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size=5>CHAPTER l

size=5>The War Goes On

Paris Peace

Accords-The NVA Marshals in the South-A Division of Marines

Fifteen minutes after noon on 29 April

1975, units of the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade (9th MAB) received the order to

execute Operation Frequent Wind, the plan for emergency evacuation of

noncombatant civilians from Saigon, and to supply the final episode of Marines

in Vietnam. Less than two hours later, the first elements of the 9th MAB's

ground security force (GSF) landed in South Vietnam for the last rime.

Specifically organized to provide security for the evacuation landing zones, the

first elements of the 9th MAB entered the Defense Attache Office (DAO) compound

at 1506 Saigon time. The men were met by:

'. . . the cheers of awaiting evacuees,

almost all of whom were overcome by emotion at the sight of the organized and

well disciplined Marines.'1

These troops, many of whom were

veterans of previous Vietnam battles, provided protection for the refugees in

the DAO Compound. With the departure of the last evacuee, the Marine security

force began returning to the safety of Seventh Fleet ships. Elements of the GSF

also deployed to the American Embassy in Saigon where a few Marines remained

until the bitter end. As the last CH-46 helicopter lifted off the Embassy

rooftop at 0753 on 30 April with 11 Marines on board, U.S. involvement in South

Vietnam ended.* Paris Peace Accords

The signing of the Paris Peace Accords

on 27 January 1973 represented a formal end to hostilities. Negotiated at the

Paris Conference on Vietnam, it would serve as an important backdrop to events

in a country where war seemed endemic.

The 'Agreement on Ending the War and

Restoring Peace in Vietnam' required the United States and its allies to cease

military activity and leave South Vietnam within 60 days of the signing. To

accomplish this, the Paris Accords required the U.S. to dismantle all its

military bases and withdraw all military personnel including its advisors to the

Republic of Vietnam

*For the Marine Corps, involvement

began in 1954 with the assignment of the first Marine advisor (Lieutenant

Colonel Victor J-Croizat), continued with the insertion of a helicopter task

force at Soc Thing in 1962, and increased significantly in March of 1965 with

[he landing of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Da Nang. Armed Forces. By

27 March the conclusion of the 60-day implementation phase, South Vietnam and

the United States had completed most of the changes required by the Accords and

its protocols. The absence of the same effort and commitment on the part of the

North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong would soon define the meaning of 'peace' in

Vietnam. In essence, the precarious balance of power in Southeast Asia and the

future of South Vietnam rested on a piece of paper.

For the critical transition from war to

peace, the Accords empowered three commissions to oversee the implementation

phase and resolve any differences. The Four-Power Joint Military Commission

(JMC) represented each belligerent: the United States, South Vietnam, North

Vietnam, and the Viet Cong. At the conclusion of the 60-day cease-fire, this

commission would in theory shed its protective outer garment (U.S. and North

Vietnam) and become the Two-Power Joint Military Commission, an insular body

representing the interests of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and the

Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRG, the Viet Cong). The

third commission, and the most important one, involved international

participation in die transition to peace. Entrusted to regulate and oversee the

implementation of the Accords' articles, the International Commission of Control

and Supervision (ICCS) consisted of four members: Canada, Hungary, Poland, and

Indonesia.2 The ICCS bore the implied responsibility of enforcement, but lacked

the power to do more than report the violations to the Joint Military

Commission. The ICCS was to cease functioning when the Accords' provisions had

been fulfilled, signalled by a supervised national election and the installation

of the new government's elected officials. The ICCS' goal and the final

determinant of its existence would be the attainment of this 'peace,' but in the

interim the commission's immediate and overwhelming problem would be settlement

of territorial disputes and ceasefire violations. Final resolution of these and

any other matters pertaining to the Accords ultimately required a unanimous vote

of the JMC- This rarely happened.

The Four-Power Commission attempted to

deal with

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