“A Marine from CAP unit 281 brings a smile to the face of a small child of the village of Hoa Thanh, 8 miles Northeast of Da Nang.” 8/6/1968
File Unit: Divider/Subject – 374 – Vietnamese Civilian Life – 1968, 1962 – 1975. Series: Black and White Photographs of Marine Corps Activities in Vietnam, 1962 – 1975. Record Group 127: Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1775 – .
Now at the @usnatarchives Museum:
Learn about the origins, controversies, and legacy of the Vietnam War through twelve critical episodes.
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.