First Indochina War
The First Indochina War began in French Indochina on December 1st, 1946. However, fighting between French forces and the Viet Minh dated back to September 1945. The war lasted until August 1st, 1954. The first few years of the war involved a rural insurgency against the French authority in Vietnam. The Chinese accepted the Vietnamese government under Ho Chi Minh, created by resistance forces of the Viet Minh. Ho Chi Minh created the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) but it was soon overthrown by French forces. However, after the Chinese communists reached the northern border of Vietnam in 1949, the conflict turned into a conventional war between two armies equipped with modern weapons, which were supplied by the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States increased their involvement in the war by sending supplies and other aid to the French and South Vietnamese. The U.S. did not want to see Communism take over Vietnam.
Operation Starlite was launched on August 18, 1965, involving 5,500 US Marines and 1,500 Viet Cong soldiers. A deserter from the First Vietcong Regiment had revealed that an attack was imminent against the U.S. base at Chu Lai. The operation was conducted as a combined arms assault involving ground, air and naval units. It was a plan to launch a pre-emptive strike against the Viet Cong to exterminate the threat on the vital Chu Lai Air Base and Base Area. To the Americans, the battle was considered a great success for U.S. forces. Operation Starlite was the first major offensive action conducted by a purely U.S. military unit during the Vietnam War.