Operation Tiger Hound

Operation Tiger Hound was a covert U.S. 2nd Air Division, later Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction campaign conducted in southeastern Laos from 5 December 1965 till 11 November 1968, during the Vietnam War. The purpose of the operation was to interdict the flow of People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Strategic Supply Route to the North Vietnamese) from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), through southeastern Laos, and into the northern provinces of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The missions were originally controlled by the 2d Air Division until that headquarters was superseded by the Seventh Air Force on 1 April 1966.

The geographic boundary of the operation was carved from the area of Laos already under bombardment under Operation Steel Tiger. This was done at the behest of the American commander in South Vietnam, General William C. Westmoreland, who saw the area of Laos that bordered the five northernmost provinces of South Vietnam as an extension of his area of operations. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed. Unlike Operation Barrel Roll and Steel Tiger, however, the bombing in the new area would be conducted by aircraft of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force and by U.S. Air Force units based in South Vietnam (aircraft participating in Barrel Roll and Steel Tiger were generally based in Thailand).

By the end of 1968 and the absorption of Tiger Hound operations by Operation Commando Hunt, 103,148 tactical air sorties had been flown over Laos. These missions were supplemented by 1,718 B-52 Stratofortress sorties under Operation Arc Light. During the same time period, 132 U.S. aircraft or helicopters were shot down over Laos.[1]

Operation Tiger Hound
Part of Vietnam War
Steel Tiger

Barrell Roll/Steel Tiger/Tiger Hound areas of operations
Date5 December 1965 – 11 November 1968
Southeastern Laos
Result Strategic US Failure
Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of South Vietnam.svg Republic of Vietnam
Flag of Vietnam.svg Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
North Vietnam Đồng Sĩ Nguyên


  1. ^ Jacob Van Staaveren, Interdiction in Southern Laos, 1960–1968. Washington DC: Center for Air Force History, 1993, p. 287.


  • Littauer, Raphael and Norman Uphoff, eds, The Air War in Indochina. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.
  • Schlight, John, A War Too Long. Washington DC: Center of Air Force History, 1993.
  • Van Staaveren, Jacob, Interdiction in Southern Laos: 1960–1968. Washington DC: Center for Air Force History, 1993.
20th Attack Squadron

The 20th Attack Squadron is a United States Air Force unit, based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. It currently flies the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper and is assigned to the 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

It was originally activated as the 20th Transport Squadron in 1940 and served as a troop carrier unit in Panama during and after World War II, until it was inactivated in 1949.

Activated in 1965 as the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, it served notably for seven and a half years of combat duty during the Vietnam War, and was inactivated in 1973. While in inactive status, the two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit. The 20th TASS was reactivated at Shaw Air Force Base in 1990, and again inactivated on 31 December 1991.

The unit was redesignated as the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron and its reactivation at Whiteman took place on 14 January 2011. In May 2016, it was redesignated the 20th Attack Squadron

Ho Chi Minh trail

The Hồ Chí Minh trail (also known in Vietnam as the "Trường Sơn trail") was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) through the kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (called the Viet Cong or "VC" by its opponents) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), or North Vietnamese Army, during the Vietnam War.

It was named by the Americans after North Vietnamese president Hồ Chí Minh. Presumably the origin of the name came from the First Indochina War because there was a Viet Minh logistics line called the Route of Ho Chi Minh, and in 1961, as the present trail developed, Agence France-Presse [AFP] announced on the radio that a North–South trail had now opened, and they named the corridor La Piste de Hồ Chí Minh, or in English the Hồ Chí Minh Trail. The trail ran mostly in Laos, and was called by the communists the Trường Sơn Strategic Supply Route (Đường Trường Sơn), after the Vietnamese name for the Annamite Range mountains in central Vietnam, and the communists further identified the trail as either West Trường Sơn (Laos) or East Trường Sơn (Vietnam). According to the United States National Security Agency's official history of the war, the Trail system was "one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century". The trail was able to effectively supply troops fighting in the south, a military feat unparalleled given it was the site of the single most intense bombing campaign in history, with bombs dropping on average every seven minutes.

Joint warfare in South Vietnam, 1963–1969

In the Vietnam War, after the assassinations of Ngo Dinh Diem and John F. Kennedy in late 1963 and the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 and the continuing political instability in the South, the United States made a policy commitment to begin joint warfare in South Vietnam, a period of gradual escalation and Americanization, involving the commitment of large-scale combat forces from the United States and allied countries. It was no longer assumed the Republic of Vietnam could create a desirable situation without major external assistance. This phase of the war lasted until the election of Richard Nixon, and the change of U.S. policy to Vietnamization, or giving the main combat role back to the South Vietnamese military.

The North Vietnamese term for the large-scale introduction of U.S. ground forces, in 1965, is the Local War, according to Gen. Trần Văn Trà, the [North Vietnamese] Party concluded, the "United States was forced to introduce its own troops because it was losing the war. It had lost the political game in Vietnam....the situation allows us to shift our revolution to a new stage, that of decisive victory." The Party issued a resolution to this effect, which was transmitted, in October 1967, to the Central Office for South Vietnam and to key officials of the major commands in the South. They were directed to begin detailed planning for what was to become the Tet Offensive. Note that there was a delay of approximately two years between the Politburo decision and the directive to begin planning, so it can be asked if the Politburo did actually make the broad strategic decision in 1965, or some time later, as they grew more aware of the effect of U.S. operations.

Robert McNamara suggests that the overthrow of Dương Văn Minh by Nguyễn Khánh, in January 1964, reflected different U.S. and South Vietnamese priorities.

And since we still did not recognize the North Vietnamese and Vietcong and North Vietnamese as nationalist in nature, we never realized that encouraging public identification between Khanh and the U.S. may have only reinforced in the minds of many Vietnamese that his government drew its support not from the people, but from the United States.

Laotian Civil War

The Laotian Civil War (1959–79) was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao (including many North Vietnamese of Lao ancestry) and the Royal Lao Government, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict.The Kingdom of Laos was a covert theater for other belligerents during the Vietnam War. The Franco–Lao Treaty of Amity and Association (signed 22 October 1953) transferred remaining French powers to the Royal Lao Government (except control of military affairs), establishing Laos as an independent member of the French Union. However, this government did not include representatives from the Lao Issara anti-colonial armed nationalist movement.The following years were marked by a rivalry between the neutralists under Prince Souvanna Phouma, the right wing under Prince Boun Oum of Champassak, and the left-wing Lao Patriotic Front under Prince Souphanouvong and half-Vietnamese future Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane. Several attempts were made to establish coalition governments, and a "tri-coalition" government was finally seated in Vientiane.

The actual fighting in Laos involved the North Vietnamese Army, U.S. troops and Thai forces and South Vietnamese army forces directly and through irregular proxies in a struggle for control over the Laotian Panhandle. The North Vietnamese Army occupied the area to use for its Ho Chi Minh Trail supply corridor and as staging area for offensives into South Vietnam. There was a second major theater of action on and near the northern Plain of Jars.

The North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao eventually emerged victorious in 1975, as part of the general communist victory in all of former French Indochina that year. A total of up to 300,000 people from Laos fled to neighboring Thailand following the Pathet Lao takeover.After the communists took power in Laos, Hmong rebels fought the new government. The Hmong were persecuted as traitors and "lackeys" of the Americans, with the government and its Vietnamese allies carrying out human rights abuses against Hmong civilians. The incipient conflict between Vietnam and China also played a role with Hmong rebels being accused of receiving support from China. Over 40,000 people died in the conflict.The Lao royal family were arrested by the Pathet Lao after the war and sent to labor camps, where most of them died in the late 1970s and 1980s, including King Savang Vatthana, Queen Khamphoui, and Crown Prince Vong Savang.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1965)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1965, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (T–Z and others)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War, a war fought by America to try to stop communism in Southeast Asia, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their assorted allies. This is not a complete list.

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.

List of military operations of the Laotian Civil War

The following is a complete list of military operations staged within the Military Regions of Laos during the Laotian Civil War. They are listed in chronological order of their start date. Also listed are the Military Region(s) in which they were staged.

While all the operations listed were part of the Laotian Civil War, not all of them were combat operations or battles. Coups, invasions, civic action projects, military training and procurement, and an opium smuggling incursion are included among the operations.

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group

Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Vietnam War.

Established on 24 January 1964, the unit conducted strategic reconnaissance missions in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia; carried out the capture of enemy prisoners, rescued downed pilots, and conducted rescue operations to retrieve prisoners of war throughout Southeast Asia; and conducted clandestine agent team activities and psychological operations.

The unit participated in most of the significant campaigns of the Vietnam War, including the Gulf of Tonkin incident which precipitated increased American involvement, Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, the Tet Offensive, Operation Commando Hunt, the Cambodian Campaign, Operation Lam Son 719, and the Easter Offensive. The unit was formally disbanded and replaced by the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team 158 on 1 May 1972.

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 Steel Tiger

Operation Steel Tiger was a covert U.S. 2nd Air Division, later Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction effort targeted against the infiltration of People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) men and material moving south from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV or North Vietnam) through southeastern Laos to support their military effort in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) during the Vietnam War.

The operation was initiated by the 2nd Air Division on 3 April 1965, continued under the direction of the Seventh Air Force when that headquarters was created on 1 April 1966, and had a subsidiary operation code-named Operation Tiger Hound. The purpose of Steel Tiger was to impede the flow of men and materiel on the enemy logistical routes collectively known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Strategic Supply Route to the North Vietnamese).

Bombing of the trail system had begun on 14 December 1964 with the advent of Operation Barrel Roll. Due to increasing U.S. intelligence of the build-up of regimental-size PAVN units operating in South Vietnam, the increased American military presence in that country, and the initiation of Operation Rolling Thunder, American planners in Washington and Saigon decided that the bombing in southeastern Laos should be stepped up. On November 11, 1968 Steel Tiger and Tiger Hound were combined and renamed Operation Commando Hunt.It was estimated by U.S. intelligence analysts that, during 1965, 4,500 PAVN troops were infiltrated through Laos along with 300 tons of materiel each month. From April to June 1966, the U.S. launched 400 B-52 Stratofortress anti-infiltration sorties against the trail system. By the end of 1967 and the absorption of Steel Tiger operations into Commando Hunt, 103,148 tactical air sorties had been flown in Laos. These strikes were supplemented by 1,718 B-52 Arc Light strikes. During the same time frame, 132 U.S. aircraft or helicopters had been shot down over Laos. The actions implemented aircraft of the Air Force, Marines, and Navy flying from carriers in the South China Sea as well as bases in South Vietnam and Thailand. While B-52 bombers accounted for a majority of the strikes, the most effective aircraft were fixed wing gunships, including the AC-47, the AC-119, and the AC-130.Operation Steel Tiger, Operation Tiger Hound, and Operation Commando Hunt inevitably slowed the flow of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong men and supplies into South Vietnam and required them to divert a multitude of assets to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail in serviceable condition, however airpower was never able to completely close the trail during the war.

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.

Đồng Sĩ Nguyên

Đồng Sĩ Nguyên, also spelled Đồng Sỹ Nguyên, other name Nguyễn Hữu Vũ (1 March 1923 – 4 April 2019), was a Vietnamese soldier and politician. He was Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, lieutenant-general of the North Vietnamese Army, and minister of transport of Vietnam. He was born in Quảng Bình Province, home to general Võ Nguyên Giáp and Ngô Đình Diệm, president of the Republic of Vietnam.

Military engagements of the Laotian Civil War

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