Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coweta's Vietnam Vets - by 1966, Vietnam Saw Troop Buildup

The Newnan Times-Herald is running a series on the Vietnam War and how it affected Coweta County as we prepare for the visit of the Traveling Wall this October. This is another story in this series.

In December 1965, President Lyndon Johnson's advisors convinced him the only way to win in Vietnam was to send a massive ground force halfway around the world.

On Jan. 1, 1966, U.S. forces totaled 184,000. Twelve months later, more than 385,000 Americans were in Vietnam.

At the same time the troops were pouring into Vietnam, network TV was bringing the world's first televised war into American homes each night.

Politicians tried to minimize public relations problems -- and civilian casualties -- by imposing new rules of military engagement, including a standing order that ground troops could not fire until fired upon and then only "proportionately" to the attack.

Soldiers determined to survive largely ignored such politically correct warnings, but still went to battle every day with their hands tied.

The enemy had no such restrictions. Especially the Vietcong guerrillas, who mounted more and more operations designed to produce the highest body count and the most disturbing pictures for the American TV audience.

Read the rest of the story at