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Old 02-28-2005, 05:02 PM
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Default February 28

1968 Wheeler says Westmoreland will need more troops

Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returns from his recent round of talks with Gen. William Westmoreland in Saigon and immediately delivers a written report to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Wheeler stated that despite the heavy casualties incurred during the Tet Offensive, North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces had the initiative and were "operating with relative freedom in the countryside." The communists had pushed South Vietnamese forces back into a "defensive posture around towns and cities," seriously undermined the pacification program in many areas, and forced General Westmoreland to place half of his battalions in the still imperiled northernmost provinces, thus "stripping the rest of the country of adequate reserves" and depriving the U.S. command of "an offensive capability." To meet the new enemy threat and regain the initiative, according to Wheeler, Westmoreland would need more men: "The add-on requested totals 206,756 spaces for a new proposed ceiling of 731,756."

It was a major turning point in the war. To deny the request was to concede that the United States could impose no military solution in the conflict, but to meet it would require a call-up of reserves and vastly increased expenditures. Rather than making an immediate decision, President Johnson asked Defense Secretary Clark Clifford to conduct a thorough, high-level review of U.S. policy in Vietnam.

A disgruntled staff member in the Johnson White House leaked the Wheeler-Westmoreland proposal for additional troops. The story broke in the New York Times on March 10, 1968. With the images of the besieged U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive still fresh in their minds, the press and the public immediately concluded that the extra troops must be needed because the U.S. and South Vietnamese had suffered a massive defeat.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk was subjected to 11 hours of hearings before a hostile Congress on March 11 and 12. A week later, 139 members of the House voted for a resolution that called for a complete review of Johnson's Vietnam policy. Discontent in Congress mirrored the general sentiment in the country. In March, a poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans expressed disapproval with Johnson's handling of the war.

On March 22, President Johnson scaled down Westmoreland's request and authorized 13,500 reinforcements. Shortly after, Johnson announced that Westmoreland would be brought home to be Army Chief of Staff. He was to be replaced by Gen. Creighton Abrams.
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:54 AM
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It was around this time that ARVN in Laos began a route out of there. Route 9 was the only way out and I remember moving vehicles coming out of Laos just covered with gunless troops whose eyes were hugh and scared. They were in a panic. It kinda scared us wondering what was chasing them. Turned out to be 3 NVA Divisions. We fought a rear guard against them for a month falling back to Dong Ha. . It was the biggest longest worse month I have ever spent.
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Old 03-06-2005, 07:20 AM
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February 28. 1965 (27th day of the 1st month, Year of the Snake [At Ti]) (US Advisory): In Operation Barrel Roll, Skyraiders and Skyhawks from Coral Sea carry out a concentrated strike on Mu Gia Pass near the North Vietnamese-Laotian border. Enemy logistic routes are cut at critical points and delayed-action bombs make the areas difficult to traverse, but the North Vietnamese manage to keep their logistic lines functioning.

February 28, 1966 (9th day of the 2nd month, Year of the Horse [Binh Ngo]) (US Defense): Operation Double Eagle II update.

February 28, 1967 (20th day of the 1st month, Year of the Goat [Dinh Mui]) (US Counteroffensive Phase II): Operation Junction City update/Battle of Prek Klok I.

February 28, 1967 (20th day of the 1st month, Year of the Goat [Dinh Mui]) (US Counteroffensive Phase II): Northwest of Cam Lo, a recon patrol is heavily engaged and Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, goes in on foot to extract the LRRPs.

February 28, 1967 (20th day of the 1st month, Year of the Goat [Dinh Mui]) (US Counteroffensive Phase II): A platoon of Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, is suddenly attacked by a large enemy force near Suoi Da.

February 28, 1967 (20th day of the 1st month, Year of the Goat [Dinh Mui]) (US Counteroffensive Phase II): The commander, Naval Forces, Vietnam, establishes the Mekong Delta Mobile Riverine Force, combining the 2nd Brigade with Navy River Assault Flotilla One. The force contains over a hundred Navy vessels, ranging from barrack ships to armored troop carriers and monitor gunboats. The strike force even contains floating Army artillery barges. The MRF will ferry Army and Vietnamese Marine units into action throughout the waterways of the Mekong Delta and Rung Sat Special Zone. Due to the unique environment, LRRPs attached to the force obtain information, not just on enemy forces, but on waterway depths and bank conditions and clearances underneath bridges; the patrollers find that many LZ's reported favorably by helicopter overflights are muddy quagmires, and they also work with riverine shore parties in the nightly movement of artillery barges, conductive last-minute recon of short conditions, checking for sandbars and other obstacles and guiding barges in to mooring positions with filtered flashlights. The prevalence of immersion foot and skin infections limit the amount of field time spent during a mission to 24-48 hours.

February 28, 1968 (1st day of the 2nd month, Year of the Monkey [Mau Than]) (US Tet Counteroffensive): MAG-16 update.

February 28, 1968 (1st day of the 2nd month, Year of the Monkey [Mau Than]) (US Tet Counteroffensive): The Australian fire base, Andersen,. comes under mortar attack again.

February 28, 1970 (23rd day of the 1st month, Year of the Dog [Canh Tuat]) (US Winter-Spring 1970): Operation Halfback update.

February 28, 1970 (23rd day of the 1st month, Year of the Dog [Canh Tuat]) (US Winter-Spring 1970): A/7/17th Cavalry moves to a new AO northwest of Pleiku because of intelligence reports.

February 28, 1970 (23rd day of the 1st month, Year of the Dog [Canh Tuat]) (US Winter-Spring 1970): Nine Australian soldiers are killed and 16 wounded by an M16 mine. The Chief of General Staff (Australia) signals the Commander Australian Forces Vietnam (COMAFV), "Most distressed and concerned at casualties being suffered by 8 RAR in Long Hai area. In view of our experience I am at loss to understand 1 ATF undertaking operations in an area in which they have always been costly and of doubtful value. Please let me have a report urgently including the aims of the operation and the responsibility for its initiation".

February 28, 1971 (4th day of the 2nd month, Year of the Boar [Tan Hoi]) (US Counteroffensive Phase VII): United States armor takes up positions along the Laos-South Vietnam border to counter an expected North Vietnamese tank assault into South Vietnam.
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