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Viet Cong Proving a Tough and Elusive Foe in South Vietnam

Apr. 18, 1962 - The Communist insurgents (pictured) are still winning most of the clashes in the arc of South Vietnamese provinces from the Cambodian frontier to the South China Sea. They are scoring victories despite better training and better arms for the Government forces and despite the fact that U.S. military advisors attached to Military Region 31, which is comprised of the 9 northern provinces, have increased from 12 at the start of the year to 142. The Communists are better trained and better armed than six months ago, according to Maj. Samuel J. Merrill of Palatka, Fla., administrative officer of the American detachment. “When I arrived last September,” he recalled, “the Viet Cong were rarely encountered in groups exceeding four or five. Now, they are frequently met in bands of 40 to 60. They used to run away on the approach of Vietnamese troops. Now, they sometimes stand and fight. That’s an indication of more leadership and training and better equipment.” General Curtis E. LeMay, Chief of Staff, arrived in Vietnam today for a three-day inspection of U.S. assistance there.

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