The Enclave

Some U.S. Military Efforts in Ly Tin District, Quang Tin Province, 1966-1968

by Francis James West

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A personal account of some American tactical operations in central Vietnam from June 1966 through June 1968, which draws implications about the effectiveness of enclave deployment. In spring 1966, Ly Tin district, which harbors Chulai airbase, had a complement of 3200 U.S. Marines and 800 Regional Force and Popular Force (PF) troops. Their patrols rarely encountered the enemy. Infrequent fire fights were fleeting and inconclusive; sporadic VC attacks wrought minor damage. In fall 1967, most of the U.S. troops departed, leaving Ly Tin to the PFs. VC activity increased in the district. Although the large number of American troops deters concentration of enemy units and denies them consistent control over the villages, enclave deployment only peripherally affects the local balance of power. VC psychological influence over the people persists. American strategy should provide for GVN improvement in area security as well as for VC attrition.

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