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April 29, 2010
Looking back at the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War began on Nov. 1, 1955, and ended 35 years ago on April 30, 1975 when Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, fell. The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including 3 to 4 million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers. By this war's end, the Vietnamese had been fighting foreign involvement or occupation in various wars for over a hundred years. --Wikipedia
(23 images)

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In this Sept. 25, 1965 file photo, paratroopers of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade hold their automatic weapons above water as they cross a river in the rain during a search for Viet Cong positions in the jungle area of Ben Cat, South Vietnam. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. AP / Henri Huet


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In this June 11, 1963 file photo, Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, burns himself to death on a Saigon street to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. The war ended on April 30, 1975, with the fall of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, to communist troops from the north. AP / Malcolm Browne



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In this March 1965 file photo, hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas



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In this March 19, 1964 file photo, a father holds the body of his child as South Vietnamese Army Rangers look down from their armored vehicle near the Cambodian border in Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas



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In this 1966 file photo, U.S. Army helicopters providing support for U.S. ground troops fly into a staging area fifty miles northeast of Saigon, Vietnam. AP / Henri Huet



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In this Sept. 21, 1966 file photo, U.S. Marines emerge from their muddy foxholes at sunrise after a third night of fighting against continued attacks of north Vietnamese 324 B division troops during the Vietnam War. AP / Henri Huet



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In this June 15, 1967 file photo, American infantrymen crowd into a mud-filled bomb crater and look up at tall jungle trees seeking out Viet Cong snipers firing at them during a battle in Phuoc Vinh, north-Northeast of Saigon in Vietnam's War Zone D. AP / Henri Huet



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Left - In this June 17, 1967 file photo, medic James E. Callahan of Pittsfield, Mass., treats a U.S. infantryman who suffered a head wound when a Viet Cong bullet pierced his helmet during a three-hour battle in war zone D, about 50 miles northeast of Saigon. AP / Henri Huet
Right - In this January 1966 file photo, First Cavalry Division medic Thomas Cole, from Richmond, Va., looks up with one uncovered eye as he treats a wounded Staff Sgt. Harrison Pell during a firefight in the Central Highlands in Vietnam, between U.S. troops and a combined North Vietnamese and Vietcong force. AP / Henri Huet



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In this 1966 file photo, Pfc. Lacey Skinner of Birmingham, Ala., crawls through the mud of a rice paddy avoiding heavy Viet Cong fire near An Thi in South Vietnam, as troops of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division fight a fierce 24-hour battle along the central coast. AP / Henri Huet



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In this Jan. 1, 1966 file photo, women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas



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In this April 1969 file photo, a South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her husband, found with 47 others in a mass grave near Hue, Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas



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Left - In this June 18, 1965 file photo, an unidentified U.S. Army soldier wears a hand lettered "War Is Hell" slogan on his helmet, in Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas
Right - In this Jan. 9, 1964 file photo, a South Vietnamese soldier uses the end of a dagger to beat a farmer for allegedly supplying government troops with inaccurate information about the movement of Viet Cong guerrillas in a village west of Saigon, Vietnam. AP / Horst Faas



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In this June 8, 1972 file photo, 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, runs down Route 1 near Trang Bang, Vietnam after an aerial napalm attack. AP / Nick Ut



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In this Feb. 1, 1968 file photo, South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street, early in the Tet Offensive. AP / Eddie Adams



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This May 1970 file photo shows demonstrators showing their sign of protest as ROTC cadets parade at Ohio State University during a ceremony in Columbus, Ohio during the Vietnam War. Denied a graduation ceremony because of student unrest in 1970, graduates of several universities are finally getting a commencement in special ceremonies this spring. AP / file



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Left - In this 1966 file photo, the body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C, Vietnam. AP / Henri Huet
Right - In this April 29, 1975 file photo, people try to scale the 14-foot wall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, trying to reach evacuation helicopters, as the last of the Americans depart from Vietnam. AP / Neal Ulevich



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In this April 30, 1975 file photo, a North Vietnamese tank rolls through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, signifying the fall of South Vietnam. AP / file



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In this April 29, 1975 file photo, U.S. Navy personnel aboard the USS Blue Ridge push a helicopter into the sea off the coast of Vietnam in order to make room for more evacuation flights from Saigon. AP / file



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In this April 29, 1975 file photo, a South Vietnamese mother and her three children are shown on the deck of an amphibious command ship being plucked out of Saigon by U.S. Marine helicopters in Vietnam. AP / file



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In this March 17, 1973 file photo, released prisoner of war Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., as he returns home from the Vietnam War. AP / Sal Veder



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