|The United States Senate approved the Tonkin Gulf Resolution
on 7 August 1964, authorizing the President to take whatever
steps necessary to prevent further aggression against U.S.
Forces in Vietnam. It was the only Congressional action taken,
other than funding, during the war.
TO THE VIETNAM WAR
|Opposition to the Vietnam War began in 1964 and mounted
in intensity. Virtually every college had an organized anti-war
movement. By 1969, some business and labor leaders supported
the anti-war movement. The publication of the Pentagon Papers
in 1971 further eroded public support for the war and demands
were made for U.S. military withdrawal.
|In November 1967, North Vietnamese armies surrounded the
southern Vietnamese city of Dak To. For twenty-two days a
fierce battle was waged in the area. A 500-lb bomb was accidentally
dropped on our own soldiers. On Thanksgiving morning, the
troops took Hill 875 but it was a hollow victory as the North
Vietnamese had retreated in the night.
|In 1964 the United States began bombing Laos. In 1971 South
Vietnamese armies, supported by U.S. bombers, invaded Laos.
Casualties were high on both sides. South Vietnam’s
forces were expelled. U. S. bombing contributed to the rise
of a Communist government in Laos in 1975.
OF IA DRANGE VALLEY
|In October of 1965, one of the largest battles of the Vietnam
War was fought in Ia Drange Valley. The defeat of the North
Vietnamese caused them to change their combat strategy and
tactics to hit and run.
|During the Vietnam War, Allied Forces were stymied by their
inability to find the enemy. The Viet Cong had a complex array
of tunnels that enabled them to move secretly. The tunnels
could hold an entire battalion and were constructed several
layers deep so they were not affected by bombings. In January
1966, Operation Crimp was started to find and destroy the
tunnels. From that operation U.S. soldiers earned the title
“Tunnel Rats.” Units were formed to enter the
tunnels, engage the enemy, and destroy the complexes.
|On 31 Jan 1968, the North Vietnamese launched an all-out
offensive, striking almost every major city and provincial
capital in South Vietnam. The bloodiest fighting of the entire
war took place at the Imperial Capital of Hue. The Tet Offensive
lasted until the Fall of 1968 with tremendous losses to the
Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. American Forces felt the enemy
was conquered but that proved to be wrong.
|When the United States ordered troops into Cambodia, protests
erupted on college campuses across the nation. Four students
in Ohio and two in Mississippi were killed in riots. This
resulted in Congress repealing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
and passing the Cooper-Church Amendment, which forbade the
use of U.S. troops outside of Vietnam.
|In May 1969, one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam
War was fought for Hamburger Hill, one of the last search
and destroy missions of the war.
|When Saigon was surrounded, the order was given to start
Operation Frequent Wind. The evacuation of Saigon and the
United States Embassy took place on April 1975. In a 24-hour
period, over 50,000 people were removed. The last casualties
of the Vietnam War occurred during this operation.
|On 27 January 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, the
Provisional Revolutionary Government and North Vietnam signed
the Paris Peace Accords, which called for the withdrawal of
all U. S. Forces, the release of all American prisoners of
war, the end of military operations in Laos and Cambodia,
a cease fire between North and South Vietnam, the formation
of a National Council of Reconciliation, and continued United
States aid to South Vietnam.
IN THE MILITARY
|Black Americans were initially recruited to serve in the
Revolutionary War. Post-war laws first denied Blacks access
to military service, but they eventually fought and served
valiantly in all of the wars since 1812. Initially denied
freedoms, suffering rejection and segregation, they proved
themselves capable and courageous in fulfilling escalating
responsibilities in recognition of their abilities. Fully
integrated at the start of the Korean conflict and since,
Black Americans confirmed their ability to perform in battle
and at high levels of responsibility.
IN THE MILITARY
|Women have played important military roles since the Revolutionary
War. Although unfairly treated in early wars, they distinguished
themselves in teaching sanitation, nursing and spying. Disguised
as men, they fought on battlefields. Although women were authorized
to serve as nurses in 1861, they were not eligible for health
care, salary and a uniform until 1899. During World War II,
opposition to women in the military was strong. In May of
1942, the Women’s Auxiliary Corps was formed to serve
with the Army but did not receive military status until August
1943. The Nurse Corps was denied rank until 1947 and veteran
status until 1977. Women are now integrated into the military
and serve in all capacities and levels of command.