General Wallace M. Greene Jr. was the 23d Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving from 1964 to 1967, a period in which American involvement in Vietnam increased dramatically. The Greene Papers: General Wallace M. Greene Jr. and the Escalation of the Vietnam War, January 1964-March 1965 contains more than 100 documents from the personal papers of General Greene and is the first edited volume of personal papers to be published by the Marine Corps History Division as a monograph. Produced by a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Greene's notes provide readers with a firsthand account from one of the main participants in the decision-making process that led to the commitment of a large-scale American expeditionary force in Southeast Asia. Because of President Lyndon B. Johnson's reticence to regularly consult the Joint Chiefs on military matters, however, the notes also give readers a second point of view: that of a frustrated advisor kept on the outside and forced to look in, observe, and reflect on major military decisions often made without his input or support. Also apparent are the tensions between Greene and President Johnson's aggressive and domineering Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara.
This volume begins in January 1964 and ends just before the landing of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Da Nang on 8 March 1965, a pivotal moment that marked the official transition from the United States' advisory mission to a more active combat mission. In doing so, it traces Greene's growing frustration with McNamara's and Johnson's equivocation and uncertainty about Southeast Asia. Along with a series of commemorative pamphlets, this book is part of the Marine Corps History Division's effort to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War.