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Laos / South Vietnam Withdrawal / Order Refusal / Nixon #215654

CBS Evening News for Tuesday, Mar 23, 1971
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(Studio) United States copters withdrawing from Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, Laos operation nears end; 2,000 South Vietnam still in Laos; North Vietnam commandos attack Khe Sanh.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

(Khe Sanh, South Vietnam) Platoons refused order to recover damaged "track" (armored personnel carrier), down Highway 9; pulled back to rear base near Khe Sanh. [Sp/4 Robert CURRAN - in response to reporter questions: recovering "track" not worth risking lives; earlier rescued Captain and crew under heavy enemy fire in same area; "track" crews talked among selves, then among each other, to reach decision; hopes not in trouble as result of refusal; should not released Captain, actually refused Colonel] Brigadier General John G. Hill, Junior says can shoot men for refusal; takes no action, men still in field doing duty. Men willing to return to action if justified.
REPORTER: Jed Duvall

(S)Defense Department Spokesperson Jerry Friedheim says South Vietnam stayed longer in Laos if enemy not resisted so strongly. President Nixon complained in interview last night; news reports concentrated on 4 of 22 South Vietnam battalions in trouble in Laos.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

(DC) Pentagon able to identify only 1 of 4 battalions Nixon referred to; Saigon sources decline to identify battalions. Newsmen confined to US press helicopter and occasional rides from South Vietnam helicopter pilots during Laos operation; information mostly from returning United States helicopter pilots.
REPORTER: Bob Schieffer

Cronkite, Walter;
Duvall, Jed;
Schieffer, Bob

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