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Two weeks after the offensive started, the Defense Department estimated that the North and its allies had lost more than 33,000 soldiers, compared with 2,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 1,000 Americans. The Viet Cong’s “regular units were decimated and would never completely recover, and its political infrastructure suffered crippling losses,” Vietnam War historian George Herring wrote of Tet’s impact. generals argued was on the ropes had managed a coordinated assault that struck 36 provincial capitals, the six largest cities in South Vietnam and even the U. Less than a month after the first Tet assaults on Jan. William Westmoreland from his command of the war as well.

But the boldness and sophistication of the coordinated attacks was a massive blow to public confidence in the U. about the course of the war and the Pentagon’s plan to win it. CBS newsman Walter Cronkite famously proclaimed that, after Tet, an outright U. victory in the war was no longer feasible and a negotiated peace was the only way to avoid a military stalemate with the regime in Hanoi.

But on that day, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army launched a series of calculated, coordinated attacks against every major American military position from the demilitarized zone in central Vietnam right into the heart of Saigon.

30.“Normally during Tet, there were always some attacks,” he said.

But after hearing reports about concurrent attacks on Saigon, Hue, Da Nang and elsewhere, platoon members knew they were facing an assault unlike any other to date in the war.“What the information was that there were 40,000 hard-core NVA” waiting to pour into Khe Sanh,” he said. And we thought they are coming for us.”The first full day of Tet was harrowing for the Marines, who were hit with 1,400 heavy artillery, Mr. Mortars, artillery, rockets, everything ,” he said. There was little time to rest, much less sleep, during the onslaught.“Alpha Company ended up getting overrun” during the early days of Tet, Mr. Sleep became an even dicier proposition as American B-52 bombers pounded North Vietnamese positions in and around Khe Sanh as part of Operation Arc Light.

I decided to go to Ohio State instead.”Looking back, Mr.

Rider said what got him though those difficult days in central Vietnam were the bonds he forged with his fellow Marines.“The Marines who died [in Khe Sanh] gave their lives for their brothers,” he said.

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