What Was the Role of the USMC in Vietnam?


Quick Answer

In Vietnam, the United States Marine Corps supported troops by ground and air, and provided logistical support and supplies. The Marine Corps began its time in Vietnam in an advisory capacity, but it became necessary to provide more protection for the airbase where they were located. The Marines created Combined Action Platoons made up of Marines and Vietnamese soldiers as part of their counterinsurgency effort in Vietnam.

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Full Answer

Marine aircraft were able to strike the enemyfrom above as part of their search and destroy efforts. Their missions were concentrated in the north of Vietnam against the North Vietnamese Army, as well as the south of the country against Viet Cong.

The Marine Corps famously attempted to create the McNamara line, which was tobe anarea composed of sensors that would help to detect enemy forces attempting to cross the Demilitarized Zone, orDMZ. Although unsuccessful in this attempt, the Marine Corps did manage to stop many enemy forces from crossing the DMZ. However, casualties were vast, with 3,461 Marines killed in action in 1967.

The Marines did succeed in defending several cities from North Vietnamese forces, though this was also at a great cost. The many casualties resulting contributed to the diminishing support in the U.S. for the war in Vietnam.

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