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Old 02-06-2013, 12:08 PM
The Rifleman The Rifleman is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vt
Posts: 128

This is a very interesting post. You're right, it DOES show that there was a heavy deployment in Vietnam and appears to be light in there rest of the world. However the deployment of forces is not as signifgant as it appears.

First as a backdrop, the US army standard was, following world war 2, a supposed two war standard, having the capability to fight 2 full wars at the same time, such as Japan and Germany. Its important to note that in 1960s, this standard didn't mean that they could fight both wars immediately at the same time, but within a reasonble short amount of time. This was later changed to a one and a half war standard in the 90s, meaning a full war in europe and something smaller elsewhere.

In "ringed in steel" the executive officer (and careerist) in the US Army's 11th ACR complained that spare parts and new vehicles were going to Europe, left overs where going to Vietnam. I know that I've seen other sources as well, but can't quite remember well. Also, something to keep in mind is that the leftover WW2 stocks of equipment were still in hand, especially ships. The mothball fleets of the 60s were a lot bigger then they are today. This is important because when talking about REFORGER, the hardest thing to do is manage the logistics of moving the army from CONUS to europe.

It is an interesting paradox, because even though the bulk of the new hardware was going to Europe, the bulk of the draftees were going to Vietnam. Also, the bulk of the career NCO corps was there as well. However, its important to note that although there were quite a few 2 and 3 term veterans, they weren't left there until they were KIA. They rotated them out and back to other duty stations, along with the officers too. Its also important to remember that this wasn't today's volunteer army. It was a draftee army with a very large NCO corps as a base. The divisions other then those deployed to Vietnam could be brought up to 100% strength in a matter of months. In the war on terror, all of the old WW2 training centers that have been shut down for years, like Atterbury and Shelby, were re-opened for buisiness. The army reserve drill sergeant units would be receiving and training them as replacements rather quickly.

As far as the comments about the national guard, thats a very large hole in this assumption that should be addressed. Until even recently, there are many Vietnam veterans that were still in service. I've had the oppertunity to speak to them for uncounted hours and uniformly they told me that the national guard was always at 125% strength. This is because service in the guard meant no deployment to Vietnam. They even told me that when soldiers didn't come to drill, they were transferred to active duty or discharge, thus available for deployment and someone new was brought in.

Also, I remember that in 1993 there was a huge downsizing of the guard. There were a massive number of National Guard Divisions available, even with older equipment. Another important thing to remember is that in the same 1993-1994 downsizing, the Army Reserve lost its combat elements. Back down, those too were quite extensive. Just a small example of what was in New England when I was a private:

New Hampshire: A reserve infantry brigade from the 94th ARCOM, I believe it was the 187th.

Vermont: The 86th Armored Brigade

New York: The 27th Infantry Brigade, the 42nd Infantry Divsion (with 3 full NY NG brigades)

Massachussets: The 26th Infantry Division (2 brigades) The 94th ARCOM (1 tank brigade)

Conneticut: 43rd Infantry Brigade

New Jersey: 50th Armored Division (2 brigades)

Pennslvania: 28th Infantry Division (3 brigades)

14 combat brigades = 70,000 combat troops in just new england

Under the cold war ARFGEN cycle, it took 6 months to get a NG Brigade sized or bigger unit mobilized and overseas. In the greater scheme of a full scale war, thats not long.

Overall, I think that its interesting to see what kind of drain the war put on the army, but at the same time, I don't think that it wouldn't be able to fight and win if another battle occured elsewhere at the same time. Thanks for posting. I didn't realize that a couple of those independant brigades and the 14th ACR existed into the 60s.
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