The 23,000-man American Division -- largest in the U.S. Army -- ended its fighting role?
The 23,000-man American Division -- largest in the U.S. Army -- ended its fighting role in South Vietnam on thursday (11 November) at its home base at Chu Lai, 350 miles (560 km) northeast of Saigon. The withdrawal preparations for the American Division came on the eve of President Richard Nixon's announcement of further troop withdrawals from South Vietnam.
Mr. Nixon announced that he would pull another 45,000 troops out of Vietnam by the end of January, and he proclaimed the end of the U.S. ground combat role in South Vietnam. The President's latest withdrawal plan will trim the number of U.S. forces in Vietnam to 139,000 by the end of January.
The American Division became operational on 20 April 1967, and in less than one year was embroiled in one of the biggest controversies ever to tarnish Army annals -- the My Lai massacre in which more than 100 South Vietnamese civilians were alleged to have been shot by its infantrymen. In an effort to shake off the notoriety, which the My Lai incident brought, the American reverted to calling itself by its original name -- the 23rd Infantry Division.