SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE-ESTABLISHMENT NO. 22-VIKAS REGIMENT- OPERATION EAGLE 1971 AND THE VIETNAM WAR:
The military action in the Chittagong Hill Tracts that initiated the Liberation of Bangladesh during 1971 is known as Operation Eagle. This military action used the military power of ‘The Bald Eagle’ and is executed by ‘The Golden Eagle’ without getting the formal approval or sanction of the US President.
Operation Eagle was a very modest military confrontation as compared to the Vietnam War. However, a comparison must be made to understand the use of military force to defeat an enemy to obtain a political objective. The Operation Eagle was executed using US weapons, ammunition, US military radios, medical supplies, assorted tools and equipment, field gear, and U.S. Military Field Rations-Meals Ready to Eat or MREs that the US Army was using in the conduct of the Vietnam War.
The military objectives of the Vietnam War could not be accomplished because of the reliance placed upon aerial bombardment to defeat the enemy. Operation Eagle was small in its scope and size. But, it did not rely upon the use of aerial bombardment. We operated on a ‘manpack’ basis, went in search of enemy positions, and directly challenged the enemy at his own post. United States failed to attack the enemy on the ground during the Vietnam War. To defend South Vietnam, the military strategy and planning would call for Infantry attacks on the enemy inside North Vietnam. United States used more bombs as compared to the number of bombs that were dropped during the Second World War and yet could not dislodge the enemy from his entrenched positions. We need to fight and engage the enemy on the ground. Secondly, during Nixon’s presidency(1969-1974), while engaged in War, the President conceded the battle by befriending the Enemy.
OPERATION EAGLE 1971 AND THE VIETNAM WAR INFANTRY WEAPONS AND FIELD GEAR:
A military action by Infantry is best understood by examining the weapons that are used. During Operation Eagle 1971 and the Vietnam War, the Infantry used the same kinds of Infantry weapons. We must ignore the sophisticated technology and the firepower of United States Navy and Air Force. The battle must be won on the ground. During Operation Eagle 1971 we used the same Infantry weapons, equipment, and other supplies more effectively in our battle as compared to US Armyin its combat missions against its enemy in Vietnam. We did not use helicopters as gunships or to attack the enemy in support of ground troops. I would like to share some of the photo images of the Infantry Weapons and equipment that were used in the Vietnam War and which I have seen during Operation Eagle 1971.
WAR AND PEACE – A FAILURE OF U.S. DIPLOMACY:
United States failed in Vietnam as it failed to develop a clear vision to achieve its goal of resisting and containing the expansion of Communist Power in Southeast Asia. U.S. efforts to stop the spread of Communism got derailed by Dr. Henry Kissinger who chose the option of backstabbing people who support the United States in its global mission to oppose Communism using diplomacy and military power. U.S. gave away a lot during the Paris Peace Talks basically defeating the accomplishments of its military and literally ridiculing their sacrifices. The several concessions given to the Peoples’ Republic of China to win its cooperation failed to stop the flow of military assistance to North Vietnam.
The establishment of US-China relations gave no advantage to the United States for its War in Vietnam. United States added insult to its own injuries by seeking the support of Communist China to attack India across its Himalayan frontier in the North East Frontier Agency in a vain bid to stop India in its efforts to liberate Bangladesh during 1971.
THE BALD EAGLE AND THE GOLDEN EAGLE CONNECTION:
My Unit participated in Operation Eagle during 1971-72 to gain practical experience of Infantry Combat Operations to fight against Communists in a future battle.
The Operation Eagle 1971-72 was inclined towards peace. It intended to deliver peace to the people of Bangladesh who declared their independence from Pakistan during March 1971.
The War in Vietnam is over and yet the threat of Communism still persists in Southeast Asia. To deliver peace to people of Southeast Asia, the United States must learn from its failure in Vietnam. The failure was not that of the US Army which willingly sacrificed the lives of over 58,000 of its fighting men and women. The US political leadership had failed the US military mission in Vietnam. United States must seek assistance from the people of Southeast Asia and fight its enemy on the ground and dislodge the enemy in a ground battle.
Dr. R. R. Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Service Number: MS-8466, Rank. Captain,
Branch: Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission. Designation: Medical Officer, South Column Operation Eagle 1971-72.