In this photo by Horst Faas, taken during December of 1964, South Vietnamese troops are in Long An province where they were defending against Viet Cong operations in the South’s Mekong Delta area. Copyright, Horst Faas/AP, all rights reserved. Image provided here as fair use for educational purposes.


Although America provided non-combat advisors to South Vietnam during the Kennedy Administration, some of those advisors were getting killed. Their families were extremely upset.

President Kennedy attempted to explain his motives for involvement in Vietnam, but not everyone agreed with the White House and Pentagon decision makers.

Meanwhile ... the war of aggression, by the North against the South, was about to worsen, dramatically. Photos from the National Archives (and other web sites) document some of the events:

  • South Vietnamese paratroopers during the initial phase of an air-ground strike against Viet Cong in Tay Ninh Province, 45 miles northwest of Saigon. (Note they are jumping from a USAF C-123 transport.)
  • An elderly Vietnamese couple is protected at a U.S. Marine Corps-sponsored refugee camp. The National Archives description states: "Hundreds of such Vietnamese families have been evacuated from Viet Cong terrorism to the center by Leathernecks of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines Regiment, 3rd Marine Division."

By late summer, 1964, the role of America's military had dramatically expanded. No longer were U.S. troops merely giving advice and providing shelter. Events in the Gulf of Tonkin provided the Johnson Administration with a reason to drastically change the course of the war.

For the next 8½ years, Americans would die in Vietnam.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Feb 17, 2016

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"THE EARLY YEARS" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2001. Jan 29, 2020.
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