Cordon and Search Operation, 1st Bn 6th Inf, US Army Vietnam, 1968

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry sometimes were given the mission of conducting a
"cordon and search" operation.  Frequently this involved surrounding  a village or hamlet late at night,
placing ambushes along all the trails, and then entering at first light.  Local PF soldiers, called "white
mice" assembled all the villagers and began searching among the huts and population for any Viet
Cong who may have attempted to hide supplies and equipment or to blend in with the villagers.
The villagers were segregated by age and sex while ID cards where checked.  Photos below from
Aug 68 provided by Bill Kelley, 1/6 Inf 1968.

Children on the left and village men on the right.  Sometimes US Forces provided the cordon around
the village while local Vietnamese officials checked ID cards.

Looking after a thirsty little brother while the soldiers and officials go about their long and boring business.

Another view of the children, with women on the left. Student nurses standing in the rear waiting to treat the villagers were trained by the 1st Bn 6th Inf Surgeon and  Bn S-5 to treat minor ailments.

Local officials, here a District Chief and Popular Force Chief, addresses the villagers who had been
sitting for several hours. One observer commented, "I'm sure they thought this was the main purpose
of the operation, as they talked forever!"  While the politicians talked, medics and local nurses waited
to treat their ailments.  Hearts and minds can be won with less speeche making and more help.

Later in 1968, the 1st Bn 6th Inf stopped conducting this type of cordon and search operation because
they were unproductive when coordinated with Vietnamese officials.  Because of leaks to spies in the
Vietnamese hierarchy, the cordon and search operations were conducted without PF involvement.

Select additional photos from the index at left, or link to the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry  Home Page.