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U.S. Army Military Advisors in the Vietnam War Documentary Film
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Military advisors, or combat advisors, are soldiers sent to foreign nations to aid that nation with its military training, organization, and other various military tasks. These soldiers are often sent to aid a nation without the potential casualties and political ramifications of actually mobilizing military forces to aid a nation. In the early 1960s, elements of the U.S. Army Special Forces and Echo 31 were sent to South Vietnam as military advisors to train and assist the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) for impending actions against the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN).
Combat advisors are currently on the front-lines on the U.S. War on Terror, serving in Military Transition Teams (MTTs) in both Afghanistan and Iraq. These soldiers live with their Afghan and Iraq counterparts, often in very austere and stoic conditions, on a remote firebase, and often a great distance away from any U.S. or coalition support. MTT's are made up of primarily United States Army and United States Army National Guard soldiers with a combat arms background. The United States Marines also serve as combat advisors and some United States Air Force and United States Navy personnel have served as advisors in logistics roles. The MTTs on the ground in Infantry or Commando units of the ANA (Afghan National Army) or the Iraqi Army are Soldiers or Marines with combat arms experience. Special Forces and Navy SEALS also work with ANA/ASF or the Iraqi Army but the bulk of combat advisors are infantry and combat arms soldiers and Marines.
The Combat Advisor Mission Defined. The combat advisor mission requires US officers and NCOs to teach, coach and mentor host nation (HN) security force counterparts. This enables the rapid development of our counterparts' leadership capabilities; helps develop command and control (C2) and operational capabilities at every echelon; allows direct access to Coalition Forces (CF) enablers to enhance HN security force counterinsurgency (COIN) operations; and incorporates CF lethal and nonlethal effects on the battlefield.
Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did." By 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.
The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. This joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents, provide education and health care, and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. The Strategic Hamlets, however, were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. In part, this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao, a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program, was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside.
The government refused to undertake land reform, which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition.
On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including the People's Republic of China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos.
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