Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A 573446
Marines from a CUPP unit and a Popular
Force soldier, who serves as their interpreter, question a woman suspected of
providing assistance to the Viet Cong. The woman was detained and sent back to
the district headquarters for more detailed interrogation.
there were many more villages in I Corps, not to mention Vietnam, than there were CAPs*
Building on Success: The Combined Unit Pacification Program
The effectiveness of the CAPs, combined with the diminution of contact with enemy main forces and the continuing guerrilla threat, led III MAP late in 1969 to institute the Infantry Company Intensified Pacification Program (ICIPP), in January 1970, redesignat-ed the Combined Unit Pacification Program (CUPP). Much of the impetus for this new program came from Lieutenant General Nickerson. Brigadier General Dulacki, the III MAF Chief of Staff, recalled that Nickerson 'was . . . quite impressed with . . . what the combined action units were doing. And ... he felt pretty strongly that perhaps what we should do is start taking battalions and employing them in a similar fashion.' Still inclined towards conducting larger scale offensive operations the Army and Marine infantry divisions under III MAF proved unwilling to commit entire battalions to such an unconventional mission and III MAF 'didn't want to force the idea on them.' Responding to this reluctance, however. III MAF developed a plan for using companies, which the divisions accepted. Divisions were then directed to assign companies based upon their current employment and geographic locations.55
The Americal Division, then still under operational control of III MAF, assigned the first two companies to CUPP, or at that time ICIPP, duty in October 1969, deploying squads from them in five hamlets in Quang Ngai. The 1st Marine Division joined the program the following month when Company M of the 1st Marines placed three squads in contested villages around Hill 55. By the end of the year, Company M had squads in eight hamlets, and the 5th and 7th Marines were preparing to establish their own CUPP units.56 Ill MAF found that the success of these activities gradually began to instill confidence in the program within the 1st Division.
ï¿½According to Colonel Theodore E. Metzger, General Lewis Walt wrote the CAP commander a letter following a tour of CAF units in December 1969. saying, 'In the end, I firmly believe this program will be the most important innovation of this war.' Col Theodore E. Metzger, Comments on draft ms, 22Mar83 (Vietnam Comment File).