The Vietnam War

Battle in Vietnam

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War had a profound impact on the United States. Though begun with a small contingent of advisors, the conflict escalated from 1964 through 1968. More and more American soldiers and resources poured into Vietnam. Unlike Korea, Americans faced an unconvenional enemy in a war without front lines, where objectives were obscure and the danger contstant.

Hawaiʻi Contributed Its Share

  • The 25th Infantry Division deployed from Schofield Barracks in early 1966.
  • Many Hawaiians volunteered or were drafted.
  • In 1968, the 29th Infantry Brigade, Hawai’i National Guard, was ordered to active duty at Schofield Barracks.
  • Over 500 Guardsmen saw combat duty in Vietnam.

High Price For So Little

The Tet Offensive in early 1968 changed the course of the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese Army, well-armed and well-equipped, was defeated on the battlefield in every encounter, but the shock to Americans at home solidified anti-war sentiment. There was no “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Withdrawal began in 1969, almost as gradually as the forces had come. In the end, with American troops and firepower gone, the South Vietnamese government fell.

The disengagement was honorable; the United States had not been defeated on the battlefield. But there remain lasting scars for having paid such a price to accomplish so little.