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Westmoreland’s Plane Hit by Ground Fire in Vietnam, General Uninjured

Apr. 24, 1964 - Communist ground fire today wounded six men aboard the plane of Lieut. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, second-ranking U.S. officer in Vietnam. General Westmoreland and 13 other persons escaped injury.

The incident occurred at an American special forces base in the extreme northern part of South Vietnam. Viet Cong guerrillas opened fire on the plane with small arms as it took off from an airstrip.

The plane, an Army Caribou designed for short runways, was leaving the Ashau Special Forces Camp, about 500 miles north of Saigon, for Da Nang when it was attacked.

Four Americans, including the pilot and co-pilot, were wounded slightly, as were two Vietnamese. The four Americans were treated and returned to duty. One of the Vietnamese was hospitalized.

General Westmoreland, deputy commander of the United States Military Assistance Command, was making an inspection tour with Alfred Hurt, deputy chief of the U.S. economic and technical aid mission.

General Westmoreland arrived in Vietnam recently to take up the role of principal aide to Gen. Paul D. Harkins, commander of the Military Assistance Command.

There has been widespread speculation that General Westmoreland, an expert on guerrilla warfare, may replace General Harkins later this year.

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