South Viet Nam: The Prospect of Action

Under slate-grey skies, U.S. Marine landing craft plowed through 5-ft. waves in the Bay of Danang, came to a halt with gravelly crunches, and dropped their ramps. Out poured hundreds of U.S. marines in full battle dress, with M-14 rifles held at high port. They were the vanguard of a 3,500-man force, the first marines since Korea to hit the beaches in a combat zone, and the first U.S. combat—as opposed to "advisory" —troops to arrive in South Viet Nam.

The U.S. decision to send in combat units had been weighed for weeks....

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