Here is a link to an interesting article and collection of photos of the early Vietnam war.
The U.S. took their final step into the Vietnam war in 1965 when we sent 3500 marines as our first ground troops. Ever since the fifties, the U.S. had supplied South Vietnam with all sorts of aid against their Communist opposition, but this was our first real active participation in the war. Over the next few years, thousands of bombing runs and hundreds of thousands of more troops poured into the country to face the Viet Cong guerrillas. This war against Communism would not be resolved easily as millions of casualties (at least 1.5 million dead) brought devastation to both sides of the conflict.
Of the many photos included in this summary of the early war, number five caught my attention. It displays the peaceful Perfume river in 1963 with a napalm bomb exploding against the horizon. Although this preceded the introduction of American ground troops, it was an early indicator that Vietnamese civilians would receive a generous portion of the war’s suffering. As peaceful citizens travel down the river in their daily routine, there villages were burned in the name of a government they might not even take part in. This situation was certainly not one of a kind in the Vietnam war. Throughout the sixties and seventies, the U.S. dropped nearly ten times as much napalm as they had in Korea, bringing devastation to entire regions of the once prosperous lands of Vietnam.