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Action Program, and the Combined Action Groups. Again, the new SOP emphasized that the command relationship between the Marines and the PFs was on a "coordination and cooperation basis. The USMC squad leader does not command the PF element of the platoon, nor does the PF platoon leader command the Marines." While the new SOP did not stipulate that new Combined Action platoons should be mobile, it emphasized that the "CAP compound is to be an administrative and logistical headquarters for the platoon and is not meant to be a citadel."?0


Perhaps the most significant aspect of the new order was the codification of the standards for CAP volunteers. These were divided into two groups-one for lance corporals and below and the other for noncommissioned officers. For regular enlisted men, the criteria included a minimum of six months remaining on their current tour in Vietnam; to be true volunteers "and motivated to live and work with the Vietnamese people"; to be recommended by their commanding officer and to be a "mature, motivated Marine"; to have had "no non-judicial punishment within the past three months"; and to have had no court-martials during the past year. The selection process preferred high school graduates and those with an infantry military occupational specialty. It limited volunteers to those Marines who had less than two Purple Hearts on their current Vietnam tour. Noncommissioned officers were not only to meet the above standards but in addition were to have had combat experience, "demonstrated a high quality of leadership," and to be deemed "highly qualified for promotion." While waivers were permitted for "highly motivated" personnel recommended "with enthusiasm," these personnel still had to appear before the CAP screening board before any waiver would be granted. All commanders were to maintain rosters of qualified personnel for Combined Action and were to fill quotas for the program from that list. Although not specifically specified in the SOP, it would be assumed that all volunteers had to be approved by the Screening Board.91


With the restructuring of the Combined Action Program, there was also a growth in the number of Combined Action platoons and groups. From 79 platoons in January, the number increased to 85 in May, and reached 93 in July. On 20 July, III MAF activated the 4th Combined Action Group in Quang Tri Province. By the end of the month with four CAGs, the Marines assigned to the program totaled 38 officers and 1,913 enlisted men, not including 104 Navy corpsmen with the platoons.92


The establishment of the 4th CAG in Quang Tri was not a unanimous decision. Colonel Richard B. Smith, who commanded the 9th Marines until 13 July, objected to the establishment of CAP units in the DMZ sector. Colonel Alexander L. Michaux, who had also just completed his tour as the 3d Marine Division G-3, had his doubts, declaring "we don't have too much use for the CAPs."* Despite these reservations, the 3d Marine Division commander, Major General Davis, believed the Combined Action concept could contribute to the pacification effort in his sector.9?


With the support of the 3d Division commander, III MAF transferred Lieutenant Colonel John E. Greenwood, Jr., from command of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, to take over the new CAG. On 9 August, the 4th CAG commander submitted a plan that called for the establishment of one new Combined Action Company and six new Combined Action platoons. While III MAF approved the request except for one platoon, there was a delay of several weeks until the South Vietnamese gave their consent. Finally on 30 September, Lieutenant Colonel Brady informed Greenwood that General Lam concurred. In the interim, the 4th CAG commander took advantage of this interval to organize the new volunteers into platoons and provide them with training. While the delay caused some inconvenience, it resulted, according to Greenwood, in the Marines being better prepared for their assignment. By the end of October, with the activation of the new units, the 4th CAG consisted of three companies, 12 Combined Action platoons, and 2 mobile training platoons. Of the 12 CAPS in Quang Tri, 8 were mobile.94


"-Colonel Robert J. Keller, who commanded the 3d CAG in 1968, recalled that he earlier briefed General Krulak, CGFMFPac, and recommended that a 4th CAG be formed which would take over responsibility for the area north of Hue including those CAPs in Quang Tri Province. While General Krulak, according to Keller, appeared enthusiastic, the Army's 1st Air Cavalry Division "did not agree and preferred that Marines not operate in their TAOR." Keller also remembered that Colonels Michaux' and Smith's objections were "longstanding" and that he was well aware of them. He believed the two officers failed "to recognize the fighting [qualities] as well as pacification aspects of the CAPs." Col Robert J. Keller, Comments on draft, dtd 2Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File). Both Colonel Smith and Michaux reiterated their doubts about the Combined Action Program in their comments. Colonel Michaux wrote, "I can empathize with those Marines involved in the Pacification Program. However, from the standpoint of the one with the combat units, the two programs [the war against the regular NVA units in the DMZ sector and CAP} appear contradictory." Col Alexander L. Michaux, Comments on draft, dtd 4Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File). See Chapter 7 for Smith's objections to the CAPs.








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