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First Lts. Patrick McDonald and Bert McIntyre, Soldiers with the 131st Engineer Company, Vermont National Guard, inspect North Vietnamese artillery shells after an attack. McDonald is from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and McIntyre is from Pittsford, Vermont. Photo by retired Sgt. 1st Class Ross Andrews, 131st.org; used with permission.
This conflict was fought mainly in South Vietnam from 1959-1975. It was started initially by the North Vietnamese Viet cong guerillas who were attempting to overthrow the South Vietnam government of Ngo Dinh Diem.
Fighting on one side was a coalition of forces which included the United States, the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
The North Vietnamese alliance of forces included the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the National Liberation Front, a communist led South Vietnamese guerrilla movement. These forces were backed largely by the Chinese communist regime.
This conflict has also been considered another "proxy" war between the United States and its allies and the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and China. The war was part of a larger regional conflict involving the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos, which was also known as the Second Indochina War.
This was a long and costly war for the United States. Approximately 51,000 soldiers died from 1959 through 1973, when the U.S. troops were withdrawn. Another 150,000 troops were wounded during this same period. More than 1,500 service members are still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Click here for a list of Vermonters killed during the Vietnam War as listed by the National archives.