El Salvador: Low Profile

Green Berets defend their role

By far the most controversial element in the $25 million U.S. military aid package for El Salvador is the accompanying contingent of 54 American military "trainers." They are naval technicians and helicopter pilots, assigned to teaching their Salvadoran counterparts how to use and maintain the sophisticated equipment the U.S. is providing. Just as important, they are teaching them the skills and tactics needed to fight a counterinsurgency war, combat for which the Salvadoran armed forces had never prepared.

The inevitable comparisons with U.S. advisers sent to Viet Nam have shrouded the contingent in controversy and forced it...

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