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The U.S. Military Victory in Vietnam

The history of the Vietnam War has been distorted through a prism of negative news, movies, and TV that diminished what was accomplished, exemplified by the media reporting of the U.S Victory at Tet as a defeat.  For those who served, the record needs to be set straight.  And for those who are now engaged on our behalf, we must guarantee that another generation of combatants and veterans are not be abandoned by political self-interest and short sightedness.

In the context of the global conflict with Communism and the major strategy of containment -- Vietnam can only be viewed as one victory in a string of victories reaching from the Marshall Plan, Radio Free Europe, The Korean War, and  its apex in the disintegration of the Soviet Union, freedom of the Eastern Block countries, and the ongoing liberalization of the remaining communist countries.

For our troops in the field immediate total victory in that battlefield was denied by the unwillingness of U.S. leadership to accept total war after the experience of World War II and the ramifications of the then current strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction, among other considerations.  So the United States Military was left with a confined battlefield that precluded pursuit of the enemy into their sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos and repeated constraints on bombing targets in the North.

One can pass judgment on the constrained battlefield approach but militarily it can be said that the U.S. Military, within that constrained battle space and rules of engagement, won decisive victories throughout the Counteroffensive campaigns (particularly during  the oft misjudged Tet Offensive) until the NVA could no longer mount any significant offensive effort and the Viet Cong were diminished as an effective fighting force.

Victory after victory can be rattled off: Rung Sat Special Zone clearance by the U.S. Navy and the 9th Infantry Division; Khe Sanh and Operation Dewey Canyon by the Marines; Battle for Dak To and Ben Het for the 4th Infantry Division; Battle for Hue by the Marines , 1st Cavalry Division and the 101st airborne; and the Cambodian Incursion by the 25th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division, to mention a few.  Of particular importance was the ability to move from a war of attrition (1965 - 1968) to a war of pacification (1968-1973), a natural evolution after major victories in intelligence and on the battlefield and with the success in interdicting the logistical streams south on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and north from Sihanoukville.  It allowed our South Vietnamese Allies to assume a larger leadership role in their own defense.   The Pacification Campaigns and disruptions of enemy logistics by operations such as Lam Son 719 continued to disrupt the enemy.  Increasingly, valuable and usable intelligence continued to strengthen the South Vietnamese and their U.S. supporters.

After the withdrawal of most U.S. Combat Forces, and with only the aid of U.S. Advisors and U.S. logistical and aviation support, ARVN units continued to sustain themselves until further aid was denied by the U.S Congress.  All the while Soviet and Chinese Communist support continued unabated for the North Vietnamese aggressors.  That withdrawal of aid doomed the South Vietnamese to the eventual outcome that was the Fall of Saigon and crushing burden of Communism.  

Militarily the U.S. accomplished the mission of containment.  In a narrower view, in each battle we were victorious, and those who fought and won deserve our most deepest gratitude for what they endured and what they attained.  For an extended period of time we constrained the spread of Communism that would have further expanded to the Phillipines, Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia if an earlier U.S withdrawal of support gave early victory to the North.  Their sponsors would have been able to focus their attention on these other Asian areas.   The capitalist, democratic, free countries in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan were allowed to strengthen and  flourish.

John Kennedy outlined the reason we went to Vietnam many times and specifically in his Inaugural Address in January, 1961.  

                 “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” 

The fall of Vietnam occurred after the U.S. withdrew promised logistical and air support and did not insist on Communist North Vietnam’s compliance with earlier agreements.  This was a low point in America’s containment of Communism as it spread to Cambodia and later attempted to spread its misery across Africa.  Vietnam was not a low point of U.S. military history but a low point of our of our political history as evidenced by a lack of will.  The military accomplished its mission within the constrained battlefield and rules of engagement imposed on it.

As to the America political low point there are a lot of people who need to accept responsibility for creating that low point, many who are still with us today trying to replicate their past ignoble successes.  They have not faced up to their complicity in the Vietnam re-education camps or the Cambodian killing fields. Ask the Cambodians, the Montagnards, and our ARVN allies.  

Vietnam was a major front in the struggle of free men struggling against tyranny to be free.  In the larger struggle we won (or more accurately put, we will continue to win) against tyranny.   Those who sacrificed in Vietnam were true victors. 

It is important that these lessons be learned and absorbed because we face the same forms of defeatism today in our struggle against Islamo-facism that precipitated our lack of support for the South Vietnamese: distorted media reporting; failure to recognize our gains; corrupt political opportunism; emboldening our enemies by an appearance of weakness. 

In its truest sense we must remember - we must have “No More Vietnams”.

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Vietnam Divisions/Brigades

 1st Infantry Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Framed Unit History, Large

    Deluxe Unit History

· 4th Infantry Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Framed Unit History, Large

    Deluxe Unit History

· 5th Infantry Division (Mech)

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

 9th Infantry Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

 Americal Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

 25th Infantry Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

 101st Airborne Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

 18th Engineer Brigade

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    Deluxe Unit History

  20th Engineer Brigade

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     Deluxe Unit History

     Large Framed Unit History

· MACV

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

·  173rd Airborne Brigade

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

    Large Framed Unit History

· 82nd Airborne Brigade

   Framed Unit History

· 196th Light Infantry Brigade

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   Large Framed Unit History

· 199th Light Infantry Brigade

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    Large Framed Unit History

· 11th Armored Cavalry Rgmt

   Large Framed Unit History

· 1st Cavalry Division

    Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Deluxe Unit History

· 1st Logistical Command

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    Deluxe Unit History

· 1st Signal Brigade

    Framed Unit History

    Large Framed Unit History

· 1st Aviation Brigade

    Large Framed Unit History

· 1st Marine Division

      Unit History

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    Deluxe Unit History

·  3rd Marine Division

      Unit History

    Framed Unit History

    Framed Unit History, Large

    Deluxe Unit History

· 9th Marine Regiment

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· 26th Marine Regiment

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Korean War Units

 Eighth Army

     Framed Unit History

 1st Marine Division

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 25th Infantry Division

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World War II Divisions

 1st Infantry Division

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 2nd Infantry Division

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 1st Armored Division

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 1st Cavalry Division

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 3rd Infantry Division

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 9th Infantry Division

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 65th Infantry Division

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 69th Infantry Division

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 83th Infantry Division

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 85th Infantry Division

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 86th Infantry Division

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 95th Infantry Division

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 99th Infantry Division

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 100th Infantry Division

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 102nd Infantry Division

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 103rd Infantry Division

    Framed Unit History

 104th Infantry Division

    Framed Unit History

 Americal Division

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