WHEN TIME NAMED GEN. WESTMORELANDMan of the Year
, they described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man in 1965 who, through the monsoon mud of nameless hamlets, amidst the swirling sand of seagirt enclaves, atop the jungled mountains of the Annamese Cordillera, served as the instrument of U.S. policy." Some highlights from our coverage of General Westmoreland over the years:
There are those who think that the job of U.S. commander in South Viet Nam is an impossible one. It may be, under the present rules. But there are also those who think that Westmoreland is one man who may achieve the impossible.
From Tough Man, Tough Job
May 8, 1964
President Lyndon Johnson gave the orders that on three different days last week sent American and Vietnamese warplanes smashing north of the 17th parallel at Red supply dumps, communications systems and guerrilla staging areas....To no one was this more welcome than the man directly responsible for the U.S. military effort in Viet Nam: Army General William C. Westmoreland, 50, commander of the 23,500 American servicemen in South Viet Nam and senior U.S. military adviser to South Vietnamese forces.
From "A Look Down That Long Road"
Feb. 19, 1965
As commander of all U.S. forces in South Viet Nam, General William Childs Westmoreland, 51, directed the historic buildup, drew up the battle plans, and infused the 190,000 men under him with his own idealistic view of U.S. aims and responsibilities.
From The Guardians at the Gate
Jan. 7, 1966
For William Childs Westmoreland, 53, the visit to the U.S. coincided with a new notch-up in the war: the bombing of half a dozen formerly proscribed targets in the North, including two MIG bases. The Administration, which previously had minimized each increase in the war effort, now clearly signaled its determination to put every possible pressure on Hanoi.
From Cards on the Table
May 5, 1967
All at once, too many Americans found it [the Vietnam War] too much to bear—or at least began to wonder whether it was worth it.... 'The enemy is fighting for American public opinion,' says U.S. Commander General William C. Westmoreland, 'and he is willing to pay a dear price to influence it. This is the way he expects to win the war—it is the only conceivable way he could win it.'
From Thunder from a Distant Hill
Oct. 6, 1967
The U.S. last week announced a major shift in the strategy of the Viet Nam war and named a new commander to carry it out....The new man in Viet Nam is General Creighton W. ("Abe") Abrams, 53, who will succeed General William C. West moreland, soon to return to Washington as Army Chief of Staff.
From Changing of the Guard
Apr. 19, 1968
Leaving the Army two years ago after a final four-year hitch as Chief of Staff, 'Westy' retired to his native South Carolina, where Westmoreland has been a proud and prominent name for generations. TIME Atlanta Bureau Chief James Bell, who met the general in 1965 while he was on one of his frequent chopper and Jeep tours of the Vietnamese countryside, recently visited Westmoreland in his new surroundings.
From Civilian Westmoreland
Jan. 21, 1974
The complex lawsuit has been called the final battle of the Viet Nam War, a legal struggle over key questions of culpability for America's most agonizing military defeat. Yet there is even more at stake as the case of General William Westmoreland vs. CBS News opens this week in a marble-encased Manhattan federal courtroom.
From Battle Lines Are Drawn
Oct. 15, 1984
The retired general held his head high for the 200 reporters and photographers at his press conference at Manhattan's Harley Hotel last week. Pale and tired-looking but firm of voice, he claimed victory in his $120 million libel suit against CBS.
From "It Was the Best I Could Get"
By William A. Henry III
Mar. 4, 1985
For more about Westmoreland see the TIME Archive Vietnam War Collection