Forty years ago today, 3,500 Marines went ashore at Da Nang in South Vietnam. By the end of the year, there would be over 180,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam.
The deployment in Da Nang, the first insertion of American combat troops into the country, came in response to a request by Gen. William C. Westmoreland, commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam. Up to this point, Americans in Vietnam were involved principally in training the South Vietnamese Army. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution adopted by Congress the previous summer had opened the way for more extensive U.S. involvement in the war.
By the time South Vietnam's capital Saigon fell in 1975, a total of 58,209 American troops had been killed in Indochina.
U.S. Marine, Da Nang, March 1965