March 22

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 22, 1968:

Westmoreland to depart South Vietnam

President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the appointment of Gen. William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff; Gen. Creighton Abrams replaced him as commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Westmoreland had first assumed command of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam in June 1964, and in that capacity was in charge of all American military forces in Vietnam. One of the war's most controversial figures, General Westmoreland was given many honors when the fighting was going well, but when the war turned sour, many Americans blamed him for problems in Vietnam. Negative feeling about Westmoreland grew particularly strong following the Tet Offensive of 1968.

As Westmoreland's successor, Abrams faced the difficult task of implementing the Vietnamization program instituted by the Nixon administration. This included the gradual reduction of American forces in Vietnam while attempting to increase the combat capabilities of the South Vietnamese armed forces.

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