First United States Combat-Troop Reduction in Vietnam - The first US combat-troop reduction in South Vietnam, 25,000 men, announced by Presidents Thieu and Nixon at their Midway Island conference in June, began with the vanguard departures of 800 US army infantrymen and 1,300 marines. The 25,000 troop redeployment will be completed by the end of August, and their mission in the republic absorbed by South Vietnamese forces.
On July 8 the soldiers departed from Saigon Airport after ceremonies attended by President Nguyen Van Thieu, Vice-President Nguyen Cao Ky, American Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, ministry and military staff chiefs. Before boarding a fleet of 'Starlifter' jet transports for the United States, the homebound infantrymen were cheered by crowds of grateful Vietnamese citizens, whose representatives presented the soldiers with flower lais and souvenir gifts. At Da Nang on July 14, the marines' ceremonies were presided over by General Hoang Xuan Lam, Commander of South Vietnam's Armed Forces.
Photograph VA001037, 14 July 1969, Douglas Pike Photograph Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 12 Dec. 2013. <http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=VA001037>.
Pub. Credit Line
VA001037, Douglas Pike Photograph Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University