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MARINE SPECIAL FORCES Unit in Vietnam "CAP MT". The Combined Action Platoon (CAP) program was one of the most innovative pacification programs in Vietnam. CAP marines stayed in the jungle until DEROS, WIA or KIA

Click to EnlargeCAP Mt: The Story of a Marine Special Forces Unit in Vietnam, 1968?1969 by Barry L. Goodson. Combined Action Program (CAP). Consisting of a volunteer rifle squad, a Navy Corpsman and a locally recruited platoon of Vietnamese Popular Forces (PFs), the CAP units lived among the villagers. They had no firebase or compound for security. The only time a CAP marine left the jungle was if he was dead, wounded or lucky to rotate home.

The Marines' Combined Action Platoon program?CAP?was one of the most innovative approaches to pacification used in Vietnam. From experience in other civil wars in Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, the Marine Corps believed that firepower alone would not subdue the enemy, that the people had to be won over. Consisting of a volunteer rifle squad, a Navy medical corpsman, and a locally recruited platoon of Popular Forces (PF), the CAP lived among the villagers and were responsible for village security. Unlike other forces in Vietnam, the CAP forces did not arrive by helicopter in the morning and leave at night. The only time a CAP marine left the jungle was when he was rotating home, wounded, or killed. They became part of village life and aided the local residents in many ways. The marines became familiar with the local terrain, could bring in heavy fire power when necessary, instilled discipline and confidence in the PF forces, and won the loyalty of many Vietnamese villagers.

"We were first . . . to become deeply involved . . . with the Vietnamese people; helping them [in] their daily lives. . . . Our second responsibility was to train new warriors. . . . I entered the CAP Marines with the misconception that I would be training a bunch of jungle natives who knew nothing about the methods and strategy of true combat. It took only a few short days . . . to realize that the person who really needed to listen and learn was yours truly. . . . The Vietnamese . . . could spot booby traps on the darkest of nights. I learned [from them] to rely heavily on my own senses, to ferret out the enemy?to discover . . . that I could actually smell the presence of the enemy. . . . Rumors had portrayed the South Vietnamese soldier as a weak, unreliable, coward that no one could trust. I soon discovered that was far from the truth."?from the Preface This is their story. 306 pages. Well illustrated.

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