Normally I would try to do an anniversary post on the actual date in question but I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing this weekend and tonight was kind of a slow night, so I'll do it tonight. While I like messing around with my action figures and lighting, I can't wait for the weather to get a little nicer and it to stay lighter a little longer so that I can wander around for pictures. Until then, we have this.
On March 8th, 1965, 3,500 US Marines were deployed to DaNang in order to protect US air bases that were already established in South Vietnam. This was in response to some attacks on US military personnel that were already in country. This marks the first US Combat Troops that would be deployed to the Vietnam War. Granted there were "advisors" there prior to that, this would mark the official entry into the War.
By December of 1965, this presence would increase to 200,000 Troops. Initially, these troops were used to defend US air bases and what not but they were soon deployed to conduct offensive operations against the Viet Cong.
Gradually, the presence of US Troops would increase. They were pretty effective but were hampered politically. Initially, the Vietnam War was popular with the American people but as they started to see that the politicians didn't really have a plan, they wanted to bring the troops home (sound familiar?).
In 1969, the US started what was called the "Vietnamization" of the War. This was where the combat operations of the US would decrease while the South Vietnam Military was increased. This also marked the time where US combat troops were returned home.
By 1973, the remaining US ground troops were brought home.
The Vietnam War ended with the occupation of South Vietnam by North Vietnam in 1975.
Over the course of the War, the US would lose 58,303 people and another 303,644 were wounded. The War also divided the country as it continued to drag on. The toll on the Vietnamese was higher.
The effect of the Vietnam War on the US military is a continuing legacy.
Personally, I think the people that served in Vietnam got a pretty raw deal. They were looked down upon by veterans of other wars because it was a war that was lost. However, I think that it was our politicians that lost the war and not the soldiers. They had no real plan of dealing with North Vietnam as they weren't willing to take the battle to North Vietnam (with the exception of the bombing campaign). Granted, that would have caused issues with the Soviets, but I'm of the opinion that if you are going to commit the blood of the nation, you should be prepared to achieve some sort of victory.