View Full Version : Serious Vietnam War Question

06-07-2007, 06:26 AM

06-07-2007, 07:44 AM
From WikiAnswers (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_the_Vietnam_War_start_and_end):

"The Vietnam War or Second Indochina War 1 was a conflict between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN, or North Vietnam), allied with the Communist World, namely the Soviet Union and Red China against the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam), and its allies � notably the United States military in support of the South, with US combat troops involved from 1965 until the official withdrawal in 1973."

Part of the reason why you're getting various answers is because there evidently was no official declaration of war. I knew that it was no later than '66, when my brother enlisted, but I wasn't sure exactly when the U.S. got involved.

The above link has a fairly good explanation of the situation.

06-07-2007, 07:59 AM
There are other sources than Wikipedia!

06-07-2007, 08:02 AM
Some U.S. troops went to Vietnam in the late 1950's because the French basically got their butts beat and wanted our help.... officially U.S. troops went over sometime before 1965..... If memory serves me correct because I took a class on Far East History (of course this was 10 years ago) :)

Hope this helps..

06-07-2007, 08:03 AM
It says this:

November 1, 1955 -- The U.S. redesignates MAAG, Indochina, as MAAG, Vietnam to specify its new direct combat advisory role with the South Vietnamese Army. The U.S. essentially took over the advisory role from the French, who were leaving Vietnam after their defeat at Diem Bien Phu in 1954. The Department of Defense views this date as the earliest qualifying date for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

March 1959 -- Ho Chi Minh declares a People's War to unite all of Vietnam under his leadership. His Politburo orders a changeover to an all-out military struggle. From the comnmunist perspective, the "Vietnam War" against the U.S. has now officially started.
Does that mean it is when some soldiers were killed in Vietnam from the US?
Pretty much what I just said :)

06-07-2007, 08:28 AM
I recall (more through what I've heard historically than what I heard at the time, I was only 8 in 1965) that the instance of the first troops entering into Viet Nam was called a "Police Action", and of course that "police action" grew into what we remember as the war (and the phrase police action became a euphemism for the war). Perhaps the date of the first "police action" is what you're looking for.

06-07-2007, 11:53 AM
American advisers/instructors were certainly deployed long before the war became official. That means intelligence and warfare specialists, Green Berets. Although their involvement in any military operations was flatly denied at all levels. I've no believability problems with your putting an American character into this scenario circa '60-61.



06-07-2007, 03:34 PM
There was US involvement in the fifties and early sixties, but what made it a major involvement was the Gulf of Tonkin incident and subsequent Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. The latter basically gave Johnson a declaration of war.

Cav Guy
06-07-2007, 05:16 PM
American combat troops entered Vietnam in 1965 (Marines in I Corps, followed by elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and First Infantry Division in II and III Corps, respectively), but there were other elements on the ground well before that. The US had advisers on the ground as soon as the French left (mid to late 1950s), as well as elements working with the French before that (say 1951 or so). US Special Forces teams were working with Montagnards and other South Vietnamese minorities by 1960-61.

For 1960-61 your character (if he's US Army) would have most likely been either an adviser or a member of a Special Forces A or B team working with the CIA (they controlled most of the counter-insurgency efforts prior to 1965 and Operation Switchback when they turned control over to MACV - A Teams were the ones out in the small border camps, and Mr T was NOT with them;)).

Some of these dates may be slightly off (by a year or so, though not the date that US ground forces entered combat) as I'm working from memory.

06-07-2007, 07:07 PM
My character was a regular GI Joe from the army, small town boy with no special training. So then he would ONLY be sent in around 65? This sucks if he did, I wanted him to go earlier. Is there another war going on in 60-63?

Oh, the ching chang thing was about areas not people names...lol. I can't pronounce any of those areas or spell them without an encyclopedia near me.
Well, a bunch of soldiers were sent to Thailand in '63, I believe. But it wasn't a large force.

I take it you just want your character to be in some kind of danger? Put him in one of the "hot spots" like the DMZ in Korea, or Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Ed Rogers
06-07-2007, 07:09 PM
In Aug. 1962 I went to Vietnam as an American adviser. I had been on a hill in Germany when the papers were posted asking for vol. to teach/train the Vietnamese. Sounded good: live in a hotel, special pay. I saw the hotel as we drove past it going in country and coming back on my to Germany. I don't think I spoke to over four Vietnamese the three mouths I was there and that was to buy dope. There were a lot of Americans in Vietnam when I got there. Tons of civilian contractors. (Not unlike Iraq)

Cav Guy
06-07-2007, 07:47 PM
My character was a regular GI Joe from the army, small town boy with no special training. So then he would ONLY be sent in around 65? This sucks if he did, I wanted him to go earlier. Is there another war going on in 60-63?

Oh, the ching chang thing was about areas not people names...lol. I can't pronounce any of those areas or spell them without an encyclopedia near me.
Not really with US involvement and regular troops. He could be a clerk or something similar sent to Saigon to work with MAAG, but he wouldn't be in combat unless he was an adviser (under most circumstances, anyhow).

For just danger stuff, the DMZ in Korea would be a good choice.

Claudia Gray
06-07-2007, 08:59 PM
Big wince @ 'those "ching chong chang" names'



06-07-2007, 09:14 PM
OK folks, I've asked SouthernWriter to change that particular phrase. Can we focus on the topic. Thank you.

Ed Rogers
06-08-2007, 12:54 AM
How dangerous do you want? We were told we couldn't have weapons, but, our LT told them he wasn't taking his men anywhere they were shooting without someting to shoot back with. Which is something to think about. We did not have M16s then. I carried a M2 carbine but most had M1s the M14 didn't come out until we had got back to Germany. There were advisors dying at this time, because truth beknown we weren't there to advise; we were there to fight.

06-08-2007, 03:54 AM
Not tryin' to cause offense or anything, but reading all your posts, it sounds as if you know next to nothing about this particular slice of history or any of the components involved. Makes me wonder why you'd want to set a story here. Making it all sound real enough to convince your readers could be a sweaty uphill climb. I'm just saying.


Cav Guy
06-08-2007, 04:42 PM
I changed my mind, I now read that

U.S. Involvement

In 1961, South Vietnam signed a military and economic aid treaty with the United States leading to the arrival (1961) of U.S. support troops and the formation (1962) of the U.S. Military Assistance Command.

So...I'm gonna use the Vietnam angle. Question: support troops means....army, navy, what?
Support troops means advisers, logistics types (read mechanics and trainers), and others. These are not combat troops, although many advisers did find themselves in the thick of things. I suspect the numbers you quote later also include the Special Forces types out in the woods with the natives.

Frankly, if you want someplace for your character to disappear and then reappear I'd go with Korea. Cuba was a real hotspot in the early 1960s, and Vietnam was taking over from Laos as the Indochina flavor of the month (if you will). Most people had forgotten about Korea and the steady stream of skirmishes and the like taking place along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). With the low density of troops on the ground in Vietnam it's not very likely that a draftee would be sent there during the early 1960s. Korea, on the other hand...