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Operation Pegasus & Leaving Vietnam

  • 29 MAR 1973 – With the signing of the Paris Peace Accords months before in January, the last American troops leave Vietnam. American involvement in Vietnam began in the years after WW2, aiding the French as they sought to remain in power within the country. It was in 1965 that the first ground troops, 3,500 Marines, were sent over. Over the next 8 years of conflict the US would spend around $168 billion, that’s $1 trillion when adjusted for current inflation. 58,318 American troops would die during the war, with around 303,000 would be injured as well. Americas main ally during the war, South Korea, would lose 5,099 dead and over 10,000 would be injured. US embassy and support staff would remain in Saigon till 30 APR 1975, when the city finally fell.
  • 29 MAR 2012 – 50 years after the last American troops left Vietnam, President Obama signs a presidential proclamation to mark the day as Vietnam Veterans Day.
  • 1 APR 1884 – On this day Florence Blanchfield is born in West Virginia. During WW1 she would join the US Army Nurse Corps and serve in France from 1917 to 1919. She would leave the service after returning to America but be called back to duty in 1935. She served as superintendent for the Nurse Corps during WW2 and be instrumental in nurses gaining actual rank while in service and in 1944 granted temporary full commissioned status. In 1947 that status was updated, and she would become the first woman in the US Army to receive a commission in the active Army as a Colonel.
  • 1 APR 1968 – Operation Pegasus is launched to relieve the Khe Sanh combat base in central Vietnam. Khe Sanh had been under siege since January, with enemy Vietnamese troops holding the hill sides around the base and subjecting it to constant attack. The operation would quickly move overland and by helicopter to the Khe Sanh area and by 15 April the operation would come to an end. US and allied casualties over the course of the siege and relief operation would amount to over 2,800 killed and 9,000 wounded, with the majority happening before Operation Pegasus. With massive arial support and bombings it is estimated that the enemy lost between 10,000 to 15,000 men over the course of the months long siege and subsequent relief operation. The result of the battle is contested, with both American and Vietnam claiming victory. The US claims that since the base was never truly cut off from support and relief it did not lose, while the Vietnamese claim they won since soon after US troops fully abandoned the area.
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