January 1964: Vietnam

January 24
     The Studies and Observations Group (also called the Special Operations Group) is formed under the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Its mission: "to execute an intensified program of harassment, diversion, political pressure, capture of prisoners, physical destruction, acquisition of intelligence, generation of propaganda, and diversion of resources, against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)." (From U.S. Department of Defense; link: @)
* Summary (from modernforces.com): @
* Summary (from SOG Specialty Knives & Tools): @
* Video (from CNN documentary): @
* Presidential Unit Citation (2001; from specialoperations.org): @
* "MACV: The Joint Command in the Years of Escalation, 1962-1967" (Graham A. Cosmas, Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 2006): @
* "US MACV-SOG Reconnaissance Team in Vietnam" (Gordon L. Rottman, 2011): @

January 27
     Defense Secretary McNamara appears before the House Armed Services Committee in closed session (his testimony is made public on February 18) and insists that the "bulk of the U.S. armed forces in Vietnam can be expected to leave by the end of 1965," but that "the survival of an independent Government in South Vietnam is so important to the security of Southeast Asia and to the free world that I can conceive of no alternative other than to tak all necessary measures within our capability to prevent a Communist victory." (From "The Vietnam War Almanac," James H. Willbanks, 2009)
     Note: Though the testimony was not made "public" until February 18, The New York Times published stories about it on January 28 and January 30.
* Memo from Maxwell Taylor, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to McNamara (January 22; from the Pentagon Papers): @
* "Text of McNamara's Testimony on Southeast Asia" (New York Times, January 30; subscription required): @
* "US Still Is Hoping to Pull Troops Out of Vietnam in 1965" (Associated Press, February 18): @
* "No Korea in Vietnam -- McNamara" (Associated Press, February 19): @
* "Extracts of Statements by Robert S. McNamara on the Outlook in South Vietnam" (January 1, 1963 through December 10, 1965; from The Harold Weisberg Archive): @
* "McNamara's Statements Vary Widely After 9 Trips to Vietnam" (Associated Press, July 1967): @

January 30
     One military regime replaced another in embattled South Viet Nam. Maj. Gen. Nguyen Khanh took over in swift, bloodless coup merely by arresting the military leaders who had toppled the Ngo Dinh Dim government only three months ago. (From United Press International; full story: @)
* "Viet General Boots Junta, Takes Over" (Associated Press, January 30): @
* "Strongman Outlines Plans" (Associated Press, January 31): @
* "Viet Nam's Khanh Is Able, Puzzling Leader" (Col. Ray Cromley, February 7): @
* "U.S. Assessment of the Khanh Government, February 1-March 4" (from "Foreign Relations of the United States"): @
* Excerpt from "The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" (1992): @ 

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