The Vietnam War Essay, Research Paper
There are many different divisions of the United States military. Some of these divisions are special forces units, these are units that have special training in certain areas of combat. A few of these Special Forces are, the Navy SEALS, the Green Berets, Air Commandos and Marine Corps Snipers. These divisions had a significant impact throughout the Vietnam War, because of the special training they went through. These men were a vital part of the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.
The Green Berets were the first of the United States Military Special Forces to be sent into Vietnam. In 1953, the Green Berets were started by a lieutenant in the Army, but they were not officially recognized. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy visited Fort Bragg and finally made the Green Berets an official organization. He felt that since they were going in on special missions then they should be set apart from the normal soldiers of the United States Army. He felt he needed to create this group because the free world faced, another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins-war by guerilla, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him… (Young 76). When Kennedy realized that the Vietnamese were fighting in such a manner, he decided to form a group of Special Forces that would learn these fighting tactics and counter the efforts of the Vietnamese. Kennedy wanted the army to restructure their forces to meet the so-called challenge that the Vietnamese presented them with. He authorized a large increase in the Special Forces unit of the Military, and when this occurred the United States Green Berets were formed.
The United States Green Berets were trained in the area of counterinsurgency measures. They were taught about hand-to-hand combat, and guerilla tactics. The North Vietnamese were using insurgent tactics, which meant that the were going into villages and hiding out in the jungle, then attacking the United States troops and the villagers in the South. The Green Berets were trained in counterinsurgency and guerilla warfare, they would use this training against the North Vietnamese in an attempt to help the villagers in the South and kill off the soldiers from the North. The Green Berets specialized in these tactics and were sent into Vietnam to train South Vietnamese troops against the communists.
Kennedy wanted the missions that the Green Berets were sent on to be covert. He felt that the less people knew the better the chances of success. The Green Berets were responsible for training the South Vietnamese soldiers in the art of Counterinsurgency. They also were trying to turn the civilians into an anti-communist threat. They were successful in the fact that they gained the allegiance of the South Vietnamese almost everywhere they went. They trained the troops as well as they possibly could, but the troops in South Vietnam were inadequately supplied. Some of the training missions went well, but most of the others didn t work. The Green Berets were in Vietnam for fourteen years. They left on March 5, 1971, when they left they turned their camps over to the people of South Vietnam and returned home to Fort Bragg.
The United States Navy SEALS were created in 1943, but as a unit called the Naval Combat Demolition Units. These units were made up of hand picked sailors who were in peak physical condition, showed outstanding courage and demonstrated unique resourcefulness. Then in 1962, President Kennedy ordered the United States military to begin the formation and training of units specialized in unconventional warfare. This is when the Navy SEALS came into creation.
The United States Navy SEALS teams went through some of the toughest military training in the world. Their training was conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California. US Navy SEALS had to become highly trained in open and closed-circuit diving, submarine operations, swimmer delivery vehicles, demolitions, hand-to-hand combat, jungle, winter and desert warfare, parachute and free-fall jumping, small boat operations, close-quarter combat tactics, special weapons, foreign languages, anti-terrorist operations, electronic surveillance, communications and intelligence-gathering operations (www.pe.net/ xsealtm). The Navy SEALS also trained in counter-guerilla warfare, long distance reconnaissance, supply interdiction and raids. They were sent into Vietnam to conduct paramilitary operations, including surveillance. These men trained long and hard to become skilled in these areas. They went through rigorous workouts and had to perform near impossible tasks. The men that trained to become Navy SEALS, did this for a long period of time, and became one of the elite units in the United States Military. These men conducted numerous types of patrols on rivers, canals, streams, lakes, and any other body of water they thought the Viet Cong might use to transport weapons and men.
The United States Navy SEALS had some help in Vietnam. They were supported by Special Boat Units, and worked along side members of the Underwater Demolition Team. The Navy SEALS and the Underwater Demolition Team used their forces to conduct direct action raids and successfully interrupt the movement of troops and weapons by the Viet Cong. They also teamed up with Seawolf Helicopter Pilots, and the Navy Riverine Forces to form the United States Navy Black Berets. These men patrolled the rivers and canals with the use of Swift Boats. These boat were a huge help in trying to stop the flow of troops and artillery into South Vietnam. Although these Swift Boats helped to stop the flow of weapons and men, the men on these boats were at risk of being shot at any given moment. This happened because the men were out in the open in the middle of the rivers and could be fired upon by Viet Cong troops hiding out in the jungles along the river banks. Even though in the end, these Swift Boats diminished the amount of weapons transported, many Navy SEALS lost their lives due to the fact that they were susceptible to Viet Cong fire.
The United States Navy SEALS played an important role in the fighting of the Vietnam War. They took on some of the most dangerous tasks, and some of the hardest missions. They did as much as they could to try and hold down the Viet Cong forces from invading and taking over the South.
The United States Army Green Berets and the United States Navy SEALS were probably the two most important special forces units in the Vietnam War, but they weren t the only two. There were several more special divisions such as, Marine Corps Snipers, Air Commandos and Tactical Fighter Squadrons.
Marine Corps Snipers were effective during the war effort in Vietnam. They helped out many troops by killing off unseen Viet Cong. The snipers would hide out in trees and abandoned buildings, and from any range they were able to pick off a Viet Cong soldier, and Vietnamese snipers given special assignments. These men were vital to the success of the land troops, because if the land troops were marching and could not see a Viet Cong up ahead, then the snipers would be able to shoot this man with extreme accuracy so that they would be unable to fire at the ground troops.
To be chosen as a Marine Corps sniper these men had to be excellent marksman. Even if they were already skilled marksman, they still had to go through other training techniques to enhance their ability to shoot from long ranges. They had to hit targets from over four hundred yards, some targets were even further away than that. The main attribute that these Marine Corps Snipers were trying to attain was precision accuracy.
The Marine Corps Snipers were an important part of the success of the ground troops. If the Snipers could hit targets from far distances as the troops were approaching the field of battle, then this would heighten the chance the ground troops could defeat the Viet Cong in the hand to hand combat. Marine Corps Snipers had a huge impact on the outcome of the battles between the United States and the Viet Cong. Without these Marine Corps Snipers these battles could have been won by the Viet Cong, and the United States could have suffered many more casualties.
Air Commandos were another huge help in the fighting of the Vietnam War. These men were trained fighter pilots that flew special missions over Vietnam. They flew such missions as defoliant missions. These missions sent the pilots out over the jungles of Vietnam in planes equipped with special chemicals. These chemicals were used to kill some of the vegetation that was covering Vietnam, which helped the visibility of ground troops and the planes that ran bombing missions. With all of this vegetation killed and cleared, it made it easier for the ground troops to make their ways through the jungles and easier to see their enemies. It made the job easier for the bombing missions because with all of this vegetation cleared away, it was easier to see the target that was being bombed. It also made a clearer path for the bomb to hit the ground. When there was triple canopy jungle covering the ground, not all of the bombs that were dropped always hit the ground. With the trees cleared it made it almost a guarantee that the bombs would hit the target. These Air Commandos helped the Rolling Thunder and the Search and Destroy missions work from time to time.
The Tactical Fighter Squadron also performed tasks that required aircrafts. Unlike the Air Commandos, these men performed tasks that required the usage of missiles and machine guns. They flew over Vietnam fighting Vietnamese fighter jets and also fired rockets into Vietnamese bases on the ground. These fighter pilots had to be skilled in evasive maneuvers so that they could escape form an enemy jet. The also needed these maneuvers so they could dodge the fire that was coming from the ground troops when they were trying to bomb the bases. The training these men went through to learn these maneuvers was strenuous. They had to be quick with their decisions because it meant life or death.
The Navy SEALS, Green Berets, Marine Corps Snipers, Air Commandos, and the Tactical Fighter Squadrons are only a few of the Special Forces Units that were used throughout the Vietnam War. They had a huge impact on the outcome of the War. They all contributed to the success of the United States Military. The Green Berets using their counter insurgency tactics, the Navy SEALS using their underwater capabilities to surprise the enemies, Snipers using pinpoint accuracy, Commandos clearing the way for bombing missions, and Fighter pilots destroying enemy jets. These men are the brave souls who worked extra hard to learn special tactics to defend our country. Without these many men the United States war effort could have been even more catastrophic that it already was.