Sarge’s Short History



“In 1946 France accorded recognition to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a free state within the Indochinese Federation and French Union, and France agreed to withdraw its troops gradually from Vietnam. Fighting broke out, however. The 8-year conflict that followed spread to neighboring Cambodia and Laos.” [Source: Kosut, CAMBODIA & THE VIETNAM WAR, p. 7.]   In April of 1954 President Eisnhower stated that “Indochina is the first in a row of domineos”…. and the ‘Domino Theory’ of Communist expansion in South-East Asia is born.




21 JUL 1954 The Geneva Accords are signed and the ‘Indochina War’ between France and the Vietnamese ends. [Now refered to as ‘the First Indochina War.’ The French colony of Indochina consisted of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.] The land of Viet-Nam is divided into two  supposedly TEMPORARY  political entities;  the “countries” of North and South Vietnam.

*************************************** 8 SEP 1954 The South-East Asia Treaty Organization is created by the United States and her allies (South Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, Tailand, etc.). This act in effect gives legitimacy to the idea that there are TWO Viet-Nams.

***************************************1955 ***************************************

12 FEB 1955 United States military ‘Advisors’ take over the training of th South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) from the French The new political entity in the south is called ‘the Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

*************************************** 1957 ***************************************

20 MAY 1957 South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem visits Schofield Barracks, HI and reviews the troops with Gen. Edwin J. Messinger, 25th Division commanding general.

*************************************** 1959 ***************************************

With the growth of a Communist movement in South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese (“Commies”) establish GROUP 559 ñ a NVN military organization tasked to develop a supply line to support Communists in SVN. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Group 559 initially intended this supply route to run throug Vietnam proper; but, they were soon forced by the ARVNs and their American military advisors , the “Green Berets, to move the supply “trail” to the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia. This new supply route became the famous HO CHI MINH TRAIL.

*************************************** 1960 ***************************************

On 20 December, the North Vietnamese government [called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam] announces that a “liberation” organization has been formed in South Vietnam named the NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (NLF). The Fronts’ army, the PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY (PLA), is more commonly known as the VIET CONG (VC).

SOOO000ooo…… The BAD GUYS: NVN…… North Vietnam DRVN…. Democratic Republic of Vietnam NVA……. North Vietnamese Army [U.S. Army ………….. term for PAVN] PAVN….. People’s Army of Vietnam NLF…….. National Liberation Front PLA ……. Peoples Liberation Army

The GOOD GUYS: SVN…….. South Vietnam RVN…….. Republic of Vietnam ARVN…… Army of the Republic of Vietnam USA…….. United States of America

***************************************1961 ***************************************

During the Cold War the 2/12th was designated the 2nd Battle Group, 12th Infantry Regiment (2d BG, 12th INF) and was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division. For more information about this period in the regiments history, go to

*************************************** 1963 ***************************************

Thich Quang Duc, the Buddahist monk, sets himself on fire with gasoline on a Saigon street. He was protesting the repressive SVN government.

27 AUG 63 Cambodia strengthens ties with (Communist) China and severs diplomatic relations with South Vietnam. 


2 OCT 63 President John F. Kennedy desides to withdraw 1,000 of the 17,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen in Viet Nam. Further discussions in October indicate that most of the 17,000 should be out of Vietnam by 1965.

[SOURCE: Boston Review –  EXIT STRATEGY by James K. Galbraith]


NOV 63 Kennedy killed.

*************************************** 1964 ***************************************

Real (and imagined) attacks on U.S. Navy destroyers off the North Vietnamese coast prompt the government of the United States to pass the GULF OF TONKIN RESOLUTION allowing President Lyndon Baines Johnson [LBJ] to use force. Bombing of NVN and a U.S. troop buildup in SVN soon follow.


20 OCT 64 A U.S. Air Force F-101 bombed a Cambodian “self-defense unit” in the village of Anlong Kres. This is the first (known) American bombing of Cambodia. 

*************************************** 1965 ***************************************

LBJ bombs the shit out of North Vietnam, increases the draft of young Americans (so he can send in more troops), and, by the end of the year, halts the bombing and sends out ‘peace feelers’ to the North.


2 NOV 65 Quaker Norman R. Morrison burns himself to death at the Pentagon in protest of the coming war. He was a pacifist and prayed for wisdom as to what to do.

[Source: King, Sallie B. “They Who Burned Themselves for Peasce: Quaker and Buddhist Self-Immolators during the Vietnam War,” Buddhist-Christian Studies Annual 2000 p.27] ***************************************

DEC 65 The U.S. Army command authorizes troops to cross into Cambodia, presumably in “hot pursuit”, under certain circumstances.


24 MAR 65 The first campus ‘TeachñIn’ takes place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

[SARGE’S STORY: The Sarge was there — no, I wasn’t protesting. The war in Vietnam was heating up and I wanted to learn more about it. I had heard that there was going to be a meeting about Viet-Nam on campus at Angell Hall. I got there late, but just in time for a documetary film about North Vietnam. When the movie showed a U.S. jet being shot down in flames and the student crowd cheered. I knew I was in the wrong place and I didn’t belong. These people were “campus Commies.” I split. – b.h.


17 APR 65 First anti-war march in Washington, DC. Entertainment by Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and Judy Collins.


3 MAY 65 Cambodia ends diplomatic relations with the U.S..


18 JUN 65 The Stategic Air Command (SAC) uses B-52 bombers for the first time in Vietnam, bombing near Saigon.


15 OCT 65 Twelve University of Michigan students hold a “sit-in” at the Ann Arbor Draft Board Office. They were arrest- ed and sentensed to 15 days in jail.


DEC 65 Bill Comeau (Co. A 1966-67) has this to say about his experiences in 1965: “The guys that I was drafted with had joined on/or after December 13th, 1965 ñ as the old story goes; ‘During the war I fought and fought… and they STILL drafted me!’ 120 men from Fort Dix were bussed to Philadelphia International Airport to catch a red-eye United Airlines Charter (DC-8) laving for Seattle-Tacoma Airport at midnight. While we were waiting in the terminal for our flight the guys were behaving pretty much as juveniles of 19 are expected to act. Then, like a tide cencompassing the guys, a quiet blanketed the group. I looked to my left and viewed something that stopped us cold in our tracks. A sergeant was wheeling a young Spec4 down the isle in a wheelchair. He had a leg missing. It was a vey sobering moment in our young lives.”


20 DEC 65 Authority to cross into Cambodia is given U.S. commanders – “if the U.S. commanders believed that failure to do so would jeopardize the lives of their troops.” “The U.S. commanders also were given permission to order air strikes and artillery barrages against any North Vietnamese or Viet Cong troops in Cambodia.” [SOURCE: Kosut, CAMBODIA & THE VIETNAM WAR p.33]