Essay on Land Clearing in Vietnam

Essay on Land Clearing in Vietnam

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Land clearing became an important mission during the Vietnam War after realizing that soon after infantry soldiers would sweep an area the enemy would temporarily leave, then return and be able to once again hide in the dense jungle forest. Without any prior techniques on how to remove the thick vegetation the enemy found safety in, General William C. Westmoreland, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, told his staff to begin exploring options of how to clear the jungle (Thomas).
Early experiments with a ten-ton or heavier hollow ball being towed by a ship anchor linked to two very, heavy tractors, a device similar to one used in Australia, a one hundred ton tracked tank-like vehicle and the three wheeled LeTourneau tree-crusher all were unsuccessful. The parts were either too hard to fabricate or were too heavy to transport and the LeTourneau tree-crusher was too vulnerable of a target because of its large size (Evans). Success finally came when the Rome Plow was introduced.
The Rome Plow was already being used in the United States to cut fire breaks before it was applied for use during the Vietnam War. Manufactured by the Rome Plow Company in Georgia, the Rome Plow is an oversized blade that was attached to a D7E dozer. The D7E dozer had a reinforced cage for the operator’s protection and had a tubular steel skeleton that extended from the cage to the front of the dozer that acted like a shield for the engine. The plow blade weighed more than two and a half tons, was wider than the dozer and as tall as a man. It was mounted at a thirty degree angle so that debris would be cast aside, had a spade that was curved more than the conventional earth-moving blade and it also had a reinforced steel stringer that ...


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...d no longer left a place for the enemy to conceal themselves in (Evans).
Despite all the hardships and hazards the Engineers of these innovative land clearing units faced, the number of Soldiers who re-enlisted or voluntarily extended their tours were constantly high during the Vietnam War (Evans). These Engineers would fight as infantrymen as well as perform their duties as plow drivers and mechanics. They referred to themselves as “Jungle Eaters” and were proud of all they accomplished (Massey).



Works Cited

Evans, R. (n.d.). Land clearing. Retrieved from www.59thlandclearing.org/pages/history.htm
Massey, D. (1970, september). landclearing engineers-vietnam 1967-71. Retrieved from www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/791086/posts
Thomas, J. (n.d.). u.s. armyland clearingengineersin vietnam1967-71. Retrieved from www.geocities.ws/plowmaster71/lcstats.html

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