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U.S. Army history from the year you were born

  • 1960: Laos is determined to be non-threatening

    Army strength: 873,078 people (0.48% of U.S. population)

    Three groups of the U.S. Army in 1960 were set to be deployed to southeast Asia. The battle groups were canceled when the government decided that there weren't any threats coming from Laos.

  • 1961: Green Berets receive real green berets

    Army strength: 858,622 people (0.47% of U.S. population)

    The Green Berets were given actual, green berets to wear for the first time in 1961 as a part of their uniform. President John F. Kennedy visited the group (the name for the U.S. Army Special Forces) at Fort Bragg in North Carolina to commend them for their service.


  • 1962: Army troops head to Florida airfields

    Army strength: 1.07 million people (0.57% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army in 1962 sent troops to Florida airfields that were closest to Cuban Missile ranges. The Army also received a convoy citation from a Virginia state trooper for an overloaded caravan.

  • 1963: Operation Biglift

    Army strength: 975,916 people (0.52% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army participated in Operation Biglift in 1963 in order to demonstrate its might. Almost 15,000 soldiers were flown over to Europe to show how fast the U.S. was ready to fight if need be.

  • 1964: South Vietnamese training begins

    Army strength: 973,238 people (0.51% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army in 1964 sent a mobile forces team to train the South Vietnamese. The entire plan was supposed to succeed and stop the Viet Cong by the end of 1964.

  • 1965: China Beach

    Army strength: 969,066 people (0.50% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army sent the first 3,500 combat troops to Vietnam on March 8, 1965. The men, who landed at China Beach and joined 23,000 American military advisors already there, were sent in defense of the American air base at Da Nang in the wind-up to the Vietnam War. That same year, President Lyndon Johnson authorized air strikes on the North Vietnamese.

  • 1966: Army forces in Vietnam number 200,000

    Army strength: 1.2 million people (0.61% of U.S. population)

    More than 200,000 U.S. Army soldiers were stationed at various bases throughout Vietnam in 1966. Army officers worked with their South Vietnamese counterparts.

  • 1967: Operation Malheur I and II

    Army strength: 1.44 million people (0.73% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army conducted Operation Malheur I and Operation Malheur II as a series of search and destroy actions intended to thwart Viet Cong force activity in the northern reaches of South Vietnam. Air assaults effectively disrupted activity but failed to end it; the operations contributed to the 6,400 civilian casualties reported for the province that year.

  • 1968: My Lai massacre

    Army strength: 1.57 million people (0.78% of U.S. population)

    In the My Lai massacre in March 1968, soldiers massacred hundreds of unarmed people in the Sơn Tịnh District, South Vietnam, including children and monks. Until it was challenged by a helicopter pilot, the Army called My Lai a victory. Earlier in 1968 came the Tet Offensive, a series of attacks against the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the U.S. Armed Forces, and allies by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam. The offensive represents one of the widest-reaching military actions of the Vietnam War.

  • 1969: The Battle of Hamburger Hill

    Army strength: 1.51 million people (0.75% of U.S. population)

    In the bloody 1969 Battle of Hamburger Hill, U.S. soldiers fought for control of a 3,000-foot-tall hillside in a remote part of South Vietnam. The battle kicked off Operation Apache Snow, a calculated offensive against the northern People's Army of Vietnam. The Battle of Hamburger Hill—expected to take several hours—went on for 11 days and 12 assaults, and caused 72 American deaths, more than 370 American injuries, and more than 630 North Vietnamese casualties. After winning the hill, the U.S. Army abandoned it and Vietnamese troops reoccupied it.

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