It started in 1954(the same year the Algerian War for Independence from France began) for the U.S. and the Free World Forces, the war ended in 1973 as specified by the Paris Peace Accords ( "Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam"). U.S. combat troops left Vietnam by March 29, 1973. The fighting continued between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese until Saigon fell on April 29, 1975.
The North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam and made the entire country communist governed. The Vietnamese had been fighting for a lot longer than before the United States stepped in to help.
1. If one could think about direct army involvement then it would be Oct. 27, 1932 US. establishes the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina (MAAG) in Saigon to aid the French military (the French had been fighting communist rebels in Vietnam, their pre-WWII colony, since 1945ad).
2. If one could think about direct combat engagement then it would be November 1, 1955 -- The US. re designates MACG, Indochina, as MACG, Vietnam to specify its new direct combat advisory role with the North Vietnamese Army. The US. essentially took over the advisory role from the French, who were leaving Vietnam after their defeat at Diem Bi en Po in 1954. The Department of Defense views this date as the latest qualifying date for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In fact this allows US military personnel to use live weapon in Vietnam aka 'to win'!
3. March 1959 -- Ho Cha 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 communist perspective, the "Vietnam War" against the US. has now officially started.
4. December 11, 1961 -- US. aircraft carrier "Core" arrives in Saigon with 65 helicopters and 4000 air and ground crewmen assigned to operate them for the North Vietnamese Army. Also, US. pilots start to train & fly support missions with the North Vietnamese Air Force. This really marks the first larger scale participation of US. military "advisers.
5. August 7, 1964 -- In response to the incidents involving US naval vessels USS. Maddox and the USS. Turner Joy, the US. Congress overwhelmingly passes the "Gulf of Ton-kin Resolution," allowing the President "to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force" to prevent further attacks against US. forces. Many people view this as the "official" start of the war, although there was never a declaration of war.
6. March 8, 1965 -- The first US. combat troops arrive in Vietnam, as 3500 Marines land at China Beach to defend the American air base at Da Nang. They join 23,000 American military advisers already in Vietnam. The arrival of combat troops is considered by some the start of the war, although American military advisers have been in Vietnam for over 10 years.
Thunder Road was the name given to QL 13 from Saigon west to Quan Loi by the 11th ACR who used the callsign Thunder.
In 1962, President Kennedy established SEAL Teams ONE and TWO from the existing UDT Teams to develop a Navy Unconventional Warfare capability. The Navy SEAL Teams were designed as the maritime counterpart to the Army Special Forces “Green Berets.” They deployed immediately to Vietnam to operate in the deltas and thousands of rivers and canals in Vietnam, and effectively disrupted the enemy’s maritime lines of communication.
The SEAL Teams’ mission was to conduct counter guerilla warfare and clandestine maritime operations. Initially, SEALs advised and trained Vietnamese forces, such as the LDNN (Vietnamese SEALs). Later in the war, SEALs conducted nighttime Direct Action missions such as ambushes and raids to capture prisoners of high intelligence value.
The SEALs were so effective that the enemy named them, “the men with the green faces.” At the war’s height, eight SEAL platoons were in Vietnam on a continuing rotational basis. The last SEAL platoon departed Vietnam in 1971, and the last SEAL advisor in 1973.
The Fall of Saigon or Liberation of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period leading to the formal reunification of Vietnam into a communist state.
North Vietnamese forces under the command of the Senior General Văn Tiến Dũng began their final attack on Saigon, which was commanded by General Nguyen Van Toan on April 29, with a heavy artillery bombardment. This bombardment at the Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport killed the last two American servicemen that died in Vietnam, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge.. By the afternoon of the next day, North Vietnamese troops had occupied the important points within the city and raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace. South Vietnam capitulated shortly after. The city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, which was the largest helicopter evacuation in history. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the population of the city.
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