President Johnson On CAP

President Lyndon B. Johnson
Gen. Wallace Greene's

Journal Of The Armed Forces
10 February 1968

President Johnson was in rare good humor as he presented General Wallace Greene, Jr., who retired at the end of 1967 as Commandant of the Marine Corps with a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal. In making the presentation, the President had some intersting things to say not only about General Greene, but about the Combined Action Platoon (CAP) Marines.

He said,

Those Marines in I Corps -- which means Marine Country in Vietnam -- are also testing something that is new in warfare. Combined Action Platoons protect the population of -- about 80 villages. The Marine squads in those platoons train the villages' own Popular Forces - and then fight beside them if necessary.

But the Marines are not just stationed in those villages. They are not just stationed there. They live there as friends and neighbors,

  • Working with the people;
  • Trying to assist them build schools, drill wells, and construct houses;
  • Showing them how to get more from their land;
  • Giving them medical treatment; looking after the lame and the sick and the young.

It is going to be a long time before the final results of their work can be assessed. But the enemy has already made his judgment. Recently, the enemy, the Vietcong, offered $1,750 - dead or alive - for the Marine sergeant of one of those platoons.

That was more money than many of the villagers would ever see in an entire lifetime. But no one earned it -- and no one really tried to earn it. When the sergeant's tour was up and he had to leave the village, all turned out for a farewell party for the man who had been a friend of each one of them. That came about because of men like General Walt and others leading them out there.

It also came about because of the Marine Corps tradition, this organization, this espirit de corps, this excellence, and its esprit. It also came about because of General Greene, the man who put his mark on each one of them in the organization he headed.

As a result, that village and other villages bear the mark of the Marines who have been there. They bear the mark of the Commandant's belief that real victory is going to be won in the hearts of the people.

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