U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Advisory and Combat Assistance Era 1954-1964

Carl | June 18, 2012 

For the United States Marine Corps, involvement in the nation’s longest war began on 2 August 1954 with the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Croizat as a liaison officer with the newly established United States Military Assistance and Advisory Group to the Republic of Vietnam.
For the next eight years, Marine activities in Vietnam consisted mainly of advisory and staff responsibilities. This began to change in mid-April 1962 when Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM-362), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Archie Clapp, deployed to South Vietnam to provide combat service support for the fledgling South Vietnamese army.
In the spring of 1964, Marine Detachment, Advisory Team One, commanded by Major Alfred M. Gray Jr., arrived to collect signals intelligence, thereby becoming the first Marine ground unit to arrive in the country.

Following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, the Marine Corps commitment to Southeast Asia expanded further. The end of 1964 brought an end to the advisory and assistance phase of the Vietnam War. A crucial turning point had been reached and 1965 brought about a major escalation in Marine combat activities in Vietnam.

Reprinted by authorization of the Marine Corps History Division.


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