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It was on December 11th back in 1961 when America experienced its first direct military Involvement in the Vietnam War. It was on this day when a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying army helicopters arrived in Saigon providing support for South Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas.

American military advisors had arrived in what was then French Indochina in the early 1950’s as most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S. It wasn’t until 1965 when regular U.S. combat units were deployed, following the aftermath of the Gulf of Tonkin incident when a U.S. destroyer clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft.

Eventually in April 1975, the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon and won the war. The Vietnam War came at a huge human cost in terms of fatalities. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.1 million. Some 240,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, 58,220 U.S. service members died in the conflict and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.