1965 – Three days of combined US/South Vietnam air raids begin against bridges and roads in the North. Particular targets are the Hamrong and Dongphong bridges, major rail links to Hanoi. Four Russian built MiG fighters engage the raiders in the first reported combat by the North Vietnamese Air Force.
1968 – North Vietnam agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to set up preliminary peace talks though Hanoi first denounces bombing limitations as a “perfidious trick.” In its regular radio broadcasts they characterize the meeting to discuss “the unconditional cessation of the US bombing raids and all other acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam so that talks may start.” President Johnson ignores the rhetoric and simply announces the intent to “establish contact with the representatives of North Vietnam.”
1969 – Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States is moving to “Vietnamize” the war as rapidly as possible. By this, he meant that the responsibility for the fighting would be gradually transferred to the South Vietnamese as they became more combat capable. However, Laird emphasized that it would not serve the United States’ purpose to discuss troop withdrawals while the North Vietnamese continued to conduct offensive operations in South Vietnam. Despite Laird’s protestations to the contrary, Nixon’s “Vietnamization” program, as he would announce it in June, did include a series of scheduled U.S. troop withdrawals, the first of the war.
1970 – US troops pursuing a Communist battalion toward the Cambodian border meet heavy resistance.
1967 – Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. indicates that a link is forming between the civil rights movement and the peace movement. King proposes that the US stop all bombing in Vietnam, declare a unilateral truce in hopes of fostering peace talks, setting a date for the withdrawal of all troops from Vietnam, and include the National Liberation Front in any resulting negotiations.
1970 – About 15,000 people stage a rally at the Washington monument to support “victory over the Communists in Vietnam.”
1970 – The heaviest fighting in five months involving US troops occurs along the DMZ and new clashes in Cambodia where South Vietnamese battalions move 10 miles into Cambodia.
1965 – A three day battle in the Mekong Delta begins that leaves six US troops dead and a reported 276 Vietcong fatalities.
1972 – US planes destroyed Benhai bride on the DMZ, the only road link between North and South Vietnam.
1965 – National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy drafts and signs National Security Action Memorandum 328 on behalf of President Johnson. This document authorizes US forces to take the offensive to secure ‘enclaves’ and to support ARVN operations.
1966 – US Marines destroy a Vietcong hospital and supply area in a sweep near Saigon.
1967 – 2500 combined Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops make four closely coordinated attacks on the city of Quangtri, 15 miles south of the DMZ. The South charges that the Communist raiders had infiltrated through the DMZ.
1968 – The 77 day siege of Khesan is officially relieved when elements of the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) Division link up with Marines.
1972 – Clear weather for the first time in three days allows US planes and Navy warships to begin the sustained air strikes and naval bombardment ordered by President Nixon for Operation Linebacker. Hundreds of planes flying 225 missions by 9 April hit troop concentrations and missile emplacements above and below the DMZ. Two US planes are lost to SAM-2 missiles, a new element in North Vietnamese troop defenses.
1954 – At a news conference while describing the importance of defending Dienbienphu in Vietnam, President Eisenhower articulates the “Domino Theory” of confronting Communist aggression. “You have a row of dominoes set up and you knock over the first one and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you have the beginning of a disintegration that will have the most profound influences.
1965 – President Johnson, in a policy speech at Johns Hopkins University, says that the United States is prepare to engage in unconditional discussions to end the war. He then lays out a number of conditions. He also calls for $1 billion in aid for Southeast Asia. North Vietnam, China and the Soviet Union will reject these proposals.
1967 – Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara announces plans to build a fortified barrier just south of the DMZ to curb the infiltration of troops and arms into South Vietnam.
1972 – The North Vietnamese offensive in Quangtri Province slows. Good weaher allows South Vietnamese pilots to bomb Communist troop concentrations. Communist troops take Locninh, a district capital in Binhlong Province. 15,000 ARVN troops are surrounded by NVA while retreating form Locninh to Anloc.
1965 – The US flies 63 sorties against Vietcong concentrations in Kontum Province.
1968 – 42 US and 37 ARVN battalions begin the largest offensive to date in Vietnam in an operation that will last nearly two months. Operation Toan Thang (Complete Victory) is designed to destroy the Vietcong and NVA forces operating in the Capital Military District.
1968 – Operation Burlington Trail begins, by the 198th Infantry Brigade in Quang Tri Province. By 11 November this operation will claim 1931 enemy casualties.
1969 – Five waves of US B-52s raid suspected enemy camps near the Cambodian border.
1964 – Four days of major fighting begin in the Vietnam Mekong Delta. Four Americans are killed in a mortar barrage and a US helicopter base is forced to evacuate.
1965 – In the course of raids over North Vietnam, four US carrier based F4 Phantoms are engaged by Chinese MiG fighters based on the Chinese island of Hainan. One Phantom and its two pilots are lost to suspected fratricide.
1966 – Fears that South Vietnamese Premier Ky might be replaced by a neutralist Buddhist lead to a meeting to re-evaluate Vietnam policy. Continuation of current policies is the result, but the meeting is marked by a lack of optimism and minority calls for “cutting losses.”
1969 – Gallup reports that three out of five persons who have an opinion back President Nixon on the Vietnam War–44% approve, 30% reserved judgment or had no opinion, and 26% disapproved.
1969 – Workers uncover another 65 bodies of Vietcong execution squads in hue during the Tet Offensive.
1970 – Cambodia withdraws all of its military forces form Svayrieng Province, also known as the “Parrot’s Beak,” abandoning it to the Vietnamese Communists.
1965 – 5000 Marines stationed in the area of Danang are reinforced by 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. One reinforced company is immediately sent to Phu Bai, eight miles south of Hue. The first Marine fixed-wing tactical aircraft also arrive at Danang, the F4B Phantom IIs of vMFA-531.
1968 – Over the next three days, US troops will recapture a lost Special Forces camp at Langvei, be driven out again, and then retake it once more.
1969 – The Communist offensive heats up. 45 mortar and rocket attacks occur during the night and increased ground fighting is reported in the Mekong Delta and northwest of Saigon.
1970 – Hundreds of ethnic Vietnamese are massacred by Cambodian troops in the village of Prasot in Svayrieng Province. The Cambodian government ascribes the deaths to “crossfire.”
1972 – US aircraft carriers Midway and Saratoga are ordered form Florida nd California to join the other four carriers and warships already engaged in the bombardment of Vietnam.
1964 – A five day battle begins at Kien Long, 135 miles south of Saigon.
1966 – The US Air Force announces a new policy of limiting pilots and crews in Vietnam to 12-month tours or 100 combat missions. The Marines and Navy continue their no limit policies.
1968 – The US mobilizes additional troops for Vietnam. At his first Pentagon press conference, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford announces a call-up of 24,500 reservists and a ne troop ceiling of for US strength in Vietnam of 549,500.
1968 – The US rejects a North Vietnamese proposal to hold talks in Warsaw, expressing a desire for a neutral location.