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Defend and BefriendThe U.S. Marine Corps and Combined Action Platoons in Vietnam$
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John Southard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145266

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145266.001.0001

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The Evolution of Combined Action Platoons

The Evolution of Combined Action Platoons

(p.13) Chapter One The Evolution of Combined Action Platoons
Defend and Befriend

John Southard

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter chronicles the role that counterinsurgency played in the development of U.S. Marine Corps doctrine between World War I and Vietnam. The World War I–era Marine Corps amalgamated the military and political components of counterinsurgency in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Despite the succeeding release of the Small Wars Manual, counterinsurgency doctrine fell by the wayside as the successful implantation of the Fleet Marine Force concept in World War II and the Korean War solidified the Marine Corps' steadfast dedication to amphibious assaults and conventional warfare. Thus, the Combined Action Program in Vietnam did not emerge directly from Marine Corps training and doctrine. Rather, the Marine Corps conceived the Combined Action Program in 1965 when commanders such as Lewis Walt began to realize that the conventional training of the previous decades did not fit the strategic landscape of Vietnam. Walt wanted Marines under his command closer to the indigenous population, rather than rampaging through the unpopulated jungles to annihilate the seemingly nonexistent enemy guerrilla forces.

Keywords:   Lewis Walt, Small Wars Manual, World War II, Amphibious assault, Fleet Marine Force, Korean War, Combined Action Program

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