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U.S. Marines in Vietnam the Landing and the Buildup 1965

U.S. Marines in Vietnam the Landing and the Buildup 1965

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Published by Bob Andrepont
United States Marine Corps History Publication
United States Marine Corps History Publication

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 10, 2013
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03/27/2013

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Throughout the spring, American commanders in
the Pacific discussed the possibility of employing the

Seventh Fleet's SLF in a series of amphibious raids on

VC/NVA infiltration and marshalling points along

the coastof South Vietnam. On14 March,

representatives from MACV and the Pacific Fleet
reached an agreement in Saigon for a naval coastal
surveillance campaign, Operation MARKET TIME.
The agreement contained provisions for carrying out
amphibious raids using South Vietnamese Marines,

U.S. Marine battalions, or combined South Viet-

namese and U.S. Marine forces. The MACV and
CinCPacFleet staffs were to evaluate available in-
telligence and agree on suitable target areas for these

raids. The first targets were to be in unpopulated
areas, which would allow the amphibious forces

relative freedom of action. After the two commands

had agreed on suitable target areas, the CinCPacFleet

staff was to prepare a concept of operations from
which the amphibious commander was to make his

detailed plans. Completed plans were then to be

submitted to ComUSMACV for his concurrence and

for South Vietnamese clearance for the raids 2
BothGeneralWestmorelandandAdmiral
Johnson ratified the results of the Saigon conference.

In their transmittal of the agreement to Admiral

193

194

THE LANDING AND THE BUILDUP

Sharp, CinCPac, on 14 May forapproval, West-
moreland and Johnson observed that the planning

guide for the raids''insofar as possible will be
Doctrine for Amphibious Operations (FM31-

ll/NWP 22 (A))." The two commanders noted that
although the South Vietnamese Armed Forces were
to request such raids, ''in fact ComUSMACV will
stimulate RVNAF requests for operations desired by
the U.S.''3

Although General Westmoreland was enthusiastic
about the prospects of amphibious raids, he wanted
them to be conducted solely by South Vietnamese

forces.4Itsoon became obvious that the South

Vietnamese Armed Forces were so overextended that
they could not carry out these operations alone. On 9

June, General Westmoreland informed Admiral
Sharp that U.S. amphibious operations would be
welcome and inquired about the status of the 14

March agreement. The CinCPac commander replied
that the agreement was still under review, but that

U.S.raidscould be conducted. By mid-June,

General Krulak radioed General Walt:

We shouldget the SLF reconstitutedas soonas

possible, because it is plain that CinCPac and MACV are

getting serious about amphibious raidsasa part of

MARKET TIME. I am asking CinCPacFleet to press 7th
Fleet to get the SLF shipping to Okinawa in advance of the
currently 1 July date.6

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