Regardless, U.S. and South Vietnamese troops successfully fought off the attacks during the Tet Offensive, and the communist forces took heavy losses, but the ferocity of the assault shook public confidence in Westmoreland's previous assurances about the state of the war. In 1962, Westmoreland was admitted as an honorary member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. [2] His motive for entering West Point was "to see the world". He also made use of the United States' edge in artillery and air power, both in tactical confrontations and in relentless strategic bombing of North Vietnam. Westmoreland was sent to Vietnam in 1963. He adopted a strategy of attrition against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. My conclusion is that the Tet Offensive was a turning point in the war. Who cared?" When I took command in Vietnam, I gave great emphasis to food and medical care - and to the mail. A Conference Final Declaration, issued by the British chairman of the conference, provided that a general election be held by July 1956 to create a unified Vietnamese state. I was an adequate student. He wanted the North Vietnamese to leave their brothers in the South alone. It became very clear that Hanoi was in effect strategically running the Viet Cong operation. In the end, we lost IndoChina to the communists. This was a type of war that we'd had no experience with before. As those theories gained speed, a quote attributed to renowned North Vietnamese General Giap, the architect of the Tet Offensive, seemed to confirm theories that the ant-war effort had indeed contributed to the U.S.’s loss. In 1970, as Chief of Staff, in response to the My Lai Massacre by United States Army forces (and subsequent cover up by the Army chain of command), he commissioned an army investigation that compiled a comprehensive and seminal study of leadership within the army during the Vietnam War demonstrating a severe erosion of adherence to the army's officer code of "Duty, Honor, Country". [45], William Westmoreland was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1970 in the area of Government. Westmoreland's anger was caused by the implication of the broadcast that his intent was fraudulent and that he ordered others to lie. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. [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 military lead turbulent lives, but they are people like everybody else. William Childs Westmoreland (March 26, 1914 – 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.He adopted a strategy of attrition against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army.He later served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. This also failed to weaken North Vietnam's will to fight, and the Government of South Vietnam—a factor largely out of Westmoreland's control—never succeeded in establishing enough legitimacy to quell defections to the Viet Cong. 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. The Tet Offensive showed that Johnson and Westmoreland were lying about having “reached an important point where the end begins to come into view,” as Westmoreland … BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. 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. After spending a year at The Citadel in 1932,[1] he was appointed to attend the United States Military Academy on the nomination of Senator James F. Byrnes, a family friend. During his four-year spell as commander in Vietnam (1964-68), Westmoreland was a textbook version of how a general should look: ramrod straight, well over 6ft … Vo Nguyen Giap was a legendary Vietnamese general credited with defeating French forces — and French colonial rule — in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Television is an instrument which can paralyze this country. Tet outmaneuvered all of Westmoreland's pronouncements on "positive indicators" in the minds of the American public. This request would have put more than 700,000 American soldiers in Vietnam (Schmitz, 232). (1971). Just the names. Westmoreland's strategy was ultimately politically unsuccessful. Militarily, we succeeded in Vietnam. 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. 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. Retired Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded U.S. forces during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968 and advocated a strong military buildup at … Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. In 1994, Vietnam veteran Samuel Zaffiri published a biography, Westmoreland: A Biography of General William C. Westmoreland. 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. The crucial Tet offensive is recounted in Don Oberdorfer's Tet! [51], 25th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Headquarters Morning Report, 13 Oct 1944, Division Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division. President Johnson was critical of Westmoreland's defused corporate style, considering him overattentive to what government officials wanted to hear. Instead, he focused on "positive indicators", which ultimately turned worthless when the Tet Offensive occurred, since all his pronouncements of "positive indicators" did not hint at the possibility of such a last-gasp dramatic event. [16][17][18], In public at least, he continued to be sanguine about the progress being made throughout his time in Vietnam, though supportive journalist James Reston thought Westmoreland's characterizing of the conflict as attrition warfare presented his generalship in a misleading light. [14], The Gulf of Tonkin incident of 2 August 1964 led to a dramatic increase in direct American participation in the war, with nearly 200,000 troops deployed by the end of the year. 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. [43], The General William C. Westmoreland Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, is named in his honor. [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. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind. In the final analysis, Giap won the war despite losing many battles, and as long as the army survived to fight another day, the idea of Vietnam lived in the hearts of the people who would support it, and that is the essence of "revolutionary war". [citation needed]. He then commanded the 101st Airborne Division from 1958 to 1960. [44], In 1996, the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution authorized the General William C. Westmoreland award. Tet Offensive, attacks staged by North Vietnamese forces beginning in the early hours of January 31, 1968, during the Vietnam War. Nine months afterward, when the My Lai Massacre reports started to break, Westmoreland resisted pressure from the incoming Nixon administration for a cover-up,[citation needed] and pressed for a full and impartial investigation by Lieutenant General William R. Peers. My wife was my greatest asset. I was participating in my own lynching, but the problem was I didn't know what I was being lynched for. From 1947 to 1950, he served as chief of staff for the 82nd Airborne Division. A viral email from 2004, titled “Blood on Kerry’s Hands,” claims that Giap confirmed that theory. At the age of 15, William became an Eagle Scout at Troop 1 Boy Scouts, and was recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo from the Boy Scouts of America as a young adult. “[The Tet Offensive] failed because we underestimated our enemies and overestimated ourselves. The military don't start wars. [26] Although the communists were severely depleted by the heavy fighting at Khe Sanh when their conventional assaults were battered by American firepower, as well as tens of thousands of deaths in the Tet Offensive, American political opinion and the panic engendered by the communist surprise sapped U.S. support for the war, even though the events of early 1968 put the United States and South Vietnam into a much stronger military position. 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