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H.C.R. 6






Chief Sponsor: Curtis Oda

Senate Sponsor: Scott K. Jenkins

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor recognizes the 50th
             11      Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This resolution:
             14          .    recognizes the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and those who fought,
             15      suffered, and died in the conflict; and
             16          .    urges the citizens of Utah to reflect on the service and sacrifice of many during the
             17      Vietnam War.
             18      Special Clauses:
             19          None
             21      Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
             22          WHEREAS, in the late 1950s, the United States began sending advisors to help train
             23      the South Vietnamese Army and Air Force to withstand the onslaught from Communist North
             24      Vietnam;
             25          WHEREAS, the Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG), along with 700
             26      other U.S. military advisors, worked for eight years to train the South Vietnamese for
             27      conventional warfare;

             28          WHEREAS, on October 11, 1961, President John F. Kennedy authorized a detachment
             29      from the 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron to deploy to South Vietnam as Project Farm
             30      Gate;
             31          WHEREAS, Operation Mule Train, begun in January 1962, was designed to drop
             32      supplies to isolated outposts and transport parachutists into areas controlled by the Vietcong;
             33          WHEREAS, at the request of South Vietnam's President, the United States Air Force
             34      was directed to spray the Vietnamese countryside with an aerial herbicide that would strip the
             35      jungles of all foliage and eliminate the cover and available food for the North Vietnamese;
             36          WHEREAS, this action, named Operation Ranch Hand, began in 1962;
             37          WHEREAS, arguments in Washington erupted on whether the spraying actually did
             38      any good, or whether the Americans and the South Vietnamese governments were risking the
             39      loyalty of the South Vietnamese people whose livelihoods were also at risk;
             40          WHEREAS, President Kennedy allowed the spraying, but only under limited conditions
             41      and as long as crops were not damaged;
             42          WHEREAS, the planes that dropped the herbicide were modified to carry and spray the
             43      defoliants to only attack areas of the jungle where combatants could hide, but by 1971 the
             44      policy had changed and even crops were sprayed;
             45          WHEREAS, the operation continued for nine years and affected 36% of the mangrove
             46      forest and 20% of the jungles of South Vietnam;
             47          WHEREAS, this operation began the controversy over the effects of the defoliant
             48      Agent Orange on humans, which continues today;
             49          WHEREAS, in August 1964, two U.S. destroyers, the USS Turner Joy and the USS
             50      Maddox, were performing surveillance patrols in conjunction with the South Vietnamese Navy
             51      along the North Vietnamese coast in the Gulf of Tonkin;
             52          WHEREAS, North Vietnam claimed a 12-mile territorial zone off its coastline, but the
             53      United States only recognized a 3-mile border and allowed its ships to sail within 11 miles of
             54      the coast;
             55          WHEREAS, when ships would come into range, the North Vietnamese radar sites on
             56      shore would activate and the South Vietnamese Navy would then harass the installations with
             57      gunfire;
             58          WHEREAS, in retaliation, the North Vietnamese Navy sent out several torpedo boats

             59      on an attack, which proved unsuccessful;
             60          WHEREAS, when President Lyndon B. Johnson received notification of the incident,
             61      he ordered the first American air strikes against North Vietnamese naval bases;
             62          WHEREAS, a few days later, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which
             63      gave President Johnson the authority to increase America's involvement in Vietnam;
             64          WHEREAS, in February 1965, President Johnson ordered a series of reprisal air strikes
             65      after several attacks on U.S. bases by Vietcong units;
             66          WHEREAS, a series of paved and unpaved roads, rivers, and sometimes narrow
             67      footpaths through dense jungle, commonly referred to as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, were being
             68      utilized by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong armies to smuggle supplies and troops back and
             69      forth from North and South Vietnam;
             70          WHEREAS, this intricate transportation system stretched throughout the mountains
             71      along the Vietnamese-Laos-Cambodia borders and was a large problem for the South
             72      Vietnamese and U.S. forces;
             73          WHEREAS, cutting off the Ho Chi Minh Trail, often called the "Secret War," was
             74      controversial because it often entailed constant air strikes to areas in Laos and Cambodia,
             75      which were neutral countries, and these tactics were not known to most Americans;
             76          WHEREAS, after several attacks upon United States Air Force bases, 3,500 United
             77      States Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam on March 8, 1965;
             78          WHEREAS, this marked the beginning of the American ground war, and public
             79      opinion at the time overwhelmingly supported the deployment;
             80          WHEREAS, the initial deployment of 3,500 Marines increased to nearly 200,000
             81      American military personnel by December of 1965;
             82          WHEREAS, that same month, South Vietnamese forces suffered heavy losses in a
             83      battle that both sides viewed as a watershed, and American leaders responded by developing
             84      plans for U.S. troops to move from a defensive strategy to an offensive approach to the
             85      escalating war;
             86          WHEREAS, the bombing campaigns that began in 1964, which were intended to force
             87      North Vietnam to cease its support for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam,
             88      escalated significantly by the end of 1966;
             89          WHEREAS, where ground combat was sometimes made complicated by

             90      unconventional military opposition and difficult terrain, U.S. air superiority remained constant,
             91      and throughout the Vietnam War, various policies and strategies were put in place by the U.S.
             92      military to take advantage of that strength;
             93          WHEREAS, over the course of the conflict, U.S. forces dropped over 7 million tons of
             94      bombs through Southeast Asia, compared to only about 2 million tons dropped during all of
             95      World War II;
             96          WHEREAS, geared towards suppressing the Pathet Lao's Communist guerrillas in
             97      Northern Laos, Operation Barrel Roll, a heavily covert operation, was initiated to provide air
             98      support for the Royal Laotian Army, and included the first bombings in Laos in support of the
             99      war against North Vietnam;
             100          WHEREAS, another interdiction effort, Operation Steel Tiger, was aimed at destroying
             101      the North Vietnamese flow of supplies and troops along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and involved
             102      heavy covert bombing in Southeastern Laos;
             103          WHEREAS, Operation Tiger Hound, initiated in support of both Barrel Roll and Steel
             104      Tiger, focused solely on disrupting movement along the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the lower
             105      portion of the Laotian panhandle and was initiated by the South Vietnamese Air Force and by
             106      United States Air Force units based in South Vietnam;
             107          WHEREAS, what was expected to be the usual two-day cease-fire in observance of Tet
             108      Nguyên Dan, the lunar New Year and the most important Vietnamese holiday, became an
             109      opportunity for the North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong to strike;
             110          WHEREAS, this large, well-coordinated surprise campaign on cities and U.S. targets
             111      throughout South Vietnam, named the Tet Offensive, was North Vietnam's attempt to end the
             112      war in one swift blow;
             113          WHEREAS, the morning of January 31, 1968, saw many provincial capitals and cities
             114      such as Saigon and Hue under siege from large numbers of Communist fighters who had
             115      apparently infiltrated the South in the months and weeks leading up to the planned offensive;
             116          WHEREAS, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, initially unprepared and overwhelmed,
             117      countered many of the attacks, and eventually gained back control by early March of all areas
             118      where the Vietcong were entrenched;
             119          WHEREAS, in the aftermath, many cities and towns in South Vietnam were
             120      devastated, with thousands of casualties sustained by forces and civilians in the South;

             121          WHEREAS, the Tet Offensive was evidence of North Vietnam's ability to stage a
             122      large-scale attack;
             123          WHEREAS, this turning point in the war would lead to a change in approach by
             124      political and military leadership, and change the way many in the United States viewed the war
             125      from home;
             126          WHEREAS, the first major bombing campaign on North Vietnamese territory,
             127      Operation Rolling Thunder was intended to place heavy military pressure on the North
             128      Vietnamese leaders and reduce their ability and desire to wage war against the U.S.-supported
             129      South Vietnamese government;
             130          WHEREAS, from 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North
             131      Vietnam;
             132          WHEREAS, leading up to the Tet Offensive, widespread protests and demonstrations
             133      against U.S. involvement and the continued loss of American lives were already taking place in
             134      the United States;
             135          WHEREAS, beginning in 1964, these protests and demonstrations led to a polarization
             136      of Americans, with one side continuing to support America's role in Southeast Asia and the
             137      other preaching peace and the end to U.S. operations in the region;
             138          WHEREAS, although most demonstrations were peaceful, some were highlighted by
             139      violence and, whether instigated by protestors or police, these confrontational events often
             140      received more attention than the war itself;
             141          WHEREAS, the North Vietnamese-led Tet Offensive in early 1968 brought a new wave
             142      of criticism from the American public as images of those events shocked many across the
             143      nation;
             144          WHEREAS, with many news outlets publicizing the horrors encountered in South
             145      Vietnam during that period, as well as the depiction of the attack on the American Embassy in
             146      Saigon, many Americans questioned the ability of the United States to resolve the conflict by
             147      use of military intervention and the validity of previous reports of successful operations in the
             148      region;
             149          WHEREAS, Operation Menu was a highly secretive bombing campaign of
             150      Communist-supported supply bases in Cambodia that the North Vietnamese used in aiding
             151      attacks on South Vietnam;

             152          WHEREAS, these controversial B-52 bombing raids in neutral Cambodia, authorized
             153      by President Richard Nixon, continued until 1973 when information about those raids was
             154      leaked and the devastation to the region was exposed;
             155          WHEREAS, public protests increased, and on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard
             156      fired on Kent State University students, killing four students, during a protest against President
             157      Nixon for sending American troops into Cambodia;
             158          WHEREAS, the killings resulted in a nationwide student strike;
             159          WHEREAS, the Vietnam War was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election,
             160      with President Nixon's opponent, George McGovern, campaigning on a platform of withdrawal
             161      from Vietnam;
             162          WHEREAS, starting in 1969, President Nixon's National Security Adviser, Henry
             163      Kissinger, carried on secret negotiations with North Vietnamese officials;
             164          WHEREAS, in October 1972, an agreement was reached, but South Vietnamese
             165      President Nguyen Van Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace proposal;
             166          WHEREAS, with negotiations deadlocked, President Nixon approved Operation
             167      Linebacker II, a massive bombing campaign by B-52 strategic bombers aimed at reassuring the
             168      South Vietnamese and forcing the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table;
             169          WHEREAS, in just 11 days, over 49,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North
             170      Vietnam, devastating the country and forcing North Vietnam back to the table;
             171          WHEREAS, on January 15, 1973, President Richard Nixon announced the suspension
             172      of offensive action against North Vietnam;
             173          WHEREAS, the Paris Peace Accords, the agreement signed on January 27, 1973,
             174      between North Vietnam and the United States and South Vietnam, effectively ended the
             175      conflict and began the complete withdrawal of American troops;
             176          WHEREAS, the key provisions of the agreement included a cease-fire throughout
             177      Vietnam, withdrawal of U.S. combat forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the
             178      reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means;
             179          WHEREAS, the South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new
             180      elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further or
             181      be reinforced;
             182          WHEREAS, little more than two months after the peace agreement, U.S. combat troops

             183      left Vietnam;
             184          WHEREAS, Operation Homecoming, a result of the Paris Peace Accords, made
             185      possible the return of nearly 600 American prisoners of war (POWs) held by North Vietnam;
             186          WHEREAS, groups of released POWs were selected on the basis of their length of time
             187      in prison, with the first group consisting of POWs that had spent six to eight years as prisoners
             188      of war;
             189          WHEREAS, after Operation Homecoming, about 1,350 Americans were still listed as
             190      prisoners of war or missing in action, and another 1,200 Americans were reported killed in
             191      action without their bodies being recovered;
             192          WHEREAS, these missing personnel would become the subject of an intense search by
             193      the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, with many remains of missing
             194      personnel located and returned in the decades since;
             195          WHEREAS, following the refusal of Congress to fund additional U.S. activity in
             196      Vietnam, all American troops and equipment were withdrawn from Vietnam;
             197          WHEREAS, Communist leaders in the North had expected that the cease-fire terms
             198      would favor their side, but even before the last American combat troops departed on March 29,
             199      1973, the Communists violated the cease-fire;
             200          WHEREAS, in Saigon, approximately 7,000 United States Department of Defense
             201      civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what was beginning to
             202      look like a fierce and ongoing war with Communist North Vietnam;
             203          WHEREAS, Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the cease-fire
             204      went into effect, at first started to push back the Vietcong, but by early 1974, full-scale warfare
             205      had resumed;
             206          WHEREAS, the Vietcong recaptured the territory it lost during the previous dry season,
             207      and during the rest of 1974 Communist forces took possession of additional areas in the South;
             208          WHEREAS, at the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000
             209      soldiers and civilians had been killed, making it the costliest year of the war;
             210          WHEREAS, in the spring of 1975, 20 divisions of the North Vietnamese Army invaded
             211      South Vietnam;
             212          WHEREAS, South Vietnamese forces fell back in disorder and panic, abandoning air
             213      bases, weapons, aircraft, fuel, and ammunition, and on April 29, 1975, Communist forces

             214      reached Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital, and quickly overran the city;
             215          WHEREAS, South Vietnam formally surrendered the next day;
             216          WHEREAS, April 30, 1975, also saw the last American civilians and military
             217      personnel still in South Vietnam airlifted out of Saigon by U.S. support forces;
             218          WHEREAS, statistics from the 1970 census indicate that 27,910 Utahns served in
             219      Vietnam;
             220          WHEREAS, 388 Utahns were killed, 14 are still listed as missing in action, and many
             221      more were wounded during their service;
             222          WHEREAS, a new exhibit, which honors and pays tribute to the sacrifices of POWs
             223      during the Vietnam War, opened September 12, 2012, at the Hill Air Force Base museum; and
             224          WHEREAS, it is fitting that in the 50th year since the beginning of the conflict Utahns
             225      reflect on the Vietnam War and its legacy:
             226          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
             227      Governor concurring therein, recognize the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and those
             228      who fought, suffered, and died in the conflict.
             229          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor urge the citizens
             230      of Utah to reflect on the service and sacrifice of many during the Vietnam War.
             231          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Veterans of
             232      Foreign Wars USA, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Utah Department of
             233      Veterans' Affairs, the Hill Air Force Base museum, and the members of Utah's congressional
             234      delegation.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-5-13 10:57 AM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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