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President Kennedy Orders Marines to Thailand

May 12, 1962 - President Kennedy ordered today that U.S. naval, air, and land forces, including a battle group of 1,800 marines, move toward the Indochinese peninsula. The President’s reaction to a major military victory by pro-Communist forces in Laos promises to be a major new phase in the attempt to save the country from Communist control. The President was described by associates as taking an extremely serious view of the situation in Laos. They said the military movements were not just a traditional “show of force” but an effort to get into position for more direct action should it be required. Some of the U.S. Marine forces are believed to be headed for Thailand, whose border has been reached by pro-Communist forces in Laos. The Pathet Lao movement broke an uneasy cease-fire this week and seized control of most of northern Laos.

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