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Page 134(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)  

USMC Photo A185708

 

At Phu Bai, 1st Lieutenant Paul R. Ek, commander of the Combined Action Company ( holding the rifle), inspects a combined squad of Vietnamese Popular Force troops and U.S. Marines.

platoon, forming what was then called a 'joint action company,' patterned along the lines of the British companies used in Malaya during the 1950s.*

The Marine Corps had established its own pacification precedents in the Caribbean and senior Marine officers, as early as February 1963, considered adapting this experience to the Vietnam situation. General Greene, then chief of staff at HQMC, met with Edward H. Forney, a retired Marine general, home on leave from his post in Saigon where he was the Public Safety Advisor with the U.S. Operations Mission. Forney, a Naval Academy graduate and a veteran of both World War II and Korea, had served two years with the 1st Marine Brigade in Haiti during the early 1930s. According to General Greene, Forney believed that:

 

 

The Marine Corps should get into the Vietnam job with both feet and that it should be a real grass roots level operation, not tied in with the MAAG; but rather an effort to be linked with the Civil Guard, the Self-Defense Corps, and the local Militia in the village and boondock level. This would be similar to the Guardia effort in Nicaragua or the Gendarmerie operation in Haiti and Santo Domingo. Forney thinks that this is the type of operation around which the common people of South Vietnam would rally; that this is the big deficiency in the

* General Walt made the following statement concerning the origins of the Combined Action Program: 'I can unequivocally state that the original suggestion was made by Captain John J. Mullen, Jr., the first plans made by Major Cullen C. Zimmerman, with the approval of the Commanding Officer of the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines (Regiment), Lieutenant Colonel William W. Taylor.' Walt, Strange War, Strange Strategy, p. 105. According to Captain Paul R. Ek, the first commanding officer of the Combined Action Company, the Province Chief of Thua Thien Province, Lieutenant Colonel Khoa 'indicated to Lieutenant Colonel Taylor that there should be only one commander for all troops, Marines and Popular Forces, in the area.' Ek MR, 10Nov72.

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