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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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Combined Action Platoons, Green Berets, and Mobile Advisory Teams

Combined Action Platoons, Green Berets, and Mobile Advisory Teams

(p.33) Chapter Two Combined Action Platoons, Green Berets, and Mobile Advisory Teams
Defend and Befriend

John Southard

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter compares and contrasts CAPs with two of the U.S. Army's major counterinsurgency and pacification weapons that most resemble the Combined Action Program: the Green Berets and Mobile Advisory Teams. CAPs proved to be a viable alternative to William Westmoreland's war of attrition, but they did not represent the only American military endeavour in Vietnam dedicated to counterinsurgency. Although all three appear similar on the surface, a detailed breakdown reveals a myriad of differences. Americans in CAPs, Green Berets, and mobile advisory teams all lived in or near a target civilian population, trained the inexperienced local forces, and encountered similar military, cultural, and social obstacles. However, the overall purpose of the units, their training procedures, the military composition and ranks of the American troops involved and the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the villagers whom the Americans worked alongside were all different. The discrepancies among the three help to illustrate the Marine Corps' unmatched commitment to its counterinsurgency program for the duration of America's combat involvement in Vietnam. CAPs constituted the only major organized American force dedicated to living in, not around, the villages.

Keywords:   Mobile advisory teams, Green Berets, Combined action platoons, Pacification, Counterinsurgency, William Westmoreland

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