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Title: Revolving Door War: Former Commanders Reflect on the Impact of the Twelve-Month Tour Upon Their Companies in Vietnam
Authors: Helton, Bradley Dean
Advisors: Dr. Richard H. Kohn, Committee Member
Dr. Nancy Mitchell, Committee Chair
Dr. Michael Allen, Committee Member
Dr. Joseph Caddell, Committee Co-Chair
Keywords: tour of duty
twelve-month tour
individual replacement
Vietnam War
individual rotation
unit rotation
Issue Date: 6-Jul-2004
Degree: MA
Discipline: History
Abstract: The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of the US Army's twelve-month tour individual rotation policy for officer and enlisted personnel assigned to Vietnam between 1965-72 upon the tactical performance of companies. This inquiry drew upon the upon the views of a select group of officers attending the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania from 1981-85 that had commanded one or more companies during the war. Their views suggested a mixed aggregate effect. The army's rotation policy adversely impacted the tactical performance of companies by creating problems with continuity that forced companies to perform below their potential, sometimes leading to needless deaths of soldiers. The twelve-month tour further hurt morale by damaging the bonds of camaraderie between soldiers. But the tour also bolstered morale by providing soldiers with a known limit to the duration of their obligation to serve in combat. Therefore, the tour successfully alleviated many of the serious morale problems associated with the ineffective individual rotation policies attempted by the army during World War II and Korea.
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