March 8, 1965 was when the first United States combat troops arrived in Vietnam. They were sent to aid the 23,000 American military advisors already there in fighting the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese military. On this day, US marines also were sent. They landed at China Beach to defend an American air base at Da Nang and guard "important facilities."

US Combat Troops arrive in Vietnam

With this first wave of combat troops, United States commander of forces, General William Westmoreland, pushed Johnson to send more. The Joint Chiefs of Staff supported this request, believing the US either had to allow South Vietnam to succumb to Communism, or use America's military power. President Johnson allowed for more troops to be sent and soon allowed more to be in combat. This eventually led to the expansion of the draft back home. More than 180,000 American troops had been sent to Vietnam by the end of 1965.


"Vietnam Becomes an American War (1965–67)." Vietnam War Reference Library. Vol. 3: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2001. 91-112. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Dec. 2011.

"The Vietnam War: The Jungle War 1965-1968." The History Place. The History Place, 1999. Web. 11 Dec 2011. <>.