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operations in Vietnam was a change instituted within MACV by General West morel and during the early part of the year. The command's modified table of organization called for the establishment of a Deputy ComUSMACV billet to be filled by an Army general officer. The joint table of distribution for the reorganized command specified that an Army general would also fill the chief of staff billet-a position which had been held by General Weede since MACV's creation in early 1962. Thus, when Weede's assignment ended in May, Major General Richard G. Stilwell, U.S. Army, became Wesimoreland's chief of staff while Lieutenant General John L. Throckmorton, U.S. Army, became Deputy ComUSMACV.* The Marine Corps, however, did not lose its entire senior presence on the MACV staff. Brigadier General Carl A. Youngdale, an officer whose 30-year career included distinguished combat tours in both World War II and Korea, arrived 15 January for assignment as Assistant Chief of Staff, J-2 (Intelligence). His presence on the MACV staff would insure a Marine voice in U.S. military planning at the Saigon level. Still, many Marines saw their relative strength on Westmoreland's staff seriously reduced-a change which seemed to mark somewhat of a turning point in the overall management of the military assistance effort.

Redesignation and Reorganisation

The reorganization of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, had little initial effect on the Marine advisory program. With the dissolution of the MAAG, the old Naval Section, under which the Marine advisors had operated since 1955, was redesignated the Naval Advisory Group, MACV. Lieutenant Colonel Noren's Marine Advisory Division, whose authorized strength remained at 11 officers and nine enlisted men through the first half of the year, was also renamed in mid-May. Known thereafter as the Marine Advisory Unit, Vietnam, the organization continued to function in much the same manner as it had under the previous arrangements.

The last five months of the year, however, saw some substantial changes in the composition of the Marine Advisory Unit as the advisor build-up recently approved by the Secretary of Defense began. Colonel William P. Nesbit, a recent graduate of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, relieved Colonel Noren (promoted from lieutenant colonel on 1 July) as the Senior Marine Advisor on 4 September. Colonel Nesbit arrived in time to supervise the implementation of a new table of organization which added eight first lieutenants and a captain to the advisory unit in November.* The captain and one of the lieutenants were assigned as advisor and assistant advisor respectively to a new Vietnamese Marine infantry battalion which was in the process of being formed. Pour other first lieutenants joined Colonel Nesbit's command as assistant advisors to existing infantry battalions and one became the assistant artillery advisor. The two remaining lieutenants were assigned as advisors to the brigade's motor transport and communications companies, replacing noncommissioned advisors. Two billets were downgraded in rank: the engineer advisor from captain to first lieutenant, and the artillery advisor from major to captain.

In addition to phasing out three enlisted advisor billets, these changes relieved the Assistant Senior Marine Advisor of his artillery responsibilities. Colonel Earl E. Anderson, who had been serving since mid-1963 as the MAAG Chief of Staff, was instrumental in bringing about this particular modification. Under the old arrangement, the Senior Marine Advisor's presence frequently had been required at the MAAG headquarters in Saigon while the Vietnamese Marine Brigade headquarters was deployed to combat. As the Assistant Senior Marine Advisor was likewise torn between two jobs, Anderson had directed that he be relieved of artillery advisory duties. Thus, Major Raymond C. Damm, an officer who had served as Assistant Naval Attache in Saigon between 1959 and 1961, became the first full-time Assistant Senior Marine Advisor after he joined Colonel Nesbit's command in May. When the changes were finally completed, the restructured and redesignated Marine Advisory

*For his service as MACV chief of staff. General Weede was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

*A number of the Marines scheduled to fill the newly created billets did not arrive until early 1965.

 

 

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