He reported this. I haven't yet figured out how I was made first captain, because I was not an outstanding student. The military don't start wars. Although the decision had been made in late 1967, it was widely seen in the media as a punishment for being caught off guard by the communist assault. "[24] However, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) were able to dictate the pace of attrition to fit their own goals: by continuing to fight a guerrilla war and avoiding large-unit battles, they denied the Americans the chance to fight the kind of war they were best at, and they ensured that attrition would wear down the American public's support for the war faster than they. We set goals which we realistically could not achieve.” Tran Van Tra, writing in 1978 This also failed to weaken North Vietnam's will to fight, and the Government of South Vietnam—a factor largely out of Westmoreland's control—never succeeded in establishing enough legitimacy to quell defections to the Viet Cong. Joined 12 Oct 44. He was buried on July 23, 2005, at the West Point Cemetery, United States Military Academy. Moreover, the Battle of Ia Drang was unusual in that US troops brought a large enemy formation to battle. It is not clear if Khe Sanh was meant to be distraction for the Tet Offensive or vice versa;[22] sometimes this is called the Riddle of Khe Sanh. The military lead turbulent lives, but they are people like everybody else. Yet, that assessment in itself is key to understanding the West's failure to defeat him. [28], Westmoreland served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. We were succeeding. Politicians start wars. [27], In June 1968, Westmoreland was replaced by General Creighton Abrams, the decision being announced shortly after the Tet Offensive. When LBJ continued to insist, after Tet, that the war effort was still on track, his message was undercut by a leak of General Westmoreland's request for 206,000 more U.S. troops. Westmoreland's anger was caused by the implication of the broadcast that his intent was fraudulent and that he ordered others to lie. We were winning. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind. Westmoreland later served on a task force to improve educational standards in the state of South Carolina. Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. However, to lessen the impact of this damaging report, Westmoreland ordered that the document be kept on "close hold" across the entire Army for a period of two years and not disseminated to War College attendees. In 1970, as Chief of Staff, in response to the My Lai Massacre by United States Army forces (and subsequent cover up by the Army chain of command), he commissioned an army investigation that compiled a comprehensive and seminal study of leadership within the army during the Vietnam War demonstrating a severe erosion of adherence to the army's officer code of "Duty, Honor, Country". Westmoreland met her again in North Carolina when she was nineteen and a student at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. [2] His motive for entering West Point was "to see the world". In 1954, he completed a three-month management program at Harvard Business School. By his own admission, by early 1969, I think, he had lost, what, a half million soldiers? Militarily, we succeeded in Vietnam. [33][34] Others point out that the settlement occurred after two of Westmoreland's former intelligence officers, Major General Joseph McChristian and Colonel Gains Hawkins, testified to the accuracy of the substantive allegations of the broadcast, which were that Westmoreland ordered changes in intelligence reports on Viet Cong troop strengths for political reasons. As those theories gained speed, a quote attributed to renowned North Vietnamese General Giap, the architect of the Tet Offensive, seemed to confirm theories that the ant-war effort had indeed contributed to the U.S.’s loss. [14], The Gulf of Tonkin incident of 2 August 1964 led to a dramatic increase in direct American participation in the war, with nearly 200,000 troops deployed by the end of the year. It's the first war we've ever fought on the television screen and the first war that our country ever fought where the media had full reign. In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. ), Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam By Gregory Daddis p74, Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam, By Gregory Daddis p74, The Ia Drang Campaign 1965: A Successful Operational Campaign or Mere Tactical Failure?, Peter J. Schifferle (1994), Parameters.To Change a War: General Harold K. Johnson and the PROVN Study, LEWIS SORLEY, Westmoreland: The General who Lost Vietnam By Lewis Sorley p96, Westmoreland's War: Reassessing American Strategy in Vietnam, By Gregory Daddis p74-5, Murray Kempton, "Heart of Darkness," New York Review of Books, 24 Nov. 1988, p. 26, Superintendents of the United States Military Academy, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Viet Cong and PAVN strategy, organization and structure, National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Order of National Security Merit, Tong-Il Medal, Order of National Security Merit, Gukseon Medal, Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Army), Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Air Force), Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, First Class (Navy), Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal, First Class, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation, "William C. Westmoreland Is Dead at 91; General Led U.S. Supposedly, General Giap had written in How We Won the War that in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive of 1968, the Communist leaders in Vietnam had … A viral email from 2004, titled “Blood on Kerry’s Hands,” claims that Giap confirmed that theory. Westmoreland claimed that under his leadership, United States forces "won every battle". [39][40][41], Just hours after Westmoreland was sworn in as Army Chief of Staff on July 7, 1968, his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Van Deusen (commander of 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment), was killed when his helicopter was shot down in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The parade, attended by 200,000 Vietnam veterans and more than half a million spectators, did much to repair the rift between Vietnam veterans and the American public.[31][32]. In the second half of 1967, the United States military chief in Vietnam, General William C. Westmoreland, made three trips home brief President Lyndon Johnsonon the progress of the war. [21] The turning point of the war was the 1968 Tet Offensive, in which communist forces attacked cities and towns throughout South Vietnam. Tet outmaneuvered all of Westmoreland's pronouncements on "positive indicators" in the minds of the American public. During his four-year spell as commander in Vietnam (1964-68), Westmoreland was a textbook version of how a general should look: ramrod straight, well over 6ft … In addition, China, the Soviet Union and other communist nations recognized the North while the United States and other non-communist states recognized the South as the legitimate government. It was a difficult war against an unorthodox enemy. The infiltration by regular North Vietnam forces into the South could not be dealt with by aggressive action against the northern state because intervention by China was something the US government was concerned to avoid, but President Lyndon B. Johnson had given commitments to uphold South Vietnam against communist North Vietnam. He did not order them changed, but instead did not include the information in reporting to Washington, which in his view was not appropriate to report. Westmoreland was sent to Vietnam in 1963. Tet Offensive, attacks staged by North Vietnamese forces beginning in the early hours of January 31, 1968, during the Vietnam War. In 1962, Westmoreland was admitted as an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. He was an instructor at the Army Command and General Staff College from 1950 to 1951. General Westmoreland’s forces and their South Vietnamese allies had fended off the attacks of National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese forces at the Vietnamese new year, Tet… He concluded that, after having "spoken to survivors of massacres by United States forces at Phi Phu, Trieu Ai, My Luoc and so many other hamlets, I can say with certainty that Westmoreland's assessment was false". He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. Your continued strong support is vital to the success of our mission. [25], Westmoreland repeatedly rebuffed or suppressed attempts by John Paul Vann and Lew Walt to shift to a "pacification" strategy. The most important constraint was staying on the strategic defensive out of fear of Chinese intervention, but at the same time President Lyndon B. Johnson had made it clear that there was a higher commitment to defending Vietnam. Many of the battles in Vietnam were technically United States victories, with the United States Army in control of the field afterward; holding territory gained this way proved difficult, however. Turse said that many of the Vietnamese killed were actually innocent civilians, and the Vietnamese casualties were not just caused by military cross-fire but were a direct result of the U.S. policy and tactics, for example the policy "kill everything that moves" which enabled the U.S. soldiers to shoot civilians for "suspicious behavior". The crucial Tet offensive is recounted in Don Oberdorfer's Tet! After returning to the United States, Westmoreland was deputy assistant chief of staff, G–1, for manpower control on the Army staff from 1953 to 1955. S. He later served as U. He then completed the Army War College as a student in 1951, and stayed as an instructor from 1951 to 1952. [45], William Westmoreland was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1970 in the area of Government. However, the government wished to win at low cost, and policymakers received McNamara's interpretation indicating huge American casualties in prospect, prompting a reassessment of what could be achieved. We won every engagement we were involved in out there. "Of course, he [Giap] was a formidable adversary", Westmoreland told correspondent W. Thomas Smith Jr. "Let me also say that Giap was trained in small-unit, guerrilla tactics, but he persisted in waging a big-unit war with terrible losses to his own men. That’s why LBJ called General William Westmoreland home in November 1967. However, as time went on, the strengthening of communist combat forces in the South led to regular requests for increases in U.S. troop strength, from 16,000 when he arrived to its peak of 535,000 in 1968 when he was promoted to Army chief of staff. Following graduation from West Point in 1936, Westmoreland became an artillery officer and served in several assignments with the 18th Field Artillery at Fort Sill. We had the best food any battlefield ever had. 1900–2005) of General William Childs Westmoreland", "Papers of Gen. William Westmoreland (USCS Autumn 1999)", "Battlefield Vietnam – Dien Bien Phu, the legacy", Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies and Colonel Harry G. Summers, "Vietnam, a television history: Tet (1968) minute 3:24", "U.S. General Considered Nuclear Response in Vietnam War, Cables Show", "Vietnam Veterans In Chicago Parade Cheered By Crowds", At peace, at last after 11 years and an emotional parade, Vietnam vets finally feel welcome, Vo Nguyen Giap – 'A master of revolutionary war', "While the General's at War His Lady Does Hospital Work", "Gen. William Childs Westmoreland Papers, ca. Anytime it was advertised that I was going to be at a particular place, the radicals would be there, … It became very clear that Hanoi was in effect strategically running the Viet Cong operation. My conclusion is that the Tet Offensive was a turning point in the war. Who knew what the hell the man said? BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. On this day in 1965, Gen. William Westmoreland said that the Communist insurgency in South Vietnam could be defeated if an additional 44 battalions of U.S. combat troops were placed under his command. By the time Westmoreland became army commander in South Vietnam, the option of a Korea-type settlement with a large demilitarised zone separating north and south, favored by military and diplomatic figures, had been rejected by the US government, whose objectives were to achieve a decisive victory, and not to use vastly greater resources. Westmoreland's response, to those Americans who criticized the high casualty rate of Vietnamese civilians, was: "It does deprive the enemy of the population, doesn't it? The alternative of sustained countrywide pacification operations, which would require massive use of US manpower, was never available to Westmoreland, because it was considered politically unacceptable. The last man in the world who should have been criticized was the American soldier. He told President Lyndon B. Johnson that the Vietcong would be unable to replenish those kinds of numbers and that the end of the war was near. He then commanded the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. "He made a speech there in the rain and while he talked we watched the rain turn that hot dinner into cold Mulligan stew. In 1939, he was promoted to first lieutenant, after which he was a battery commander and battalion staff officer with the 8th Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. [citation needed]. By the end of 1967, Westmoreland reported that the rebels had lost 90,000 men. "Capture Hué," General Westmoreland answered without hesitation, explaining the city was the symbol of a unified Vietnam. Nonetheless, Westmoreland was operating within longstanding army protocols of subordinating the military to civilian policymakers. The crucial Tet Offensive was a type of war that we 'd no... 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