Military Leaders in the Vietnam War

Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States
could not serve as the world's policeman;
it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be
the world's midwife to democracy
when the birth is scheduled to take place
under conditions of guerrilla war.
--Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1979

General Creighton Abrams
U.S. Commander in Vietnam, 1968-72.

Vo Nguyen Giap
North Vietnam's great military leader.

Paul Harkins
General Harkins served as the first commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).

Joint General Staff
The South Vietnamese equivalent of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Duong Van Minh
The last president of the Republic of Vietnam.

Nguyen Cao Ky
A career soldier and politician in South Vietnam.

Major General Nguyen Van Hieu
by Tin Nguyen, Raymond R. Battreall
Meet one of the most gallant warriors of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. This biography depicts ARVN Major General Hieu under different facets: his personal life, his military career, his military exploits, and his unjust death. It reveals General Hieu as an unsung hero, whose tactical and strategic skills put him among the best soldiers of modern times, at par with General Rommel of Germany, Patton of the United States, Montgomery of England and Leclerc of France.

John S. McCain, Jr.
Commander in chief of Pacific naval forces (1968-72).

Maxwell Taylor
Between 1962 and 1964, Taylor served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then spent a year as ambassador to South Vietnam.

Van Tien Dung
Van Tien Dung led the final assault on South Vietnam in 1975.

Vietnam: A History
by Stanley Karnow
This monumental narrative clarifies, analyzes, and demystifies the tragic ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its understanding, and compassionate in its human portrayals, it is filled with fresh revelations drawn from secret documents and from exclusive interviews with the participants -- French, American, Vietnamese, Chinese: diplomats, military commanders, high government officials, journalists, nurses, workers, and soldiers. Vietnam: A History puts events and decisions into such sharp focus that we come to understand -- and make peace with -- a convulsive epoch of our recent history.

War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir
by Sam Adams
Adams, an intelligence analyst with the CIA, discovered evidence in 1966 that the number of Vietnamese communist soldiers in Vietnam was closer to 600,000 than the 280,000 count made by the Pentagon. Unable to persuade CIA director Richard Helms to convene a board of inquiry, he unsuccessfully took his appeal to Congress and the White House, then resigned from the agency in '73 to write this account of the affair. His central argument is that General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, had deliberately overlooked some 300,000 Vietcong militiamen in order to buttress the government line that the U.S. was winning the war. In 1980 Adams was hired as a consultant for the CBS documentary The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception , based largely on the evidence he had uncovered; the film caused Westmoreland to file a much-publicized libel suit against the network, with Adams a co-defendant. Westmoreland dropped the suit before it went to jury. Adams died in 1988, leaving the memoir unfinished, but far enough along to explain how the CIA and top military brass -- with White House encouragement -- misled the Congress and the American people about enemy strength before the 1968 Tet Offensive. The expose offers a convincing inside look at CIA analytical techniques during the Vietnam war.

Lewis Walt
He took command of the Third Marine Division in 1965 and the III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam.

Frederick Weyand
In June 1972, he replaced General Crieghton Abrams as MACV commander.