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97 CHAPTER FOUR Growing Dependency There was a palpable sense of excitement in Advisory Team 42’s monthly report for April 1969. Acting PSA Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Green wrote: “The ‘One War’ concept is in full swing. Security is now provided full time to hamlets that have been under VC control for years. Hamlet Chiefs have not only visited, but are now living in hamlets where they have not dared, in the past, to make their presence known. Refugees are asking when they can return to their ancestral homes. The overall attitude is that of confidence.”1 The most immediate practical benefit of Operation Washington Green had been the release of twelve RF companies and fifteen PF platoons that had been guarding roads and bridges, but the psychological impact of the Sky Soldiers’ commitment in direct support of pacification was even more important. The mere presence of US troops training and conducting joint operations with the Territorial Forces on a daily basis had a galvanizing effect that boosted their morale and emboldened them to become more aggressive . The province chief, Lieutenant Colonel Tho, was so encouraged that he added the partial resettlement of nine abandoned villages to Binh Dinh’s already ambitious 1969 pacification campaign. Colonel Green was less enthusiastic because he feared this move could lead to overextension, but if the province was going to “secure” 90 percent of its population and resettle its unusually large refugee population by year’s end, there was no choice but to push pacification at a breakneck pace. The original Washington Green plan included just eleven hamlets in phase I (15 April–30 June) and thirty-one in phase II (1 July–31 December), but the number of phase I hamlets was soon expanded to twenty-three, and in Hoai Nhon the starting date for phase II was advanced to 1 June.2 This rapid expansion was made possible by light opposition. Although the enemy’s Z Offensive continued into the last week of April, no high point occurred during the month, enemy-initiated incidents fell sharply, and sapper attacks were conspicuously absent. The Vietcong were able to commandeer little of the April rice harvest, leading to severe food shortages; according to captured documents, the enemy had to release some Vietnamese prisoners that could no longer be fed. Binh Dinh nonetheless experienced more enemy activity in April than any other province in II Corps. Its 193 enemy-initiated 1 1 506 514 514 LZ ENGLISH FSB PONY LZ HAMMOND Lake Dam Tra O Dam Nuoc Ngot SOUTH CHINA SEA Lai Gi a n g Sie m G i a n g QUANG NGAI BINH DINH Sa Huynh T am Quan DAMS Hoai Tan Hoai An Phu My Phu Cat Bong Son Hawk’s Nest AN LAO VALLEY BONG SON PLAINS HON GO MOUNTAINS CAY GIEP MOUNTAINS 'THE CRESCENT' NUI MIEU MOUNTAINS SUOI CA VALLEY KIM SON VALLEY April to June 1969 AREA OF OPERATIONS LEE 0 200 400 600 800 and Abov e 5 0 Kilometers Miles 5 0 An Lao PHU CUU PASS ‘AO NORTH’ LZ UPLIFT Lake LZ CR AL YST PHU MY PLAIN ‘AO SOUTH’ VINH THANH VALLEY Thien Chanh Qui Thuan My Duc Dinh Tri Dinh Cong 3A Bridge to Nowhere ELEVATION IN METERS Area of Operations Lee (April–June 1969). Source: George L. MacGarrigle, Combat Operations: Taking the Offensive, October 1966 to October 1977 (The United States Army in Vietnam Series) (Washington, DC: US Army Center of Military History, 1998), CMH Pub 94-1, Map 32, p. 317. [Adapted and reprinted by permission of the US Army Center of Military History] Growing Dependency 99 incidents were more than three times the next highest tally, and it also topped the list of enemy incidents in six of the seven categories tracked. Still, the 39 ground attacks and 13 attacks-by-fire accounted for just over a quarter of the total. The rest fell overwhelmingly into the “sniping and ambush” and “mines and booby traps” categories, highlighting the enemy’s nonconfrontational tactics.3 This decline in enemy activity represented a lull between the Communists ’ winter-spring campaign and their upcoming summer campaign. During the intermission, the Vietcong and NVA made good their losses and were indoctrinated in a new strategy that COSVN had recently disseminated in Directives 81 and 88. Its most striking feature was that it abandoned the objective of decisive victory, which had been an article of faith in the Communist camp since 1967. Resolution 8 had anticipated...


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