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A Tragic Story Of A Failed Commitment "to Keep A Village Free"

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 I brought my fishing poles plus gloves and baseballs over once.

The Americans finally left Phu Da in August 1970. Seven months later, in March 1971, the Communists slaughtered the village, burning 800 homes and killing and wounding 250 men, women and children. The peasants only crime… was they supported the Americans in the An Hoa Valley. Jack Cunningham was one of the last Americans to serve in this village.

You might hear of the Civic Action Campaign (Cong Tac Dan Su Vu) during the Vietnam war, a type of helping-hand works carried out by ARVN units or US Armed Forces to win the hearts and minds of the peasants. Unlike CTDSV which usually lasts only a few days, the Combined Action Program (CAP) was a long term commitment in which the participating soldiers would stay within the village, enhance the village people’s lives and provide security around the clock. The following article is a unique, untold story that began with an optimistic promise, unfortunately ended in a sorrow outcome. Perhaps this was an early omen for the fate of South Vietnam when the US started to pull out his troops, cutting short the commitment “to keep a village free”…



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