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their assignments, but before departing for Vietnam, many advisors received schooling in military assistance operations. This normally included a five-month course of instruction in the French language, a requirement which more and more Marine advisors were beginning to question as a result of the Vietnamese desire to converse in their own language rather than French. Upon arrival in Saigon, the Marines were given two days of orientation briefings at MACV headquarters before assuming their jobs in the Marine Advisory Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Brown continued to serve as the Senior Marine Advisor and headed the new advisory division throughout the summer of 1962. In October he was relieved by Lieutenant Colonel Clarence G. Moody, Jr., a veteran who held the Navy Cross for heroism as a company commander during the Korean War. Having served with the British Royal Marines following Korea, Moody was somewhat familiar with the problems involved in dealing with foreign military services.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Clarence G. Moody, Jr., USMC, Senior Marine Advisor. (USMC Photo A412981').

Encouraged by both Brown and Moody, the U.S. Marine advisors participated in every combat operation undertaken by the VNMC during 1962. Prior to planned operations they helped their Vietnamese counterparts coordinate the more sophisticated means of support which became available as the American military build-up took hold. During planning phases, for example, they assisted with the development of detailed orders and helped plan for employing artillery fire and air support. If the impending operation was to be amphibious in nature, the Marine officers coordinated with the U.S. Navy advisors assigned to the supporting Vietnamese Navy units, thereby insuring that planning for embarkation had been accomplished. On occasion the advisors were required to coordinate helicopter support for the VNMC units-a task sometimes complicated by the Vietnamese Marines' lack of experience in heliborne operations. Unfortunately, the almost constant combat assignments being drawn by the handful of U.S. and VNAF helicopter units available in Vietnam made training in such operations impossible. Even more difficult were the advisor's responsibilities after their units deployed to combat. The U.S. Marines were experiencing the often frustrating task of actually searching out the elusive Viet Cong on a continuing daily basis. Additionally, the Americans found themselves faced with the unenviable task of advising Vietnamese officers, who, in some cases, had been fighting Communist guerrillas since the French-Indochina War. These circumstances presented a unique set of challenges for the advisors. For American officers with relatively little actual experience in this brand of warfare to offer tactical advice in a form acceptable to their Vietnamese counterparts demanded a combination of tact, patience, and subtle persuasive powers. The U.S. Marine advisors quickly learned that success in this peculiar assignment depended largely on the degree of respect they commanded among the Vietnamese Marines. To help build this intangible yet vital foundation of mutual understanding and confidence, the Marine advisors stayed with their units in combat, sharing with the Vietnamese Marine the same foods, the same dangers, the same discomforts, and the same routines. The Marine advisors lived in U.S. bachelor quarters in Saigon when their respective battalions were in garrison. Nevertheless, they

 

 

 



Page 48(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)