Hardback
July 8, 2014
9780813145266
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232
13 b&w photos, 2 maps
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July 8, 2014
9780813145273
9780813145266
English
232
13 b&w photos, 2 maps
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6.00 Inches (US)
$40.00 USD, £25.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
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July 8, 2014
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9780813145266
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232
13 b&w photos, 2 maps
9.00 Inches (US)
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Defend and Befriend

The U.S. Marine Corps and Combined Action Platoons in Vietnam

After relatively successful military interventions in Iraq in 1992 and Yugoslavia in 1998, many American strategists believed that airpower and remote technology were the future of U.S. military action. But America's most recent wars in the Middle East have reinforced the importance of counterinsurgency, with its imperative to "win hearts and minds" on the ground in foreign lands. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has studied and experimented with the combined action platoon (CAP) concept used from 1965 to 1971 by the Marine Corps in Vietnam.

Consisting of twelve Marines, a medic, and dozens of inexperienced local militiamen, the American contingent of CAPs lived in South Vietnamese villages where they provided twenty-four-hour security and daily medical support for civilians, and fostered social interaction through civic action projects, such as building schools, offices, and wells. Defend and Befriend is the first comprehensive study of the evolution of these platoons, emphasizing how and why the U.S. Marine Corps attempted to overcome the inherent military, social, and cultural obstacles on the ground in Vietnam. Basing his analysis on Marine records and numerous interviews with CAP veterans, author John Southard illustrates how thousands of soldiers tasked with counterinsurgency duties came to perceive the Vietnamese people and their mission.

This unique study counters prevailing stereotypes and provides a new perspective on the American infantryman in the Vietnam War. Illuminating the fear felt by many Americans as they served among groups of understandably suspicious civilians, Defend and Befriend offers important insights into the future development of counterinsurgency doctrine.

About the Author

John Southard is a visiting lecturer in the Department of History at Georgia State University. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Reviews

"This book adds a great deal to the significant debate about how the United States waged the war in Vietnam. Southard skillfully questions the wisdom of the war of attrition, while at the same time highlighting the challenges of trying to win the war on the local level."—Kyle Longley, author of Grunts: The American Combat Soldier in Vietnam and The Morenci Marines: A Tale of Small Town America and the Vietnam War

"The work of the Combined Action Platoons during the Vietnam War was significant, yet the participants have had little opportunity to tell their stories. Defend and Befriend provides them with a voice. Charting new waters, this book is an important contribution to the study of the war."—Mary Kathyrn Barbier, coeditor of America and the Vietnam War: Re-examining the Culture and History of a Generation

"A valuable and insightful study of the relationship and perceptions of Americans tasked with counterinsurgency and their Vietnamese counterparts. Defend and Befriend is terrific military history as well as serving as a guidebook for future counterinsurgency efforts. I learned something new from each chapter."—Larry Berman, author of Zumwalt: The Life and Times of Admiral Elmo Russell "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr."

"Southard has provided a much needed account of the Combined Action Program in Vietnam, a topic of increasing importance in a world increasingly obsessed with counterinsurgency. From strategic debates, through training, to combat, to the complex interaction between the Marines and their Popular Force counterparts, Defend and Befriend admirably covers CAP inside and out and is an important step forward in the historiography of the Vietnam War."—Andrew Wiest, author of The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam"

"John Southard brings a scholarly perspective to a Vietnam War Marine counterinsurgency program that hitherto hasbeen discussed primarily by Marine Corps historians."—VVA Books

University Press of Kentucky

9780813145266 : defend-and-befriend-southard
Hardback
232 Pages
$40.00 USD
9780813145273 : defend-and-befriend-southard
Electronic book text
232 Pages
$40.00 USD
9780813145280 : defend-and-befriend-southard
Electronic book text
232 Pages
$40.00 USD

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