The US Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965
Create Post
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Cool The US Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965

    The US Intervention
    in the
    Dominican Republic, 1965

    The 1960s was the height of the Cold War. The names leapt off the pages of newspapers and into history; Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, The North Korean infiltration of the ROK, The Pueblo Incident and perhaps the least well known, The US intervention into the Dominican Republic.

    Coming of the Civil War

    Since the assassination of the dictator Truijillo in 1961, the situation in the had Dominican was unsure. When Truijllo's family tried to take control of the island following his death, Kennedy deployed the US Navy that November . He made it clear that it was time for Democracy in the Dominican. The Trujillo's were finished. Elections were held for the first time with leftist reformista Juan Bosch winning in a political race that involving 29 parties. He was soon overthrown by a civilian junta called the Triumvirate in 1963. Soon after this government crushed a 100 strong Castroist movement in the mountains that was launched against it by the end of the year. The next year a violent struggle erupted into the streets between two political parties. The first signs of trouble came when Triumvirate strongman Emilio de los Santos, resigned on December 23, to be replaced by Donald Reid Cabral.

    All this changed on April 24th a coup broke out. The National Palace in Santo Domingo was surrounded as was the Government Radio Station. By 3:00 in the afternoon Santo Domingo's streets were filled with looting and lawlessness. Cascos Blancos and the CEFEA tanks briefly retook the Radio Station held by communist agitators to maintain order but; they were simply outnumbered by mobs of (momentarily) unarmed civilians. The revolutionists called them selves Constitutionalists, the movement was a mix of lower ranking officers (and therefore younger), political opposition groups, and the mob on the streets. Some truly hoped that violence would lead to a restoration of 1963 constitution and democracy. Others were communists who had temporarily joined in with the reformers. However the largest group were mere rioters who took advantage of the weapons being passed out on street corners in the capitol and took up looting with the protection of their new firearms. These weapons passed out to the populace by the rebel forces would prove a problem for Dominicans long after 1965.

    On the 25th David Reid Cabral resigned and left the National Palace to the rebels. Rafael Molina Ureña was installed as their President. The Presidential Guard fell over to the Rebel side. However, the ever loyal CEFEA units slipped out and back to San Isidro suffering only a single wound and and only a few tanks. The Loyalist forces struck back the following day lead by Elías Wessín y Wessín who as commander of the CEFEA was in charge. Army tanks and aircraft bombed the Palace and a rebel areas. Losing a plane to ground fire. The dictator Reid Cabral had asked for US intervention that same day. The US ambassadors decided to wait it out. However, The influence of the Communist faction worried US President LBJ, while the Constitutionalists had control of the former military men the communist factions continued to arm the people and had control over these mobs. The loyalists failure to re-capture the capitol left many in Washington wondering if the Constitutionalists would attack other areas throughout the country as looting continued in the capitol. Johnson put the 82nd and Marines on full-alert and sent a fleet of of 41 vessels to blockade the island.

    President Johnson's role

    Johnson made it clear his intention was to avoid "another Cuba." Twice in the last 6 years communist insurgencies had tried to take the country. Most notably in 1959 when Castro landed a a small guerrilla force too "liberate" the island. It was quickly crushed.. Even Truijillo had flirted with the Soviet Union going so far as to allow Soviet radio broadcasts. Yet the humanitarian and historical concern cannot be over looked, as it has been by many historians. The country had been embroiled in conflict for much of it's post-Trujillo period and had made little reform. Many Dominicans were starving to death and out of work In the rural countryside the conditions were so bad that some girls were being sold into slavery.

    Historically the Dominican Republic was a strategic interest of the United States. In the post-Civil War era politicians had conspired to make the nation a part of the US. The US intervention in 1965 was actually the fourth in some 58 years the Marines had intervened to protect Americans and their property. As a result the Dominican Intervention unfolded not as the Cold War's Dominican crisis but; rather as the opposite. Nevertheless the operation unfolded like a classic modern US operation limited rapidly deployed combined forces achieved their objectives with minimum casualties. Also on the table was Johnson's personal history and the legacy of Kennedy's role in the affairs of the Caribbean. Johnson had personally visited the country in 1963 to attend the inauguration of Juan Bosch. In Johnson's mind the Dominican was sooner or later going to fall into the communist camp unless something was done while that movement was still weak.

    Landing of the Marines

    On April 27th, USS Boxer, an aircraft carrier evacuated 1,000 American civilians from the island. These Civilians were quickly airlifted to navy ships offshore. Some Marines landed on this day but; were unarmed and only served to help evacuate Americans. At the Hotel Embajador rebel groups lined up Americans and fired rounds over there heads and fired randomly into the hotel's windows. The Loyalists P-51 had silenced the rebel's radio station and the Navy returned to the Loyalist fold with a deadly barrage. Seeing the end Molina Urena abdicated and the true Constitutionalistas were leaving in droves. The Loyalist launched a raid across the Duarte Bridge which met with a group they described as "The defenders that fought like cornered bulls." . Santo Domingo's position in the free world seemed unsure as communist groups continued to gain control during this fighting while the moderate military leaders slipped away. The looting and shooting continued.

    On the 28th President Johnson ordered the Marines onto Santo Domingo at 6:53 PM this time with guns at the ready. Earlier that day the Cascos Blancos and a sizable weapons catch at the Ozama barracks fell that day to the rebels as a result the Loyalists asked for American Intervention. On that same day the US, El Salvadoran, and Ecuadorian Embassies had been fired upon by snipers. Johnson now armed with a legal pre-text sent the remaining Marines ashore. On the 30th, the 82nd Airborne pushed out San Isisdro and moved toward the capitol where it assaulted the Duarte bridge and captured a six city block radius on the other side. The Loyalists guarding the bridge were told to leave by the 82nd to avoid further fighting. The Marines occupied a 9 mile OAS declared International Security Zone and took 2 KIA and 8 wounded.

    Gen. Palmer takes Command

    Gen. Palmer took charge of all ground forces ashore on May 1st and faced a still dangerous situation as the two US forces were still badly separated and the Marines could only be effectively supplied by helicopter or by landing craft. Meanwhile at San Isisdro 90% of America's airlift capacity was be used in the operation. Thus on the night of May 2nd with OAS and American approval the ambitious operation Blue Chip was launched. The 82nd established a four-bloc corridor from their position at the Duarte Bridge to the ISZ. Loyalist forces were told to wear their caps sideways or backwards to avoid being confused as rebels. Three battalions secured the area by leap-frogging through each other. Only one casualty occurred, due solely friendly fire.

    LTG Bruce R. Palmer Jr.


  2. #2
    Now the US forces could maintain contact but; they could also prevent the various Dominican groups from fighting each other and isolated 80% of the rebels in the downtown area. The new corridor also allowed the US to distribute food and water to the populace more effectively as well as give medical assistance. The next few days saw an expansion of the perimeter and little activity on either side. The US Army's forces were restricted in their military behaviors and limited in weaponry. The Dominicans were allowed to pass freely through the checkpoints unarmed, with the exception of Loyalista police. However the rebels were discovered to e traveling under the checkpoints in the sewers so soon the Army quickly moved to place observers on this system.

    Throughout early May the Army expanded out of Santo Domingo to the countryside where special forces groups food, water and medical attention were delivered by helicopter to remote villages. They also monitored for possible Cuban infiltration.(1) The powerful Radio Santo Domingo continued to broadcast rebel propaganda. On May 13th it was bombed by the Loyalistas. However they were so sloppy that a US Marine and some Loyalistas were accidentally hit. Angered over their wounded comrade Marines, Constitutionalistas, and even some Loyalistas returned fire at the 5 P-51s. Their combined efforts downed one of the WWII -era planes. From then until the 20th the CEFEA conducted operations against the Rebel areas above the corridor eventually capturing the Radio Santo Domingo. More importantly in the diplomatic sense was the creation of the Government of National Reconstruction or GRN. This government combined some Constitituionalists with some members of the Junta established on the 28th along with a large body of "neutrals" and included a large number of popular Dominican politicians. This body showed signs of actually lasting and the US officially severed ties with the Loyalistas and stopped them from conducting air force or naval operations against the rebels. President Lyndon Johnson was furious about the unhindered Loyalista rampage against the Radio Station in the North of the city and ordered all support to the Loyalistas to stop the US was to be officially neutral. More importantly by this time US force commitment had peaked on May 10th with 22,500 by the end of the month the number was dropped as they were replaced by the IAPFers.

    The Rebel Offensive

    By June 6th the US forces were down to 12,000 and no Marines remained on the island. By mid-June the IAPF had occupied the National Palace and patrolled the communications "corridor." There had been small firefights as the rebels probed their lines all leading up to an expected confrontation on June 14th a national holiday. The predicated rebel offensive was one day late; it started 7:30 AM on June 15th. The Corridor bore the brunt of the offensive. Initially the US troops did not return fire but; soon they were fully engaged in the action as the Latin American Brigade and the 82nd Airborne fought hard. The rebels had carefully place HMGs, Mortars and even their tanks with 37mm Cannon. The US forces pushed south and captured 56 square city blocks and including some valuable positions(2) in house-to-house fighting but; they were ordered by Gen. Bruce Palmer to halt and reduce their position by 16 blocks. After all the US was officially neutral in the civil war.

    The fighting continued until the next day, however as Caaman~o lacked full control of the rebels. The Latin Americans had not advanced but; merely returned fire for which they had suffered 5 Brazilian WIA. The US had lost 5 killed and 36 wounded. The rebels had lost many of there best men suffering around 100 casualties. For the next few days they continued to probe the Brazilian positions with rock throwing and gunfire. But; the Brazilians kept calm. Operations were stagnant during the rest of the summer.

    By early fall Gen. Wessin finally left the country and CEFEA ceased to threaten democracy. Bosch returned and tried to continue to organize an underground rebellion with little success. On October 15th the perimeter came down and many ex-soldier rebels had voluntarily abandoned their positions in the capitol for a special camp were they could be re-integrated into the army. About 1200 armed rebels remained in the capitol at this time and firefights occasionally broke-out. On the 25th of October the IAPF pushed on from their positions into the heart of downtown. The psychological effect of the M48 Pattons crushed morale and without a casualty, the rebel's nation within a nation had been crushed. By the end of the month the Tanks had been withdrawn and life was being returned to normal in the capitol. Small fire-fights between groups of armed Dominicans continued to develop but; peace was returning. On June 1st, 1966 the national elections were held right on schedule and soon the IAPF the first Inter-American peacekeeping force of it's kind was disbanded.


    (1) The CIA revealed to Johnson that the month before the coup about 100 Cuban, Chinese or Soviet trained agitators had entered the Dominican Republic. Doubling the number of such individuals in the country.

    (2) including the oldest museum in the Americas and the hospital

    General Wessin y Wessin

    By January 1965 the United States was firmly committed to the ideological war with the Soviet Union. And by April, when the 82d was chosen to participate in OPERATION POWER PACK, the Army had changed from Pentomic or Battle Groups to ROAD (Reorganization Objective Army Divisions), which, with its brigaded battalions, was a much more flexible tool to counter communist aggression in various third-world nations. Now there would be a clear distinction made between conventional and nuclear operations. Mechanized infantry was introduced at battalion and division levels, and airmobility was facilitated in the 101st and 82d airborne divisions by the introduction of the helicopter. The 82d Airborne Division under ROAD would be able to rapidly configure itself for any contingency across the spectrum of conflict by adding to its common division base, various types of maneuver battalions in a building block fashion. And, lest we forget, the ROAD divisions were still capable of engaging in nuclear war with the newly fielded Davy Crockett weapon system.

    President Johnson stated it most succinctly when he said, "No President seeks crises. They come to him unbidden, and in legions. While April 24, 1965 began calmly enough, President Johnson would soon be forced into a military confrontation in the Caribbean that he had avoided one year earlier over crises in Cuba and Panama. What had changed in just one year that was important enough to risk the loss of American lives and prestige in Latin America, and perhaps, invoke a nuclear war in Europe?

    The answer rests with the American public opinion in 1965. President Johnson, was well aware that the American public would not stand for any political waffling on another Communist government in the Caribbean Basin, even if intervention meant earning a black eye from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the world at large. He said: "When I do what I am about to do, there'll be a lot of people in this hemisphere I can't live with, but if I don't do it there'll be a lot of people in this country I can't live with."

    There were also geopolitical and strategic reasons why the United States was prepared to risk confronting Communist aggression in the Caribbean. By shifting the scene of conflict from Berlin to Santo Domingo, it gave both nuclear powers room to maneuver without immediate doomsday repercussions. While critics of the intervention would downplay the significance of the relatively small island of Hispaniola, the economic, geographic and military facts of the Caribbean Basin display a clear picture of why the United States was willing to risk letting the nuclear genie out of the bottle.


  3. #3

    A statistical catalog of the region shows that 55% of the crude oil the United States used at that time and 45% of its imports and exports passed through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In the event of hostilities in the NATO Theater or the Persian Gulf, 60% of reinforcements and supplies needed to conduct operations would pass through these waters. The Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti was also a very important transit route for vital minerals such as manganese, nickel, bauxite, and iron ore. Despite the fact that many world leaders pooh-poohed the Domino Theory, if the United States had stood idly by and allowed Panama and the Dominican Republic to follow Cuba into the Soviet sphere of influence, this would have put a major choke hold on the trade in that region. Not to mention the fact that their proximity to the American mainland could conceivably be used as forward staging bases for further Communist aggression. Jerome Slater, a vociferous critic of the Dominican intervention, did concede, "If one assumes, as I believe we must, that there are at least as many militant cold warriors in the Kremlin as in Washington, the price of non-action in the Caribbean might have been more aggressive Soviet behavior elsewhere, say Berlin or the Middle East.

    President Johnson had shown his willingness to use diplomacy in the Panama and Cuban incidents, and it is likely that he would have preferred a collective security resolution to the April 1965 Dominican crisis, but what was lacking now, was time for political maneuvering. The rapid escalation from a not unexpected political coup to a totally unexpected civil war took just one day, and President Johnson heeded the advice of his Ambassador in Santo Domingo, W. Tapley Bennett, Jr., that American lives were in danger. If local Dominican authorities could not provide protection, the United States would provide its own. Furthermore, stabilizing this region would also enable the United States to commit its power in southeast Asia without having to worry about the security of the Western Hemisphere.

    First American Fatality

    OPLAN 310/2-63 called for XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters to be activated and for two Army battalion combat teams to be air-dropped northeast of San Isidro Airfield. When notified on the night of April 26th to prepare his division for combat, General Robert York, Commander of the 82d Airborne Division, discovered some serious problems involving communications and existing operations plans.

    The communication and coordination complexities of joint operations surfaced immediately. LANTCOM in Norfolk, Virginia and STRICOM at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida both owning a piece of this operation, began issuing competing orders to the 82d. This was never fully resolved but was somewhat alleviated when the Corps headquarters, upon arrival in Santo Domingo, established communications via C130 Talking Bird Aircraft directly to the Joint Chiefs. Critical information would go directly from Washington to Santo Domingo, with only administrative communications following formal channels through the Atlantic Command.

    The other significant challenge facing the Corps and Division was the fact that neither XVIII Airborne Corps nor the 82d Airborne Division had received the updated LANTCOM contingency plans. This meant that the Corps' plan did not have up-to-date troop lists, while the 82d's did not even reflect the current ROAD configuration, but called for the deployment of two or three battle groups, the main combat element for the now defunct pentomic division. This also meant that the table of organization and equipment attached to the plan was inaccurate. Finally, none of the plans allowed for the possibility that an entire division might have to deploy to the Dominican Republic.

    General York quickly determined that, in the absence of a plan, the first order of business was to craft a mission statement for the operation. The plan became an airdrop on San Isidro Airfield, expansion westward to the Duarte Bridge, and follow-on assistance to the evacuation order. This plan was surprisingly accurate given the fact that General York received only the sketchiest of intelligence on the identity, status, and location of friendly and unfriendly forces, and the location of key facilities in Santo Domingo

    At 1630 on Thursday, 29 April, General York was ordered to deploy the Division's Third Brigade (508th PIR) to Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. Two hours into the operation, General York was ordered to bypass Ramey and airland at San Isidro. This was a case of good news/bad news. The good news was the change from airdrop to airland for it meant that the Division would not suffer casualties on the San Isidro drop zone which was covered in sharp coral outcroppings. The bad news was the paratroopers would have to off-load heavy equipment rigged for parachute drop sans material handling equipment. This slowed things down considerably and forced the C130s to rack and stack to await their turn to off load.

    At 1630 on Thursday, 29 April, General York was ordered to deploy the Division's Third Brigade (508th PIR) to Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. Two hours into the operation, General York was ordered to bypass Ramey and airland at San Isidro. This was a case of good news/bad news. The good news was the change from airdrop to airland for it meant that the Division would not suffer casualties on the San Isidro drop zone which was covered in sharp coral outcroppings. The bad news was the paratroopers would have to off-load heavy equipment rigged for parachute drop sans material handling equipment. This slowed things down considerably and forced the C130s to rack and stack to await their turn to off load.

    After meeting with his Naval and Marine counterparts in country, York's plan was a battalion-size advance from the airfield to secure the Duarte Bridge and establish a strongpoint controlling the western approach to the bridge. This would form a line running northeast from the embassy area to the Ozama River. The Marines in the embassy area would hold the left flank, Loyalist troops would form the center and the Division would hold the right flank thereby dividing the city in half. The 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry, supported by Marine F-4 Phantoms, moved in two columns to secure the Duarte Bridge. It was at the Duarte Bridge that the division encountered a rather unusual problem. Since the Constitutionalists, who had defected from the military, and the Loyalists military wore the same uniform, it was impossible to distinguish friend from foe or as one Marine put it: "It's bad enough we can't tell a good guy from a bad guy, but on top of that they're all over the place!" The 82d's field expedient solution was to have the Loyalist military wear their hats backwards or to the side.


  4. #4
    Establishing a bridgehead and securing the area around it was a perilous operation requiring house-to-house searches while under sniper and automatic weapons fire. By mid-afternoon the bridge was secure to include the 1st Battalion of the 505th's capture of Santo Domingo's main power station and the establishment of a position atop an eight-story silo overlooking the rebel stronghold in Ciudad Nuevo. The entire operation had only resulted in five paratrooper casualties, none of them fatalities.

    If General York's original plan had run true, the junta troops would now begin patrolling the area between the 82d and the marines. Instead, the Loyalists with all equipment, returned to San Isidro. Until York received the requested four additional combat teams and permission to close the gap between the Army and the Marines, the plan to isolate the majority of the rebel forces in Ciudad Nuevo would have to be put on hold. While the Joint Chiefs okayed the additional troops, they could not get President Johnson's permission for the troops to advance across Santo Domingo. President Johnson was concerned that the additional show of force would give the OAS delegates more reason to vilify the United States. This subornation of military objectives to the State Department's concern about world opinion would haunt the entire operation. Seen retrospectively, this type of presidential decision (overruling solid principles of war to try and placate world opinion) did not portend well for traditional US military missions, and set up President Johnson for failure in Vietnam.

    By mid afternoon of April 30th, a cease-fire, facilitated by the Papal Nuncio, was negotiated among all the principals despite the fact that Ambassador Bennett believed it unwise to agree to a cease-fire while the rebels still controlled most of Santo Domingo.

    After only one day of intervention, President Johnson was coming under serious sniping of his own. The angry reaction of the OAS delegates, the press, and several notable members of the Senate and Congress, made him determined to end the hue and cry as quickly as possible. Deeming it less politically damaging to end the intervention quickly by overwhelming power projection, LBJ ordered General Wheeler to get the "best general in the Pentagon" to be the commander of US forces in the Dominican Republic. General Wheeler chose LTG Bruce R. Palmer, Jr. for that role with the stated mission of protecting American lives and property, and the unstated mission of preventing another Cuba. The last order General Wheeler gave to Palmer was probably issued with an eye to the political repercussions caused by the military intervention. General Palmer was to seek out the US Ambassador and "stick to him like a burr." General Palmer, who had been slated to assume command of the XVIII Airborne Corps in a few months, was ordered to leave for Fort Bragg immediately, pick up a bare-bones headquarters with communications support from the Corps, and fly posthaste to Santo Domingo. Taking his instructions seriously, Palmer arrived at the San Isidro airfield shortly after midnight in the first minutes of 1 May.

    What disturbed Palmer the most was the fact that, under the current cease-fire, US forces would have to live with the gap between the Army and Marine positions. The rebels had initiated a reign of terror and anarchy in Ciudad Nuevo and were able to move at will to reinforce their positions and to snipe at his troops in this gap. They were also using captured Radio Santo Domingo very effectively to incite crowds to further violence. On the other hand, the Loyalist troops under Wessin y Wessin had retreated across the Duarte Bridge to the San Isidro Airfield. Of the 30,000 Dominican soldiers, airmen and police at the start of the civil war, General Wessin now commanded less than 2,400 troops and only 200 national police. This was militarily unacceptable. A corridor had to be established between the two US positions. At 0900 on 1 May the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry sent a task force across the Duarte Bridge to see if contact could be made with the Marines in the International Security Zone, approximately two and a half kilometers away. By 1315 hours they had successfully linked up with the Marines, but had incurred the first 82d combat KIA since World War II. The successful linkup encouraged Palmer to ask the Joint Chiefs for permission to close the gap permanently.

    President Johnson approved General Palmer's plan with the proviso that Palmer gain the approval of the five-member OAS commission overseeing conditions in Santo Domingo. The commission agreed on the grounds that closing the gap would provide a land route for resupply and evacuation from the International Security Zone to the airfield at San Isidro. The operation began at one minute past midnight on May 3. Using a leapfrog method, the 82d encountered only light resistance and made contact with the marines one hour and fourteen minutes later.

    This Line of Communication (LOC) would be dubbed the All American Expressway by the 82d, and General York delivered a blatant psychological message to rebel troops by marching the 82d Airborne Division Band "All the Way" through this sniper infested corridor. The LOC allowed paratroopers to begin distributing food, water and medicine to the city's residents regardless of political affiliation. It also improved the military situation in that it split the rebel forces trapping the majority of Caamano's troops in Ciudad Nuevo. Most importantly however, the LOC ended any chance that either the Constitutionalists or the Loyalists could take control of the country by military means--both sides would be forced to negotiate a political end to the civil war. With the threat of the Dominican Republic's turning into another Cuba removed, the US was able to turn its forces from military peacemaking to the more political realm of stabilization and negotiation.

    On May 5th, just seven days after the first 82d paratrooper landed at San Isidro, the Act of Santo Domingo was signed by Colonel Benoit (Loyalist), Colonel Caamano (Constitutionalist) and the OAS Special Committee. The Act provided for a general cease-fire, recognition of the International Security Zone, agreement to assist relief agencies, and the sanctity of diplomatic missions. While the Act set the framework for later negotiations, it failed to stop all of the fighting. Snipers still shot at US forces, however, major fire fights between Dominican factions did subside for a time.

    Denied a military victory, the rebels quickly shifted to political-propaganda tactics by having a Constitutionalist "congress" elect Caamano "president" of the country. US officials countered by backing General Imbert, a national hero for his role in the assassination of Trujillo. On May 7th, Imbert was sworn in as president of the Government of National Reconstruction. The next step in the stabilization process, as envisioned by Washington and the OAS, was to arrange an agreement between President Caamano and President Imbert to form a provisional government committed to early elections. However, Caamano refused to meet with Imbert until several of the Loyalist officers were made to leave the country. Most notable of these was Wessin y Wessin. LBJ's personal emissary, John Bartlow Martin, suspected that radical elements within the Loyalists were deliberately trying to sabotage any political solution.

    In a move that caught almost everyone by surprise, the cease-fire was shattered not by Colonel Caamano, but by General Imbert who began Operation LIMPIEZA (Cleanup) on 13 May. Contrary to initial American expectations, General Imbert's forces were successful in eliminating pockets of rebel resistance outside Ciudad Nuevo and silencing Radio Santo Domingo. Operation CLEANUP ended on 21 May when General Imbert's forces reached the LOC to the south and the Ozama River on the east.

    By mid-May, a majority of the OAS voted for Operation PUSH AHEAD, the reduction of United States forces and their replacement by an Inter-American Peace Force (IAPF). The first contingent to arrive was a rifle company from Honduras which was soon backed by detachments from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Brazil provided the largest unit, a full reinforced infantry battalion commanded by Brigadier General Hugo Alvim. Alvim assumed command of the OAS ground forces, and on 26 May, the United States began withdrawing its forces. Since the Marines had been first in country, they would be the first to leave.


  5. #5
    For those All Americans remaining in country, peacekeeping duties would be a severe test of their discipline, personal courage, and ability to only apply force when absolutely necessary. Rules of Engagement would now be generated with an eye on more diplomatic than military considerations. Combat operations would be defensive in nature and soldiers would have to engage in activities normally performed by civilian agencies. An excerpt from the 307th Engineer record of their time in Santo Domingo gives a clear impression of what the combat soldier felt about these new restrictions.

    …"We couldn't fire until we were fired upon, we would hand out food to the people one minute and then be engaged in a fire-fight with the same ones the next…Clean up the streets, hell--we came here to fight!…Many times we had to drop our shovels and dive for cover as the sporadic fire from rebel rifles started hitting all around us."

    After the May 21st cease-fire, General Palmer began to place a greater emphasis on civil affairs, humanitarian aid and enforcing neutrality. However, distributing food and clothing brought the Marines and paratroopers into close contact with Dominicans from both political parties, and some friction between US military and the Dominicans was inevitable. For one thing, the US soldiers were seen increasingly as an army of occupation, especially when they were used to break up public demonstrations. This is where the 82d's experience in riot control discipline came in handy. The All Americans were one of the few units that had yearly riot control practice. They also had previous experience in maintaining discipline before angry mobs, having been used in desegregation disputes in Oxford, Mississippi and Detroit, Michigan. And it became increasingly evident that the soldiers would have to be very disciplined to obey the Rules of Engagement.

    The order not to fire unless fired on or in imminent danger of being overrun was imposed on the US soldiers due to the politicians' fears that too much aggressiveness on the part of the military would lead to a breakdown in diplomatic initiatives. It was unfortunate for the paratroopers who found themselves bound by these rules that once the rebels learned of the no fire order they increased their confrontations. To avoid becoming sniper fatalities, the troopers moved tactical operations from the street to the rooftop level. Rebel snipers caused most of the American fatalities--13 KIA and 200 WIA for the All Americans. The 7mm bolt-action Mauser rifle used by the rebels had very definite advantages over the newly fielded American M-16. It had greater range and its higher caliber passed easily through the lumber and concrete block construction common in Santo Domingo, while the M-16 was prone to jam frequently and lacked telescopic sights. The paratroopers countered this ballistic handicap with characteristic ingenuity. It didn't take them long to figure out that while doctrine might dictate buildings be cleared from the top down, doing so in Santo Domingo would earn you a one-way ticket home in a body bag. If taller buildings overshadowed a key objective, it would be cleared from the bottom up, with adequate covering fire to discourage the ever-vigilant snipers. Adequate covering fire included the 106-mm recoilless rifle, which had the advantage of not only killing the sniper but also destroying the building that had concealed him. Through admirable fire control the All-Americans quickly turned sniping into a suicide mission.

    It was this restraint, perhaps, that proved to be the key to obtaining the Constitutionalists and Loyalists signatures on the OAS-sponsored Act of Reconciliation in August. Now, from a peak strength of 24,000 in May of 1965, the US could safely begin redeploying the marines and paratroopers who helped engineer this rapprochement of brother with brother. The last All American would leave the Dominican Republic in September 1966 after Joaquin Balaguer was sworn in as the freely elected President.

    POWER PACK, as the first real deployment under the ROAD concept of tailoring a force for its mission, STRICOM mobility and Flexible Response, demonstrated that the United States could move rapidly, and forcefully when it believed its national or hemispheric interests were in jeopardy. Moreover, it showed that while deploying maximum force to get the job done quickly, those forces were disciplined enough to use only the minimum or appropriate force for the situation.

    Additional Sources:

    Controlled Fire on Snipers

    What was Accomplished?

    Several things were accomplished by the intervention:

    No communist government took hold.
    The OAS was strengthened.
    Precedent of Latin America working together was established
    Democracy was returned to the nation again.
    Humanitarian aid was distributed to the poverty stricken Dominicans.

    The Cost

    44 Dead
    27 KIA
    172 WIA
    111 injured
    1 MIA

    Allied Casualties
    6 Brazilian WIA
    5 Paraguayan WIA

    6,000-10,000 Dominicans were killed mainly civilians


  6. #6
    What are the names of us personal killed in the 1965 dominacian republic intervention

  7. #7
    Marine Free Member m14ed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Chaos, Massachusetts
    Quote Originally Posted by Donald morris View Post

    What are the names of us personal
    killed in the 1965 dominacian republic intervention ?
    Sweatpea -


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not Create Posts
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts