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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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(p.145) Conclusion
Defend and Befriend

John Southard

University Press of Kentucky

The conclusion recapitulates the experiences of the Marines and corpsmen in CAPs, affirming the terror and unpredictability inherent in the assignment. It also asserts that Americans' experiences in CAP villages were far from uniform. While most CAP veterans describe the program as a rousing success, others accentuate numerous failures. Moreover, the social makeup of each American contingent differed from one CAP to another. While one unit may have featured Americans committed wholeheartedly to their jobs, a lack of dedication and discipline could plague a nearby CAP unit. This section also analyzes the application of the CAP concept in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, CAPs never materialized beyond a few Marine units. Unlike in the Vietnam War, CAPs in Iraq were comprised of hundreds of Marines who monitored small cities with tens of thousands of civilians. In Afghanistan, the number of Marines in CAP units is substantially higher than their predecessors in Vietnam. The application of the counterinsurgency concept is also being used on a much wider scale. Nevertheless, CAP Marines in Afghanistan are facing the same obstacles, albeit in a completely different set of social and cultural circumstances.

Keywords:   Iraq, Afghanistan, CAP veterans

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