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Donster

This Month in the Vietnam War: August 1964 - 1974

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dodge-challenger-1970-aug.jpg1970 Dodge Challenger

 

August 2, 1964 - Three North Vietnamese patrol boats attack the American destroyer U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin ten miles off the coast of North Vietnam. They fire three torpedoes and machine-guns, but only a single machine-gun round actually strikes the Maddox with no causalities. U.S. Navy fighters from the carrier Ticonderoga, led by Commander James Stockdale, attack the patrol boats, sinking one and damaging the other two.
At the White House, it is Sunday morning (twelve hours behind Vietnam time). President Johnson, reacting cautiously to reports of the incident, decides against retaliation. Instead, he sends a diplomatic message to Hanoi warning of "grave consequences" from any further "unprovoked" attacks. Johnson then orders the Maddox to resume operations in the Gulf of Tonkin in the same vicinity where the attack had occurred. Meanwhile, the Joints Chiefs of Staff put U.S. combat troops on alert and also select targets in North Vietnam for a possible bombing raid, should the need arise.


August 3, 1964 - The Maddox, joined by a second destroyer U.S.S. C. Turner Joy begin a series of vigorous zigzags in the Gulf of Tonkin sailing to within eight miles of North Vietnam's coast, while at the same time, South Vietnamese commandos in speed boats harass North Vietnamese defenses along the coastline. By nightfall, thunderstorms roll in, affecting the accuracy of electronic instruments on the destroyers. Crew members reading their instruments believe they have come under torpedo attack from North Vietnamese patrol boats. Both destroyers open fire on numerous apparent targets but there are no actual sightings of any attacking boats.


August 4, 1964 - Although immediate doubts arise concerning the validity of the second attack, the Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly recommend a retaliatory bombing raid against North Vietnam. Press reports in America greatly embellish the second attack with spectacular eyewitness accounts although no journalists had been on board the destroyers.
At the White House, President Johnson decides to retaliate. Thus, the first bombing of North Vietnam by the United States occurs as oil facilities and naval targets are attacked without warning by 64 U.S. Navy fighter bombers. "Our response for the present will be limited and fitting," President Johnson tells Americans during a midnight TV appearance, an hour after the attack began. "We Americans know, although others appear to forget, the risk of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war."
Two Navy jets are shot down during the bombing raids, resulting in the first American prisoner of war, Lt. Everett Alvarez of San Jose, California, who is taken to an internment center in Hanoi, later dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the nearly six hundred American airmen who become POWs.


August 5, 1964 - Opinion polls indicate 85 percent of Americans support President Johnson's bombing decision. Numerous newspaper editorials also come out in support of the President.
Johnson's aides, including Defense Secretary McNamara, now lobby Congress to pass a White House resolution that will give the President a free hand in Vietnam.

 

AnnMargret1-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 6, 1964 - During a meeting in the Senate, McNamara is confronted by Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon who had been tipped off by someone in the Pentagon that the Maddox had in fact been involved in the South Vietnamese commando raids against North Vietnam and thus was not the victim of an "unprovoked" attack. McNamara responds that the U.S. Navy "...played absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not aware of, any South Vietnamese actions, if there were any..."


August 7, 1964 - In response to the two incidents involving the Maddox and Turner Joy, the U.S. Congress, at the behest of President Johnson, overwhelmingly passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution put forward by the White House allowing the President "to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force" to prevent further attacks against U.S. forces. The Resolution, passed unanimously in the House and 98-2 in the Senate, grants enormous power to President Johnson to wage an undeclared war in Vietnam from the White House. The only Senators voting against the Resolution are Wayne Morse, and Ernest Gruening of Alaska who said "all Vietnam is not worth the life of a single American boy."


August 21, 1964 - In Saigon, students and Buddhist militants begin a series of escalating protests against General Khanh's military regime. As a result, Khanh resigns as sole leader in favor of a triumvirate that includes himself, Gen. Minh and Gen. Khiem. The streets of Saigon soon disintegrate into chaos and mob violence amid the government's gross instability.


August 26, 1964 - President Johnson is nominated at the Democratic National Convention. During his campaign he declares "We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."

 

a-7Corsair-aug.jpgVought / LTV A-7 Corsair II

August 1965 - Combined Action Platoons are formed by U.S. Marines utilizing South Vietnamese militia units to protect villages and conduct patrols to root out Viet Cong guerrillas.


August 3, 1965 - The destruction of suspected Viet Cong villages near Da Nang by a U.S. Marine rifle company is shown on CBS TV and generates controversy in America. Earlier, seven Marines had been killed nearby while searching for Viet Cong following a mortar attack against the air base at Da Nang.


August 4, 1965 - President Johnson asks Congress for an additional $1.7 billion for the war.


August 5, 1965 - Viet Cong destroy two million gallons of fuel in storage tanks near Da Nang.


August 8, 1965 - The U.S. conducts major air strikes against the Viet Cong.


August 18-24, 1965 - Operation Starlite begins the first major U.S. ground operation in Vietnam as U.S. Marines wage a preemptive strike against 1500 Viet Cong planning to assault the American airfield at Chu Lai. The Marines arrive by helicopter and by sea following heavy artillery and air bombardment of Viet Cong positions. 45 Marines are killed and 120 wounded. Viet Cong suffer 614 dead and 9 taken prisoner. This decisive first victory gives a big boost to U.S. troop morale.


August 31, 1965 - President Johnson signs a law criminalizing draft card burning. Although it may result in a five year prison sentence and $1000 fine, the burnings become common during anti-war rallies and often attract the attention of news media.

 

AnnMargret2-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 9, 1966 - U.S. jets attack two South Vietnamese villages by mistake, killing 63 civilians and wounding over 100.


August 30, 1966 - Hanoi announces China will provide economic and technical assistance.

 

Defoliant-aug.jpgAgent Orange Defoliant

 

August 9, 1967 - The Senate Armed Services Committee begins closed-door hearings concerning the influence of civilian advisors on military planning. During the hearings, Defense Secretary McNamara testifies that the extensive and costly U.S. bombing campaign in Vietnam is failing to impact North Vietnam's war making ability in South Vietnam and that nothing short of "the virtual annihilation of North Vietnam and its people" through bombing would ever succeed.


August 18, 1967 - California Governor Ronald Reagan says the U.S. should get out of Vietnam citing the difficulties of winning a war when "too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing."


August 21, 1967 - The Chinese shoot down two U.S. fighter-bombers that accidentally crossed their border during air raids in North Vietnam along the Chinese border.

 

AnnMargret3-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 8, 1968 - Richard M. Nixon is chosen as the Republican presidential candidate and promises "an honorable end to the war in Vietnam."


August 28, 1968 - During the Democratic national convention in Chicago, 10,000 anti-war protesters gather on downtown streets and are then confronted by 26,000 police and national guardsmen. The brutal crackdown is covered live on network TV. 800 demonstrators are injured. The United States is now experiencing a level of social unrest unseen since the American Civil War era, a hundred years earlier. There have been 221 student protests at 101 colleges and universities thus far in 1968.

 

JollyGreenGiant-aug.jpgSikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant

 

August 4, 1969 - Henry Kissinger conducts his first secret meeting in Paris with representatives from Hanoi.


August 12, 1969 - Viet Cong begin a new offensive attacking 150 targets throughout South Vietnam.

 

AnnMargret4-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 11, 1970 - South Vietnamese troops take over the defense of border positions from U.S. troops.


August 24, 1970 - Heavy B-52 bombing raids occur along the Demilitarized Zone.

 

vietcongbasecamp-aug.jpgViet Cong Base Camp

 

August 2, 1971 - The U.S. admits there are some 30,000 CIA-sponsored irregulars operating in Laos.


August 18, 1971 - Australia and New Zealand announce the pending withdrawal of their troops from Vietnam.

 

AnnMargret5-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 1, 1972 - Henry Kissinger meets again with Le Duc Tho in Paris


August 23, 1972 - The last U.S. combat troops depart Vietnam.

 

WoundedMarine-aug.jpgWounded Marine

 

August 14, 1973 - U.S. bombing activities in Cambodia are halted in accordance with the Congressional ban resulting from the Case-Church amendment.


August 22, 1973 - Henry Kissinger is appointed by President Nixon as the new Secretary of State, replacing William Rogers.

 

AnnMargret6-aug.jpgAnn Margret

 

August 9, 1974 - Richard M. Nixon resigns the presidency as result of Watergate. Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the 38th U.S. President, becoming the 6th President coping with Vietnam.

 

1970FordMustang-aug.jpg1971 Ford Mustang Ad

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23 hours ago, Donster said:

August 18, 1967 - California Governor Ronald Reagan says the U.S. should get out of Vietnam citing the difficulties of winning a war when "too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing."

 

A very wise man.

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