1967 – Three US pilots shot down during a raid over Hanoi are paraded through the streets of that city. North Vietnam says the three pilots are based in Thailand.
1967 – Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, in a report to President Johnson, describes an encouraging turnout in recent village council elections. he estimates that 77 percent of eligible voters in participating villages cast ballots.
1969 – A US helicopter crashes 75 miles north of Saigon killing 34 and injuring 35 in what is believed to be the worst helicopter accident of the war. To this date, 2,595 helicopters have been lost.
1970 – More than 100 universities across the US shut down as thousands of students join a nationwide campus protest. Governor Ronald Reagan closes down the entire California university and college system until 11 may, involving more than 280,000 students on 28 campuses. A National Student Association spokesman reports that more than 300 campuses are boycotting classes.
1970 – Three new fronts are opened in Cambodia bringing to nearly 50,000 the number of allied troops there. One US spearhead, by troops of the 25th Infantry Division, moves across the border from Tayninh Province between the Fishhook and Parrot’s Beak areas. The US First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) is airlifted into the jungles 23 miles west of Phocbinh, South Vietnam, northeast of the Fishhook.
1965 – 6,000 Marines of the 4th marine Division are sent to Chu Lai, a sandy pine barren along the coast 55 miles south of Danang to build a second jet air base. Chu Lai will sport a new type of field, the Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS) — a 4,000 foot long airstrip of aluminum matting with arrestor wires like an aircraft carrier. Initially all planes will take off via jet assist, but a catapult will be installed two years later. By 1 June, A-4 Skyhawks and MAG-12ss will be using the field.
1975 – President Ford issues a proclamation designating this a the last day of the ‘Vietnam Era’ for military personnel to qualify for wartime benefits.
1984 – Federal District Judge Jack B. Weinstein announces a $180 million out-of-court settlement against seven chemical manufacturers of the defoliant Agent Orange in a class-action suit brought by 15,000 Vietnam veterans. At least 40,000 veterans are involved in various suits against these companies, with potential claimants in the hundreds of thousands.
1950 – US Secretary of State Dean Acheson announces that an agreement has been reached with France for US arms assistance to the French Associated States of Indochina. This is the beginning of a long commitment.
1963 – 20,000 Buddhists in Hue, celebrating the traditional birthday of Guatama Siddhartha Buddah, are fired upon by the order of Catholic deputy province chief Major Dang Xi, who chose to enforce an old French decree forbidding Buddhists from flying their multicolored flag. Seven children and one woman are among the nine killed, and about 20 are wounded. Diem blames the incident on the Vietcong and refuses Buddhist demands that the officials responsible be punished. Major Xi and two others will eventually be dismissed, but it will be too little, too late. Buddhists comprise 70 percent of the Vietnamese population and Catholics, less than 10, but Diem and is family are Catholic, and in the armed services, the police, the civil service, universities and trade unions, Buddhists have all been pushed out of key positions and replaced by Catholics, who Diem views as more reliable. Buddhist protests begin to crystalize growing resentment against the Diem regime. Thich Tri Quang, a politically sophisticated monk of North Vietnamese origin twice arrested by the French on suspicion of Vietminh connections, stirs up the people against Diem and informs the US officials in Saigon, whom he holds responsible due to US support of Diem, that they must make Diem reform or get rid of him. Ambassador Nolting urges Diem to conciliate, but Diem refuses.
1970 – More than 250 State Department and foreign aid employees sign a letter to Secretary of State Rogers criticizing US military involvement in Cambodia.
1970 – Helmeted construction workers break up a student anti-war demonstration on Wall Street in New York City, attacking demonstrators in a melee that leaves more than 70 persons injured.
1971 – In Washington, DC, the Reverent Carl McIntire leads some 15,000 demonstrators carrying US flags and Bibles in support of military victory in Vietnam. members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and of New York Ironworkers Local 361 (the ‘hardhat movement’) also participate.
1964 – An insurgent is captured trying to place an explosive charge under a Saigon bridge over which Secretary McNamara’s car is to pass on 12 May.
1968 – President Thieu declares that even if the US should negotiate an end to the war, his government will never recognize the National Liberation Front.
1968 – The US Army announces that the 101st Airborne Division will be converted into an airmobile division, and that each of the five other divisions in Vietnam will be reinforced by separate reconnaissance squadrons.
1969 – William Beecher, military correspondent for the new York Times, publishes a one-page dispatch from Washington, ‘Raids in Cambodia by US Unprotested,’ which accurately describes the first of recent B-52 raids in Cambodia. Within hours, Henry Kissinger, presidential assistant for national security affairs, contacts J. Edgar hoover, the director of the FBI, asking him to find the government sources of Beecher’s article. During the next two years, Alexander Haig, a key Kissinger assistant, will transmit the names of national Security Council staff members and reporters who are to have their telephones wiretapped by the FBI.
1970 – Thirty US gunboats join a flotilla of 110 South Vietnamese craft in a thrust up the Mekong River in an attempt to neutralize enemy sanctuaries along a 45 mile stretch of river between the South Vietnamese border and Phnompenh. The US vessels will move no further then Neak Long, in compliance with the US policy of limiting US penetration of Cambodia to 21.7 miles.
1972 – US Senate Democrats, reacting to the President’s May 8 address, pass a resolution “disapproving of the escalation of the war in Vietnam” and includes a cutoff of war funds.
1972 – An F-4J of VF-96 flying from the USS Constellation by Lieutenant Randy Cunningham and Lieutenant (jg) Willie Driscoll, shoots down three MiGs in one combat mission. Added to two previous victories, this makes them the first American aces of the Vietnam War and the only US Navy aces.
1962 – Secretary of Defense McNamara makes the first of many trips to Vietnam and meets with Diem. After 48 hours in the country he concludes, ‘every quantitative measurement…shows that we are winning the war.’
1965 – General Westmoreland and Deputy Premier Nguyen Van Thieu make a parachute jump together.
1965 – The 1st marine Aircraft Wing flies in to establish its advance headquarters at Danang.
1967 – Civilian-operated pacification programs in South Vietnam are handed over to the US military command. The projects are aimed at re-establishing South Vietnamese government control over rural villages and hamlets.
1968 – US and North Vietnamese negotiators complete procedural arrangements for the formal talks. They agree that, for the time being, participation will be limited to representatives of the United States and North Vietnam.
1917 – General John Pershing is appointed commander of the American Expeditionary Force, which is being formed to fight on the Western Front. It will take time to increase the strength of the US Army, but Pershing expects the number to reach one million by May 1918 and is planning a force of three million if the war continues. Pershing also intends to make sure his units will fight as a separate force and not be split into small units and placed under French or British command.
1964 – Defense Secretary McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor visit Vietnam on their fifth fact-finding mission. While McNamara reiterates US support for South Vietnam, he also tells Khanh privately that, although the US does not rule out bombing the North, ‘we do not intend to provide military support nor undertake the military objective of rolling back Communist control in North Vietnam.’
1965 – The US Ambassador in Moscow, Foy Kholer, tries without success to get the North Vietnamese Embassy there to consider his message from Washington: the United States will suspend bombing of North Vietnam for several days in hope of reciprocal ‘constructive’ gestures–meant as a call for peace talks. This is known as Operation Mayflower. (All subsequent diplomatic moves will be codenamed for flowers.)
1968 – A second large-scale Communist offensive, that began on 5 may, reaches its climax. It began with the simultaneous shelling of 119 cities, towns and barracks. The principle target is Saigon, where the fighting quickly spread to Cholon, Tansonnhut airbase, and the Phutho racetrack. US jets drop napalm and high-explosive bombs to pound a Vietcong stronghold in a slum district around the Y bridge, preparing the way for an assault by US infantry.
1969 – Communist forces shell 159 cities, towns and military bases throughout South Vietnam, including Saigon and hue in the largest number of attacks since the 1968 Tet Offensive.