This week in Vietnam War history, on August 24, 1965, the U.S. Marine Corps officially ended Operation STARLITE. STARLITE was the first major confrontation between American troops and a major Việt Cộng force—the 1st Việt Cộng Regiment boasted some 2,000 soldiers—and marked a crucial turning point for the United States in Vietnam as the Marines saw their mission expand from strictly defensive to offensive operations.
Source: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
VIETNAM WAR COMMEMORATION
Operation Starlite (also known in Vietnam as Battle of Van Tuong) was the first major offensive regimental size action conducted by a purely U.S. military unit during the Vietnam War. The operation was launched based on intelligence provided by Major General Nguyen Chanh Thi, the commander of the South Vietnamese forces in northern I Corps area. Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt devised a plan to launch a pre-emptive strike against the Viet Cong regiment to nullify the threat on the vital Chu Lai Air Base and Base Area and ensure its powerful communication tower remained intact.
The operation was conducted as a combined arms assault involving ground, air and naval units. U.S. Marines were deployed by helicopter insertion into the designated landing zone while an amphibious landing was used to deploy other Marines.