The War in I Corps

The mission of the Marine Corps in Vietnam was to defeat the NVA invasion of the northern provinces and reduce the threat of other enemy units infiltrated into the southern provinces of I Corps and the Main-Force VC. Starting in 1967, the U.S. Army joined the fighting in the northern provinces as well. The American war effort involved countless battles and skirmishes throughout I Corps. The enemy operated from sanctuaries in Laos and north of the DMZ. These staging areas allowed for the movement of enemy forces and supplies.

The mission of the NVA and Main-Force VC was threefold. First, they sought to weaken the Vietnamese government by conducting a war of terrorism against civilians. Second, they sought to defeat American units in the northern provinces and conduct harassing operations elsewhere. Third, they sought to create antiwar propaganda.

The North Vietnamese strategy proved costly as they suffered many defeats beginning in 1965 when the Marines started to clear the coastal areas and continuing with many DMZ actions, Khe Sanh, Tet 1968, Dodge City, and a series of enemy operations targeting Da Nang.  After years of fighting, the military and political situation had been altered by these defeats. 

The new strategy for the NVA and Main-force VC became to disengage and wait for a better day.  As a result, the decision was made to reduce American strength in I Corps.  The Marines Corps began its withdrawal from Vietnam during the last half of 1969.  Prior to this, 1st Air Cavalry Division was relocated from northern I corps to near the Cambodian border area.

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I Corps experienced heavy fighting with about half of the total American casualties during the war.  

I Corps Casualties: 

Province

Casualties

Marine

Percent

Army

Percent

Quang Nam

8084

6433

80%

1651

20%

Quang Tri

7532

5379

71%

2153

29%

Thua Thien

4278

1238

29%

3040

71%

Quang Tin

2986

819

27%

2167

73%

Quang Ngai

2972

547

18%

2425

82%

           
 

25852

14416

56%

11436

44%

 

The following is a list of the twenty provinces where the fighting was most intense. Quang Nam and Quang Tri had the most casualties of all provinces.

Order

Province

Casualties

1

Quang Nam

8084

2

Quang Tri

7532

3

Thua Thien

4278

4

Quang Tin

2986

5

Quang Ngai

2972

6

Binh Duong

2758

7

Tay Ninh

2675

8

Binh Dinh

2351

9

Kontum

1683

10

Hoa Nghia

1441

11

Bien Hoa

1328

12

Bia Dinh

1316

13

Pleiku

1084

14

Long An

1018

15

Binh Long

942

16

Dinh Tuong

835

17

Phuoc Long

685

18

Long Khanh

576

19

Kien Hoa

462

20

Khanh Hoa

447

Raw Data Source - VietNam Casualty Search Page

Vietnam Casualty Search Page