African Americans in the Vietnam War
African American troops served in the military with distinction during the Vietnam War. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States’ long history of racial inequality and segregation culminated in the civil rights movement. The social and political turmoil crept through American society, including the U.S. military.
Military Nurses in the Vietnam War
Whether stationed with training units, in hospitals, on planes, or aboard ships, in the Pacific Theater or the United States, military nurses served with distinction throughout the Vietnam War caring for U.S. military personnel, Allied troops, and civilians.
Riverine Operations in the Vietnam War
With its rich, fertile soil and plentiful water, the Delta produced most of the country’s rice crop, and its 3,000-mile network of waterways afforded farmers with an efficient means to transport their produce to market. But in 1965, a group of Communist insurgents, known to U.S. troops as the Viet Cong, dominated the Mekong Delta and the adjacent Rung Sat mangrove swamp. From their concealed bases in the Delta, Viet Cong troops launched attacks against nearby allied forces and harassed water traffic moving in and out of the port at Saigon. The Delta became a stronghold for the Viet Cong, and they exploited the area as a source of food and supplies, collecting taxes from the local populace. In order to secure the Delta and restore it to Saigon’s control, the United States determined to clear out the insurgents with a series of riverine campaigns.
U.S. Servicewomen in the Vietnam War
Women in the United States military during the Vietnam War held diverse and important roles supporting the war mission. Many servicewomen stationed in the combat zone served with distinction. Women line officers, staff officers, and enlisted personnel performed a range of military occupational specialties in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
The United States Road to War in Vietnam: 1945 - 1965
"While historians know with certainty that the Duke of Wellington bested Napoleon at Waterloo on 18 June 1815, the Germans surrendered on the Western Front on 11 November 1918, and the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, they must still live with ambiguity in offering answers to many complex historical questions. The question of when the Vietnam War started for the United States falls into that category of ambiguity. It is impossible to state categorically that one date or another is the precise date on which the start of the war for the United States occurred. Put differently and emphatically: no obvious and verifiable start date exists. Probably the truest, though not the most satisfactory, statement to be made is that the process by which the United States became embroiled in the war was evolutionary and incremental." (Excerpt from a paper by Dr. John Carland, Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense titled, "When Did the Vietnam War Start for the United States.")
This three poster series outlines some of the significant political decisions and military events that incrementally committed the United States to deeper involvement in the Vietnam War.
Statistics of the Vietnam War
Did you know U.S. servicemen and women who served in Vietnam were the highest educated of all forces deployed up to that point? Who were U.S. allies who served in Vietnam? When were U.S. forces highest in theater? Find answers to these and other questions in our poster that brings some of the war's basic information to life.