CORDS re­union

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Civil­ian vet­er­ans of the Viet­nam paci­fi­ca­tion pro­gram known as Civil Op­er­a­tions and Rural De­vel­op­ment Sup­port (CORDS) are plan­ning a re­union at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery on May 12 to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Un­knowns. The con­tact is Bruce Kin­sey, who worked in Long An Prov­ince from 1968 to 1970 (brucekin­sey@hot­

For­mer CORDS­men in­clude Deputy Sec­re­tary of State John D. Ne­gro­ponte, for­mer U.N. Am­bas­sador Richard Hol­brooke and U.S. Am­bas­sador to Viet­nam Ray­mond Burghardt.

Mr. Kin­sey notes that CORDS was staffed by civil­ians from many agen­cies, but pri­mar­ily U.S. AID. The work­ers helped build roads, hos­pi­tals, aid sta­tions, train­ing fa­cil­i­ties and schools.

A sub­group of the CORDS pro­gram was the CIA’s Phoenix pro­gram that Mr. Kin­sey said was “so un­fairly ma­ligned but ul­ti­mately so very ef­fec­tive at root­ing out the un­der­ground com­mu­nist cadres who had ter­ror­ized the low­est lev­els of the hap­less South Viet­namese gov­ern­ment al­most un­op­posed for nearly seven years un­til [for­mer CIA Di­rec­tor] Bill Colby came up with Phoenix.”

“War de­stroys peo­ple,” he said. “It de­stroys their lives, their homes, most of all their spir­its. CORDS tried to build them back up. That’s what the CORDS pro­gram was, and we’re hav­ing a re­union to cel­e­brate it.”

Bill Gertz cov­ers the Pen­tagon. He can be reached at 202/6363274 or at bgertz@wash­ing­ton­

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