Operation Niagara

Operation Niagara was a U.S. Seventh Air Force close air support campaign carried out from January through March 1968, during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to serve as an aerial umbrella for the defense of the U.S. Marine Corps Khe Sanh Combat Base on the Khe Sanh Plateau, in western Quang Tri Province of the Republic of Vietnam. The base was under siege by an estimated three-divisional force of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN).

Operation Niagara
Part of Vietnam War
Nalty1

B-52 Arc Light strike
DateJanuary – March 1968
Location
Result Inconclusive
Belligerents
Flag of the United States.svg United States Flag of Vietnam.svg Democratic Republic of Vietnam

Niagara I

During the last four months of 1967 a series of fierce border battles erupted in South Vietnam that cast a shadow on what had been a positive year for U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. Beginning in mid-September, PAVN began the continuous shelling of a Marine outpost located at Con Thien, near the Demilitarized Zone in northern Quang Tri Province. After an aerial onslaught dubbed Operation Neutralize, PAVN pressure abated at the end of October. At the beginning of November, PAVN was discovered operating in force near the Special Forces outpost at Dak To, in the Central Highlands. After one month of intense fighting, the PAVN forces had faded back across the border.

Quang Tri Province and DMZ
Quang Tri Province and the DMZ.

In January 1968, the recently installed electronic sensors of Operation Muscle Shoals (later renamed Operation Igloo White), which were undergoing their test and evaluation phase in southeastern Laos, were alerted to a flurry of PAVN activity along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos opposite the northwestern corner of South Vietnam.[1] It was due to the extensive nature of these activities that Operation Niagara I – an intelligence collection effort by CIA roadwatch teams, the recon teams of the highly secret Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group, and aerial photo reconnaissance aircraft, was launched. Intelligence confirmed that PAVN forces were indeed in the process of building up for an offensive, but what was to be its target? Later in the month Marine patrols from the Khe Sanh Combat Base tripped off a series of actions that confirmed that three PAVN divisions: the 304th, 320th, 325C and a regiment of the 324th were already near, or advancing toward, Khe Sanh.

It was at this point that the U.S. commander in Vietnam, General William C. Westmoreland, decided to reinforce the Marine position (Khe Sanh was a key border surveillance outpost and was also considered a prime jump-off point for any future incursion into Laos.[1]:42[2] This was a risky proposition, considering that the North Vietnamese were expected to isolate the base by cutting off Route 9, the only roadway into the area. Aerial resupply would have to make up the difference, but the ongoing northwest monsoon, which was bound to shroud the area in rain, mist, and fog, would make this attempt problematic. Westmoreland was undaunted. He believed that American air power would prevent a repeat of the French defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which rapidly became the point of comparison, both among military officers and the media.

Inter-service rivalry

Westmoreland and his deputy commander for air operations, General William W. Momyer (who was also commander of the Seventh Air Force) had been awaiting exactly such an opportunity. PAVN forces would be massing in a single geographic area in divisional strength in a remote unpopulated region where there would be no restrictions on bombing missions. Westmoreland gave Momyer the responsibility of coordinating all air assets during the operation to support Khe Sanh. This caused problems for the Marines, however, who possessed their own aviation squadrons and operated under their own close air support doctrine. They were reluctant to relinquish authority to an Air Force general.

General Westmoreland commanded forces only in geographical South Vietnam and in its air space (through the Seventh Air Force). The bombing campaign against North Vietnam was controlled by CINCPAC in Honolulu, while responsibility for the aerial interdiction campaigns in Laos were split between the Seventh and Seventh/Thirteenth Air Forces. This arrangement went against the grain of Air Force doctrine, which was predicated on the single air manager concept. One headquarters would allocate and coordinate air assets, distributing them wherever they were considered most necessary, and then transfer them as the situation changed. The Marines, whose aircraft and doctrine were integral to their operations, were under no such centralized control.

On January 19, Westmoreland passed his request for Air Force control up to the chain of command to CINCPAC, Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Jr., in Honolulu. Meanwhile, heated debate ensued among Westmoreland, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Commandant Leonard F. Chapman Jr., Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson backed the Marine position due to his concern over protecting the Army's air assets from Air Force co-option.[3] The perennial interservice rivalry over missions and assets (which had plagued the services since the creation of the National Security Act of 1947) raged anew. Westmoreland went so far as to threaten to resign if his wishes were not obeyed. As a result, for the first time during the Vietnam War, air operations were placed, if only temporarily, under the control of a single manager.

Niagara II

On 21 January the PAVN opened a continuous artillery barrage directed at Khe Sanh. It was also the launch day for Operation Niagara II. The Marine Direct Air Support Center (DASC), located at the Combat Base, was responsible for the coordination of air strikes with artillery fire. An airborne battlefield command and control center (ABCCC), in the form of a C-130 Hercules, directed strike aircraft to targets called in by ground troops and marked by forward air control (FAC) aircraft. When weather conditions prevented FAC-directed strikes, the strike bombers were directed to their targets by either a Marine TPQ-10 radar installation located at the combat base or by Air Force Combat Skyspot MSQ-77 radar stations. This Ground Directed Bombing (GDB) radar system could direct aircraft to their targets in inclement weather and in absolute darkness.

Thus began what many considered the most concentrated application of aerial firepower in the history of warfare.[1]:42 On an average day 350 tactical fighter- bombers, 60 B-52 Stratofortress, and 30 observation aircraft operated near the base.[1]:178 Westmoreland ordered Operation Igloo White to assist in the defense of Khe Sanh even though the system was only then undergoing its test and evaluation phase in Laos.[2]:290 On 20 January the first sensor drops took place by Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven (VO-67) and by the end of the month 316 acoustic and seismic sensors had been dropped in 44 strings.[3]:301 The Marines credited 40 percent of intelligence available to their fire support coordination center at the base to the sensors.[4]

B-52 strikes supporting the Marines were originally restricted by the Marine commander, Colonel David E. Lownds, to bombing no closer than two miles from his front lines. The PAVN utilized this gap to move forward and "grab the enemy by the belt" and avoid the bombing. Momyer demonstrated the effectiveness of the Stratofortress as a tactical platform by bringing the B-52 strikes safely to within three-quarters of a mile of the base and the restriction was lifted.[1]:179 One PAVN prisoner reported that three-quarters of his entire regiment was lost to one B-52 raid alone.[1]:179

Even though Westmoreland was concentrating an unprecedented amount of firepower against PAVN forces in the vicinity of Khe Sanh, he feared that it might not be enough. For the first time, the American commander seriously considered the use of a tactical nuclear weapon. In 1976, he revealed that "Although I established a small secret group to study the subject, Washington so feared that some word of it might manage to reach the press that I was told to desist."[5]

During January, PAVN and the Marines contested the outlying hills for control of the high ground and carried out daily artillery and mortar duels. On 7 February, however, North Vietnamese infantry, backed by Soviet-built PT-76 tanks, overran the Special Forces border camp at Lang Vei, only seven miles west of Khe Sanh Combat Base. This was the first instance of the use of armor by PAVN during the conflict. Although the North Vietnamese continued to probe the American's defenses, the attack on Lang Vei was the last major effort by PAVN.

Canberra bombers operated by No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force also flew close air support missions as part of Operation Niagara.[6]

Riddle of Khe Sanh

During the campaign, the USAF had flown 9,691 sorties and dropped 14,223 tons of bombs. The Marine Corps's aviation wing flew 7,098 sorties and carried 17,015 tons of mixed munitions. Naval aviation (even though concurrently conducting the bulk of Operation Rolling Thunder missions over the DRV) contributed 5,337 sorties and 7,941 tons of bombs.[3]:297 By the end of March the PAVN had begun to withdraw from the area. General Westmoreland, accepting Air Force estimates that claimed 9,800–13,000 PAVN troops killed or wounded, considered American air superiority to be an important contributor to the battle.[7]

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b c d e f Morocco, John (1984). The Vietnam Experience Thunder from Above: Air War, 1941–1968. Boston Publishing Company. p. 176. ISBN 9780939526093.
  2. ^ a b Van Staaveren, Jacob (1993). Interdiction in Southern Laos, 1960–1968 (PDF). Center of Air Force History. p. 290. ISBN 9781410220608.
  3. ^ a b c Prados, John; Stubbe, Ray (1991). Valley of Decision: The Siege of Khe Sanh. Naval Institute Press. p. 223. ISBN 9780395550038.
  4. ^ Nalty, Bernard (1986). Air Power and the Fight for Khe Sanh (PDF). Office of Air Force History. p. 95. ISBN 9781508416906.
  5. ^ Cowley, Robert (2005). The Cold War: A Military History. Random House. p. 273. ISBN 9781474217989.
  6. ^ "No. 2 Squadron RAAF". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  7. ^ Dougan, Clark; Weiss, Stephen (1983). The Vietnam Experience Nineteen Sixty-Eight. Boston Publishing Company. p. 55. ISBN 9780939526062.

Sources

  • Littauer, Raphael and Norman Uphoff, eds, The Air War in Indochina. Boston: Beacon press, 1972.
  • Morocco, John, Rain of Fire: Air War, 1969–1975. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985.

External links

A film clip "Airpower at Khe Sanh" is available at the Internet Archive

173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (173rd ABCT) ("Sky Soldiers") is an airborne infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy. It is the United States European Command's conventional airborne strategic response force for Europe.

Activated in 1915, as the 173rd Infantry Brigade, the unit saw service in World War II but is best known for its actions during the Vietnam War. The brigade was the first major United States Army ground formation deployed in Vietnam, serving there from 1965 to 1971 and losing almost 1,800 soldiers. Noted for its roles in Operation Hump and Operation Junction City, the 173d is best known for the Battle of Dak To, where it suffered heavy casualties in close combat with North Vietnamese forces. Brigade members received over 7,700 decorations, including more than 6,000 Purple Hearts. The brigade returned to the United States in 1972, where the 1st and 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry, were absorbed into the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), and the 3d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery was reassigned to Division Artillery in the 101st. The remaining units of the 173d were inactivated.

Since its reactivation in 2000, the brigade served five tours in the Middle East in support of the War on Terror. The 173d participated in the initial invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and had four tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2012–13. The brigade returned most recently from a deployment stretching from late 2013 to late 2014.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team has received 21 campaign streamers and several unit awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Battle of Dak To during the Vietnam War.

4th Cavalry Regiment (United States)

The 4th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage is traced back to the mid-19th century. It was one of the most effective units of the Army against American Indians on the Texas frontier. Today, the regiment exists as separate squadrons within the U.S. Army. The 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official nickname is "Quarterhorse", which alludes to its 1/4 Cav designation. The 3rd Squadron of the 4th Cavalry's official nickname is "Raiders". Today, the "1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry", "2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry", "4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry", and "6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" are parts of the 1st Infantry Division, while the "3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry" serves as part of the 25th Infantry Division. On 23 September 2009, the "4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" officially stood up at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the 1st "Devil" Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. On 28 March 2008, the "5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry" officially stood up at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the 2nd "Dagger" Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. The 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry served as part of the recently inactivated 1st Infantry Division, 3rd "Duke" Brigade, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Battle of Ban Houei Sane

The Battle of Ban Houei Sane was a battle of the Vietnam War that began on the night of 23 January 1968, when the 24th Regiment of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 304th Division overran the small Royal Lao Army outpost at Ban Houei Sane. The fighting at Ban Houei Sane was one in a series of battles fought between North Vietnamese and Allied forces during the Tet Offensive. The small outpost, defended by the 700 man Bataillon Volontaire (BV-33), was attacked and overwhelmed by the vastly superior PAVN and their PT-76 light tanks. The failure of BV-33 to defend their outpost at Ban Houei Sane would have negative consequences only a few weeks later, when the PAVN would strike again at Lang Vei.

Battle of Khe Sanh

The Battle of Khe Sanh (21 January – 9 July 1968) was conducted in the Khe Sanh area of northwestern Quảng Trị Province, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), during the Vietnam War. The main US forces defending Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB) were two regiments of the United States Marines Corps supported by elements from the United States Army and the United States Air Force (USAF), as well as a small number of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops. These were pitted against two to three divisional-size elements of the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN).

The US command in Saigon initially believed that combat operations around KSCB during 1967 were part of a series of minor PAVN offensives in the border regions. That appraisal was later altered when the PAVN was found to be moving major forces into the area. In response, US forces were built up before the PAVN isolated the Marine base. Once the base came under siege, a series of actions was fought over a period of five months. During this time, KSCB and the hilltop outposts around it were subjected to constant PAVN artillery, mortar, and rocket attacks, and several infantry assaults. To support the Marine base, a massive aerial bombardment campaign (Operation Niagara) was launched by the USAF. Over 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US aircraft and over 158,000 artillery rounds were fired in defense of the base. Throughout the campaign, US forces used the latest technology to locate PAVN forces for targeting. Additionally, the logistical effort required to support the base once it was isolated demanded the implementation of other tactical innovations to keep the Marines supplied.

In March 1968, an overland relief expedition (Operation Pegasus) was launched by a combined Marine–Army/ARVN task force that eventually broke through to the Marines at Khe Sanh. American commanders considered the defense of Khe Sanh a success, but shortly after the siege was lifted, the decision was made to dismantle the base rather than risk similar battles in the future. On 19 June 1968, the evacuation and destruction of KSCB began. Amid heavy shelling, the Marines attempted to salvage what they could before destroying what remained as they were evacuated. Minor attacks continued before the base was officially closed on 5 July. Marines remained around Hill 689, though, and fighting in the vicinity continued until 11 July until they were finally withdrawn, bringing the battle to a close.

In the aftermath, the North Vietnamese proclaimed a victory at Khe Sanh, while US forces claimed that they had withdrawn, as the base was no longer required. Historians have observed that the Battle of Khe Sanh may have distracted American and South Vietnamese attention from the buildup of Viet Cong (VC) forces in the south before the early 1968 Tet Offensive. Nevertheless, the US commander during the battle, General William Westmoreland, maintained that the true intention of Tet was to distract forces from Khe Sanh.

Battle of Lang Vei

The Battle of Lang Vei (Vietnamese: Trận Làng Vây) began on the evening of 6 February and concluded during the early hours of 7 February 1968, in Quảng Trị Province, South Vietnam. Towards the end of 1967 the 198th Tank Battalion, People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 203rd Armored Regiment, received instructions from the North Vietnamese Ministry of Defense to reinforce the 304th Division as part of the Route 9-Khe Sanh Campaign. After an arduous journey down the Ho Chi Minh trail in January 1968, the 198th Tank Battalion linked up with the 304th Division for a major offensive along Highway 9, which stretched from the Laotian border through to Quảng Trị Province. On 23 January, the 24th Regiment attacked the small Laotian outpost at Bane Houei Sane, under the control of the Royal Laos Army BV-33 'Elephant' Battalion.

In that battle the 198th Tank Battalion failed to reach the battle on time because its crews struggled to navigate their tanks through the rough local terrain. However, as soon as the PT-76 tanks of the 198th Tank Battalion turned up at Bane Houei Sane, the Laotian soldiers and their families panicked and retreated into South Vietnam. After Bane Houei Sane was captured, the 24th Regiment prepared for another attack which targeted the U.S. Special Forces Camp at Lang Vei, manned by Detachment A-101 of the 5th Special Forces Group and indigenous Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) forces. On 6 February, the 24th Regiment, again supported by the 198th Tank Battalion, launched their assault on Lang Vei. Despite air and artillery support, the U.S.-led forces conceded ground and the PAVN quickly dominated their positions. By the early hours of 7 February the command bunker was the only position still held by Allied forces, to rescue the American survivors inside the Lang Vei Camp, a counter-attack was mounted, but the Laotian soldiers, who formed the bulk of the attack formation, refused to fight the PAVN. Later on, U.S. Special Forces personnel were able to escape from the camp, and were rescued by a U.S. Marine task force from Khe Sanh Combat Base.

Combat Skyspot

Combat Skyspot was the ground-directed bombing (GDB) operation of the Vietnam War by the United States Air Force using Bomb Directing Centrals and by the United States Marine Corps using Course Directing Centrals ("MSQ-77 and TPQ-10 ground radars"). Combat Skyspot's command guidance of B-52s and tactical fighters and bombers—"chiefly flown by F-100's"—at night and poor weather was used for aerial bombing of strategic, close air support, interdiction, and other targets. Using a combination radar/computer/communications system ("Q" system) at operating location in Southeast Asia, a typical bombing mission (e.g., during Operation Arc Light with a "cell" of 3 Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses) had an air command post turn over control of the mission to the radar station, and the station provided bomb run corrections and designated when to release bombs.Planning of Vietnam GDB missions included providing coordinates with 10 m (11 yd) accuracy to the radar sites, handoff of the bomber from air controllers (e.g., a DASC) to the site, tracking the aircraft by radiating the bomber (e.g., activating the 400 Watt Motorola SST-181 X Band Beacon Transponder), and radioing of technical data from the aircrew to the radar site such as the airspeed/heading for the central to estimate wind speed on the bomb(s). With the bomber near a designated "Initial Point" the GDB site would begin a radar track (Bomb Directing Centrals would calculate a computer track and solve the "bomb problem" for the aircraft position.)

For B-52 missions the site personnel verbally transmitted guidance commands to the aircraft crew by radio (lead aircraft for multi-ship formations) to adjust the flight path toward an eventual release point for the actual bomb(s). Site personnel verbally directed release of the ordnance from the aircraft by voice countdown. This was a manual process requiring training, practice and adherence to procedure. Both the site and aircrew were authorized to "withhold" release at any point if doubt arose. All communications were tape recorded by the aircrew for post strike debriefing.

Douglas AC-47 Spooky

The Douglas AC-47 Spooky (also nicknamed "Puff, the Magic Dragon") was the first in a series of fixed wing gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. It was designed to provide more firepower than light and medium ground-attack aircraft in certain situations when ground forces called for close air support.

Ground-directed bombing

Ground-directed bombing (GDB) is a military tactic for airstrikes by ground-attack aircraft, strategic bombers, and other equipped air vehicles under command guidance from aviation ground support equipment and/or ground personnel (e.g., ground observers). Often used in poor weather and at night (75% of all Vietnam War bombings "were done with precision [sic] GDB"), the tactic was superseded by an airborne computer predicting unguided bomb impact from data provided by precision avionics (e.g., GPS, GPS/INS, etc.) Equipment for radar GDB generally included a combination ground radar/computer/communication system ("Q" system) and aircraft avionics for processing radioed commands.A 21st century variant of ground-directed bombing is the radio command guidance for armed unmanned aerial vehicles to effect ground-directed release of ordnance (e.g., precision-guided munitions for bombing such as the AGM-114 Hellfire).

Khe Sanh Combat Base

Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) used during the Vietnam War. Military Grid Reference: 48Q XD 841422 (abandoned runway 10/28).

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (M–S)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War, a war fought by the United States to try to stop communism in Southeast Asia, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and allies consisting of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines. This is not a complete list. Operations are currently listed alphabetically, but are being progressively reorganised as a chronology.

List of bombing campaigns of the Vietnam War

The bombing campaigns of the Vietnam War were the longest and heaviest aerial bombardment in history. The United States Air Force, the U. S. Navy, and U. S. Marine Corps aviation dropped 7,662,000 tons of explosives. By comparison, U. S. forces dropped a total of 2,150,000 tons of bombs in all theaters of World War II.

Operation Cedar Falls

Operation Cedar Falls was a military operation of the Vietnam War conducted primarily by US forces that took place from 8 to 26 January 1967. The aim of the massive search and destroy operation was to eradicate the so-called "Iron Triangle", an area northwest Saigon that had become a major stronghold of the Viet Cong (VC).

It was the largest American ground operation of the Vietnam war: Two Army divisions, one infantry and one paratrooper brigade, and one armored cavalry regiment participated in the operation. Altogether, it involved 30,000 US and South Vietnamese troops. The VC, however, chose to evade the massive military force by fleeing across the border to Cambodia or by hiding in a complex system of underground tunnels. Still, the Allied forces uncovered and destroyed some of the tunnel complexes as well as large stockpiles of VC supplies. In the course of the operation, so-called tunnel rats were introduced to infiltrate the Viet Cong's tunnel systems.In an attempt at the permanent destruction of the Iron Triangle as a VC stronghold, Operation Cedar Falls also entailed the complete deportation of the region's civilian population to so-called New Life Villages, the destruction of their homes, and the defoliation of whole areas. Following this, the area was declared a free-fire zone and adults who were found in the zone following deportations were considered "enemy combatants" afterwards.Most senior officers involved in planning and executing the operation later evaluated it as a success. Most journalists and military historians, however, paint a bleaker picture. They argue that Cedar Falls failed to achieve its main goal since the VC's setback in the Iron Triangle proved to be only temporary. Moreover, critics argue that the harsh treatment of the civilian population was both morally questionable and detrimental to the US effort to win Vietnamese hearts and minds and drove many into the ranks of the VC instead. Therefore, some authors cite Operation Cedar Falls as a major example for the misconceptions of the US strategy in Vietnam and for its morally-troublesome consequences.

Operation Commando Hunt

Operation Commando Hunt was a covert U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction campaign that took place during the Vietnam War. The operation began on 11 November 1968 and ended on 29 March 1972. The objective of the campaign was to prevent the transit of People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) personnel and supplies on the logistical corridor known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Road to the North Vietnamese) that ran from the southwestern Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) through the southeastern portion of the Kingdom of Laos and into the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

Operation Igloo White

Operation Igloo White was a covert United States joint military electronic warfare operation conducted from late January 1968 until February 1973, during the Vietnam War. These missions were carried out by the 553d Reconnaissance Wing, a U.S. Air Force unit flying modified EC-121R Warning Star aircraft, and VO-67, a specialized U.S. Navy unit flying highly modified OP-2E Neptune aircraft. This state-of-the-art operation utilized electronic sensors, computers, and communications relay aircraft in an attempt to automate intelligence collection. The system would then assist in the direction of strike aircraft to their targets. The objective of those attacks was the logistical system of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) that snaked through southeastern Laos and was known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Road to the North Vietnamese).

Operation Rolling Thunder

Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained aerial bombardment campaign conducted by the United States (U.S.) 2nd Air Division (later Seventh Air Force), U.S. Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 2 March 1965 until 2 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.

The four objectives of the operation (which evolved over time) were to boost the sagging morale of the Saigon regime in the Republic of Vietnam; to persuade North Vietnam to cease its support for the communist insurgency in South Vietnam without sending ground forces into communist North Vietnam; to destroy North Vietnam's transportation system, industrial base, and air defenses; and to halt the flow of men and material into South Vietnam. Attainment of these objectives was made difficult by both the restraints imposed upon the U.S. and its allies by Cold War exigencies, and by the military aid and assistance received by North Vietnam from its communist allies, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and North Korea.

The operation became the most intense air/ground battle waged during the Cold War period; it was the most difficult such campaign fought by the United States since the aerial bombardment of Germany during World War II. Supported by communist allies, North Vietnam fielded a potent mixture of sophisticated air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons that created one of the most effective air defenses ever faced by American military aviators.

Outline of the Vietnam War

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Vietnam War:

Vietnam War – Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War (1946–54) and was fought between North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies—and the government of South Vietnam—supported by the United States, Philippines and other anti-communist allies. The Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units to battle.

Role of the United States in the Vietnam War

The role of the United States in the Vietnam War began after World War II and escalated into full commitment during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1973. The U.S. involvement in South Vietnam stemmed from 20 long years of political and economic action. These had the common incentive of ending the growing communist domination in Vietnam. At the time, French forces, allies of the U.S., were backed by America — President Harry S. Truman provided progressively increasing amounts of financial and military assistance to French forces fighting in Vietnam. From the spring of 1950, their involvement increased from just assisting French troops to providing direct military assistance to the associated states (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). Eventually, U.S. missions were carried out at a more constant rate by sending out increasing number of military assistance from the United States. Their main intent was to restrict the Communist domination that was present in the government of Vietnam as it would soon lead to a chain of neighbouring countries adopting the same. This would have resulted in a change in balance of power throughout Southeast Asia. The U.S. foreign policy establishment saw national security interests being disturbed due to the rise of this communist expansion and strived to take any measure to end it. Their actions came to be questioned by other segments of government and society, however, including the US congress..

Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3,812,000. The conflict also resulted in 58,318 US soldiers dead.

Seventh Air Force

United States Air Forces Korea and USAFK redirect here.

The Seventh Air Force (Air Forces Korea) (7 AF) is a Numbered Air Force of the United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It is headquartered at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

The command's mission is to plan and direct air component operations in the Republic of Korea and in the Northwest Pacific.

Established on 19 October 1940 as the Hawaiian Air Force at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii, the 7 AF was a United States Army Air Forces combat unit in the Pacific Theater of World War II, providing air defense of the Hawaiian Islands and engaging in combat operations primarily in the Central Pacific AOR. It was assigned units engaging enemy forces in the Gilbert Islands; Marshall Islands; Caroline Islands; Mariana Islands, and in the last major battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of Okinawa. Returning to its defense role in Hawaii after the war, 7 AF became the primary USAF command and control organization in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

7 AF is commanded by Lt Gen Kenneth S. Wilsbach. The Vice Commander is Brig Gen Lansing R. Pilch.

U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield

U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield is a military airfield of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) approximately 140 kilometres (87 mi) southeast of Bangkok in the Ban Chang District of Rayong Province near Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand. It is serves as the home of the RTN First Air Wing.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.