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 TimeLines of Liberty
American Wars - Vietnam

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American History American Wars War Statistics
Vietnam War  -  1966 - 1970

It is estimated that 3 million people were killed and over one million wounded over the whole term of the war with the financial cost set at 200 billion dollars. 
The Hippie movement that destroyed lives with drugs and free sex were quick to join the anti-war movement. "Make Love Not War" was one of the naive mantra's of many anti-war rallies. "Peace not War" ironically supports war not peace. Peace must be enforced. Peace when left to its own device will die a slow demise.
Veterans who fought for liberty came home to find themselves despised, by those who exercised the freedom they had fought to protect. The Vietnam War is the first war that America failed to hail our heroes.

 Page Three  -  1966 - 1967 - 1968 - 1969 - 1970

Pre-War - 1930-1960  -  The War - 1961-1965  -  The War - 1970-1975  -  Post War - 1976-2007
Page 1                             Page 2                               Page 4                              Page 5
  Last updated February, 2007.  Unless stating the date, events within the year may not be in order.
1966 - Vietnam War
1966 Jan. Before Congress in his January 12th State of the Union Address President Johnson comments that the U.S. should remain in Vietnam until communist aggression has ceased. Expressing the observation that the Vietnam War is unlike any other America has fought, President Johnson says, "Yet, finally, war is always the same. It is young men dying in the fullness of their promise. It is trying to kill a man that you do not even know well enough to hate...therefore, to know war is to know that there is still madness in this world."
1966 Jan. Operation Masher; later by order of President Johnson it was changed to "White Wing," sounding less aggressive; begins on January 28 and is fought until March 6th. Operation White Wing was a "search and destroy" operation against Viet Cong and NVA troop encampments. In Bon Son Plain near the coast, troops of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), again fly by helicopters directly into battle zones to engage in heavy fire-fights. 228 Americans die with 788 wounded. North Vietnamese losses are estimated at 1342.
1966 Info The use of the term 'search-and-destroy' was meant to describe large scale Airmobile troop movements to small patrols rooting out Viet Cong in hamlets, but with the media slants it eventually evokes negative images of Americans burning villages.
1966 Jan.

On January 31st, President Johnson announces resumption of North Vietnam bombing, citing Hanoi's failure to respond to the recent seize-fire.

1966 Jan. After his announcement, President Johnson's decision to resume the bombing is criticized by Senator Robert F. Kennedy infuriating the President, "on a road from which there is no turning back, a road that leads to catastrophe for all mankind."
1966 Feb. Chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February, Senator J. William Fulbright holds a televised hearing to examine America's Vietnam policy. Appearing, Defense Secretary McNamara says U.S. objectives are "not to destroy or overthrow the Communist government of North Vietnam. They are limited to the destruction of the insurrection and aggression directed by North Vietnamese against the political institutions of South Vietnam."
1966 Feb. Influential newspaper columnist Walter Lippmann lam-blasts President Johnson's Vietnam strategy on February 3rd saying, "Gestures, propaganda, public relations and bombing and more bombing will not work," along with a prediction that Vietnam will divide America as mounting combat causalities increase.
1966 Feb. President Johnson meets with South Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky in Honolulu, Hawaii over February 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th.
1966 March Senator Wayne Morse lead a failed attempt to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on March 1st. The U.S. Senate vote was 92 to 5.
1966 March Australia announces on March 8th that it will increase its number of troops in Vietnam.
1966 March The U.S. reveals on March 9th that it is estimated that around suspected Viet Cong villages 20,000 acres of food crops have been destroyed. Harsh criticism is generated from the American academic community.
1966 March South Vietnamese Buddhists begin a violent campaign on March 10th to oust Prime Minister Ky, beginning a period of unrest in several cities. Political turmiol spills out into the streets in Saigon, Da Nang and Hue interfering with U.S. military operations.
1966 March In New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco as well as others, demonstrators march in anti-war protests on March 26th.
1966 April Used on April 12th for the first time against North Vietnam B-52 bombers drop their ordnance on six main target categories (White House supervised) of power plants, war support facilities, transportation lines, fuel storage, military complexes, and air defense installations. Able to target from an altitude of nearly six miles each B-52 can carry up to 100 bombs.
1966 April The Viet Cong attack Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon on April 13th, destroying 12 U.S. helicopters and 9 aircraft causing 140 casualties.
1966 May On May 2nd in private, Secretary of Defense McNamara reports that 4500 North Vietnamese infiltrate into South Vietnam each month.
1966 May Renegade South Vietnamese Buddhist troops are over-ran on May 14th in Da Nang by troops loyal to Prime Minister Ky, generating intensified political unrest. Ky's troops moved on to Hue ousting renegades there as well resulting in more immolations by Buddhist monks and nuns, protesting against Ky's regime and American backers. The Buddhist leader Tri Quang personally blames President Johnson for the situation, with the president  responding labeling the immolations as "tragic and unnecessary."
1966 June 6400 teachers and professors sign a petition that appears in a 3 page anti-war advertisement appearing in the Jun 4th, New York Times.
1966 June Prime Minister Ky cracks down on Buddhist rebels, arresting the  Buddhist leader Tri Quang abating the South Vietnamese political unrest. Ky makes an appeal for calm.
1966 June Captain Ronald E. Ray on June 19th having already displayed great courage dove between a grenade and two men, shielding them from the explosion. He was wounded in his feet and legs and immediately sustained additional wounds an enemy machine gun, then he tossed another grenade to silence the Enemy emplacement. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1966 June Ending a self-imposed moratorium on June 29th, the U.S. bombs oil depots around Hanoi and Haiphong. The military cites increased infiltration of Communist guerrillas into South Vietnam.
1966 June The U.S. avoids targeting the city of Hanoi itself, concerned for possible reactions of the U.S.S.R. and China. The same concerns prevents a ground invasion of North Vietnam. A few military planners in Washington have made such recommendations.
1966 July Hanoi Radio reports on July 6th That American pilots (POWs) were paraded through the streets of Hanoi amidst jeering crowds. The public display of war prisoners is a possible violation of the Geneva Convention.
1966 July The U.S. intensifies its bombing raids against the Laos portions of the Ho Chi Minh trail on July 11th.
1966 July U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese troops execute Operation Hastings, on July 15th, against 10,000 NVA troops in Quang Tri Province. This is the war's largest combined military operation so far.
1966 July July 30th marks the first time that America bombard NVA troops in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ, a buffer area separating North and South Vietnam).
1966 Aug. 63 civilians are killed and 100 wounded on August 9th when U.S. jets with mistaken targets attack two South Vietnamese villages.
1966 Aug. The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations on August 16th, concerning American who may have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intended to introduce legislation making such activities illegal. The meeting is disrupted by anti-war demonstrators with 50 protestors arrested.
1966 Aug. The North Vietnamese announce on August 30th that China will provide economic and technical assistance.
1966 Sept. French President Charles de Gaulle calls for the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam, during a visit to Cambodia on September 1st.
1966 Sept. 500 U.S. jets attack supply lines of the NVA and coastal targets in the heaviest air raid as of September 12th.
1966 Sept. 50 miles north of Saigon near the Cambodian border 20,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers conduct search-and-destroy mission Operation Attleboro from September 14th to November 24th. Finding a jungle base camp an enormous weapons cache is located. 155 Americans were killed with 494 others wounded. Losses for the North Vietnamese are 1106.
1966 Sept. The U.S. revealed on September 23rd that chemicals were used to defoliate jungles near the Demilitarized Zone.
1966 Sept. Operation Irving from October 2nd to the 24th was to clear NVA from mountainous areas near Qui Nhon, by the U.S. 1st Air Cavalry Division.
1966 Oct. The Soviet Union announced on October 3rd that it will send military and economic assistance to North Vietnam.
1966 Oct. A Conference of America's Vietnam Allies is held on October 25th, called by President Johnson. In attendance are: Australia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea and South Vietnam. A Allies offer a six month withdrawal from Vietnam on the condition that North Vietnam withdraw completely from South Vietnam.
1966 Oct. On October 26th in the first of two visits during his presidency, President Johnson visits U.S. troop at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.
1966 Nov. Defense Secretary McNamara visits Harvard University on November 7th and is confronted by student protesters.
1966 Nov. In a November 12, New York Times report: 40 percent of economic aid sent to Saigon is either stolen or ends up on the black market.
1966 Nov. On December 8th President Johnson proposes discussions on the treatment of POWs and a possible exchange of prisoners.
1966 Dec. On December 9th North Vietnam rejects President Johnson's proposal concerning POWs.
1966 Dec. Harsh criticism falls from the international community following a U.S. bombing raid, on December 13th and 14th, that leveled Caudat a village near Hanoi.
1966 Dec. Pressured by increasing scrutiny from journalists concerning the mounting civilian causalities in North Vietnam the U.S. Defense Department makes a statement, on December 26th, admitting that civilians may have been bombed accidentally.
1966 Dec. A large-scale air assault on suspected Viet Cong positions in the Mekong Delta is waged by the U.S, on December 27th, using Napalm and several hundred tons of ordnance.
1966 Info By the year's end, U.S. troop levels reach 389,000. 1966 brings 5008 combat deaths with the wounded numbering 30,093. Sniper fire; small-arms fire from ambushes; handmade booby traps; and mines planted across the countryside by the Viet Cong and local sympathizers, cause over half of the American causalities. Allies fighting in Vietnam include 45,000 soldiers from South Korea and 7000 from Australia.
It is estimated that 89,000 soldiers from North Vietnam have infiltrated into South Vietnam by way of the Ho Chi Minh.
1967 - Vietnam War
1967 Jan. Operation Bolo occurs on January 2nd with 28 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets luring North Vietnamese MiG-21 interceptors into a dogfight over Hanoi. Several are shot down leaving North Vietnam with only 9 operational MiG-21s. Washington has prohibited American polots from attacking North Vietnamese MiG air bases.
1967 Jan. Operation Deckhouse Five was executed by U.S. Marines and ARVN (South Vietnamese troops) on January 6th in a clearing offensive on the Mekong River Delta. One platoon from Company A of 720th MP Battalion was assigned to construct POW cages and transporting POWs between Vung Tau and Bien Hoa.
1967 Jan. The largest combined offensive so far, Operation Cedar Falls, is conducted on January 8th ending on the 26th. Involving 16,000 American and 14,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, the mission was to clear Viet Cong from the 'Iron Triangle,' an area 25 miles north and west of Saigon. Choosing not to fight the Viet Cong disappear into the jungle. An extensive network of tunnels is discovered with specially trained volunteers known as "tunnel rats," exploring the tunnel maze. The Viet Cong return to rebuild the tunnels after the area had cleared. This is a recurring pattern as American "in and out" tactics fly troops into an area by helicopters, secure the area, and then leave by helicopters.
1967 Jan. U.N. Secretary-General U Thant. on January 10th. expresses doubts as to how essential Vietnam is to the security of the West.
1967 Jan. Before Congress, on January 10th, President Johnson declares again, "We will stand firm in Vietnam," in his State of the Union address.
1967 Jan. The Arrogance of Power, by Senator J. William Fulbright is published on January 23rd. The book is critical of the war policy and advocates direct peace talks. President Johnson uses the media to deride Fullbright, Robert Kennedy and other critics in Congress calling them, "nervous Nellies" and "sunshine patriots."
1967 Feb.  President Johnson states on, February 2nd, in reference to the North Vietnamese that there are no "serious indications that the other side is ready to stop the war."
1967 Feb. A truce is held from February 8th to the 12th over the traditional Vietnamese holiday, Tet, the lunar New Year.
1967 Feb. A "Fast for Peace" is held nationwide in America, from February 8th to the 10th, by various religious organizations.
1967 Feb. The resumption of full-scale bombing in North Vietnam is announced, on February 13th, by President Johnson, after diplomatic peace talks with the North Vietnamese fail.
1967 Feb. Destruction of NVA's Central Office headquarters in South Vietnam occurs over February 22nd to May 14th in the largest U.S. offensive of the war in Operation Junction City at Ap Gu. 22 U.S. and four South Vietnamese battalions conduct the only parachute assault by U.S. troops during the war. 2728 Viet Cong are killed with 34 taken prisoner.  The NVA command, avoiding capture, relocate command operations to Cambodia. Lieutenant General Alexander M. Haig who commanded the U.S. 1st Battalion, 26th infantry later becomes influential as a White House aide.
1967 Feb. Congress apropriates $4.5 billion for the war on March 8th.
1967 March Revealed later in the "Pentagon Papers," Operation Pop Eye occurred in March as a "rain-making" project to reduce traffic along the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos.
1967 March President Johnson meets with Prime Minister Ky, in Guam from March 19th to the 21st, pressuring for South Vietnamese national elections.
1967 April 2500 Viet Cong and NVA attack Quang Tri City on April 6th.
1967 April On April 14th in a visit to Saigon, Richard M. Nixon says that protests back in the U.S. are "prolonging the war."
1967 April Nearly 200,000 protestors participate on April 15th in anti-war demonstrations in New York and San Francisco.
1967 April Rev. Martin Luther King, on April 15th, states "...the pursuit of this widened war has narrowed the promised dimensions of the domestic welfare programs, making the poor white and Negro bear the heaviest burdens both at the front and at home," declaring the president's Great Society social reform programs are being undermined by the war.
1967 April Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam is attacked by U.S. bombers for the first time on April 20th.
1967 April Hill fights rage at the isolated air base at Khe Sanh, in mountainous terrain near the Laos and North Vietnam borders from Aril 24th to May 11th. The U.S. 3rd Marines killed 940 North Vietnamese Army troops. 155 Americans are killed with 425 wounded.
1967 April On April 24th General Westmoreland says, anti-war demonstrators give the North Vietnamese, "hope that he can win politically that which he cannot accomplish militarily." He privately tells President Johnson "the war could go on indefinitely."
1967 April About April 28th, boxer Cassias Clay declaring himself a conscientious objector, refuses to serve in the military. After serving in prison for draft evasion he will later change his name to Muhammad Ali.
1967 April Henry Cabot Lodge is replaced by Ellsworth Bunker on May 1st as the U.S Ambassador to South Vietnam.
1967 May On May 2nd British philosopher Bertrand Russell organized a mock war crimes tribunal held in Stockholm. Without surprise the United States is condemned.
1967 May President Johnson appoints former CIA analyst, Robert W. Komer as deputy commander of MACV on May 9th.
1967 May Attempting to pacify the South Vietnamese in hopes to regain their loyalty, a new U.S. agency is formed called Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS). CORDS distributes $850 million worth of food, medical supplies, machinery, and numerous other household items. CORDS also trains local militias to protect their villages from the Viet Cong. The U.S. hoped to regain the "hearts and minds" of common villagers.
1967 May In May it is estimated that 60 percent of rural villages in South Vietnam are under Viet Cong control.
1967 May A Demonstration in support of the war, on May 13th is led by a New York City fire captain. 70,000 march in support of the troops and the war in New York.
1967 May Heavy losses are suffered on both sides in the first engagements within the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) from May 18th to the 26th between NVA and the joint force of U.S. and South Vietnamese troops.
1967 May On May 22nd North Vietnam is publicly urged to accept a peace compromise, by President Johnson.
1967 June utilizing U.S. Navy 'Swift' boats combined with Army troop support the Mobile Riverine Force becomes operational in June. The mission is to halt Viet Cong usage of inland waterways in the Mekong Delta.
1967 July 475,000 soldiers were already scheduled to be deployed in July, when General Westmoreland requests an additional 200,000 reinforcements. President Johnson authorizes only 45.000 more.
1967 July On July 7th, North Vietnam's Politburo decide to launch a three-phase offensive against South Vietnam. The first phase is an effort to lure American troops away from the Cities by attacking remote border areas. The second phase is the "Tet Offensive" attacking the Cities with Viet Cong and NVA forces, hoping to ignite an uprising that may overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The third phase is to be an actual invasion of South Vietnam.
1967 July A punctured fuel tank explodes beginning a fire on the U.S. Navy carrier Forrestal, in the Gulf of Tonkin. The July 29th fire kills 134 in the worst naval accident since World War II.
1967 Aug. The People's Republic of China agrees, on August 7th, to give  an undisclosed amount of aid to North Vietnam.
1967 Aug. United States Marines initiate Operation Cochise on August 9th  in the Que Son Valley.
1967 Aug. Closed-door hearings by the Senate Armed Services Committee begin, on August 9, to consider the influence that civilian advisors have on military planning.
Defense Secretary McNamara testified the extensive and expensive U.S. bombing campaign in Vietnam fails to have an impact on North Vietnam's ability to make war within South Vietnam. He says "the virtual annihilation of North Vietnam and its people" through bombing would be needed if success was to be expected.
1967 Aug. California Governor Ronald Reagan says, on August 18th, considering the unlikely victory when "too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing," The U.S. should withdraw from Vietnam.
1967 Aug. Two U.S. fighter-bombers that accidentally cross the border of China during raids in North Vietnam near the Chinese border, are shot down on August 21st.
1967 Aug. North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong publicly states, on September 1st, that Hanoi will "continue to fight."
1967 Sept. Under the new constitution, with 80 percent of South Vietnam's eligible voters participating in the September 3rd National elections, Nguyen Van Thieu is elected president with Nguyen Cao Ky as his vice-president with 35 percent of the vote. One of Thieu's first acts after being seated as President was to arrest the leader of his opposition.
1967 Sept. A search and destroy mission in Quang Nam and Quang Tin Provinces called Operation Swift is launched by U.S. Marines on September 4th, lasting four days. The battle in Que Son Valley takes the lives of 114 Americans and 376 North Vietnamese.
1967 Sept. U.S. Marines are besieged at Con Thien, just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from September 11th to October 31st. The Marines were cut off by the NVA. An artillery duel ensues with the NVA firing 42,000 rounds and the U.S. firing off 281,000 rounds supported by air strikes to break the siege. The North Vietnamese lose over 2000 troops.
1967 Oct. A public opinion poll in October has 46 percent of Americans believing Vietnam military involvement is a "mistake." Most Americans believe the U.S. should either "win" or "get out". The previous support of President Johnson's war policies is renounced by Life magazine.
1967 Oct. The North Vietnamese, on October 5th, claim the U.S. dropped anti-personnel bombs on a school.
1967 Oct. At an October 12th news conference, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk states that proposals for peace initiatives by Congress were futile, because of the opposition by North Vietnam.
1967 Oct. Congressman (Thomas P.) Tip O'Neill breaks with President Johnson to publicly oppose continuation of the war. Tip O'Neill supported Senator Eugene McCarthy (D- MI) for the presidency in 1968.
1967 Oct. Over 50,000 demonstrators 'March on the Pentagon' in Washington D.C. from October 21st to the 23rd.
Protesters make an attempt to storm the U.S. Embassy, in London, England, October 21st.
1967 Oct. President Johnson proclaims reaffirmation of his commitment maintaining U.S. involvent in South Vietnam, on October 31st.
1967 Nov. On November 2nd President Johnson conducts a meeting of the nation's most prestigious leaders, dubbed "the Wise Men." Brainstorming for ways to unite the American people for the war effort it is concluded that more optimistic reports on the progress of the war need to be conveyed.
1967 Nov. The Battle of Dak (located nearly 280 miles north of Saigon) begins on November 3rd continuing to December 1st. The U.S. 4th Infantry Division preempts a planned North Vietnamese Army attack against the Special Forces camp located in the mountain area along the border of Cambodia and Laos. A Presidential Unit Citation is earned by the 4th Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry for exhibiting bravery during the battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese ground attacks supported by massive air strikes force a retreat of the North Vietnamese Army into Laos and Cambodia. General Westmoreland states "Along with the gallantry and tenacity of our soldiers, our tremendously successful air logistic operation was the key to the victory." 289 American troops are killed in the battle with the NVS looses estimated at 1644.
1967 Nov. Hanoi, North Vietnam, rejects another peace overture presented by President Johnson on November 11th.
1967 Nov. The Viet Cong release three American POWs in a propaganda ceremony at Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 11th. The POWs were handed over to 'new left' antiwar activist Tom Hayden.
1967 Nov. An optimistic briefing on November 13th in the White House by General Westmoreland, Ambassador Bunker, and Robert Komer presents President Johnson with an optimistic report on the war.
1967 Nov. President Johnson reports to the nation, on November 17th, that though much remains to be done, "We are inflicting greater losses than we're taking...We are making progress." (Two months later the Tet Offensive by the Viet Cong will make the statement premature.)
1967 Nov. General William Westmoreland appearing to taunt the Viet Cong, says "I hope they try something because we are looking for a fight," in Time magazine.
1967 Nov. On November 21st, General Westmoreland says to reporters, "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing."
1967 Nov. On November 22nd with heavy casualties suffered by both sides the Americans squeak in a victory in the Battle of Dak. Small skirmishes continue until December 1st.
1967 Nov. US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced on November 29th, at a press briefing, that his resignation is pending and he will accept a position as president of the World Bank. "Mr. President...I cannot find words to express what lies in my heart today..." says McNamara.
His resignation follows President Johnson's rejection of his recommendation to freeze troop levels, stop the North Vietnam bombing and transfer all ground fighting to South Vietnam. McNamara joins Bill Moyers, McGeorge Bundy and George Ball as top aides who resigned over differences concerning war policy.
1967 Nov. Eugene McCarthy, an anti-war Democrat, announced his candidacy to oppose Johnson for President on November 30th. McCarthy says, "...we are involved in a very deep crisis of leadership, a crisis of direction and a crisis of national purpose...the entire history of this war in Vietnam, no matter what we call it, has been one of continued error and misjudgment."
1967 Dec. The Russel Tribunal that organized in 1966 , on December 1st, 1967, again condemns America for mass murder in Vietnam.
1967 Dec. A 300 troop Viet Cong battalion is engaged on December 4th in the Mekong Delta, by US and South Vietnamese forces, leaving only 65 of the Viet Cong alive.
1967 Dec. Dr. Benjamin Spock, the renowned 'baby doctor' is among 585 protestors that were arrested during four days of New York anti-war protests that began on December 4th.
1967 Dec. 252 civilians in the hamlet of Dak Son are murdered by Viet Cong forces as reported by the U.S. on December 6th.
1967 Dec. Specialist Four Allen J. Lynch in Binh Dinh Province on December 15th, ran through enemy fire to administer aid to three wounded soldiers, carrying each he made three trips through heavy fire then stayed behind with the wounded defending the position for two hours then carried them each individually to a more secure location then went for help. During his rescue and defense he killed many enemy at point blank range. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1967 Dec. President Johnson arrives at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam on December 23rd. He declares, "...all the challenges have been met. The enemy is not beaten, but he knows that he has met his master in the field."
1967 Info 1967 ends with 463,000 American troops in Vietnam. War deaths to date number 16,000. Over one million American soldiers have rotated through service in Vietnam. Length of service for draftees was one year with most Americans serving in support units.
An estimated 90,000 soldiers from North Vietnam infiltrated into South Vietnam by way of the Ho Chi Minh trail, with the overall troop strength of the Viet Cong and NVA troops in South Vietnam estimated at nearly 300,000 men.
1968 - Vietnam War
1968 Jan. General Giap commanding 20,000 North Vietnamese Army troops attack the Khe Sanh American air base on January 21st beginning a 77 day siege. The NVA encircle 5000 U.S. Marines in the isolated outpost. Enormous attention is given to the siege, by the media in America. Comparisons are made to the Battle of Dien Vien Phu that had the French defeated after being surrounded in 1954.
1968 Jan. After the Siege of Khe Sanh began, President Johnson tells Joint Chiefs Chairman General Earle Wheeler, "I don't want any damn Dinbinfoo." Johnson personally orders Marine reinforcements. "...the eyes of the nation and the eyes of the entire world, the eyes of all of history itself, are on that little brave band of defenders who hold the pass at Khe Sanh..." said Johnson. He then issues presidential orders for the Marines to hold the base and then demands from the Joint Chiefs of Staff a guarantee of success, "signed in blood."
1968 Jan. Operation Niagara begins on January 5th. The mission was to map North Vietnamese Army positions around Khe Sanh.
1968 Jan. 'Operation Scotland' is the name given to the ground defense of the air base at Khe Sanh.
Operation Niagara is the aerial bombardment of NVA troop positions by B-52 bombers. In the height of the battle groups of three B-52s would hit the NVA troops every hour and a half, round-the-clock. Over 110,000 tons of ordnance was dropped during the siege.
1968 Jan. North Vietnam had announced in October a seven-day truce from January 27th to February 3rd, 1968, to honor the Tet holiday.  The South Vietnamese army had planned recreational leaves for a large part of its force. The 'truce' was used as a military tactic.
1968 Jan. North Vietnam's Tet Offensive begins on January 30th with 84,000 Viet Cong guerrilla forces and North Vietnamese Army troops launching a series of surprise attacks throughout South Vietnam. A hundred attacks are executed on cities and towns in South Vietnam including all but 8 of the 44 South Vietnam provincial capitals.
1968 Jan. One city of focus in the Tet Offensive was Saigon with six primary targets using 35 battalions, among which were Viet Cong who, undercover, lived and worked in the city. The six main targets were the ARVN headquarters, President Thieu's office, the American Embassy, air base at Tan Son Nhut, Naval Headquarters at Long Binh , and South Vietnam's National Radio Station.
1968 Jan. American media film Saigon battle scenes, in "living color," of soldiers under fire, wounded and dead. This brings the war to the living rooms of America, where some families are able to see their fathers, sons and brothers fight and die.
1968 Jan. The United States embassy in Saigon is attacked by Viet Cong at 2:45 AM on January 31st. The guards at the embassy were unaware of the attacks in Saigon that had began an hour earlier.
1968 Feb. On a hunch, sensing a coming attack Lieutenant General Fred C. Wevand had ordered additional troops to protect Saigon with up to 50 battalions of U.S. and Allied troops. 35 battalions of NVA and Viet Cong were defeated in the Battle for Saigon during the Tet Offensive From January 31st to March 7th. Wevand launched a decisive counter-attack on February 1st against the Viet Cong at Tan Son Hhut airport and defending the MACV and South Vietnamese Army HQ from a potential capture. Lieutenant General Wevand was dubbed the "savior of Saigon."
1968 Feb. The South Vietnamese national police capture Nguyen Van Lem, identified as a captain of a Viet Cong assassination platoon. He was accused of killing the families of police officers. On November 1st, after brief questioning, Saigon Police Chief General Nguyen Ngoc Loan lifts his weapon and executes Nguyen Van Lem, on the spot. News photographer Eddie Adams captures the execution on film. Appearing on television and front pages around the world the photograph further erodes war support in the west. The photograph wins Adams the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and a World Press Photo award. Adams once said about the photo that "... People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths." He later apologized to Nguyen Ngoc Loan for the damaged caused by the photo.
1968 Feb. President Johnson on February 2nd calls the Tet Offensive "a complete failure."
1968 Feb. In the Tet offensive a small city near Saigon is leveled by American bombs. In reference to the event comes one of the most controversial statements of the war, 'We had to destroy it, in order to save it.' An American officer made the probably accurate but unfortunate statment. 
1968 Feb. The Siege of Khe Sanh That began on January 21st was part of diversionary phase one of North Vietnam's Tet Offensive. In the continuing battle after the Siege of Khe Sanh the NVA kill 21 Marines on February 8th.
1968 Feb. John Kerry, who later becomes a Vietnam anti-war activist and then the democratic presidential candidate for 2004, requested duty in Vietnam on February 10th in 1968.  He asked for the position as a commander of a Swift boat (PCFs; Patrol Crafts Fast) expecting little combat action as they had been operated offshore.
1968 Feb. In the Battle for Hue from January 31st to March 2nd 12,000 NVA and Viet Cong troops converge on the historical city and begin killing "enemies of the people" that include Catholic priests, and captured South Vietnamese officials and officers. The executions exceed 3000. A counter-attack has South Vietnamese troops and three U.S. Marine battalions engaging in the heaviest fighting of the offensive. Aided by air and artillery strikes, the imperial city is retaken one street and building at a time. On February 24th the U.S. Marines take and occupy the Imperial Palace at the heart of the citadel to defeat the North Vietnamese. 142 Marines killed with 857 wounded and in the Army 74 troops are killed with 507 wounded. The South Vietnamese lose 384 with 1830 wounded. Estimates of the NVA losses are set at over 5000.
1968 Feb.
After a visit to Saigon CBS TV news anchorman Walter Cronkite, in his February 27th Evening News, reports his certainty that "the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." One might call it irony, but it was the media that kept public opinion against the war. Without the media slant the politicians might have allowed the military to do the job of winning the war'.
1968 Feb.
At General Westmoreland's behest Joint Chiefs Chairman General Wheeler on February 28th requests, of President Johnson, an extra 206,000 troops mobilizing U.S. reserve units.
1968 March The Communist's Tet Offensive is a military and political failure. The North Vietnamese gained little if any ground and the uprising against South Vietnam's government, they had hoped to ignite, was a fizzle.  The undercover Viet Cong exposed itself to devastating losses never to regain their former strength, leaving the fighting to North Vietnamese regulars to fight a conventional war. The only communist success of the offensive was unplanned, where in America support by grassroots and in Congress for the war was substantially eroded.
1968 March Clark Clifford, friend of President Johnson and a renowned D.C. lawyer is named the new U.S. Secretary of Defense on March 1st. Conducting an intensive study of the Vietnam situation, Clifford finds no concept or plan in Washington for achieving victory. Her Reports to President Johnson that the war should not be escalated. "The time has come to decide where we go from here," Clifford tells the President.
1968 March A Viet Cong ambush on March 2nd at Saigon's Tan Son Hhut airport kills 48 U.S. Army soldiers.
1968 March The news of Westmoreland's 206,000 troop request is broken on March 10th by the New York Times. The Whitehouse denies the New York Times story.
1968 March Secretary of State Dean Rusk is questioned on live TV over two days by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the request and the overall effectiveness of the administration's war policy.
1968 March An offensive called Operation Quyet Thang by 33 U.S. and South Vietnamese battalions begins on March 11th, lasting 28 days.
1968 March The March 12th New Hampshire Democratic primary election has President Johnson narrowly beating Eugene McCarthy by just 300 votes. The slim victory is another indication of the President's eroding support for the war. Johnson's approval rating had dropped to 36 percent while the rating for his war policy bottomed out at 26 percent.
1968 March On March 14th, Senator Robert F. Kennedy offers a confidential political proposition to President Johnson. The President rejects the offer that he renounce his earlier Vietnam strategy to establish a committee, including Kennedy, to chart a new course in Vietnam.
1968 March Robert F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the presidency on March 16th, with polls showing a higher rating than the President. During his campaign, addressing his part in forming President John F. Kennedy's war policy, he says, "past error is no excuse for its own perpetuation."
1968 March Over the days from March 16th to the 19th Captain Paul W. Bucha risked his life repeatedly to bravely lead his men, near Phuoc Vinh, in Binh Duong Province, in combat to repel a superior force. Paul W. Bucha is presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 March On March 16th at My Lai hamlet 300 Vietnamese civilians, are killed by members of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry U.S. Army, under command of Army Lieutenant William L. Calley Jr., during assaults against suspected Viet Cong encampments in Quang Ngai Province. The previous night Charlie company was advised that genuine civilians at My Lai would have gone to market by 7 a.m. and assume that all who remained were either Viet Cong or active sympathizers of the VC.  No obvious Viet Cong were found at My Lai prior to the shooting frenzy. Realizing the actuality of the fighting, helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson lands to begin evacuating civilians. Lieutenant Calley was convicted receiving a "life" sentence that was later commuted to 20 years of "hard labor."
1968 March General William Westmoreland is named Army Chief of Staff, on March 22nd by President Johnson. General Creighton W. Abrams replaces Westmoreland in Vietnam.
1968 March In a March 23rd secret meeting in the Philippines, General Westmoreland is by General Wheeler that President Johnson will only approve 13,500 additional troops. Westmoreland had requested 206,000. Wheeler also instructs Westmoreland to urge the South Vietnamese to expand their own participation in the war.
1968 March Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson and World War II General Omar Bradley are among the, "Wise Men," of a dozen prominent statesmen and soldiers, who are invited to a dinner at the State Department, held on March 25th. A bluntly accurate assessment of the war is conveyed, including an unlikely victory "under the present circumstances," and the corruption of the Saigon government being a hindrance.
1968 March Gathering for lunch at the White House on March 26th, the "Wise Men," with only four dissenting, advocate a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
1968 March The initial report from My Lai on March 28th says 69 Viet Cong were killed. Civilian causalities were not mentioned.
1968 March President Johnson says, "We are prepared to move immediately toward peace through negotiations," announcing a seize fire of bombing limited to north of the 20th parallel including Hanoi.
1968 March On March 31st, President Johnson makes an unexpected announcement, "I will not seek or accept my party's nomination for President of the United States."
1968 April Operation Pegasus begins April 1st, with the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) given the mission to reopen Route 9, the supply route to the air base at Khe Sanh.
1968 April Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4th.
1968 April Extensive bombing and the opening of Route 9 ends the Siege of Khe Sanh on April 8th. North Vietnamese Army withdraw having suffered losses estimated at up to 15,000. The U.S. Marines 199 killed and 830 wounded. 1st Cavalry saw 92 killed and 629 wounded. The base at Khe Sanh is secretly closed by the U.S. Command. President commends the heroism of U.S. troops that defended Khe Sanh, saying, "...they vividly demonstrated to the enemy the utter futility of his attempts to win a military victory in the South." The North Vietnamese call the closing of Khe Sanh air base, America's "gravest defeat" yet.
1968 April Defense Secretary Clifford announces on April 11th that the 206,000 additional soldiers, requested by General Westmoreland, will not be granted
1968 April Five buildings at Columbia University on April 23rd, are siezed by anti-war activist. (domestic terrorists?)
1968 April Protesting the war, 200,000 students in New York, skip class on April 27th.
1968 April NVA troops seeking to open an invasion corridor into South Vietnam are deterred by "the Magnificent Bastards," a battalion of U.S. Marines commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William Weise. The Battle of Dai Do occurred from April 30th to May 3rd. along the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). 1568 North Vietnamese Army are killed. 81 Marines and 29 supporting Army are killed. 297 Marines and 130 Army are wounded.
1968 April Their defeat at Dai Do suppresses North Vietnam's hope of a successful invasion of the south. The NVA will wait for success in 1972 after most American troops had been recalled from Vietnam.
1968 May Major M. Sando Vargas, Jr. on May 1st, already wounded from the previous day, commands his men strategically while receiving two more wounds. He continues to lead and carries his wounded commander through fire to a secure location then continues to inspire his men with his brave leadership. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 May Captain James N. Livingston led his men, without concern for his own safety having been wounded twice, to join forces with a heavily engaged company of marines to halt a counterattack. Wounded a third time, unable to walk he supervised the deployment of his men and evacuation of the wounded, staying through until his men were safe before allowing himself to be evacuated. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 May The Viet Cong begin "Mini Tet," on May 5th, with rocket and mortar attacks against 120 cities and military installations throughout South Vietnam. Responding, the U.S. launches air strikes which include the use of Napalm.
1968 May Established in 1963 to monitor North Vietnamese infiltration, the isolated Special Forces camp at Kham Duc near the border of Laos is attacked on May 10th, by a North Vietnamese Army battalion. U.S. Command makes the decision to evacuate using C-130 transport planes.
1968 May During the chaos of the successful airlift from Kham Duc, it is discovered that three U.S. Air Force traffic controllers had been left behind. The camp is then over-ran by the North Vietnamese Army. Two C-130s had already been downed by enemy fire. Lieutenant Colonel Joe M. Jackson lands his C-123 Provider on the air strip amid intense gun-fire to gather all three of the traffic controllers. For this act of bravery,  Lieutenant Colonel Joe M. Jackson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1968 May Peace Talks in Paris actually occur, between the United States and North Vietnam, beginning May 10th. A Stalemate is soon achieve with the U.S. standing firm on a withdraw of NVA and Viet Cong from South Vietnam and North Vietnam insisting on Viet Cong participation in a South Vietnam coalition government. The stalemate begins five years of off and on official peace talks in Paris.
1968 May Corpsman Petty Officer Donald E. Ballard on May 16th in Quang Tri Province during an ambush, made his way through enemy fire to administer first aid to a wounded soldier. Directing four other soldiers to carry out the wounded man Ballard dives onto a grenade that lands near the five men. The grenade failed to detonate and Donald Ballard rose to continue treating other marine casualties. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 June Robert F. Kennedy had recently won the California Democratic presidential primary when on June 5th he is mortally wounded by an assassin's bullet in Los Angeles.
1968 June Private First Class Frank A. Herda on June 29th, as a grenade lands in his foxhole he shoots an enemy not 10 feet away then dives onto the grenade to save two other soldiers who kill the other two enemy troops approaching on them. He was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 July The increasing costs of the war is defrayed by the U.S. Congress passing a ten percent income tax surcharge in July.
1968 July General Creighton W. Abrams becomes U.S. commander in Vietnam on July 1st.
1968 July It was estimated that the Viet Cong "infrastructure" was up to 70,000 Communist guerrillas waging the long-standing campaign of terror against Americans, village leaders, civilians, and South Vietnamese government officials. On July 1st the CORDS' Phoenix program under the direction of Robert Komer, is established to destroy that infrastructure.
Alleged assassinations of suspected Viet Cong by "U.S. trained" South Vietnamese is used by North Vietnam in s propaganda campaign generating a "Phoenix controversy" resulting in Congressional hearings. Before Congress in 1971, Komer's successor William E. Colby testifies, "The Phoenix program was not a program of assassination. The Phoenix program was a part of the overall pacification program." admitting that Viet Cong killed were 20,587 but "mostly in combat regular or paramilitary forces."
1968 July Hanoi's North Vietnamese leadership release three American POWs on July 3rd.
1968 July South Vietnam's President Thieu and President Johnson meet in Hawaii on July 19th.
1968 July South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu is sentenced to five years hard labor on July 26th. He had advocated formation of a coalition government as a means to ending the war.
1968 Aug. Richard M. Nixon Promises "an honorable end to the war in Vietnam." after being chosen as the Republican presidential candidate on August 8th.
1968 Aug. In the first eight months of 1968 101 colleges have seen 221 student protests. The U.S. has seen such a level of social unrest in the 100 years since the Civil War. During the August 28th, Democratic National Convention in Chicago 10,000 anti-war protesters assemble downtown and are confronted by the police and national guardsmen. The confrontation is covered on national TV. Around 800 demonstrators are injured in the clash.
1968 Sept. Another U.S. airplane is shot down over North Vietnam on September 30th, bringing the total lost in the war to 900.
1968 Oct. More than 1200 U.S. Navy and South Vietnamese Navy gunboats and warships target North Vietnamese Army supply lines from Cambodia reaching into the Mekong Delta in Operation Sealord. Beginning October 8th, the two-year operation also disrupts other NVA supply camps in the Delta and along other waterways. Operation Sealord was the largest combined naval operation of the war, over NVA supply camps.
1968 Oct. Involuntary second tours of duty are announced on October 14th by the U.S. Department of Defense, sending nearly 24,000 U.S. Army and U.S. Marines troops back to Vietnam.
1968 Oct. The United States released 14 North Vietnamese POWs on October 21st.
1968 Oct. 50,000 demonstrators gather on October 27th in London, England to protest the war.
1968 Oct. Citing progress in the Paris peace talks on October 31st, President Johnson announces the halting of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam", On November 1st the cessation of bombing north of the 17th parallel in Vietnam, ends Operation Rolling Thunder. The President hopes the action will encourage continued peace talks with North Vietnam.
1968 Info During Rolling Thunder, a three and a half year bombing campaign on North Vietnam, had little overall effect in halting the supply lines and transport of soldiers into South Vietnam. The operation seemed to have backfired with North Vietnamese civilians rallying around the Communist leaders. Civilian death toll is estimated at 52,000.
Rolling Thunder dropped an average of 800 tons of bombs each day for a total of one million tons of ordnance. B-52 bombers flew 2380 sorties with over 300,000 by U.S. Navy and Air Force fighter-bombers. The sophisticated air defense system provided to North Vietnam, by the communist U.S.S.R., downed 922 U.S. aircraft.
1968 Nov. Rolling Thunder ends on November 1st when the B-52 bombing of North Vietnam is shifted to the supply camps in Laos. Bombing in Laos continues through 1972 with over 25,000 sorties flown, most occurring in 1972.
1970 May Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers at a forward fire support base, runs through enemy ground and artillery fire to rally dazed artillery crewmen to action on November 1st. Rogers continued fighting and rallying others even though he had been wounded. He is presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 Nov. Robert Komer takes the helm of CORDS replacing William E. Colby in November,
1968 Nov. In the November 5th U.S. presidential election Republican Richard M. Nixon defeats Democrat Hubert Humphrey in a narrow victory.
1968 Nov. Operation Commando Hunt begins on November 11th to interdict troops and supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. The operation dropped 3 million tons of bombs slowing but failing to seriously disrupt the flow along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
1968 Nov. An urgent message, from A Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong, is received on November 26th by First Lieutenant James P. Fleming, pilot of a Bell UH-1F helicopter. In a second rescue attempt he lands the helicopter amidst heavy enemy fire to retrieve the besieged unit. First Lieutenant Fleming was later presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 from President Richard M. Nixon.
1968 Nov. Harvard professor Henry Kissinger is asked to fill and accepts the position of National Security Advisor by President-elect Nixon on November 27th.
1968 Dec. John Kerry, who later becomes an anti-war activist and then the democratic presidential candidate for 2004, on December 2nd reports his first intense combat.  Attending physician Louis Letson says other crewmen had a different story; with no fire from shore Kerry fires a mortar round to some nearby rocks on shore and the wound he received was likely a fragment of the mortar that ricocheted off a rock. Kerry's wound was in his arm and was treated with a band-aid. Kerry applied and was denied a Purple Heart by his superior Grant Hibbard as the incident did not meet the eligibility requirements. Kerry is later is granted the Purple Heart upon a second request. Kerry's own journal says there he had seen no enemy fire as of nine days later.
1968 Dec. John Kerry claimed involvement in combat off Cambodia on Christmas eve. His story had changed to early 1969 and has seen numerous changes since, without any substantiation.
1968 Info Even with the 200 U.S. air strikes each day in the last few months of the year, at any given time, nearly 10,000 North Vietnamese Army supply trucks are in route along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It is estimated that the infiltration of North Vietnamese soldiers to the south along the trail numbers 150,000.
By the end of 1968 American troop levels reach 495,000. 38 percent of the forces were "draftees" with 12 percent of those being college graduates. 30,000 Americans have died in the war, to date. In 1968 over 1,000 troops were killed each month.
1969 - Vietnam War
1969 Jan. Senator Richard M. Nixon, President-elect, nominates Henry Cabot Lodge on January 1st to be the senior negotiator at the Paris peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam. Lodge was formerly the American Ambassador to South Vietnam.
1969 Jan. Representatives from the U.S., South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front (NLF) are present on January 25th for the opening of the expanded peace talks in Paris, France. 
1969 Jan. President Richard M. Nixon becomes the 5th president to cope with the War in Vietnam having campaigned on a pledge of "peace with honor." On January 20th Richard M. Nixon is inaugurated the 37th President declaring, "...the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America..." in his Inaugural Address.
1969 Jan. The U.S. Marines begin Operation Dewey Canyon in the Da Krong Valley on January 22nd. Operation Dewey Canyon will be the last major operation by U.S. Marines of the war.
1969 Feb. John Kerry, who later becomes an anti-war activist, comes under automatic weapon and rocket fire on February 20th and is hit by shrapnel in his left thigh. He is awarded a second Purple Heart. The account is disputed years later by Swift Boat Veterans, some saying there was no enemy fire.
1969 Feb. Airman First Class John L. Levitow on February 24th was aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission supporting the Long Binh Army Post when a hole is blown into the side by an enemy mortar. All aboard are wounded and slammed to the floor. Levitow with concussion and leg wounds pulls a heavily bleeding comrade away from an open cargo door when he spots a smoking illumination flare. Unable to grab the rolling flare he drops onto the burning flair then hugging it to his body drags himself to the open door and tosses the flare where in just a couple seconds it detonates safely away from the plane. He is presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon.
1969 Feb. Kerry is awarded the Silver Star in which the incidences on February 28th as well as the awarding is wrought with peculiarities. On August 27th, 2004, former Navy Secretary John Lehman states that he did not know where a Silver Star citation, displayed on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign Web site, came from.
1969 Feb. Saigon is included in 110 Targets throughout South Vietnam that are attacked by the Viet Cong on February 23rd.
1969 Feb. The North Vietnamese Army raid Marine base camp near the Demilitarized Zone on February 25th.
1969 Mar. President Richard M. Nixon announced in March that the U.S. has been in secret talks with North Vietnam.
1969 Mar. Responding to Viet Cong offenses in the South the resumption of bombing as retaliation is threatened by President Nixon on March 4th.
1969 Mar. John Kerry receives a third Purple Heart for an injury to his buttocks on March 13. Kerry claimed "I got a piece of small grenade in my ass from one of the rice bin explosions." in an ambush where among enemy fire he pulls Jim Rassmann from the water earning the Bronze Star as well. Rassmann recalled the rice explosion occurred prior to Kerry pulling him from the water. Various stories and reports do not support Kerry's version. Rassmann later asserts that Kerry saved his life.
1969 Mar. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerrey led his SEAL team up a 350 foot cliff then split the team with his climbing down the face toward an enemy camp. Nearing the bottom they are spotted and take fire. A grenade explodes near his feet tossing him backwards onto jagged rocks. In great pain he directs the second team to another position catching the Viet Cong in a crossfire. The enemy confused by the crossfire were subdued and those captured provided valuable intelligence to the
allies. He was presented the
Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon.
1969 Mar. The U.S. Army investigates the alleged massacre at My Lai in March, after letters by veteran Ronald Ridenhour are sent to President Nixon, some Congressmen, and the Army; one year after the incident. The investigation resulted in charges being brought against Charlie Company Commander, Capt. Ernest L. Medina, First Platoon Leader, Lt. William Calley, and 14 others. Photos were produced that showed the aftermath of the massacre, bodies of children, women, and old men.
1969 Mar. The first U.S. troop offensive since 1968 occurs inside the Demilitarized Zone on March 15th.
1969 Mar. Operation Menu is authorized on March 17th by President Nixon. Operation Menu was a secret B-52 bombing targeting enemy supply sanctuaries along the Cambodia and Vietnam border.
1969 Mar. Military policy was that after three Purple Hearts the recipient was eligible to be sent home, although traditionally only the severely wounded availed themselves. John Kerry uses his three Purple Hearts, received for minor injuries, to apply for home relief on March 17th and is granted the request.
1969 April Anti-war demonstrations over the 5th and 6th of April are the only major ones conducted during the first few months of the Nixon presidency.
1969 April 300 anti-war students seize the administration building at Harvard University on April 9th. Eight deans are among the staff that are thrown out of the building. The demonstrators are later forcibly removed.
1969 April The tally of American dead reaches 33,641 as of April 30th, 1969. U.S. troop levels, in Vietnam, now top that of the Korean War peaking at 543,400.
1969 May President Nixon orders FBI wiretaps on four journalists and 13 government officials in attempts to determine the source of the leak when in May the New York Times break news of the Cambodia secret bombings.
1969 May In May at the Paris Peace Talks Hanoi endorses the "10-point peace plan" that was presented.
1969 May Heavy fighting over ten days was waged near Hue in the A Shau Valley in the battle at ''Hamburger Hill'' from May 10th to the 20th. 46 men of the 101st Airborne are killed with 400 others wounded. After the victory of taking the hill the commander orders the troops to abandon the position. A political outcry ensues in America as the public perceives the action a waste of American lives. "... senseless and irresponsible." is what one Senator had said about the withdraw.
1969 May MACV Commander Gen. Creighton Abrams is ordered to avoid encounters as that of "Hamburger Hill." The battle becomes the last major search and destroy mission by U.S. troops during the war. This was one example where public opinion tied the military preventing a victory in Vietnam.
1969 May About May, 1969 the long period of declining morale and discipline begins among the involuntary draftees in Vietnam. Drug usage becomes a major problem among the ranks. Nearly half will dabble with marijuana, opium, or heroin; easily obtained on the streets of Saigon. Casualties of drug abuse will outnumber the casualties of war. One soldier had said "I would hesitate when I knew I was to support a 'pot-head' and that hesitation could have gotten him killed."
1969 May In the first televised speech on Vietnam President Nixon presents in a May 14th war policy address an "8-point peace plan". The plan was for both sides to withdrawal all non-South Vietnamese forces to specified bases over 12 months followed by a total withdrawal. With little surprise Hanoi rejects the offer.
1969 June in a June 8th meeting at Midway Island with South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu, President Nixon announced the first troop withdrawal. During a press briefing with South Vietnam President Thieu, Nixon announces withdrawal of 25,000 men and the "Vietnamization" of the war.
1969 June Abandoned the idea of a "purely military victory" Nixon begins in June to expound on his "Vietnamization program" preparing the South Vietnamese to defend themselves without American troops. American troop withdraws are announced for 25,000 in June and 35,000 in September.
1969 June Lieutenant Thomas O. Kelley, on June 15th, with a serious head wound continued directing troop carriers to protect a disabled carrier with a stuck ramp. Relaying orders through another the enemy attack was subdued and the boats moved to safety. He is presented the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 14th, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon.
1969 June Among the pages in the June 27th issue of Life magazine were portrait photos of the 242 Americans that were killed the previous week. Included were the 46 marines killed at Hamburger Hill. The placing of faces to the death statistics had a sobering effect on Americans across the nation.
1969 July The first troop withdrawal occurs in stages with 800 men from the 9th Infantry Division being sent home on July 8th. The withdrawal of troops occur in 14 states beginning in July with the last in November.
1969 July Secretary of State William Rogers on July 17th lays the charges of "lacking humanity," in treating American POWs, on North Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi.
1969 July The "Vietnamization" policy becomes the "Nixon Doctrine" which advocates assistance to nations struggling against Communism, in the form of military and economic aid with an emphasis on that nation's military self-sufficiency backed by U.S. air power and technical assistance. The "Nixon Doctrine" becomes public on July 25th.
1969 July Nixon's only trip of his presidency, ,to Vietnam was on July 30th when in an unscheduled stop he visits the U.S. troops and South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu.
1969 Aug. Representing the U.S., Henry Kissinger meets with North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy for secret peace negotiations at the Paris apartment of Jean Sainteny, French intermediary, on August 4th.
1969 Aug. Another Viet Cong offensive begins on August 12th when 150 targets throughout South Vietnam are attacked.
1969 Sept. A heart attack takes the life of 79 year old Ho Chi Minh on September 2nd.
1969 Sept. Le Duan succeeds Ho Chi Minh becoming leader of North Vietnam on September 2nd. Reading the last wishes of Ho Chi Minh he urges North Vietnamese to fight "until the last Yankee has gone."
1969 Sept. Lt. William Calley is charged, on September 5th, with six counts of murder for the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai, South Vietnam in March of 1968.
1969 Sept. President Nixon as promised orders the withdrawal of 35,000 soldiers from Vietnam on September 16th and calls for a reduction of draft inductions.
1969 Oct. President Nixon's Vietnam policy receives an approval rating, in an opinion poll in October, of 71 percent. 
1969 Oct. Anti-war demonstrations are organized across America as the "Vietnam Moratorium." It has be estimated that 1 million people participate in the "Moratorium" in Washington, D.C. and other Major American cities.
1969 Oct. North Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Van Dong sent a letter to the organizers of the "Vietnam Moratorium" praising them, "... may your fall offensive succeed splendidly..." This was the first public acknowledgement of the anti-war movement by Hanoi. American conservatives are infuriated by Dong's comments. Vice President Spiro Agnew blasts the protesters calling them "Communist dupes" made up of "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."
1969 Nov. Appearing on radio and television President Nixon addresses the nation on November 3rd, requesting support for his Vietnam strategy, from "the great silent majority of my fellow Americans." Nixon also says, "...the more divided we are at home, the less likely the enemy is to negotiate at Paris...North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that." President Nixon also announces plans for a withdraw of all American troops on a secret timetable.
1969 Nov. The My Lai massacre story is broken to the public on November 12th by independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
1969 Nov. Anti-war protesters participate in a symbolic "March Against Death" in Washington, D.C. on November 13th.
1969 Nov. The largest Anti-war protest in U.S. history is waged on November 15th as a response to the recent release of the My Lai massacre story. The "Mobilization" peace demonstration in  Washington, D.C. drew over 250,000 protesters.
1969 Nov. The U.S. Army provides the first public disclosure, on November 16th, of the events surrounding the My Lai massacre.
1969 Nov. On November 19th Congress gives President Nixon authority to institute the "draft lottery" system that would induct 19-year-old men before those older. The prime eligibility of 7 years is reduced to only one beginning on a man's 19th birthday, ending on his 20th birthday. The president signed the bill into law on November 26th.
1969 Nov. The November 20th issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer published photographs of the dead villagers of the My Lai massacre.
1969 Dec. The first draft lottery in the United States since World War II (1942)  is held on December 1st at the Selective Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Each day of the year is assigned a random number, men whose birthdays fall on a low number are likely to be drafted.
1969 Dec. The first major Vietnam policy declaration since the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution follows two days of debate with the U.S. House passes a resolution (334-55) that endorsed President Nixon's "peace with justice" policy.
1969 Dec. Chief U.S. negotiator Henry Cabot Lodge on December 8th expresse pessimism about the success of the peace negotiations.
1969 Dec. President Nixon announced on December 15 that another reduction of troops is scheduled. 50,000 troops will be pulled from Vietnam by mid-April, 1970.
1969 Dec. Senator John Cooper (R-KY), having failed several attempts, succeeds, on December 18th, by tacking a prohibition on introducing U.S. troops into Laos and Thailand to a Vietnam war funding bill of $23.2 Billion.
1969 Dec. Frustrated by the lack of sincerity on the part of the North Vietnamese, Henry Cabot Lodge resigns as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks on December 20th.
1969 Info 1969 sees the gap increase between the "silent majority" of middle American and the anti-war protestors.
The death toll of Americans killed in Vietnam is reaches 40,024.
America's troop strength in Vietnam had been reduced by 115,000 men during 1969.
In the "Vietnamization" of the war the South Vietnamese Army will be expected to boost its troop count by 500,000 men.
1970 - Vietnam War
1970 Jan. The January 4th issue of the New York Times carried a long article, "Statisticians Charge Draft Lottery Was Not Random."
1970 Jan. Washington Monthly Magazine, in its January issue, reported on 1000 investigators in 200 offices across America. An intelligence network that compiled reports on "political Protests of all kinds," as well as groops and individuals that  "might cause trouble of the US Army." Later Senator Ervin will say, "apparently anyone who in the Army's definition was 'left of center' was a prospective candidate for political surveillance."
1970 Feb. The increase in Viet Cong raids throughout South Vietnam prompt a retaliatory strike on February 2nd, of American B-52's bombing the Ho Chi Minh trail.
1970 Feb. As of February 21st peace talks in Paris, France remain in a deadlock. Paralleling the peace efforts Henry Kissinger begins a two year series of secret talks with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho.
1970 Feb. The elimination of the draft instituting an all-volunteer army was the recommendation of a presidential commission, released on February 21st.
1970 March The courts-martial of Captain Ernest Medina and others for participation in the My Lai massacre begin on March 10th.
1970 March Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia is ousted on March 18th by General Lon Nol. At the time of the coup, Sihanouk was out of the country and allied himself with the Khmer Rouge (Cambodian communists) hoping to oust Lon Nol's regime.
1970 Info Pol Pot, then unknown, led the Khmer Rouge and used the popularity of Prince Sihanouk to gain increased support for the Khmer Rouge movement in Cambodia. Later Pol Pot ousts Lon Nol in a violent coup. Attempting to establish an agrarian utopia Pol Pot was responsible for the death of 25 percent of the country's population. 2,000,000 people die from starvation, forced labor and systematic executions.
1970 March Gen. Lon Nol's Cambodian troops attack the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnamese forces inside Cambodia on March 20th. In Washington, Nixon and top aides discuss plans to assist the pro-American regime of Lon Nol.
1970 March The courts-martials that began on March 10th over participation in the My Lai massacre, end with the conviction of Lieutenant William Calley on March 29th
1970 March Murder charges are brought against Captain Ernest L. Medina on March 31st by the U.S. Army for his participation in the massacre at My Lai.
1970 April Senate transcripts were made public during March and April that reveal to the public the increased U.S. involvement in Laos and Cambodia in 1968.
1970 April Responding to continued Communist gains against South Vietnamese forces, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, on April 29th, (without Lon Nol's knowledge) invaded Cambodia to search out and engage the Viet Cong that have been using Cambodia as a staging ground for their attacks. It was hoped overall NVA military strength would be weakened and act as a prelude to a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
1970 April President Nixon announced on April 30th, the U.S. and South Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia "...not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam and winning the just peace we desire."
1970 April Prompted by the announcement of the Cambodian invasion, protests are voiced by adversarial politicians, the ever anti-war leaning press, , various clergy members, and prominent business leaders against Nixon and the Vietnam War.
1970 May On the tradition Communist holiday of May Day on May 1st supply bases inside Cambodia are attacked by 15,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. During the offensive the NVA and Viet Cong avoid large-scale battle withdrawing west further into Cambodia. Large stores of weapons and ammunition are left behnind.
1970 May On May 1st, President Nixon refers to anti-war students as "bums blowing up campuses."
1970 May An "end the war" amendment that would suspended funds for military operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia is introduced in the Senate, on May 2nd, by McGovern, Hughes, Cranston, Goodell, and Hatfield.
1970 May Students and professors wage demonstrations on campuses across America on May 2nd, responding to the invasion of Cambodia.
1970 May A protest, against the Cambodian invasion, at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4th leads to a confrontation that leaves 4 students dead when fired upon by the Ohio National Guard. More protests across American campuses result from the incident.
1970 May On May 14th President Richard M. Nixon presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to 12 Armed Forces members: (The following recipients are linked to the year where a brief accounting of the action is found.)
Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Rogers, Captain Paul W. Bucha, Captain Ronald E. Ray, Sergeant Allen J. Lynch, Specialist Four Frank A. Herda, Major M. Sando Vargas, Jr., Captain James N. Livingston, Commander Lieutenant Thomas O. Kelley, Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerrey, Petty Officer Donald E. Ballard, Captain James P. Fleming and Sergeant John L. Levitow.
1970 May Over 400 Colleges and Universities across America are shut down by demonstrations over the Cambodia invasions and the Kent State student deaths. In Washington, D.C. 100,000 protesters wage demonstrations surrounding the White House, historical monumnets and other government buildings.
1970 May President Nixon leaves the White House to pay an unexpected and surprise evening visit to the Lincoln Memorial to chat with young protesters.
1970 May By May 6th more than 100 colleges are still closed due to student rioting.
1970 May Viet Cong terrorist raids throughout Saigon over the week prior to May 6th, resulted in the highest weekly death toll as of this date. 450 civilians were killed.
1970 May Ten members of Congress join nearly 80,000 people on May 9th for a peaceful anti-war rally at the Ellipse in Washington, DC.
1970 May John Kerry travels to Paris, France to meet with Madame Nguyen Thi Bnh, the Foreign Minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Vietnam and other Viet Cong and Communist Vietnamese delegates to the Paris peace talks. Later in is presidential campaign of 2004 Kerry calls it a "fact-finding mission."
1970 June The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) begin a new offensive toward Phnom Penh in Cambodia on June 3rd. The U.S. provide air strikes to aid Lon Nol's inexperience troops.
1970 June The use jungle defoliants (agent orange) is discontinued on June 22nd by the U.S. military.
1970 June Congress learns the naval incident that lead to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, in 1964, had been misrepresented and moves to repeal the resolution; the U.S. Senate passes the repeal on June 24th.
1970 June John Kerry joins the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in June, 1970. The VVAW was partly funded by the Communist Party, USA.  The Executive Secretary was Al Hubbard, a former Black Panther. Kerry is appointed to the Executive Committee by Hubbard, bypassing  the election process.
1970 June Over 350 Americans died during the ground invasion of Cambodia. U.S. troops withdraw from Cambodia on June 30th.
1970 June The Cooper-Church Amendment passes the Senate on June 30th. The amendment barrs use of U.S. troops in Cambodia. The same day President Nixon announces the end of combat operations in Cambodia and that future U.S. involvement would provide only air support for South Vietnamese operations.
1970 Aug. South Vietnamese begin to defend the border positions on August 11th as the "Vietnamization" of the war progresses.
1970 Aug. More B-52 bombing raids along the Demilitarized Zone occur on August 24th.
1970 Aug. During the August 31st McGovern-Hatfield Amendment debates US Senate, Senator Eagleton (D-MO) and Javits (R-NY) claim the Nixon policy of gradual de-escalation was leading to an expanded war in Indochina. Senator Church said that Congress must keep pressure on the Administration to hasten withdrawal. Senators Scott (R-PA) and Thurmond (R-SC) expressed concern about the fate of American P.O.W.'s, with decreased bargaining pressure, should US troops withdraw.
1970 Sept. Calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 1971 the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment is defeated in the Senate on September 1st. The same amendment is brought up for a vote later and again fails.
1970 Sept. the South Vietnamese 1st Infantry Division and the United States 101st Airborne Division initiates the last U.S. offensive in Vietnam, Operation Jefferson Glenn on September 5th. The operation is executed in Thua Thien Province and ends in October 1971.
1970 Sept. An anti-war rally at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania features speakers, John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and Mark Lane. Fonda says, ". . . My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military."
1970 Sept. The first substantial peace initiative since Nixon's 1969 plan is the 8-point peace plan presented by the VC on September 17th. The Paris Peace talks remained stalemated through 1970.
1970 Sep. During the October 7th Television speech President Nixon proposes a "standstill cease-fire" where troops remain in place but stop shooting until a formal peace agreement is reached. No response came from Hanoi.
1970 Oct. Pol Pot ousts Lon Nol in a violent coup and proclaims the Khmer Republic in Cambodia on October 9th. As leader attempting to establish an agrarian utopia Pol Pot was responsible for the death of 25 percent of the country's population. 2,000,000 people will die from starvation, forced labor and systematic executions.
1970 Oct. On October 12th President Richard Nixon announced the withdrawal of 40,000 troops before Christmas.
1970 Oct. South Vietnamese troops begin a new offense into Cambodia on October 24th.
1970 Nov. In further "Vietnamization" of the war the U.S. transfers, to South Vietnam on November 4th, control of the air base in the Mekong Delta.
1970 Nov. The lowest American death toll in five years is reported on November 5th by the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam. 24 soldiers died in that week the fifth consecutive week with a death toll below 50, although 431 were reported wounded the same week.
1970 Nov. The U.S. Supreme Court refuses, on November 9th with a vote of 6 to 3, to hear a case brought by the state of Massachusetts to allow the state the right to enforce its law allowing its residents to refuse military service in an undeclared war.
1970 Nov. The first such report in five years comes in, on November 10th, with no American combat fatalities in Vietnam.
1970 Nov. November 12, 1970 - The military murder trial of Lieutenant William Calley begins on November 12th, at Fort Benning, Georgia, for his part in the My Lai massacre.
1970 Nov. President Richard Nixon asks for $155,000,000 from the U.S. Congress on November 18th. $85,000,000 was to help maintain the regime of Premier Lon Nol, keeping the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnam at bay.
1970 Nov. As of November 20th American troop levels are down to 334,600.
1970 Nov. In an attempt to free American POWs thought to be held at the Son Tay prison camp, joint Air Force and Army forces conduct Operation Ivory Coast on November 21st. No Americans were killed in the raid by it was found that the POWs has previously been transferred to another camp. The North Vietnamese later transferred all U.S. POWs to a few central prison complexes.
1970 Dec. President Richard Nixon sends a warning to Hanoi on December 10th, that the U.S. will conduct more bombing raid if the North Vietnamese attacks against the South continue.
1970 Dec. In December Senator Ervin reports that his information of the surveillance by 1000 investigators in 200 offices across the nation included 800 Illinois citizens. Included in the list were Senator Adlai Stevenson, III (D-ILL), Rep. Abner Mikua (D-ILL) and US Circuit Judge Otto Kerner. "... apparently anyone who in the Army's definition was 'left of center' was a prospective candidate for political surveillance," said Ervin. Defense Secretary Laird, after lengthy Senate hearings on the Army's surveillance, ordered that the investigations be discontinued.
1970 Info. Troops Levels drop to 280,000 by end of 1970.
The U.S. command estimates that 60,000 soldiers have used drugs.
Over 200 incidents occur of unpopular officers being "fragged" by men under their command.
Reflecting disharmony back in the states many units are plagued by racial unrest.
© Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock 


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