posted on Jul, 18 2005 @ 11:09 PM
General William Westmoreland who commanded US forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968 has died at the age of 91. Westmoreland saw combat in WWII and made
Colonel by the time he was 30. Rather than viewing Vietnam as a defeat, he saw it as a failure to honor a commitment. He spent the years following
his retirement in 1972 speaking to veterans groups in all 50 states.
Retired Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded American troops in Vietnam — the nation's longest conflict and the only war America lost — died
Monday night. He was 91.
Westmoreland died of natural causes at Bishop Gadsden retirement home, where he had lived with his wife for several years, said his son, James Ripley
The silver-haired, jut-jawed officer, who rose through the ranks quickly in Europe during World War II and later became superintendent of West Point,
contended the United States did not lose the conflict in Southeast Asia.
"It's more accurate to say our country did not fulfill its commitment to South Vietnam," he said. "By virtue of Vietnam, the U.S. held the line
for 10 years and stopped the dominoes from falling."
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As a Marine, I never was particularly fond of Westmoreland and his command of the war in Vietnam. He had no problem putting the Marines in I Corps,
where most of the heavy fighting was, but he never let the Corps utilize fully the wealth of experience gained from fighting guerrilla wars throughout
the world. He viewed Marine Corps tactics as obsolescent, despite the Corps' long history of innovation.
These complaints aside, Westmoreland was an officer who was dedicated to his men. He earned the respect of those who served under him in WWII by
leading from the front. Even after his retirement, "Westy" was a tireless advocate of veterans. He led American forces during our darkest hours,
under the most difficult of political situations. He is to be remembered with respect and honor. He deserves every bit of it.
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[edit on 2005/7/19 by GradyPhilpott]