that occurred at My Lai, found that several similar events had occurred in many villages in the Wheeler/Wallowa operational area.[6]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ Ward, Geoffrey C.; Burns, Ken (2017-09-05). The Vietnam War: An Intimate History. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 235–238. ISBN 9781524733100.
  2. ^ a b "Task Force Oregon". Task Force Oregon. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Root, John. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (PDF). p. 1340. ISBN 978-1-85109-960-3. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  4. ^ "OpWheeler/Wallowa". Operation Wheeler/Wallowa. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  5. ^ Telfer, Gary (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. ISBN 978-1494285449. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ Chomsky, Noam. Understanding Power. Penguin Books India, 2003. p. 35. ISBN 0143029916.

External links

6th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (T–Z and others)

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My Lai Massacre

The Mỹ Lai Massacre (; Vietnamese: Thảm sát Mỹ Lai [tʰâːm ʂǎːt mǐˀ lāːj] (listen)) was the Vietnam War mass murder of unarmed South Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops in Sơn Tịnh District, South Vietnam, on 16 March 1968. Between 347 and 504 unarmed people were killed by the U.S. Army soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division. Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated as were children as young as 12. Twenty-six soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, but only Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader in C Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three and a half years under house arrest.

The massacre, which was later called "the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War", took place in two hamlets of Sơn Mỹ village in Quảng Ngãi Province. These hamlets were marked on the U.S. Army topographic maps as Mỹ Lai and Mỹ Khê.The U.S. Army slang name for the hamlets and sub-hamlets in that area was Pinkville, and the carnage was initially referred to as the Pinkville Massacre. Later, when the U.S. Army started its investigation, the media changed it to the Massacre at Songmy. Currently, the event is referred to as the My Lai Massacre in the United States and called the Sơn Mỹ Massacre in Vietnam.The incident prompted global outrage when it became public knowledge in November 1969. The incident increased to some extent domestic opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War when the scope of killing and cover-up attempts were exposed. Initially, three U.S. servicemen who had tried to halt the massacre and rescue the hiding civilians were shunned, and even denounced as traitors by several U.S. Congressmen, including Mendel Rivers, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Only after 30 years were they recognized and decorated, one posthumously, by the U.S. Army for shielding non-combatants from harm in a war zone. Along with the No Gun Ri massacre in South Korea 18 years earlier, Mỹ Lai was one of the largest publicized massacres of civilians by U.S. forces in the 20th century.

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Quảng Nam Province

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War crimes can be prosecuted in the United States through the War Crimes Act of 1996. However, the U.S. Government, which strongly opposes the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty, arguing that the Court lacks checks and balances, and thus does not accept ICC jurisdiction over its nationals.

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