U.S. Troops in Santo Domino

Dominican Civil War - amid ceasefires, snipers worked overtime.

May 17, 1965 – The Johnson Doctrine – Dominican Republic And Operation Power Pack

U.S. Troops in Santo Domino
Dominican Civil War – amid ceasefires, snipers worked overtime.

May 17, 1965 – The Johnson Doctrine – Week 3 – ABC Radio Special – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

May 17, 1965 – Entering the third week of the civil war, which erupted in the Dominican Republic and President Johnson sending U.S. troops to aid in evacuating American nationals stranded in Santo Domingo and to act as peacekeepers along with an Inter-American peace force sent to restore some semblance of order.

The Dominican Civil War also known as the April Revolution took place between April 24, 1965, and September 3, 1965, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It started when civilian and military supporters of the overthrown democratically-elected president Juan Bosch ousted the militarily-installed president Donald Reid Cabral from office. The second coup prompted General Elías Wessin y Wessin to organize elements of the military loyal to President Reid (“loyalists”), initiating an armed campaign against the so-called “constitutionalist” rebels. In riposte, the dissidents passed out Cristóbal carbines and machine guns to several thousand civilian sympathizers and adherents. Allegations of foreign communist support for the rebels led to a United States intervention in the conflict (codenamed Operation Power Pack), which later transformed into an Organization of American States occupation of the country by the Inter-American Peace Force.

In the early morning of April 27, 1,176 foreign civilians who had assembled in Hotel Embajador were airlifted to the Bajos de Haina naval facility, where they boarded USS Ruchamkin and USS Wood County, as well as the helicopters of HMM-264, which evacuated them from the island to USS Boxer and USS Raleigh. Later that day, 1,500 Loyalist troops, supported by armored cars and tanks, marched from the San Isidro Air Base, captured Duarte Bridge, and took position on the west bank of the Ozama River. A second force, consisting of 700 soldiers, left San Cristóbal and attacked the western suburbs of Santo Domingo. Rebels overran the Fortaleza Ozama police headquarters and took 700 prisoners. On April 28, armed civilians attacked the Villa Consuelo police station and executed all of the police officers who survived the initial skirmish. One US Marine battalion landed in Haina and later moved to Hotel Embajador, where it provided assistance in the upcoming airlifts. During the night, 684 civilians were airlifted to USS Boxer. One US Marine was killed by a rebel sniper during the operation.

On May 5, the OAS Peace Committee arrived in Santo Domingo, and a second definite ceasefire agreement was signed, which ended the main phase of the civil war. Under the Act of Santo Domingo, the OAS was tasked with overseeing the implementation of the peace deal as well as distributing food and medication through the capital. The treaties failed to prevent some violations such as small-scale firefights and sniper fire. A day later, OAS members established the Inter-American Peace Force (IAPF) with the goal of serving as a peacekeeping formation in the Dominican Republic. The IAPF had 1,748 Brazilian, Paraguayan, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Salvadoran and Honduran troops and was headed by Brazilian General Hugo Panasco Alvim, with US Army General Bruce Palmer serving as his deputy commander.

The following is an ABC Radio News special report on progress being made in the Dominican Republic Crisis, with background and analysis, all on May 17, 1965.




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