Background.   Posted by MACV-SOG.Group: 0
 GM, 3 posts
Mon 13 Jul 2015
at 12:56
The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. The war began in 1954 (though conflict in the region stretched back to the mid-1940s), after the rise to power of Ho Chi Minh and his communist Viet Minh party in North Vietnam, and continued against the backdrop of an intense Cold War between two global superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. More than 3 million people (including 58,000 Americans) were killed in the Vietnam War; more than half were Vietnamese civilians. By 1969, at the peak of U.S. involvement in the war, more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel were involved in the Vietnam conflict. Growing opposition to the war in the United States led to bitter divisions among Americans, both before and after President Richard Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973. In 1975, communist forces seized control of Saigon, ending the Vietnam War, and the country was unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam the following year.

Roots of the Vietnam War

During World War II, Japan invaded and occupied Vietnam, a nation on the eastern edge of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia that had been under French administration since the late 19th century. Inspired by Chinese and Soviet communism, Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh, or the League for the Independence of Vietnam, to fight both Japan and the French colonial administration. Japan withdrew its forces in 1945, leaving the French-educated Emperor Bao Dai in control of an independent Vietnam. Ho’s Viet Minh forces rose up immediately, seizing the northern city of Hanoi and declaring a Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) with Ho as president.
Seeking to regain control of the region, France backed Bao and set up the state of Vietnam (South Vietnam) in July 1949, with Saigon as its capital. Armed conflict continued until a decisive battle at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 ended in French defeat by Viet Minh forces. The subsequent treaty negotiations at Geneva split Vietnam along the latitude known as the 17th parallel (with Ho in control in the North and Bao in the South) and called for nationwide elections for reunification to be held in 1956. In 1955, however, the strongly anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem pushed Bao aside to become president of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (GVN).

Vietnam War: U.S. Intervention Begins

With the Cold War intensifying, the United States hardened its policies against any allies of the Soviet Union, and by 1955 President Dwight D. Eisenhower had pledged his firm support to Diem and South Vietnam. With training and equipment from American military and police, Diem’s security forces cracked down on Viet Minh sympathizers in the south, whom he derisively called Viet Cong (or Vietnamese Communist), arresting some 100,000 people, many of whom were tortured and executed. By 1957, the Viet Cong and other opponents of Diem’s repressive regime began fighting back with attacks on government officials and other targets, and by 1959 they had begun engaging South Vietnamese Army forces in firefights.

In December 1960, Diem’s opponents within South Vietnam–both communist and non-communist–formed the National Liberation Front (NLF) to organize resistance to the regime. Though the NLF claimed to be autonomous and that most of its members were non-Communist, many in Washington assumed it was a puppet of Hanoi. A team sent by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to report on conditions in South Vietnam advised a build-up of American military, economic and technical aid in order to help confront the Viet Cong threat. Working under the “domino theory,” which held that if one Southeast Asian country fell to communism, many would follow, Kennedy increased U.S. aid, though he stopped short of committing to a large-scale military intervention. By 1962, the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam had reached some 9,000 troops, compared with fewer than 800 during the 1950s.

Vietnam War Escalates

A coup by some of his own generals succeeded in toppling and killing Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, in November 1963, three weeks before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The ensuing political instability in South Vietnam persuaded Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to further increase U.S. military and economic support. The following August, after DRV torpedo boats attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, Johnson ordered the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam. Congress soon passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson broad war-making powers, and U.S. planes began regular bombing raids, codenamed Operation Rolling Thunder, the following February.

In March 1965, Johnson made the decision–with solid support from the American public–to send U.S. combat forces into battle in Vietnam. By June, 82,000 combat troops were stationed in Vietnam, and General William Westmoreland was calling for 175,000 more by the end of 1965 to shore up the struggling South Vietnamese army. Despite the concerns of some of his advisers about this escalation, and about the entire war effort as well as a growing anti-war movement in the U.S., Johnson authorized the immediate dispatch of 100,000 troops at the end of July 1965 and another 100,000 in 1966. In addition to the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand also committed troops to fight in South Vietnam (albeit on a much smaller scale).
Strategy of Attrition in Vietnam

In contrast to the air attacks on North Vietnam, the U.S.-South Vietnamese war effort in the south was fought on the ground, largely under the command of General Westmoreland, in coordination with the government of General Nguyen Van Thieu in Saigon. In general, U.S. military forces in the region pursued a policy of attrition, aiming to kill as many enemy troops as possible rather than trying to secure territory. By 1966, large areas of South Vietnam had been designated as “free-fire zones,” from which all innocent civilians were supposed to have evacuated and only enemy remained. Heavy bombing by B-52 aircraft or shelling made these zones uninhabitable, as refugees poured into camps in designated safe areas near Saigon and other cities. Even as the body count (at times exaggerated by U.S. and South Vietnamese authorities) mounted steadily, DRV and Viet Cong troops refused to stop fighting, encouraged by the fact that they could easily reoccupy lost territory. Meanwhile, supported by aid from China and the Soviet Union, North Vietnam strengthened its air defenses.

By November 1967, the number of American troops in Vietnam was approaching 500,000, and U.S. casualties had reached 15,058 killed and 109,527 wounded. As the war stretched on, some soldiers came to mistrust their government’s reasons for keeping them there, as well as Washington’s claims that the war was being won. The later years of the war saw increased physical and psychological deterioration among American soldiers, including drug use, mutinies and attacks by soldiers against officers and noncommissioned officers.

Bombarded by horrific images of the war on their televisions, Americans on the home front turned against the war as well: In October 1967, some 35,000 demonstrators staged a mass antiwar protest outside the Pentagon. Opponents of the war argued that civilians, not enemy combatants, were the primary victims and that the United States was supporting a corrupt dictatorship in Saigon.
Impact of the Tet Offensive on Vietnam War

By the end of 1967, Hanoi’s communist leadership was growing impatient as well, and sought to strike a decisive blow aimed at forcing the better-supplied United States to give up hopes of success. On January 31, 1968, some 70,000 DRV forces under General Vo Nguyen Giap launched the Tet offensive (named for the lunar new year), a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam. Though taken by surprise, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces managed to strike back quickly, and the communists were unable to hold any of the targets for more than a day or two. Reports of the attacks stunned the U.S. public, however, especially after news broke that Westmoreland had requested an additional 200,000 troops. With his approval ratings dropping in an election year, Johnson called a halt to bombing in much of North Vietnam in March (though bombings continued in the south) and promised to dedicate the rest of his term to seeking peace rather than reelection.

Johnson’s new tack, laid out in a March 1968 speech, met with a positive response from Hanoi, and peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam opened in Paris that May. Despite the later inclusion of the South Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (the political arm of the Viet Cong) the dialogue soon reached an impasse, and after an election campaign marred by violence, Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey to win the White House.

Vietnam War Ends: From Vietnamization to Withdrawal

Nixon sought to deflate the antiwar movement by appealing to a “silent majority” of Americans who he believed supported the war effort. In an attempt to limit the volume of American casualties, he announced a program of withdrawing troops, increasing aerial and artillery bombardment and giving South Vietnamese control over ground operations. In addition to this policy, which he called “Vietnamization,” Nixon continued public peace talks in Paris, adding higher-level secret talks conducted by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger beginning in the spring of 1968. The North Vietnamese continued to insist on complete U.S. withdrawal as a condition of peace, however, and the next few years would bring even more carnage, including the horrifying revelation that U.S. soldiers had massacred more than 400 unarmed civilians in the village of My Lai in March 1968.

Anti-war protests continued to build as the conflict wore on. In 1968 and 1969, there were hundreds of anti-war marches and gatherings throughout the country. On November 15, 1969, the largest anti-war protest in American history took place in Washington, D.C., as over 250,000 Americans gathered peacefully, calling for withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. The anti-war movement, which was particularly strong on college campuses, divided Americans bitterly. For some young people, the war symbolized a form of unchecked authority they had come to resent. For other Americans, opposing the government was considered unpatriotic and treasonous.

As the first U.S. troops were withdrawn, those who remained became increasingly angry and frustrated, exacerbating problems with morale and leadership. Tens of thousands of soldiers received dishonorable discharges for desertion, and about 500,000 American men from 1965-73 became “draft dodgers,” with many fleeing to Canada to evade conscription. Nixon ended draft calls in 1972, and instituted an all-volunteer army the following year.

In 1970, a joint U.S-South Vietnamese operation invaded Cambodia, hoping to wipe out DRV supply bases there. The South Vietnamese then led their own invasion of Laos, which was pushed back by North Vietnam. The invasion of these countries, in violation of international law, sparked a new wave of protests on college campuses across America, including two at Kent State in Ohio and Jackson State in Mississippi during which National Guardsmen and police killed a total of six student protesters. By the end of June 1972, however, after another failed offensive into South Vietnam, Hanoi was finally willing to compromise. Kissinger and North Vietnamese representatives drafted a peace agreement by early fall, but leaders in Saigon rejected it, and in December Nixon authorized a number of bombing raids against targets in Hanoi and Haiphong. Known as the Christmas Bombings, the raids drew international condemnation.

Further Info:

Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War:

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:17, Wed 21 June 2017.

 GM, 4 posts
Mon 31 Oct 2016
at 13:15
Vietnam Notebook: Effects of Geography and Climate

The basic geography and climate of Vietnam Indochina is dominated by three main geographic features:

(1) The first is the Annamite mountain chain that starts in the highlands of China’s Yunnan province and traverses the spine of Indochina until it meets the east coast in central South Vietnam. The crests of the Annamite mountains follow the border between Laos and Vietnam before crossing over into Vietnam just south of the point where the borders of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam meet and ending some fifty miles east northeast of Saigon.

(2) The second feature is the Red River. Along with its principal tributaries, the Black River to the south and the Clear River to the north, the Red River rises in the highlands of Yunan and flows in a southeastern direction to the Gulf of Tonkin, forming the broad delta in northern Vietnam that was the cradle of Vietnamese culture and civilization. We know from the archaeological record, based on skeletal measurements, that the people who lived there as far back as the third millennium B.C. were the ancestors of the people who live there today. That conclusion is also supported by the linguistic record; ancient place names are preserved in the Red River Delta that aren’t used anywhere else in Vietnam. We also know that almost from the beginning, the people of the Red River Delta were growing paddy rice, that is they were damming up the land and creating paddies in which to grow their rice.

(3) The third important geographic features is the Mekong River. It rises in the mountains of Yunnan not far from the Red River’s point of origin, flows southward through the north-easternmost of the Annamite mountains, then through the Mekong plain. It marks the border between Laos and Thailand for most of its length, and then forms the Mekong Delta in southeastern Cambodia and southernmost Vietnam. Like the Red River Delta, the Mekong Delta is a major rice growing region, but has several advantages to its northern counterpart; First, since it is further south, the climate is hotter and that results in significantly larger yields per acre; Second, unlike the Red River, the Mekong floods gradually and relatively predictably. That predictability allows for a special kind of rice, floating rice, that grows fast enough to stay ahead of the rising water.*

There is another important difference between the Red and Mekong deltas, and that is that the Vietnamese didn’t reach the Mekong Delta until comparatively recently. The original populace of the Mekong Delta, at least in historical times, was Khmer, that is Cambodian, and there is still a significant Cambodian minority in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces. The Vietnamese didn’t reach the Mekong Delta until about the time of the American Revolution and didn’t finish conquering it from the Cambodians until the 1850s, shortly before the French arrived.

To recap, the dominant physical geographic features of Indochina are the Annamite mountains, the Red River and the Mekong River. Next let’s take a look at the climate …

There are two monsoons: the southwest monsoon, running from about mid-October to late March; and the northeast monsoon that runs the remainder of the year. The most important of the two for our purposes is the southwest monsoon. It brings warm, moist air off the Indian Ocean and South China Sea and deposits it as rain. Vietnam’s elevation increases from south to north. As air rises it cools, at a rate of two and a half degrees per thousand feet, and as it cools its capacity to hold moisture diminishes. Since the warm air coming off the ocean is saturated to begin with, it turns to rain, providing the water needed to grow rice year after year.

The rain comes down so hard, particularly up against the west side of the Annamite mountains that the ground turns to soup and nothing can move. Those downpours are in full force by May in central Laos and the rains move northward as the season progresses. By July or August Indochina is saturated, with one exception; the coastal strip of central South Vietnam on the east side of the Annamite range, from about 80 miles north of the Ben Hai River to an area just northeast of Saigon, is sheltered by the mountains and depends on the northeast monsoon for its rain.

The northeast monsoon brings dry weather to most of Indochina. It is based on the clockwise circulation around the Siberian high, the high pressure system over the eastern part of Russia. It generally runs from mid-September to late December. By late October or early November things start to dry out and by December most of the peninsula is dry.

There is, however, a partial exception. The easternmost air coming off the Siberian high passes over the Gulf of Tonkin before reaching Indochina and picks up a fair amount of moisture en route. It brings enough moisture to irrigate the coastal strip of central Vietnam  and in the Red River Delta farmers are able to double crop, that is they can grow two full crops of rice per year.

Mid-October to mid-May is the traditional winter-spring campaign season around which the communists based their military planning.  If you look carefully at the weather cycle, you’ll find that the period between the beginning of January and mid-May, roughly 1 January through 15 May, is the only time of the year when the weather is suitable for offensive operations throughout all of Indochina. If you look at Vietnamese history, almost every decisive battle or campaign all the way back to the Chinese conquest in 111 B.C., were launched during that period.

Wet rice cultivation is the basic reality of Vietnamese culture. Given a suitable climate, you can grow more food calories per acre with wet rice cultivation than with any competing grain and you can do it year after year in the same paddy without a loss of fertility. You’ve got a ready source of fertilizer: human waste, supplemented by manure from the water buffalo you use to plow and whatever pigs, chickens, and dogs you may have. And I should add that the Vietnamese were growing rice in paddies long before the Chinese; in fact the Chinese seem to have learned wet rice cultivation from the ancestors of the Vietnamese fairly late in the game, perhaps as late as the time of Christ.

Moreover, the way in which the food staple is grown affects the culture and its values. Growing wheat in dry land tilled with an ox or horse-drawn plow shaped the mentality of the European peasant. Since the number of calories per acre per year is relatively modest, at least by wet rice cultivation standards, Europe historically had relatively low population densities by Asian standards. And just as dry land grain cultivation shaped us, the realities of wet rice cultivation shaped the Vietnamese. Since you can raise a crop from the same paddy, year after year, generation after generation, you develop an overriding attachment to your ancestral village. This cultural phenomenon cannot be understated. What’s more, each villager had to cooperate to keep the paddy dams in good repair; they had to cooperate to keep the flood control dams in place in order to keep the Red River under control, no mean feat because the Red River and its tributaries flow down steep and narrow valleys, and when the rains come they rise quickly.

The population density in the rice growing regions of the Red River Delta can run between 2,500 and 4,000 people per square mile. In the south it’s around 150 to 250 per square mile of cultivatable land. The reason for the disparity is historical: Vietnamese were relative late comers to the lower Mekong Delta and rice growing became commercialized before population densities could rise to traditional levels. The population density of the Red River Delta, and the Than Hoa region to its immediate south, was determined by how much rice could be grown and that in turn was limited by the relative coolness of the climate. As a result, the Red River Delta has never enjoyed a significant rice surplus and bad growing conditions can quickly lead to famine. Modern data indicates that the peasants of the Red River Delta work significantly harder than those in the lower Mekong Delta to produce the same amount of rice. That has been true from the beginning and has had cultural consequences for the region.

The annual weather cycle has some interesting aspects. Crachin is a period of light rain accompanied by low stratus clouds and poor visibility which frequently occurs in the area of the China Sea between January and April. In late March the rice farmers burn off their stubble. That produces large amounts of smoke that, when combined with the rains of crachin, produces big chunks of ash falling out of the sky.

In addition to the wet rice farmers burning off their stubble, many hill tribes in the mountains of Laos and Vietnam annually practice slash and burn agricultural techniques. That produces only a fraction of the per acre yield, but requires very little labor. It also depletes the fertility of the land very rapidly.

So, as it stands, these same cycles prevail over and over, driving not only agriculture but also war…

The monsoon cycle is important militarily for a number of reasons. First, the only time during the annual cycle when the weather is suitable for military campaigning throughout all of Indochina is the period between 1 January and 15 May. Unsurprisingly, many of the important battles in the region’s history were fought during that time. Second, most of Indochina is suitable for campaigning between mid-October and mid-March. Nearly every decisive battle or campaign in the history of Indochina was fought or at least started during that winter/spring campaigning season, including the major battles and campaigns of antiquity and the middle ages. A remarkably high percentage of them were fought or started during the brief period between the beginning of January and mid-March when the weather over all of Indochina is suitable for campaigning.

What is karst? Limestone rock. The formations commonly seen in Southeast Asia featuring vertical structures of limestone rock, whole mountains, and they can go straight up—absolutely vertical—several thousand feet, straight up and straight back down, range after range. It’s very spectacular and very rough. It’s part of the culture, too. There are areas of Laos, North Vietnam, and China where the mountains really do look like that. Rather spectacular, very beautiful… and it’s difficult to move military forces through them!

History and human geography of Vietnam:

When you look at the map of Vietnam, you see that the entire coastal strip is marked with river deltas, smaller than the Red and Mekong deltas, but economically significant. What do you find in them? In the north, you find people who live in same villages where their ancestors lived five thousand years ago. As you move southward these ancestral ties extend for progressively shorter periods as you go. Starting in pre-historic times, the Vietnamese expanded from north to south, from delta to delta, displacing the original inhabitants. They grew rice. It’s back-breaking work and produces an enormous amount of food per acre, but not a super-abundance of calories in terms of the amount work expended per person. In addition, you have to maintain the dikes. Every step is hard work. But it does support a dense population.

One more cultural reality of the human geography in Vietnam worth noting is the interplay between lowland Vietnamese and the hill tribes. Remember that slash and burn agriculture practiced by the hill tribes produced much less food per acre than rice paddies, but it produced much more food per person hour expended. It doesn’t support high population densities, and that is why the lowland, wet rice growing cultures rule Indochina. But there is a cultural backlash: the lowland paddy farmers know that the hill tribes don’t work as hard as they do, so they look down on them as soft and lazy. There are very hard feelings and prejudices on both sides, right down to today. Cultural memory is at work here: the hill tribes were forced up into the hills in antiquity by the wet rice growing Vietnamese conquerors who seized the best land. When the French finally came in, they took advantage of the enmity, and cultivated the hill tribes: the hill tribes of northern Indochina, the Hmong, Man and T’ai, sided with the French against the Vietminh; later, the Hmong, Nung and some of the more primitive southern tribes sided with the U.S. They were not rewarded for their efforts in the end.

* Part of the reason is the big lake in the middle of Cambodia, the Tonle Sap. During the dry monsoon the water flows out of the Tonle Sap into the Mekong and from there out to the South China Sea. During the wet monsoon, the flood waters coming down the Mekong from China and the Mekong Plain back up into the Tonle Sap, flowing the other way. That absorbs a lot of the flood water and releases it gradually.

This message was last updated by the GM at 15:18, Wed 21 June 2017.

 GM, 5 posts
Mon 31 Oct 2016
at 13:20

September 2, 1945 - Vietnam declares independence from France. Neither France nor the U.S. recognizes this claim. President Harry S Truman aids France with military equipment to fight the rebels known as Viet Minh.

May 1954 - The Battle of Dien Bien Phu results in serious defeat for the French and peace talks in Geneva. The Geneva Accords end the French Indochina War.

July 21, 1954 - Vietnam signs the Geneva Accords and divides into two countries at the 17th parallel, the Communist-led north and U.S.-supported south.

1957-1963 - North Vietnam and the Viet Cong fight South Vietnamese troops. Hoping to stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the U.S. sends more aid and military advisors to help the South Vietnamese government. The number of U.S. military advisors in Vietnam grows from 900 in 1960 to 11,000 in 1962.

1964-1969 - By 1964, the Viet Cong, the Communist guerrilla force, has 35,000 troops in South Vietnam. The U.S. sends more and more troops to fight the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, with the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam peaking at 543,000 in April 1969. Anti-war sentiment in the U.S. grows stronger as the troop numbers increase.

August 2, 1964 - Gulf of Tonkin - The North Vietnamese fire on a U.S. destroyer anchored in the Gulf of Tonkin. After President Lyndon Johnson falsely claims that there had been a second attack on the destroyer, Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which authorizes full-scale U.S. intervention in the Vietnam War. Johnson orders the bombing of North Vietnam in retaliation for the Tonkin attack.

August 5, 1964 - President Johnson asks Congress for the power to go to war against the North Vietnamese and the Communists for violating the Geneva Accords against South Vietnam and Laos. The request is granted August 7, 1964, in a Congressional joint resolution.

January 30, 1968 - Tet Offensive - The North Vietnamese launch a massive surprise attack during the festival of the Vietnamese New Year, called Tet. The attack hits 36 major cities and towns in South Vietnam. Both sides suffer heavy casualties, but the offensive demonstrates that the war will not end soon or easily. American public opinion against the war increases and the U.S. begins to reduce the number of troops in Vietnam.

March 16, 1968 - My Lai Massacre - About 400 women, children and elderly men are massacred by U.S. forces in the village of My Lai in South Vietnam. Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., is later court-martialed for leading the raid and sentenced to life in prison for his role but is released in 1974 when a federal court overturns the conviction. Calley is the only soldier ever convicted in connection with the event.

April 1970 - Invasion of Cambodia - President Richard Nixon orders U.S. and South Vietnamese troops to invade border areas in Cambodia and destroy supply centers set up by the North Vietnamese. The invasion sparks more anti-war protests, and on June 3, 1970, Nixon announces the completion of troop withdrawal.

May 4, 1970 - National Guard units fire into a group of demonstrators at Kent State University in Ohio. The shots kill four students and wound nine others. Anti-war demonstrations and riots occur on hundreds of other campuses throughout May.

February 8, 1971 - Invasion of Laos - Under orders from President Nixon, U.S. and South Vietnamese ground troops, with the support of B-52 bombers, invade southern Laos in an effort to stop the North Vietnamese supply routes through Laos into South Vietnam. This action is done without consent of Congress and causes more anti-war protests in the U.S.

January 27, 1973 - A cease-fire is arranged after peace talks.

March 29, 1973 - The last American ground troops leave. Fighting begins again between North and South Vietnam, but the U.S. does not return.

April 30, 1975 - South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam as North Vietnamese troops enter Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City.

This message was last updated by the GM at 15:18, Wed 21 June 2017.

 GM, 6 posts
Mon 31 Oct 2016
at 13:23
Special Forces in the Vietnam War:

Fast Patrol Craft Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), also known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.

Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRPs or "Lurps"); Vietnam War-era deep reconnaissance and raider units

MIKE Force Mobile Strike Force Command; Corps I, II, III, IV

Tiger Force (Vietnam War); reconnaissance commando (recondo) platoon in the 1/327th Infantry

Project "Leaping Lena" (Vietnam War); Recondo course for South Vietnamese teams, trained by U.S. Special Forces, became Project DELTA.

Project DELTA (Vietnam War); 5th Special Forces group long-range reconnaissance unit; precursor to MACV-SOG

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), a joint covert Vietnam War-era task force composed of 2,000 American soldiers and over 8,000 indigenous mercenaries

Project Sigma and Project Omega (Vietnam War), MACV-SOG recon units that operated in Cambodia

Phoenix Program; joint CIA and US military project based around the identification and elimination of the civilian supporters of the Viet Cong.

Project 404/Palace dog was a USAF program that supplied support personnel in civilian clothing to the Royal Laotian Air Force. Long range goal was production of a self-sufficient RLAF.

Raven FACs were USAF pilots in civilian clothing assigned to support the Royal Laotian Air Force by directing air strikes from small aircraft.

This message was lightly edited by the GM at 15:18, Wed 21 June 2017.