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CORDS: A New Pacification Program for Vietnam

The Vietnam War was one of the most challenging and complex conflicts of the Cold War era. As the conflict wore on, casualties rose and the American public became increasingly opposed to the war. With no end in sight, the U.S. government knew it would need a unique approach to win the war. For this […]

A Miracle Worker in Vietnam—Saving a Young Boy’s Life

Being a U.S. soldier and fighting for your country overseas is an incredible sacrifice. The extended time away from family, necessity to quickly adapt to new environments, and the witnessing of the tragic repercussions of war are all difficulties that soldiers encounter. While the government appreciates all of these men and women for their service, […]

Life as a Vietnam War POW

In 1966, well into the Vietnam War and three years into Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency, Charles Graham Boyd took his eighty-eighth mission into Hanoi to search and destroy anti-aircraft missiles. It was during this mission that Boyd was shot down by Vietnamese artillery and landed in the unfortunate location of an enemy rice paddy. He […]

Counterinsurgency and the Vietnam War

The United States Intelligence Community was, infamously, heavily involved in the Cold War. The tensions between the United States and the USSR dominated world affairs between 1945–1991, periodically erupting into “hot” conflicts beyond the two powers’ borders. Perhaps the most destructive of these conflicts was the Vietnam War, which extended from 1955–1975. In Vietnam, the […]

The Fall of South Vietnam and Operation Babylift

The fall of Saigon and the chaotic evacuation of the U.S. Embassy is one of the most infamous episodes in American diplomatic history. For Mary Lee Garrison, it was also part of her first job. At age 22, Garrison arrived in Saigon in June 1974 to an internal political consensus that the conflict was winding […]

“A Special Place in My Heart:” Memories of USAID in Vietnam

Images of the U.S. military in Vietnam are part of the American consciousness. But these images are only part of the story.  Often the lives and sacrifices of USAID workers are overlooked. They too made great contributions, joining with military personnel to deliver supplies to locals, promoting development in dangerous areas, and working with hamlet […]

A USAID Officer Recalls Vietnam’s Tet Offensive

It wasn’t just soldiers.  USAID officer George Laudato was at his home in Mỹ Tho in 1968 when mortars started landing.  The Tet Offensive had begun. Laudato’s vehicle was destroyed early in the fighting, and he had to make his way on foot to South Vietnam’s nearby 7th Division military headquarters.  He and other civilians […]

Reopening the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam: Conflicting Emotions

Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1995 to reopen the U.S. Embassy just after three weeks of President Bill Clinton announcing the restoration of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. “All of the Americans were emotional,” recalled pioneering State Department official Joan Spero, then serving as Clinton’s Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy […]