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Tet Offensive

American GruntNVA and VCTet Offensive
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Con ThienAP Wire PhotosLIFE Photos '65Marble MountainNSA Hospital DaNangQue Son Valley



President John F. Kennedy at his inauguration on January 20, 1961. In his address, the young President summoned the nation to "pay the price, bear any assure the survival and the success of liberty" throughout the world.

Vietnamese tradition held that the turning of the lunar year should bring auspicious signs and gladness of heart; thus it had become customary for both sides to observe a truce during the holidays celebrations. In 1968, a thirty-six hour cease-fire had been agreed upon, to commence at midnight on January 30.

Centuries before, Vietnam had won a great victory in her running war with the Chinese by attacking their Hanoi garrison at the feight of the Tet observances. In 1968, the Communist led forces in vietnam chose to creat their own auspicious signs by repeating history.

A little after midnight on January 30, they assaulted the Nra Trang perimeter. All day long, from Quang Tri to CA Mau, in a barrage of rockets and mortars, they attacked provincial capitals and divisional headquarters. No target was too formidable. They attacked Bien Hoa, Cam Ranh Bay, and even Tan Son Nhut. Vietcong and NVA solidiers were fighting in the streets of Hue, DaNang, and Saigon itself.


Marines in actionTwo American Marines battle Communist troops inside the walls of the Citadel at Hue. The former imperial capital was overrun by the enemy, then retaken by Marines during the Tet offensive of 1968.


MP dutyAmericans hastily drag away the body of a comrade killed during a VC attack near Tan Son Nhut Airport on January 31, 1968. The VC made a direct hit on a truckload of MPs, then raked the area with automatic fire as survivors dived for cover.

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