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A Shau Valor (Hardback)

American Combat Operations in the Valley of Death, 1963–1971

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Vietnam P&S History > Humanities > Biography & Memoirs

By Tom Yarborough
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 336
Illustrations: 16pp photos
ISBN: 9781612003542
Published: 31st May 2016

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Throughout the Vietnam War, one focal point persisted where the Viet Cong guerrillas and ARVN were not a major factor, but where the trained professionals of the North Vietnamese and United States armies repeatedly fought head-to-head.  A Shau Valor is a thoroughly documented study of nine years of American combat operations encompassing the crucial frontier valley and a 15-mile radius around it—the most deadly killing ground of the entire Vietnam War.  Beginning in 1963 Special Forces A-teams established camps along the valley floor, followed by a number of top-secret Project Delta reconnaissance missions through 1967.  Then, U.S. Army and Marine Corps maneuver battalions engaged in a series of sometimes controversial thrusts into the A Shau designed to disrupt NVA infiltrations and to kill enemy soldiers, part of what came to be known as Westmoreland’s “war of attrition.”

 

The various campaigns included Operation Pirous in 1967, 1968’s Operations Delaware and Somerset Plain, 1969’s Operations Dewey Canyon, Massachusetts Striker, and Apache Snow—which included the infamous battle for Hamburger Hill—culminating with Operation Texas Star and the vicious fight for and humiliating evacuation of Fire Support Base Ripcord in the summer of 1970, the last major U.S. battle of the war.  By 1971 the fighting had once again shifted to the realm of small Special Forces reconnaissance teams assigned to the ultra-secret Studies and Observations Group—SOG. Other works have focused on individual battles or units, but A Shau Valor is the first to study the nine-year campaign—for all its courage, sacrifice and valor—chronologically and within the context of other historical, political, and cultural events. In addition to covering the strictly military aspects of the various campaigns in the A Shau, Tom Yarborough, author of the renowned Da Nang Diary, shows how events in both Vietnam and the United States became inexorably linked, as domestic dissent and a lack of realistic military strategy ultimately led to America’s first lost war.

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