Page 143

  Page 143 (The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)    


warfare under the provisions on the OJT program.*

A similar but shorter term program for field grade officers and colonels, the Job Related Orientation (JRO) Program, also took hold during the early months of 1964. Instituted in the last half of the previous year, the JRO program provided for a small number of staff officers from the various FMFPac commands to visit U.S. Headquarters in Vietnam and Thailand for an eight-day period. Small groups of these officers arrived at Da Nang from Okinawa and, like the OJTs, were briefed by the helicopter task element commander and his staff. Later they were afforded an orientation flight over the northern provinces. Next, the visiting officers were flown to Saigon where they received more briefings at MACV headquarters. In the capital, where they were hosted by the Senior Marine Advisor, they visited Vietnamese Marine units and discussed tactics and problem areas with the advisors. After four days in the Republic of Vietnam the Marines travelled on co Bangkok where they spent the balance of their visit. Upon the conclusion of these JRO trips, each officer was required to submit a detailed written report to the Commanding General, FMFPac. In turn, extracts of these reports were forwarded to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in Washington.

Generally these reports addressed tactical, operational, logistics, and intelligence matters. But a number of the Marine officers used the reporting system to articulate their opinions relative to the overall direction of the war. Colonel Warren P. Baker, a member of the 3d Marine Division staff who visited Vietnam in March, pointed out that field advisors and MACV staff members differed sharply in their personal assessments of progress being made. The field advisors, Baker observed, demonstrated far less optimism than did the staff members. Furthermore, he reported that unless the people of South Vietnam could be won over to the government, the Viet Cong's success could be expected to continue.12 Another officer. Lieutenant Colonel Harry E. Dickinson, summarized his conclusions with an even more emphatic warning:

The commitment of sizeable U.S. combat units should not be effected except to protect the seat of government. While local success might be achieved in certain areas, it is extremely doubtful whether any lasting degree of success would entail in the northern and western sections. As combat units were increased, the forces of Vietnam would do less and less with the inevitable conflict of overall command. The end result would be the ringing of the country with combat units but no solution for the internal conflict. I strongly disagree that any two or three divisions could achieve real victory as has been stated in the press.13 Through candid reporting of this nature. Marine commanders from Okinawa to Washington were kept abreast of the complex and difficult problems being generated by the war in Southeast Asia.

*The 3d Marine Division's OJT program did not end until after elements of the division landed at Da Nang in March 1965. The Marine Advisory Unit experimented successfully with another form of augmentation in the first days of 1965. When the Vietnamese Marines deployed to the Binh Gia area with a provisional brigade in early January, Colonel Nesbit, who was still serving as Senior Marine Advisor, requested additional personnel to assist and advise at the staff level. FMFPac responded by temporarily detaching eight officers and 11 enlisted men to the advisory division. MACV provided two more Marine officers and seven additional enlisted men, all of whom remained attached to the Marine Advisory Unit for the duration of the operation. The temporarily assigned Marines returned to their parent organizations when the operation terminated. This is covered in more detail in the 1965 account of U.S. Marine activities in Vietnam.


Page 143 (The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)