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Gulf of Tonkin
The site of a North Vietnamese torpedo attack on the U.S.S. Maddox, an American destroyer, on August 2, 1964, and a highly disputed second attack on August 4. In late July 1964, South Vietnamese PT boats had fired upon two Tonkin Gulf islands held by the North Vietnamese, Hon Me and Hon Ngu, setting the stage for increased tension in the area. President Lyndon Johnson will successfully seek a Congressional resolution on August 7 bringing the U.S. into the conflict.
The U.S. air base at Bienhoa was the target of an intense raid by the Vietcong on October 30, 1964. Launching a heavy mortar attack under cover of night, the communists caught U.S. and South Vietnamese personnel off guard. The attack left 5 American servicemen and 2 Vietnamese dead and 76 wounded. In addition, 6 U.S. B-57s were destroyed, along with 20 other U.S. and South Vietnamese aircraft.
Ia Drang Valley
The U.S. Army's 1st Air Cavalry honed its aerial reconnaissance techniques in the rugged territory along the Ia Drang Valley. Taking advantage of the mobility of their helicopters, the Air Cavalry could spot North Vietnamese Army units from the air and rush assault troops to the spot to engage them in battle.
The North Vietnamese Army (N.V.A.) waged a losing battle in late 1967 and early 1968 to take Khe Sanh, a heavily fortified U.S. airstrip. Over the course of the nine-week battle, the most firepower ever used against a single target in the history of warfare was unleashed. Although the N.V.A. lost at least 10,000 men, they would later admit the engagement was a diversionary tactic employed to allow other Communist units to drive deeper into South Vietnam.