October 10

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 10, 1969:

U.S. Navy transfers vessels to South Vietnamese

The U.S. Navy transfers 80 river-patrol boats to the South Vietnamese Navy in the largest single transfer of naval equipment since the war began. This was part of the ongoing Vietnamization program, which had been announced by President Richard Nixon at Midway in June. Under this program, the United States sought to turn over responsibility for the fighting to the South Vietnamese so that U.S. troops could be withdrawn from Vietnam. The plan included a massive transfer of equipment and weapons to the South Vietnamese and a stepped-up training program by U.S. advisers designed to prepare the South Vietnamese armed forces to stand alone against their Communist opponents. The transfer of vessels by the U.S. Navy was only part of the effort that also included a modernization of the South Vietnamese Air Force and new tanks, artillery pieces, and other weapons and equipment for the Army of South Vietnam.

Also on this day: South Vietnamese armed forces assume responsibility for the defense of Saigon as the last U.S. combat contingent in the city was moved to an area 20 miles away. As the Vietnamization progressed, more U.S. forces were withdrawn and by January 1972, less than 70,000 American troops were in South Vietnam.

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