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Khe Sanh

US Military History Throughout The Years

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

  • End Notes: Tuesday, January 17, 1961 – President Dwight D Eisenhower addresses the nation in his farewell address as his presidency ended. In the speech he warned the nation against the growing military-industrial complex, and that the nation should guard itself against it. He would also show his concern with the dangers of massive government spending, the domination of science in the government. His presidency was marked by a large American economic expansion, even as the Cold War gained traction, he was the only American general to be elected to office in the 20th century and he was also the oldest president in a century at the time. He would hand off the presidency to the youngest elected president, John F Kennedy.
  • Khe Sanh: Sunday, January 21, 1968 – Two Regiments of US Marines supported by a mix of US Army troops, US Airforce personel and South Vietnamese troops are surrounded at the Khe Sanh Combat Base. This marked the start of a multi month siege against the small American base by two to three North Vietnamese division sized units. American intel recognized the enemy were surrounding the combat base and quickly reinforced it before the main battle began. When the siege began the base and its surrounding supporting outposts would be subjected to constant artillery, mortar and rocket fire, along with several infantry assaults. The USAF would launch Operation Niagara to support the isolated Americans, dropping over 100,000 tons of bombs and the artillery at the combat base would fire over 158,000 rounds in defense. By March the USMC would launch an overland relief expedition towards the base, Operation Pegasus, that would eventually reach the base. By June the base was being evacuated and the remaining forces there would begin destroying it, to prevent the enemy from using it. By July the base was destroyed and empty, with all local US troops gone from the area. In total 274 Americans would die during the siege with 2,500 being wounded. The official estimated count of enemy dead is 10,000-15,000, however only 1,602 bodies were ever found and the secret MACV estimate was only around 5,500 enemy KIA.

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