Armed with bandages and medicine, these two members of the U.S. Air Force’s Operation MED CAP (Medical Civilian-Assistance Program) are making the rounds. MED CAP was composed of a team of doctors, nurses, and aides which traveled to Vietnamese villages to treat the ill, and educate the local populace on the importance of sanitation. Here, Second Lieutenant Kathleen M. Sullivan, treats a sick Vietnamese child in 1967.
The Marine CAP, or Combined Action Program, were joint force units consisting of a Marine rifleman squad and a platoon of Regional or Popular Forces (essentially Vietnamese militia, poorly equipped). The idea was that the Marines would help the RF/PF platoon to patrol the area around a specific village or villages. The Marines would train them, and the RF/PF would benefit from the firepower that their American allies could call in. Meanwhile the Marines were living with the villagers, helping them with local projects, providing medical aid, etc. In many instances the Marines would send home asking for toys or clothes for the children and their families helped to raise money and send any requested items.
If truly successful, the Marines would basically work themselves out of a job in that area. The RF/PFs would be able to defend the area themselves and there would be much less chance, if any at all, of Communist infiltration into the villages.
Under sniper fire, a Vietnamese woman carries a child to safety as US marines storm the village of My Son, near Da Nang, searching for Vietcong insurgents, 25 April 1965. As was typical in such situations, the men of the village had mostly disappeared, and the remaining villagers revealed little when questioned
“Medevac: 1st Marine Division Leathernecks get help from a villager as they carry a Vietnamese woman, injured by Viet Cong terrorists, to a waiting Marine helicopter 4 miles east of Hoa An (official USMC photo by Lance Corporal A. C. Prentiss).”
From the Jonathan F. Abel Collection (COLL/3611) at the Archives Branch, Marine Corps History Division