1962 in the Vietnam War
The Viet Cong insurgency expanded in South Vietnam in 1962. U.S. military personnel flew combat missions and accompanied South Vietnamese soldiers in ground operations to find and defeat the insurgents. Secrecy was the official U.S. policy concerning the extent of U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam. The U.S.'s commanding general of MACV, Paul D. Harkins, projected optimism that progress was being made in the war, but that optimism was refuted by the concerns expressed by a large number of more junior officers and civilians. Several prominent magazines, newspapers, and politicians in the U.S. questioned the military strategy the U.S. was pursuing in support of the South Vietnamese government of President Ngô Đình Diệm. Diệm created the Strategic Hamlet Program as his top priority to defeat the Viet Cong. The program intended to cluster South Vietnam's rural dwellers into defended villages where they would be provided with government social services.North Vietnam increased its support to the Viet Cong, infiltrating men and supplies into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh trail. North Vietnam proposed negotiations to neutralize South Vietnam as had been done in neighboring Laos and Cambodia, but the failure of the Laotian neutrality agreement doomed that initiative.