(Kim Ki Sam/Stars and Stripes)

Dien Ban, South Vietnam, Nov. 25, 1968: A Vietnamese toddler stares into the camera and stands on his wobbly feet supported by a Vietnamese middle-aged woman. American Marines and South Vietnamese troops 7,000 strong were conducting a cordon and search operation in the area, Stars and Stripes reported at the time.

The operation — which started Nov. 20 and would end Dec. 9, 1968 — systematically tightened a 15-mile circle in the “Dodge City” area south of Da Nang where between 200 and 900 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers were holed up in caves and dugouts. The nickname “Dodge City” was given due to frequent ambushes, firefights and rocket attacks on U.S. troops. Apart from eliminating those threats, one of the cordon’s other objectives was to kill or capture the estimated 150 Communist administrators [politicians] operating around Dien Ban. Vietnamese civilians found within the circle were moved to refugee camps to keep them out of the crossfire.

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