Combined Action Platoons
"Never again will one generation
Web Site Created & Edited by
Tim "CAPVet" Duffie
For those of you who missed the reunion, you missed a powerful presentation by Dr. Jeannie Johnson. With irrefutable facts, as well as a clear understanding of the impact of ignoring the cultures of the countries in which we are conducting military activities, Dr. Johnson assured all present that our CAP Program worked…not in every aspect… but the overall program was a success. Quoting from no less than Gen Mattis, she had most, if not all, of the CAP Marines present in tears…as well as their wives. For most of us there, it was a cathartic moment… a moment when years of frustration, doubt and uncertainty, were put to rest once and for all.
As one CAP Marine told Jeannie later, "Halfway through the presentation I was proud to be a Marine. By the end of the presentation, I was proud to be a CAP Marine!"
She received a standing ovation…for good reason…something extremely rare for an "outsider"!
I had the good fortune to spend quite a bit of time with Jeannie…including attending a Mormon Church service on Sunday…a wee bit much for a Baptist Preacher's Kid, and a personal first for me.
Left: Dr. Jeannie Johnson, Utah State University Political Science Professor, CIA Intelligence Analyst, DoD Advisor
Months ago I sent her a pristine copy of the Life Magazine "To Keep A Village Free" edition. She used that article in her Poli Sci class at Utah State University the week of our reunion. She had looked up each member listed to see who had survived the war. She had said repeatedly that the Life Magazine is something she will treasure forever.
With Echo 2 fresh in her mind, one of her greatest hopes was that she would meet some of the Echo 2 Marines at the reunion.
On Friday night, as we were sitting on the bus waiting to leave for dinner, I vaguely remembered that I'd heard about the Marine named Ron Schaedel…and maybe…just maybe….he was Echo 2. Ironically, Ron was sitting just across the aisle from us on the bus.
"Ron….what CAP Unit were you in?"
I will never forget the look on her face, almost like a five year old child on Christmas morning, when she realized she was that close to one that she had studied so intently since receiving the Life Magazine. I almost regret not moving to another seat and letting her revel in that moment!
I'm getting a wee bit teary-eyed just typing this as I remember that experience.
Thank you, Jeannie. I will treasure that memory forever. As I told the CAP Veterans at the reunion when I introduced you, CAP has no greater friend than you!
I've attached a few "pdf" files of pictures from the reunion….those I took of Jeannie and our CAP Veterans. I'll add more later to the CAP Web Site as time permits.
Left to Right: Ron Schaedel, Dr. Jeannie Johnson, Mike Mullins, Gary Smith, All CAP Echo 2
…Jeannie Johnson…you have the love and appreciation of every Marine, and every wife, who attended the Reunion. You are a special lady, and we all hope to see you again someday!
For those who asked, I’ve posted the Doctoral Dissertation of Ms. Jeannie Johnson for you. Ms. Johnson is a professor of Political Science at Utah State University and an Intelligence Analyist for the CIA. She meets bi-monthly with various security agencies in Washington to explain the impact our actions may/will have on the various cultures throughout the world.
"We Are All Alone In Indian Country"
That was how we described it when we talked among ourselves in the 1960s. While not politically correct in the '90s, it summarized how 5,000 select CAC/CAP Marines and Navy Corpsmen felt as they stood for the first time in an isolated Vietnamese village, surrounded by jungle, booby-traps, and thousands of supposedly hostile Vietnamese civilians. They were part of the Marine Corps Combined Action Program (CAP). CAP placed a squad of Marines and one Navy Corpsman in villages from Chu Lai to the DMZ in South Vietnam from 1965 to 1971.
Images of fanatical Viet Cong pouring out of the villages, jungles, and rice paddies hovered in the mind of each of us as we hunkered down for our first night of sleep in such supposedly hostile territory. That first night each new Marine and Corpsman counted the friendly faces of a handful of Americans, then looked with mixed emotions at a poorly equipped platoon of Vietnamese Popular Forces, the local village "militia".Each Marine or Corpsman certainly pondered the distance to the nearest American military base. Each calculated how long it would take for help to arrive. Each knew that, when needed, help would probably not arrive in time.
This web site is dedicated to those Marines, Corpsmen, Vietnamese Popular Forces, and Vietnamese villagers who became our friends, our allies, and our brothers.
Most importantly, it is dedicated to those of our number whose names now grace a granite wall in Washington, D.C.
||This Web Site was started in November, 1996. It has grown rapidly due to the efforts of dozens of Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have contributed. If you take the time to browse this Web Site, we can assure you a perspective of the war in Vietnam that you will not find anyplace else. That perspective will come from those Marines and Corpsmen who spent much of their tour living in 114 Vietnamese villages and hamlets throughout the I-Corps area of South Vietnam.
If you are a visitor wanting to learn more about the Vietnam War, and the role the CAP Program played in the war, you will find General Articles to be of interest. Former CAC/CAP Marines and Corpsmen searching for old comrades may go to the Alphabetical Rosters. Stories and pictures from CAP Units, submitted by the CAP Veterans who have located the Web Site, are indexed at Unit Histories.
If you just like a variety of Vietnam War related paraphenalia, try the CAP Memorabilia page. The memorabilia page is linked to various graphics and short stories of interest to the CAP Veteran and student alike. There you will learn why the Vietnamese people were offended when we reached out with one hand and gave them a gift. CAP Marines and Corpsmen learned many cultural idiosyncracies of the Vietnamese people so as to allow us to live in their villages while, at the same time, not offending them by ignoring their centuries old culture.
|CAP Veterans learned the meaning of "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." When we sat in their homes, we didn't cross our legs; we bowed appropriately and shook hands with both hands, and, most importantly, when we ate in their homes we never emptied our plates. We learned to always leave a little bit of food on the plate to signal that we'd had enough. An empty plate was immediately re-supplied since the family assumed we were still hungry.
The Marines and Corpsmen of the CAC/CAP units attempted to isolate the people of select villages from the ravages of the war. CAP villages were no longer targets of the indiscriminate Search and Destroy mentality so prevalent during the Vietnam War. We shared the risk of living in the villages 24 hours a day, thereby earning the love and respect of thousands of our villagers who simply wanted to survive a war they didn't want.
We take great pride in the fact that we helped thousands of them do just that.
Tim "CAPVet" Duffie
New Text Books
The school teacher graphic (above right) depicts the predicament many of the villagers experienced with the advent of a squad of Marines in their villages. Traditionally the villages were controlled by Viet Cong terrorists. It was common for the Viet Cong to visit a village late at night, take a child into the village square, then assassinate that child as an example of what would happen should the villagers support the South Vietnamese & their American allies.
In this particular graphic, the Marines and local Popular Force soldiers were proudly donating school books approved by the South Vietnamese government for her class. We can see mixed emotions on her face...
...pleased to receive anything she could use to teach her students...
...terrified as to what would happen to her if the Viet Cong learned she was using South Vietnamese approved books.
Uncertain if the Marines & Popular Forces could protect her from an assassination she knew would result from accepting the books, we can forgive her for being less than ecstatic over the gift.
"Vietnamese people in some of the [CAP] hamlets still, twenty five plus years after-the-fact, hold annual memorial services for the young men who died to keep them and their children free."
LtCol. William R. Corson
LtCol. William R. Corson
Combined Action Platoons
The Marine's Other War In Vietnam
By: Michael E. Peterson
Praeger Publishers, New York, NY
Perhaps the most telling feature of that policy [...conventional main-force battalions operating in free-fire zones to search out and destroy the enemy's formations], as well as an indicator of its ultimate failure, was contained in a statement to reporters in 1965 by the personification of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, General William. C. Westmoreland. He said that as a result of U.S. strategy, the Vietnamese peasant would be confronted with three choices: he could stay close to his land (usually in a free-fire zone); he could join the Viet Cong (the target in that free-fire zone); or he could move to an area under South Vietnamese government control and become a refugee.
"Doesn't that give the villager only the choice of becoming a refugee?" one journalist inquired.
"I expect a tremendous increase in the number of refugees," Westmoreland answered.
In effect, Westmoreland had declared war against peasant society in Vietnam. In my own opinion, that is the day the United States irretrievably lost that war.
"The struggle was in the rice paddies....in and among the people, not passing through, but living among them, night and day .... and joining with them in steps toward a better life long overdue."
Memoirs of Gen. Lew Walt
Memoirs of Gen. Lew Walt
For Those Who May Not Have Seen This On The Guestbook
Entry #: 20
Date: 2006-07-30 14:54:18
Name: Cau Le (Former Colonel ARVN)
Site Rating: 10
Comments: I wish to offer my sincere gratitude to the men and women who fought against the Communist. I was captured by the Communist after the fall of Saigon, and spent eight years in solitary confinement, and three years in prison. I'm now proud to be an American citizen. To those service people of the Marines, Navy, Army, and Air Force who gave up their life for freedom in Vietnam, may they R.I.P.
Your web site is wonderful.
Reply to: Cau Le
Submitted by: Rick Schelberg, CAP 2-4-3
A complete listing of CAP KIAs as submitted by Rick Schelberg, CAP 2-4-3. The following are those pages indexed in a variety of formats.
CAG = Combined Action Group / CACO = Combined Action Company / CAP = Combined Action Platoon
- Listed by Casualty Date
- Listed by CAG
- Listed by CAP
- Listed by Last Name
- List By Action Date (List only includes actions in which there were two or more KIAs)
- Listed by Rank
- Listed by Year/CAG
- Listed by Panel Line
- Navy Corpsmen KIA
- Non Hostile Deaths
CAP Web Site Index
CAP Web Site Updates: new listings, pages, etc. Fred Caleffie's: CAP Web Site & Updates Page CAP E-Mail Listing: a listing of CAP Veterans we've managed to locate, linked to their e-mail addresses. Alphabetical Rosters: also linked to e-mail addresses. This listing also includes KIA listings as provided by our CAP Members. Rosters By Unit: CAP Rosters by unit of those who have joined the association and/or contacted the CAP Web Site. This list also includes all CAP Veteran names as submitted by our group. Unit Histories: pictorial/written stories of various CAP Units. Listing is indexed by "Alphabetical", "Alpha-Numberic" unit designations. General Articles: variety of articles, thesis, and newspaper clippings regarding the CAP program. CAP Memorabilia: miscellaneous graphics and stories that don't fit any particular CAP Unit.
Other CAP Web Sites
CAP 2-9-2: Jack Cunningham's Web Site CAP Delta 4 Homepage: Steve Markley's CAP Delta 4 Home Page. CAP 2-7-4 Website: Channing Prothro's CAP 2-7-4 Web Site.
The Story Of Friendship With A Child Of Our 'Ville
"I Keep It In My Heart And Wait For You": the story of a 16 year old Vietnamese child from our CAC/CAP Papa 2/4 hamlet who was being sexually molested by several South Vietnamese officers in 1967. We chased the officers from the village and earned this young lady's undying friendship. Read of our friendship in 1967, how we found her in 1994, and of my return to the hamlet of Phuoc My in 1996 to visit with her and her family.
This story was featured in the Emmy winning documentary, Finding Peace, by reporter Mary Robb Jackson, KDKA TV, Pittsburgh. Her documentary was broadcast in 1995.
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