According to military historian, the late Colonel Harry Summers, USA (Ret) in his 1995 "Historical Atlas of the Vietnam War:" The Marine Corps' Operation Starlite on the Van Tuong Peninsula 12 miles south of Chu Lai in August 1965, was "the first major U.S. ground combat operation of the Vietnam." He quoted historian Edward Doyle and Samuel Lipsman, who said of Operation Starlite: "In the first major engagement between American forces and Main Force Vietcong soldiers," the Americans had been victorious." Later, he cited the U. S. Army's battle of the Ira Drang in November 1965 as the "beginning of direct massive involvement in ground combat operations…" for the United States. Starlite was the first major U.S. ground combat operation of the Vietnam struggle - the battle that "Americanized" the war.
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