On March 8, 1965, 3,500 United States Marines were sent to South Vietnam to protect the US airbases in South Vietnam. This was the beginning of the American ground war in South East Asia. The initial deployment of 3,500 was increased to nearly 200,000 by December. The U.S. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare and did not take well to defensive operations. It did not take them long to put their offensive expertise into action. Vietnam was the longest war for the American Marines. More Marines were deployed for service during Vietnam than World War II. By the end of its deployment, 13,091 were killed in action, 51,392 were wounded. 57 Medals of Honor were awarded to Marines. This is their complete story.