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“Operation Morning Star” in Vietnam an Expensive Failure

Oct. 19, 1962 - One of the largest operations against the Communists in recent years in Vietnam came to a quiet close yesterday. It was, in the opinion of Americans in South Vietnam, a long and expensive failure. Up to 5,000 troops were used each day for a week, carried from place to place by 20 helicopters, and supported by armored personnel carriers. Despite the size of the campaign, named Operation Morning Star, no one in Saigon has given a briefing on it or even announced the number of Communists killed. The figure was estimated to be 45. The principal target was a Viet Cong stronghold in Tayninh Province and the area along the Cambodian border where the South Vietnamese Government has not conducted military operations in several years. Much of the intelligence for the operation has been termed faulty. On occasions when it was said to have been good, the Viet Cong seemed to have been one step ahead of the Government troops. In the target area in Tayninh, the Viet Cong network of tunnels was so effective and thorough that one captured Communist told Government a company of South Vietnamese regulars had stood directly above a dugout hiding Communists without detecting them.


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