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Tonkin Gulf/Pleiku/Ia Drang Valley

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Tonkin Gulf

On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox was attacked by torpedoes in international waters by North Vietnamese patrol boats miles away from the North Vietnamese coast. The USS Maddox evaded a torpedo attack and chased the ships away. Two days later, on August 4th, there were reports of another attack by the North Vietnamese but the reports were wrong. The responses to these attacks were bombing raids in North Vietnam. Other bombing raids went under the codes names of Operation Pierce Arrow, followed by Operation Flaming Dart, Operation Rolling Thunder, Operation Linebacker, and Operation Linebacker II. The Tonkin Gulf incident led President Johnson to ask Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave him the authority to help South Vietnam without a declaration of war and led to the escalation of US troops in Vietnam.


Pleiku is a town in central Vietnam in the central highland region. It is the capital of the Gia Lai Province. It was strategically important during the Vietnam War because of the of military airbases. This was a major base with a 10,000 foot all weather instrument runway. Highway 19 was the major highway from Qui Nhon on the coast to Pleiku in the central highlands. A petroleum pipeline ran alongside this highway. Two Security Police units were assigned to Pleiku. Pleiku was the home of the 633rd and 625th special forces. By September 1970, the perimeter was almost completely guarded by Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF). In March of 1975, Pleiku air base was captured by North Vietnam as Vietnam reunified.

Ia Drang Valley

On November 14, 1965, 450 American soldiers of the 1st Air Cavalry Division led by Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moorewere airlifted by helicopter to this valley with the intention of locating and eliminating North



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