However, as time went on, the strengthening of communist combat forces in the South led to regular requests for increases in U.S. troop strength, from 16,000 when he arrived to its peak of 535,000 in 1968 when he was promoted to Army chief of staff. President Johnson did not want the Vietnam War to broaden. The military lead turbulent lives, but they are people like everybody else. I was an adequate student. He did not order them changed, but instead did not include the information in reporting to Washington, which in his view was not appropriate to report. This request would have put more than 700,000 American soldiers in Vietnam (Schmitz, 232). A deposition by McChristian indicates that his organization developed improved intelligence on the number of irregular Viet Cong combatants shortly before he left Vietnam on a regularly scheduled rotation. Tet Offensive The Vietnamese people pay tribute to their ancestors on Tet, their most sacred holiday of the year. [39][40][41], Just hours after Westmoreland was sworn in as Army Chief of Staff on July 7, 1968, his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Van Deusen (commander of 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment), was killed when his helicopter was shot down in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The attacks were carried out by some 85,000 troops against five major South Vietnamese cities, dozens of military installations, and scores of … The most important constraint was staying on the strategic defensive out of fear of Chinese intervention, but at the same time President Lyndon B. Johnson had made it clear that there was a higher commitment to defending Vietnam. After the war, Westmoreland was the United States Army's Secretary of the General Staff from 1955 to 1958. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told President Lyndon B. Johnson in April that Westmoreland was "the best we have, without question". The fashion for counter-insurgency thinking also denigrated the role of conventional warfare. Post 1969 Westmoreland also made efforts to investigate the Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre a year after the event occurred. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind. [2] His motive for entering West Point was "to see the world". Your continued strong support is vital to the success of our mission. When I took command in Vietnam, I gave great emphasis to food and medical care - and to the mail. Based on later analysis of the information from all sides, it appears clear that Westmoreland could not sustain a libel suit because CBS's principal allegation was that he had caused intelligence officers to suppress facts. On this day in 1965, Gen. William Westmoreland said that the Communist insurgency in South Vietnam could be defeated if an additional 44 battalions of U.S. combat troops were placed under his command. The last man in the world who should have been criticized was the American soldier. William C. Westmoreland viewed the post-Tet situation as an opportunity for an American offensive that would further debilitate the enemy and deny any future resurgence. The documentary, shown on January 23, 1982, and prepared largely by CBS producer George Crile III, alleged that Westmoreland and others had deliberately understated Viet Cong troop strength during 1967 in order to maintain U.S. troop morale and domestic support for the war. In 1939, he was promoted to first lieutenant, after which he was a battery commander and battalion staff officer with the 8th Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Some of our policies were kind of … Guiding the army as it transitioned to an all-volunteer force, he issued many directives to try to make Army life better and more palatable for United States youth—e.g., allowing soldiers to wear sideburns and to drink beer in the mess hall. Westmoreland filed a lawsuit against CBS. Moreover, the Battle of Ia Drang was unusual in that US troops brought a large enemy formation to battle. By the end of the summer of 1973 I thought it was virtually impossible for South Vietnam to survive. Primary Duty: Chief of Staff". When you looked at specifics, this became a war of attrition. In 1994, Vietnam veteran Samuel Zaffiri published a biography, Westmoreland: A Biography of General William C. Westmoreland. In 1962, Westmoreland was admitted as an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Viet Cong and PAVN strategy, organization and structure meant Westmoreland faced a dual threat. My wife was my greatest asset. [43], The General William C. Westmoreland Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, is named in his honor. Westmoreland's response, to those Americans who criticized the high casualty rate of Vietnamese civilians, was: "It does deprive the enemy of the population, doesn't it? His war strategy was marked by heavy use of artillery and airpower and repeated attempts to engage the communists in large-unit battles, and thereby exploit the US's vastly superior firepower and technology. [7] He reached the temporary wartime rank of colonel, and on October 13, 1944, was appointed the chief of staff of the 9th Infantry Division.[8]. Mike Wallace interviewed Westmoreland for the CBS special The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception. He reported this. He adopted a strategy of attrition against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. 1900–2000 (Gifts to Manuscripts Division 2001, South Caroliniana Library)", "General William Westmoreland, Friend of ASA, Dies", "South Carolina General Assembly 109th Session, 1991–1992, Bill 918", "Laureates by Year – The Lincoln Academy of Illinois", "General William Westmoreland Uniform – UNIFORMS [REF] USA", "Biography General William Childs Westmoreland", An article on the CBS documentary controversy by LTC Evan Parrott for the Air War College, PDF copies of MG McChristian's deposition for the CBS trial, A biography on William Westmoreland at Encyclopaedia Britannica, MG McChristian's deposition concerning his participation in the documentary and clarifying his observation of the facts, Analysis of the broadcast by Professor Peter Rollins of Oklahoma State University, hosted on Vietnam Veterans website, 1981 video interview with Westmoreland about U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, Initial report on the death of Westmoreland, Obituary: General Commanded Troops in Vietnam, Gen. Westmoreland, Who Led U.S. in Vietnam, Dies, Commander of US forces in Vietnam dies aged 91, General Westmoreland's Death Wish and the War in Iraq,, United States Army personnel of World War II, United States Army personnel of the Korean War, United States Army personnel of the Vietnam War, Candidates in the 1968 United States presidential election, Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal (US Army), Recipients of the National Order of Vietnam, Recipients of the Gallantry Cross (Vietnam), Recipients of the Order of Military Merit (Korea), Recipients of the Croix de Guerre (France), People from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States Army Command and General Staff College alumni, Articles with dead external links from August 2010, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2009, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Commander, 34th Field Artillery Battalion, 9th Infantry Division; 1943–1944, Chief of Staff, 9th Infantry Division; October 13, 1944 to 1946, Commander, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division; 1946 to 1947, Chief of Staff, 82d Airborne Division; 1947 to 1950, Instructor, Army Command and General Staff College; 1950 to 1951, Instructor, Army War College; 1951 to November 1952, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team; November 1952 to 1953, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G–1, for Manpower; 1953 to 1955, Secretary of the General Staff; 1955 to 1958, Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division; 1958 to 1960, Superintendent, United States Military Academy; 1 July 1960 to 27 June 1963, Commanding General, XVIIIth Airborne Corps; July 1963 to December 1963, Deputy Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam; January 1964 to June 1964, Commander, United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam; June 1964 to June 1968, Chief of Staff, United States Army; July 3, 1968 to June 30, 1972, This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 14:04. A more minor case, but one revealing of Westmoreland’s character, stemmed from his unwillingness to level with his senior Marine subordinate at the time of the 1968 Tet Offensive. In addition, China, the Soviet Union and other communist nations recognized the North while the United States and other non-communist states recognized the South as the legitimate government. During the acrimonious trial, Mike Wallace was hospitalized for depression, and despite the legal conflict separating the two, Westmoreland and his wife sent him flowers. In a 1998 interview for George magazine, Westmoreland criticized the battlefield prowess of his direct opponent, North Vietnamese general Võ Nguyên Giáp. Politicians start wars. He then commanded the 101st Airborne Division from 1958 to 1960. There was also entrenched guerrilla subversion throughout the heavily populated coastal regions by the Viet Cong. A book reviewer stated that the book offered "a fair hearing for a man who has been alternately overlooked and maligned by history." Westmoreland made a series of public and private remarks that suggested hope and optimism about the situation in Vietnam. [44], In 1996, the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution authorized the General William C. Westmoreland award. He was an instructor at the Army Command and General Staff College from 1950 to 1951. Tet Offensive would lead many to question this foreseeable ending which Westmoreland had declared during his speech. Offensive Quotes. It's the first war we've ever fought on the television screen and the first war that our country ever fought where the media had full reign. "In evaluating the enemy strategy", he said, "it is evident to me that he believes our Achilles heel is our resolve. Anytime it was advertised that I was going to be at a particular place, the radicals would be there, … Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. Following the Tet Offensive, General William Westmoreland called for an additional 200,000 troops to help break the resolve of the Vietcong. By his own admission, by early 1969, I think, he had lost, what, a half million soldiers? By virtue of Vietnam, the U.S. held the line for 10 years and stopped the dominoes from falling. He was promoted to lieutenant general in July 1963 and was Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps from 1963 to 1964. After the war, Westmoreland completed Airborne training at the Infantry School in 1946. Westmoreland met her again in North Carolina when she was nineteen and a student at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We were winning. Growing United States casualties and the draft undermined United States support for the war, while large-scale casualties among non-combatants weakened South Vietnamese support. Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam (2011) by Lewis Sorley, p. 96. He then commanded the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease during the final years of his life. He wanted the North Vietnamese to leave their brothers in the South alone. They should have criticized me. In Westmoreland v. CBS, Westmoreland sued Wallace and CBS for libel, and a lengthy legal process began. Historian Derek Frisby also criticized Westmoreland's view during an interview with Deutsche Welle: General William Westmoreland, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War, unhesitatingly believed Giap was a butcher for relentlessly sacrificing his soldiers in unwinnable battles. However, the government wished to win at low cost, and policymakers received McNamara's interpretation indicating huge American casualties in prospect, prompting a reassessment of what could be achieved. [27], In June 1968, Westmoreland was replaced by General Creighton Abrams, the decision being announced shortly after the Tet Offensive. After returning to the United States, Westmoreland was deputy assistant chief of staff, G–1, for manpower control on the Army staff from 1953 to 1955. Westmoreland ran unsuccessfully for Governor of South Carolina as a Republican in the 1974 election. [23], Westmoreland was convinced that the Vietnamese communists could be destroyed by fighting a war of attrition that, theoretically, would render the Vietnam People's Army unable to fight. Following graduation from West Point in 1936, Westmoreland became an artillery officer and served in several assignments with the 18th Field Artillery at Fort Sill. The report, entitled Study on Military Professionalism,[29] had a profound influence on Army policies, beginning with Westmoreland's decision to end the policy that officers serving in Vietnam would be rotated into a different post after only six months. By the end of 1967, Westmoreland reported that the rebels had lost 90,000 men. Westmoreland claimed that under his leadership, United States forces "won every battle". This meeting consisted of Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, Nicholas… Despite the inconclusive outcome of the Korean War, Americans expected their wars to end with the unconditional surrender of the enemy. Now such a disregard for human life may make a formidable adversary, but it does not make a military genius. [28], Westmoreland served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. From 1947 to 1950, he served as chief of staff for the 82nd Airborne Division. In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. On February 27th, 1968 General Westmoreland requested 205,000 additional troops from the US government. [19] Westmoreland's critics say his successor, General Creighton Abrams, deliberately switched emphasis away from what Westmoreland dubbed attrition. William Westmoreland Quotes ... July 18 2005) was a United States Army General who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak (1964–68) during the Tet Offensive. [46], Westmoreland's military awards include:[47], United States Military Academy class of 1936, Retired from active service in July 1972. General William Childs Westmoreland was the US Army commander who led American forces during the early years of the Vietnam War.Having entered the service in 1932, he distinguished himself during World War II and the Korean War.Appointed to lead US forces in Vietnam in 1964, he sought to defeat the Viet Cong through the large-scale use of artillery, air power, and large-unit battles. Many of the battles in Vietnam were technically United States victories, with the United States Army in control of the field afterward; holding territory gained this way proved difficult, however. This was a type of war that we'd had no experience with before. Troops in Vietnam", "Finding Aid for Papers (ca. Regular North Vietnamese army units infiltrating across the remote border were apparently concentrating to mount an offensive and Westmoreland considered this the danger that had to be tackled immediately. Disagreements persist about the appropriateness of some of the methods of CBS's editors.[35]. "[24] However, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) were able to dictate the pace of attrition to fit their own goals: by continuing to fight a guerrilla war and avoiding large-unit battles, they denied the Americans the chance to fight the kind of war they were best at, and they ensured that attrition would wear down the American public's support for the war faster than they. In January 1964, he became deputy commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), eventually succeeding Paul D. Harkins as commander, in June. The Vietnam memorial is a masterpiece. "Of course, he [Giap] was a formidable adversary", Westmoreland told correspondent W. Thomas Smith Jr. "Let me also say that Giap was trained in small-unit, guerrilla tactics, but he persisted in waging a big-unit war with terrible losses to his own men. [citation needed], At one point in 1968, Westmoreland considered the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam in a contingency plan codenamed Fracture Jaw, which was abandoned when it became known to the White House. At the time, Westmoreland was focused on the Battle of Khe Sanh and considered the Tet Offensive to be a diversionary attack.