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General William C. Westmoreland Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

GENERAL WILLIAM C. WESTMORELAND
Born: March 26, 1914 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
Died: July 18, 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina
Biography | show moreshow less
William C. Westmoreland (1914-2005), who took command of US forces in Vietnam in June 1964, arguing for a large build-up of US forces there and pursuing a "search and destroy" strategy of seeking out and engaging enemy forces in remote areas of the country, as opposed to a more defensive strategy of protecting heavily populated areas. This strategy inflicted very heavy losses on communist forces, but also raised US casualties with a resulting outcry at home. After repulsing the communist "Tet Offensive" of early 1968, a military success for Westmoreland but a public relations disaster, Westmoreland was recalled to Washington, replaced by General Creighton Abrams. He then served four years as US Army Chief of Staff (1968-1972), before retiring. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of South Carolina in 1974. In 1982, Westmoreland sued CBS over a documentary claiming that he had deliberately misrepresented enemy force strength in Vietnam. The case was settled with an apology from CBS but no monetary damages before it reached the jury. Westmoreland always believed that the US had won the Vietnam War militarily, but that Congress had abandoned South Vietnam by withholding adequate aid after US forces were withdrawn.
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