Regardless of what you think of this war, it is worth remembering that it's always the young who bear the heaviest cost of the decisions the "best & the brightest" make. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the wheels being set in motion for escalated US involvement. Prior to 1965, 416 Americans were killed in action. From 1965-1975 - 57,800. Howard-related because we have all heard about his "VC ear necklace" a million times. 1 March - Ambassador Taylor met with generals Nguyen Van Thieu and Tran Van Minh in Saigon to request permission for the assignment of the Marines to Danang airbase. The generals raised no objections but asked that the Marines arrive "in the most inconspicuous way feasible." 8 March - Two battalions of U.S. Marines began to land on beaches near Danang. The arrival of the Marines heralded the direct involvement of American combat units in the Vietnam War. The Marines had the responsibility of guarding the Danang airbase but were ordered to "not, repeat not, engage in day-to-day actions against the Viet Cong." By the end of March the Marines at Danang numbered almost 5,000. The "beach" pictures below are from the initial landing. The others are from around Danang in in the summer of 1965. Howard- This last one haunts me. Did this young man make it home?