Search and Destroy

The three most basic operations or missions were:

1. Search and destroy,

2. Clearing,

3. Security.

These terms and the concepts they described were new, and like most new names and ideas, they were understood by some and misunderstood by others. Best known and most misunderstood was search and destroy. Search and destroy operations began in 1964, before U.S. ground forces were committed. These operations were conducted to locate the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong main force units in and around their base areas and to attack them by fire and maneuver. Since enemy infiltration of the populated areas depended heavily on the availability of base areas near the population centers, destruction of close-in base areas received priority attention. Continue reading