Support: July 17, 2001


One of the less well known results of Vietnam war was the decline of the U.S. Army's combat engineers. Thus process actually began before Vietnam, in the 1950s, when many of the best engineer officers when into the Engineer Corps civil works projects. When Vietnam came along, the army engineers had a lot to do in Southeast Asia. Actually, they had more than they could handle. Many civilian engineering firms were brought in to help out. But army engineers were also stripped from units in Europe. American troops in Europe, getting ready to do battle with the mighty Red Army, learned to get along without many engineers. After Vietnam, that attitude did not change. The engineers have never recovered the prominent position they had on the battlefield during World War II. The other combat arms have acquired a lot of their own engineer equipment and trained to perform a lot of what was previously done by the combat engineers. There are still combat engineers, just not as many of them. And because they are not seen to be as crucial as they once were, the engineers don't get the money, or attention, they once had. The engineers feel this is a short sighted attitude that won't be recognized until there's another major war, and it's too late. 


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