Vietnamization

Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War through a program to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnamese forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S. combat troops."[1] Brought on by the Viet Cong's Tet Offensive, the policy referred to U.S. combat troops specifically in the ground combat role, but did not reject combat by the U.S. Air Force, as well as the support to South Vietnam, consistent with the policies of U.S. foreign military assistance organizations. U.S. citizens' mistrust of their government that had begun after the offensive worsened with the release of news about U.S. soldiers massacring civilians at My Lai (1968), the invasion of Cambodia (1970), and the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (1971).

The name "Vietnamization" came about accidentally. At a January 28, 1969, meeting of the National Security Council, General Andrew Goodpaster, deputy to General Creighton Abrams and commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, stated that the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) had been steadily improving, and the point at which the war could be "de-Americanized" was close. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird agreed with the point, but not with the language: "What we need is a term like 'Vietnamizing' to put the emphasis on the right issues." Nixon immediately liked Laird's word.[2]

Vietnamization fit into the broader détente policy of the Nixon administration, in which the United States no longer regarded its fundamental strategy as the containment of communism but as a cooperative world order, in which Nixon and his chief adviser Henry Kissinger were focused on the broader constellation of forces and the bigger world powers.[3] Nixon had ordered Kissinger to negotiate diplomatic policies with Soviet statesman Anatoly Dobrynin. Nixon also opened high-level contact with China. U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China were of higher priority than South Vietnam.

Nixon said Vietnamization had two components. The first was "strengthening the armed force of the South Vietnamese in numbers, equipment, leadership and combat skills", while the second was "the extension of the pacification program [i.e. military aid to civilians] in South Vietnam." To achieve the first goal, U.S. helicopters would fly in support; however, helicopter operations were too much part of ground operations to involve U.S. personnel. Thus, ARVN candidates were enrolled in U.S. helicopter schools to take over the operations. As observed by Lieutenant General Dave Palmer, to qualify an ARVN candidate for U.S. helicopter school, he first needed to learn English; this, in addition to the months-long training and practice in the field, made adding new capabilities to the ARVN take at least two years.[4] Palmer did not disagree that the first component, given time and resources, was achievable. However: "Pacification, the second component, presented the real challenge...it was benevolent government action in areas where the government should always have been benevolently active...doing both was necessary if Vietnamization were to work."

The policy of Vietnamization, despite its successful execution, was ultimately a failure as the improved ARVN forces and the reduced American and allied component were unable to prevent the fall of Saigon and the subsequent merger of the north and south, to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with armed forces in Vietnam - NARA - 194650
Richard Nixon shaking hands with armed forces in Vietnam (1969)

Preparation under Johnson

Excerpt of Lyndon B. Johnson speech on the Vietnam War (September 29, 1967)

Lyndon Johnson's major political interests were domestic; the war interfered with his domestic focus, and he was eager to end the war in a way that he considered politically acceptable. In 1967, Kissinger attended a Pugwash Conference of scientists interested in nuclear disarmament. Two participants approached Kissinger and offered a disavowable means of communication between the U.S. and the communist leadership. In particular, Raymond Aubrac, an official of the World Health Organization, knew Ho Chi Minh and agreed to carry a message.

After discussing the matter with Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, a message was sent. Ho said he would be willing to negotiate if the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam under Operation Rolling Thunder ceased. Mai Van Bo, Hanoi's diplomatic representative in Paris, was named a point of contact. Since Hanoi would not communicate with an American official without a bombing halt, Kissinger served as an intermediary. Johnson made a speech in San Antonio on September 29, offering the possibility of talks. They were rejected, although brought up again in 1967.[5]

End of Americanization

The departure of Lyndon B Johnson did not end the war; rather, it spread throughout Southeast Asia. The Tet Offensive (1968) was a political and media disaster. Newsman Walter Cronkite announced that he saw a stalemate as the best case scenario for the Tet Offensive. Other members of the press added to the call to retrench (reduce costs and spending). President Johnson's popularity plummeted and he announced a bombing halt on March 31, simultaneously announcing he would not run for re-election.[6] Though he had low expectations, on May 10, 1968, Johnson began peace talks between U.S. and North Vietnamese in Paris. The war, however, continued.

Nixon Administration analysis of options

Under the Nixon administration, Henry Kissinger, Nixon's chief adviser, asked the Rand Corporation to provide a list of policy options, prepared by Daniel Ellsberg. On receiving the report, Kissinger and Schelling asked Ellsberg about the apparent absence of a victory option; Ellsberg said "I don't believe there is a win option in Vietnam." While Ellsberg eventually did send a withdrawal option, Kissinger would not circulate something that could be perceived as defeat.[7]

According to a record, prepared by Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoliy Dobrynin, of discussions between Dobrynin and Kissinger, the crux of the U.S. position, was progress still must be made at the Paris talks and, for domestic political reasons, Nixon "simply cannot wait a year for Hanoi to decide to take some new step and take a more flexible position." Dobrynin expressed the Soviet position that the U.S. needed to stop trying to divide the Paris Peace Talks into two parts:

  • discussion of military issues between the U.S. and the DRV
  • resolution of political issues by placing them, "for all practical purposes, entirely in the hands of Saigon, which does not want to resolve them and is unable to do so, since it is unable to soberly assess the situation and the alignment of forces in South Vietnam."[8]

Dobrynin, however, misunderstood the extent to which the U.S. was willing to apply military force not involving ground troops, culminating in Operation Linebacker II.[3]

Nixon policy direction

Nixon directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a six-step withdrawal plan. The Commandant of the Marine Corps General Leonard F. Chapman Jr. remembered, "I felt, and I think that most Marines felt, that the time had come to get out of Vietnam." Leading the ground force withdrawals, Marine redeployments started in mid-1969, and by the end of the year the entire 3rd Marine Division had departed.[9]

In the aftermath of the Tet Offensive, ARVN units were able to take control of areas held by the Viet Cong. General Tran Van Tra of the Viet Cong forces in the South stated:

We suffered large sacrifices and losses with regard to manpower and materiel, especially cadres at the various echelons, which clearly weakened us. Afterwards, we were not only unable to retain the gains we had made but had to overcome a myriad of difficulties in 1969 and 1970.[10]

Some ARVN units, especially that had been operating closely with U.S. troops or using facilities, could quickly move into a dominant role in their areas.

Other ARVN units faced more of a challenge. For example, the ARVN 5th Division was directed to move from its existing base camp, Phu Cuong, to that of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division in Lai Khê, while the U.S. division moved southeast to Dĩ An. The ARVN unit had to retain its previous operational responsibility, while replacing a division that was far better equipped with helicopters than a standard U.S. division.[11] At Phu Cong, Major General Nguyen Van Hieu, the 5th Division commander, was able to use a local Popular Force battalion for base security. The Popular Force battalions, however, did not move away from the area in which they were formed.

Joint operations against Cambodia

In 1969, Nixon ordered B-52 strikes against the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) bases and supply routes in Cambodia, which had been used as a sanctuary by South Vietnam forces. The orders for U.S. bombing of Cambodia were classified, and thus kept from the U.S. media and Congress. In a given strike, each B-52 normally dropped 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) of bombs, and each strike consisted of three or six bombers.

Cambodian change of government

Much of North Vietnamese infiltration went through Cambodia. Nixon authorized unacknowledged bombing in Cambodia while U.S. ground troops were in South Vietnam. General Lon Nol had overthrown Prince Norodom Sihanouk in March 1970, who had presented himself as a neutralist while aware of the PAVN use of his country.

In June 1969, the Viet Cong and its allied organizations formed the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (PRG), recognized by Hanoi as the legal government of South Vietnam. At that time, communist losses dating from the Tet Offensive numbered 75,000, and morale was faltering, even among the party leadership.

Joint ground operations

On April 30, 1970, responding to a Communist attempt to take Cambodia, Nixon announced a large scale US–ARVN incursion into Cambodia to directly hit the PAVN headquarters and supply dumps; the area bordered ARVN III Corps tactical zone.[12][13]

The campaign began on May 1. The U.S. Task Force Shoemaker, of the 1st Cavalry Divisions, carried out B-52 strikes in the Fishhook area of Cambodia. T.F. Shoemaker operated with the ARVN Airborne Brigade. Separate ARVN operations took place in the Parrot's Beak area.[14] III Corps tactical zone commander Do Cao Tri, the most visible ARVN leader,[15] encouraged the deepest ARVN penetrations.[16]

The incursion prevented the immediate takeover of Cambodia by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, and cost the PAVN the supply line from the port of Sihanoukville. The Khmer Rouge broke with its North Vietnamese sponsors, and aligned with China. This made American involvement visible to the U.S. population, and there were intense protests, including deaths in a confrontation between rock-throwing protesters and National Guardsmen at Kent State University.

Intelligence and security

The U.S. intelligence collection systems, a significant amount of which (especially the techniques) were not shared with the ARVN, and, while not fully declassified, examples have been mentioned earlier in this article. The Communist side's intelligence operations, beyond the spies that were discovered, are much less known.

While there had been many assumptions that the South Vietnamese government was penetrated by many spies, and there indeed were many, a December 1969 capture of a Viet Cong communications intelligence center and documents revealed that they had been getting a huge amount of information using simple technology and smart people, as well as sloppy U.S. communications security.[17] This specific discovery was made by U.S. Army infantry, with interpretation by regular communications officers; the matter infuriated General Abrams in regards to the communications specialists. Before and after, there had been a much more highly classified, and only now available in heavily censored form, National Security Agency analysis of how the Communists were getting their information, which has led to a good deal of modern counterintelligence and operations security.[18]

Some of the material from Touchdown also gave insight into the North Vietnamese intelligence system. For example, the NVA equivalent of the Defense Intelligence Agency was the Central Research Directorate (CRD) in Hanoi. COSVN intelligence staff, however, disseminated the tactically useful material.[19] Their espionage was under the control of the Military Intelligence Sections (MIS), which were directed by the Strategic Intelligence Section (SIS) of CRD.

U.S. direct discussions with North Vietnam

Henry Kissinger began secret talks with the North Vietnamese official, Lê Đức Thọ, in February 1970. However, this is credible.[20]

1971

Subsequent congressional action banned further U.S. ground intervention outside the boundaries of South Vietnam, so the next major drive, Operation Lam Son 719, would have to be based on ARVN ground forces, U.S. air and artillery support, and U.S. advisory and logistical assistance.

The Vietnamization policy achieved limited rollback of Communist gains inside South Vietnam only, and was primarily aimed at providing the arms, training and funding for the South to fight and win its own war, if it had the courage and commitment to do so. By 1971, the Communists lost control of most, but not all, of the areas they had controlled in the South in 1967. The Communists still controlled many remote jungle and mountain districts, especially areas that protected the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Commanded by Hoang Xuan Lam, known more for loyalty to Nguyen Van Thieu than for military talent, Saigon's effort to strike against one of these strongholds, Operation Lam Son 719, failed in 1971. The SVN forces, with some U.S. air support, were unable to defeat PAVN regulars. While the operation is detailed in a separate sub-article, the key issues were that the ARVN were inexperienced in executing large operations. They underestimated the needed forces, and the senior officers had developed in a context that rewarded loyalty rather than competence. Let there be no doubt that there were individual ARVN commanders who would be credit to any military, but, Thieu, like those RVN leaders before him, was constantly concerned at preventing a military coup. "...promotions were won in Saigon, not in battle. And vital to advancement was the avoidance of risk, even at the price of defeat."[21]

Thieu relieved the operational commander, head of I Corps tactical zone commander Hoang Xuan Lam with the most respected combat commander in the ARVN, Do Cao Tri. Tri died 2.5 hours later in his first helicopter crash of inspection. It is known the crash was at low altitude; it has been argued it had crashed due to mechanical failure or enemy fire. Certainly, mechanical failure was less demoralizing.[15]

The 25,000-man ARVN force, which U.S. planners had considered half the necessary size,[22] took admitted 25% casualties, which some estimates put as high as 50%.[23]

1972

By the beginning of 1972, over 400,000 U.S. personnel had been withdrawn, most of whom were combat troops. Politically, this allowed Nixon to negotiate with China and the Soviet Union without suggesting that he was compromising U.S. soldiers in the field.[24]

North Vietnam made a major conventional attack on the South, for which the U.S. provided major air support under Operation Linebacker I, which enabled the ARVN to regain substantial control. When North Vietnam, late in the year, left the negotiating table, Nixon authorized the intensive Operation Linebacker II campaign, which forced the North Vietnamese to negotiate; a peace treaty was signed and all U.S. combat forces were withdrawn.

1973 and ceasefire

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam had some excellent ground combat units, but still had very serious problems of command, control, and communications at division level and above.

Many units had become overdependent on American air support, and, while the RVN Air Force had not developed large-scale interdiction capability, they were also of varied quality for close air support. Beyond the issue that the Air Force was always fragmented to the corps commanders, they also did not receive various expected equipment upgrades. Photoreconnaissance was extremely limited.[25]

Armored units had developed the greatest confidence in their ability to fight without U.S. air support. Ground commanders also learned that armored units were not for infantry support and static defenses, but needed to be used as mobile reserves.[26] Neither North nor South Vietnam, however, had really mastered large-scale combined arms methods, compared to a NATO or Warsaw Pact level of proficiency.

Notes

  1. ^ United States Department of Defense, "Melvin R. Laird", Secretaries of Defense
  2. ^ Kissinger 2003, pp. 81–82.
  3. ^ a b Burr, William, ed. (November 2, 2007), Kissinger conspired with Soviet Ambassador to keep Secretary of State in the Dark, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book, 233, George Washington University
  4. ^ Palmer, Dave R. (1978), Summons of the Trumpet, Presidio Press, pp. 219–220, ISBN 9780891410416
  5. ^ Kissinger 2003, pp. 41–42.
  6. ^ Lyndon B. Johnson (March 31, 1968), President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address to the Nation Announcing Steps To Limit the War in Vietnam and Reporting His Decision Not To Seek Reelection, archived from the original on June 16, 2002
  7. ^ Gibbs, James William (1986), The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam, Atlantic Monthly Press, p. 170, ISBN 9780871130631
  8. ^ Burr, William, ed. (November 2, 2007), "Document 8: Their First "One-on-One": Dobrynin's record of meeting with Kissinger, 21 February 1969, pp. 20-25 of Soviet-American Relations: the Détente Years, 1969-1972", Kissinger conspired with Soviet Ambassador to keep Secretary of State in the Dark, George Washington University National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 233
  9. ^ Shumlimson, Jack, "The Marine War: III MAF in Vietnam, 1965-1971", 1996 Vietnam Symposium: "After the Cold War: Reassessing Vietnam" 18–20 April 1996, Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University, archived from the original on August 21, 2006
  10. ^ Tran Van Tra (2 February 1983), Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theater (PDF), FBIS Southeast Asia Report, 5: Concluding the 30 Years of War (1247), Joint Publications Research Service, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, online by U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute
  11. ^ Nguyen Van Tin (April 12, 2002), "Why Did Vietnamization of The Vietnam War Fail?", Fourth Triennial Symposium, Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, archived from the original on July 1, 2004, retrieved April 7, 2010
  12. ^ Smith, Russell H. (September–October 1971), "The Presidential Decision on the Cambodian Operation: A Case Study in Crisis Management", Air University Review
  13. ^ Nixon, Richard M. (April 30, 1970), Address to the Nation on the Situation in Southeast Asia
  14. ^ Tolson 1973, Chapter XI: The Changing War and Cambodia, 1969–1970.
  15. ^ a b "The Death of a Fighting General", Time, March 8, 1971 (subscription required)
  16. ^ Fulghum, David; Mailand, Terrence, "Two Fighting Generals: Generals Do Cao Tri and Nguyen Viet Thanh", South Vietnam on Trial – The Vietnam Experience, Boston Publishing Company
  17. ^ Fiedler, David (Spring 2003), "Project touchdown: how we paid the price for lack of communications security in Vietnam - A costly lesson", Army Communicator
  18. ^ Center for Cryptologic History 1993.
  19. ^ Center for Cryptologic History 1993, p. 64.
  20. ^ Donaldson, Gary (1996), America at War Since 1945: Politics and Diplomacy in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 120-124
  21. ^ Karnow 1983, p. 630.
  22. ^ Karnow 1983, p. 628.
  23. ^ "The Invasion Ends", Time, April 5, 1971
  24. ^ Karnow 1983, p. 636.
  25. ^ Smith, Homer D. (30 May 1975), End of Tour Report (PDF), pp. 3-4, 8-11
  26. ^ Tolson 1973, pp. 218–219.

References

504th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group

The 504th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was first activated as the 504th Tactical Air Support Group in 1966 for service during the Vietnam War, and was reactivated in 2009 for service in Afghanistan. It was inactivated on 12 May 2016.

In Vietnam the group provided combat ready aircraft and crews in support of air and ground operations in Southeast Asia. It directed ground strikes, conducted visual reconnaissance and convoy escort. It also trained Air Liaison Officers and Forward Air Controllers. The group was thrice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the war. It was inactivated in 1972 when the Vietnamese Air Force assumed its remaining mission.

On reactivation in 2009 it began to provide air support, air liaison, and weather support for ground operations until it was inactivated on 12 May 2016.

Army of the Republic of Vietnam

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN; Vietnamese: Lục quân Việt Nam Cộng hòa), were the ground forces of the South Vietnamese military from its inception in 1955 until the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. It is estimated to have suffered 1,394,000 casualties (killed and wounded) during the Vietnam War.The ARVN began as a post-colonial army trained and closely affiliated with the United States and had engaged in conflict since its inception. Several dramatic changes occurred throughout its lifetime, initially from a 'blocking-force' to a more modern conventional force using helicopter deployment in combat. During the U.S. intervention, the role of the ARVN was marginalised to a defensive role with an incomplete modernisation, and transformed again most notably following Vietnamization as it was up-geared, expanded and reconstructed to fulfil the role of the departing U.S. forces. By 1974, it had become much more effective with foremost counterinsurgency expert and Nixon adviser Robert Thompson noting that Regular Forces were very well-trained and second only to U.S. and IDF forces in the free world and with General Creighton Abrams remarking that 70% of units were on par with the U.S. Army. However, the withdrawal of American forces through Vietnamization meant the armed forces could not effectively fulfil all the aims of the program and had become completely dependent on U.S. equipment, given it was meant to fulfill the departing role of the United States.At its peak, an estimated 1 in 9 citizens of South Vietnam were enlisted and it had become the fourth-largest army in the world composed of Regular Forces and more voluntary Regional Militias and Village-level militias.Unique in serving a dual military-civilian administrative purpose in direct competition with the Viet Cong. The ARVN had in addition became a component of political power and notably suffered from continual issues of political loyalty appointments, corruption in leadership, factional in-fighting and occasional open conflict between itself.After the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), the ARVN was dissolved. While some high-ranking officers had fled the country to the United States or elsewhere, thousands of former ARVN officers were sent to reeducation camps by the communist government of the new, unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Five ARVN generals commit suicide to avoid capture by the PAVN/VC.

Melvin Laird

Melvin Robert "Bom" Laird (September 1, 1922 – November 16, 2016) was an American politician, writer and statesman. He was a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin from 1953 to 1969 before serving as Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973 under President Richard Nixon. Laird was instrumental in forming the administration's policy of withdrawing U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War; he coined the expression "Vietnamization," referring to the process of transferring more responsibility for combat to the South Vietnamese forces. First elected in 1952, Laird was the last surviving Representative elected to the 83rd Congress at the time of his death.

Nixon Doctrine

The Nixon Doctrine, also known as the Guam Doctrine, was put forth during a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by President of the United States Richard Nixon and later formalized in his speech on Vietnamization of the Vietnam War on November 3, 1969. According to Gregg Brazinsky, author of "Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy", Nixon stated that "the United States would assist in the defense and developments of allies and friends", but would not "undertake all the defense of the free nations of the world." This doctrine meant that each ally nation was in charge of its own security in general, but the United States would act as a nuclear umbrella when requested. The Doctrine argued for the pursuit of peace through a partnership with American allies.

Operation Elk Canyon

Operation Elk Canyon was a search and clear operation during the Vietnam War near Khâm Đức, Quảng Tín Province, that took place from 12 July to 29 September 1970.

Operation Jefferson Glenn

Operation Jefferson Glenn ran from 5 September 1970 to 8 October 1971 and was the last major operation in which U.S. ground forces participated during the Vietnam War and the final major offensive in which the 101st Airborne Division fought. This was a joint military operation combining forces of the 101st Airborne and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 1st Infantry Division.

The purpose of this operation was to shield critical installations in Huế and Da Nang by patrolling rocket belts along the edge of the mountains. During the 399 days of operations the Allied troops established multiple firebases throughout Thừa Thiên Province and regularly encountered People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and Viet Cong (VC) troops.President Richard Nixon had begun his Vietnamization program in the summer of 1969; the objective was to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese forces so that they could assume responsibility for the war against the PAVN/VC as U.S. combat units were withdrawn and sent home. Shortly after the completion of Jefferson Glenn, the 101st Airborne began preparations to depart South Vietnam and subsequently began redeployment to the United States in March 1972. They reported 2,026 enemy casualties.

Operation Sealords

Operation Sealords was a military operation that took place during the Vietnam War.

Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam

The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (PRG) was formed on June 8, 1969, by North Vietnam as a purportedly independent shadow government opposed to the government of the Republic of Vietnam under President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Delegates of the National Liberation Front, as well as several smaller groups, participated in its creation.

The PRG was recognized as the government of South Vietnam by most communist states. It signed the 1973 Paris Peace Treaty as an independent entity, separate from both South Vietnam and North Vietnam. It became the provisional government of South Vietnam following the military defeat of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam on April 30, 1975. On July 2, 1976, the PRG and North Vietnam merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Republic of Vietnam Marine Division

The Republic of Vietnam Marine Division (RVNMD, Vietnamese: Sư Đoàn Thủy Quân Lục Chiến [TQLC]) was part of the armed forces of South Vietnam. It was established by Ngo Dinh Diem in 1954 when he was Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, which became the Republic of Vietnam in 1955. The longest-serving commander was Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang. In 1969, the VNMC had a strength of 9,300, 15,000 by 1973., and 20,000 by 1975.The Marine Division trace their origins to French-trained Commandos Marine divisions recruited and placed under the command of the French Navy but officially incorporated in 1960. From 1970 onwards, the South Vietnamese marines and Airborne Division grew significantly, supplanting the independent, Central Highlands based Vietnamese Rangers as the most popular elite units for volunteers. Along with the Airborne the Marine Division formed the General Reserve with the strategic transformation under Vietnamization, with elite and highly-mobile units meant to be deployed in People's Army of Vietnam attacking points and incursions. By then, the level of training had improved considerably and U.S. General Creighton Abrams who oversaw Vietnamization stated that South Vietnam's Airborne and Marines had no comparable units to match it in the PAVN.This division had earned a total of 9 U.S. presidential citations, with the 2nd Battalion "Crazy Buffaloes" earning two.

Republic of Vietnam Navy

The Republic of Vietnam Navy (VNN; Vietnamese: Hải quân Việt Nam Cộng hòa; HQVNCH) was the naval branch of the South Vietnamese military, the official armed forces of the former Republic of Vietnam (or South Vietnam) from 1955 to 1975. The early fleet consisted of boats from France. After 1955 and the transfer of the armed forces to Vietnamese control, the fleet was supplied from the United States. With assistance from the U.S., the VNN became the largest Southeast Asian navy, with 42,000 personnel, 672 amphibious ships and craft, 20 mine warfare vessels, 450 patrol craft, 56 service craft, and 242 junks.

Role of the United States in the Vietnam War

The role of the United States in the Vietnam War began after World War II and escalated into full commitment during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1973. The U.S. involvement in South Vietnam stemmed from 20 long years of political and economic action. These had the common incentive of ending the growing communist domination in Vietnam. At the time, French forces, allies of the U.S., were backed by America — President Harry S. Truman provided progressively increasing amounts of financial and military assistance to French forces fighting in Vietnam. From the spring of 1950, their involvement increased from just assisting French troops to providing direct military assistance to the associated states (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). Eventually, U.S. missions were carried out at a more constant rate by sending out increasing number of military assistance from the United States. Their main intent was to restrict the Communist domination that was present in the government of Vietnam as it would soon lead to a chain of neighbouring countries adopting the same. This would have resulted in a change in balance of power throughout Southeast Asia. The U.S. foreign policy establishment saw national security interests being disturbed due to the rise of this communist expansion and strived to take any measure to end it. Their actions came to be questioned by other segments of government and society, however, including the US congress..

Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3,812,000. The conflict also resulted in 58,318 US soldiers dead.

South Vietnamese Popular Force

During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Popular Force (nghĩa quân) (sometimes abbreviated RF/PF or PF) consisted of local militias that protected their home villages from attacks by first Viet Cong forces and later by People's Army of Vietnam units. Originally called the Civil Guard and the Self-Defense Corps, they were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in 1964 and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff. The Popular Force was one of two broad groups of militia, the other being the Regional Forces (địa phương quân). The American forces referred to both groups collectively as "Ruff-Puffs" referring to the abbreviation RF/PF. Popular Forces themselves are divided between larger and better organised Popular Forces as well as the much more provisional People's Self-Defense Forces and resembled the Local Force and village-guerrilla level component of the Viet Cong. These units served on a voluntary, part-time basis and together with South Vietnamese Regional Force members, were the lowest paid and numbered almost 500,000 in 1974.Initially very poorly-trained, and recruited on a voluntary basis as part-time village or area militiamen, these forces often-times bore the brunt of People's Army of Vietnam and PLAF incursions, and essentially served as front-line standing forces. The abrupt U.S ground-force intervention in the war had caused many to become sidelined, due to the ARVN Regular Army being sidelined and fulfilling regional defence roles, despite being the most immediately capable of defending against guerrilla insurgency. These units became gradually better-trained and equipped during Vietnamization, and experienced doubled the casualties of Army of the Republic of Vietnam Regular Forces from 1970 on-wards. Nevertheless RF/PF units were responsible for inflicting an estimated 30% of the total People's Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong casualties throughout the war, and were much more capable of fulfilling ambush and small-unit movement, reconnaissance and detection roles than larger, slow-moving conventional forces.

South Vietnamese Regional Force

During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Regional Forces were Army of the Republic of Vietnam militia. Recruited locally, they fell into two broad groups - Regional Forces and the more local-level Popular Forces (The RFPF's, called Ruff-Puffs by American forces). In 1964, the Regional Forces were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff.

Initially fielded as village-level or province-level defence forces, these units were militia-men while also working part or full-time. Given the worse equipment available, they served as a front-line force against armed attacks but were considerably marginalised and demoralised during the American-intervention, as ARVN Regular Forces were relegated to guarding duty. Following Vietnamization these units once again came back to prominence as they became better trained and tasked with carrying out wider area operations despite lacking artillery and air support. They would serve as front-line provincial defence units while Regular Forces were deployed against conventional People's Army of Vietnam forces, and grew to gradually number almost 250,000 by 1974.The concept of Regional and Popular Forces is in-line with countering the Local Force and Main Force structure of the Viet Cong as they lacked firepower support, while the ARVN Regular Forces fought the PAVN. Local militia came to play a very effective role in the war, as the style of small-unit warfare was better suited for guerrilla conflicts with most more familiar with the region and terrain. Despite being poorly paid, these forces were much more capable at detecting infiltration and holding civilian areas. Accounting for an estimated 2-5% of war budget, they were thought to have accounted for roughly 30% of casualties inflicted upon VC/NVA throughout the entire war. Part of this derives in these units generally being more capable of engaging in small-unit, highly-mobile tactics which proved difficult for slow-moving equipment-heavy units.

The Vietnamization of New Jersey

The Vietnamization of New Jersey (subtitled "A American Tragedy" [sic]) is a 1976 play written by American playwright Christopher Durang.

The play was written on commission from the Yale Repertory Theatre as a parody of the Tony Award-winning 1971 David Rabe play Sticks and Bones. The play also sends up the 1950s American TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (as did Sticks and Bones), with characters named "Ozzie Ann", "Harry" and "Et" serving as the mother, father and son of the play's central family. The play's title refers to the Richard Nixon administration's "Vietnamization" policy of training and supporting the South Vietnamese military while reducing the presence of U.S. troops in Vietnam.

Thiên Y A Na

See also Lady Po NagarThiên Y A Na is a Vietnamese goddess. She is worshipped in the Vietnamese folk religion and Đạo Mẫu, the mother goddess religion. She is also known as Lady Po Nagar, the Cham deity from whom she originated. The Cham people of Vietnam had been much influenced by India, and it is believed that Pô Nagar is represented with the characteristics of Bhagavati Uma. The cult of Thiên Y A Na is popular in Vietnam, particularly among women. She is channeled through Lên đồng rituals. There have been many temples and shrines devoted to her throughout the last several centuries.

It is widely believed that the deity known as Thiên Y A Na is the Vietnamized version of the Cham deity, Pô Nagar, meaning “Lady of the Kingdom”. When the Việt came down from the North to central Vietnam and took over control of the land occupied by the Cham people, they attempted to assimilate the Cham into Việt culture. In doing so, they Vietnamized certain aspects of Cham culture that appealed to the Việt. It is through this process that the goddess Pô Nagar became Thiên Y A Na.

USCGC Point Welcome (WPB-82329)

USCGC Point Welcome (WPB-82329) was an 82-foot (25 m) Point-class cutter constructed at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, Maryland in 1961 for use as a law enforcement and search and rescue patrol boat. Since the Coast Guard policy in 1962 was not to name cutters under 100 feet (30 m) in length, she was designated as WPB-82329 when commissioned and was named Point Welcome in January 1964 when the Coast Guard began naming all cutters longer than 65 feet (20 m). She was notable for being the victim of an inter-service friendly fire incident during the Vietnam War.

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.

Vietnamese nationalism

Vietnamese nationalism (Vietnamese: Chủ nghĩa dân tộc Việt Nam) is the nationalism that asserts that the Vietnamese are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of the Vietnamese. It encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Vietnamese people for many centuries in the history to preserve and defend the national identity of the Vietnamese nation.

Unlike any type of nationalism in the world, Vietnamese nationalism appears in every aspect of the society, from cultural, folklore and even military, which led Vietnam into becoming one of the world's most nationalistic countries. Most of Vietnamese nationalism focuses on the military history of the country; however there are also other aspects of the nationalism in Vietnam.

However, most of Vietnamese nationalist concepts aim mainly on China, which has many times fueled the anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam, although there are other anti-Cambodian and anti-French as well, with nothing much significant.

Đàn tỳ bà

The đàn tỳ bà (Vietnamese: [ɗâːn tî ɓâː], Chữ Nôm: 彈琵琶) is a Vietnamese traditional plucked string instrument related to the Chinese pipa.It is made of wood, with a distinctive pear shape and four strings made of nylon (formerly twisted silk). The instrument is held in a near-vertical position when playing and its playing technique involves frequent bending of the tones with the fingers of the left hand. The strings are plucked with a small plectrum similar to a guitar's but larger. It was associated with the royal court and is still used in the ensemble that performs at the Imperial Palace at Huế.

The instrument's name is a Vietnamization of the name of the Chinese pear-shaped lute, called pipa, from which the đàn tỳ bà is derived. "Đàn" is the Vietnamese prefix meaning "stringed instruments", which is part of the name of most traditional stringed instruments of the Viet majority.

The Tỳ bà hành (Hán tự: 琵琶行) is a well known piece for ca tru ensemble.

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