The 'Vietnamisation' of the American role in the war in South Vietnam does not apply to the Thai troops stationed there.
The 'Vietnamisation' of the American role in the war in South Vietnam does not apply to the Thai troops stationed there. At least, not for the time being.
Last month, it was announced in Bangkok that Thailand had started discussions with the South Vietnam government on the withdrawal of the 12,000 Thai troops. Last Saturday, however, Thailand said the withdrawal plans had been put off indefinitely. A statement in Bangkok said this was at the request of Saigon who suggested 'a more suitable time' for talks on any pull-out.
The Thai troops operate out of Bearcat, a base 35 miles north of Saigon in Bien Hoa Province. This week they moved into a rubber plantation to look for Vietcong guerillas who occasionally rocket the Long Binh military complex and the Bien Hoa air base, 10 miles away, from the sanctuary of the rubber trees.
As usual, American jets bombed and strafed the area before the Thais moved in. They set an ambush unbeknown to rubber estate workers, many of whom the Thais say are pro-Communist, while American reconnaissance planes searched from above. The ambush yielded nothing - possibly because the planes gave the game away.
At night, flares were dropped into the area as heavy artillery opened up. By dawn, 155mm shells were still being lobbed into the suspected Communist positions. The sweep by Thai troops later continued. The body of one guerilla was found on the roadside skirting the plantation.