Front cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

Maps

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pp. viii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

My interests in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Vietnam War stem from my dad, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran. Although my dad has remained mostly silent about his wartime experiences, he has never shied from declaring his unwavering pride in the Marine Corps. ...

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Thus Tom Morton, a former U.S. Marine corporal in the Vietnam War, succinctly expressed how his perception of the Vietnamese people changed during his tenure in a combined action platoon (CAP). Morton, a squad of his fellow Marines, and a U.S. Navy corpsman lived in a South Vietnamese village for months, ...

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1. The Evolution of Combined Action Platoons

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pp. 13-32

The practice of embedding U.S. Marines among an indigenous population did not originate in Vietnam. The World War I–era Marine Corps first combined the military and political components of a counterinsurgency in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. ...

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2. Combined Action Platoons, Green Berets, and Mobile Advisory Teams

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pp. 33-48

On the surface, U.S. Army Special Forces A-teams and mobile advisory teams shared characteristics with CAPs. SF A-teams and MATs lived near the civilian population, interacted with villagers, instituted civic action, and trained the local indigenous military forces. ...

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3. Becoming a Combined Action Platoon Marine

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pp. 49-70

Until 1967, Marines entering CAPs did not have any formal schooling in Vietnam on the distinct military and cultural environment they would encounter in the villages. Early in the war, Marine commanders at IIIMAF and FMFPAC headquarters had become concerned about the rising number of physical altercations between American GIs and South Vietnamese civilians in I Corps. ...

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4. Life in a Combined Action Platoon

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pp. 71-104

American infantrymen roaming the countryside of South Vietnam had seen and heard the sights and sounds in the villages, but usually only in passing. Americans in the program had to realize that their assignment necessitated living with the Vietnamese and, to ensure success, adapting to their way of life. ...

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5. Popular Forces in Combined Action Platoons

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pp. 105-122

As John Nagl’s quote above suggests, the PF ultimately had to win the war themselves. The CAP Marines had to provide the conditions that would allow the local forces to win the war once the United States departed. The program’s standard operating procedure assigned the Marines to “motivate, and instill pride, patriotism and aggressiveness in the PF soldier.”1 ...

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6. The Combined Action Program and U.S. Military Strategy in Vietnam

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pp. 123-144

During the war, Westmoreland told the FMFPAC commander Victor “Brute” Krulak that fighting with CAPs “will take too long.” The quickwitted Krulak, the most vocal Marine opponent of the U.S. Army during the war, quickly responded, “Your way will take forever.”1 ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 145-152

The U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia, has produced numerous studies of the program, most of which offer fervid appraisals of CAPs in Vietnam. In 2002, Maj. Curtis L. Williamson’s study argued that the dispersal of CAPs throughout South Vietnam would likely have preserved the country’s sovereignty. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 153-156

I owe a sincere debt of gratitude to numerous people in the history department at Texas Tech University for helping me complete my doctorate degree and this book: Laura Calkins, Lynne Fallwell, Randy McBee, Justin Hart, and Patricia Pelley. Each of them offered either personal or academic support far beyond the realm of their job descriptions. ...

Appendix: Historiographical Essay

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pp. 157-160

Notes

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pp. 161-178

Bibliography

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pp. 179-196

Index

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pp. 197-208

Images

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