Bookends, South East Asia
On 11 May 1961, President Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam, also authorizing the use of CIA cutouts to work from Vietnam into nearby Laos and North Vietnam.
Fast forward to this week and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is hosting a three-day “Welcome Home! A Nation Honors our Vietnam Veterans and their Families,” in Washington, D.C., marking the 50th anniversary of when the last combat troops left South Vietnam in 1973.
Of course, Saigon held out for another two years with lots of low-key U.S. support, but that darker anniversary won’t be until 2025.