The Vietnam War

Historical Events

  • 1956-06-08 Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr. killed by another USAF airman in Vietnam, becoming the first American killed in the Vietnam War
  • 1962-01-12 Operation Chopper begins, America's first combat mission in the Vietnam War

Vietnamese Monk Burns Himself Alive

1963-06-11 Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức immolates himself at a Saigon intersection, creating one of the Vietnam War's most iconic images

  • 1964-08-02 North Vietnam fires at US Navy destroyer USS Maddox in what becomes known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident which would eventually escalate US involvement in the Vietnam War
  • 1964-12-05 Captain Roger Donlon is awarded the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War for successfully repelling a large Viet Cong attack
  • 1965-03-30 Vietnam War: A car bomb explodes in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183 others
  • 1965-06-10 Vietnam War: Battle of Dong Xoai begins, a major engagement between the Viet Cong and South Vietnamese forces
  • 1965-06-13 Vietnam War: Battle of Dong Xoai ends in a Viet Cong victory
  • 1965-11-08 Vietnam War: US, Australian and New Zealand forces launch Operation Hump, a search-and-destroy operation near Bien Hoa in South Vietnam
  • 1965-11-27 15-25,000 demonstrate against war in Vietnam in Washington, D.C.
  • 1966-01-10 The Georgia House of Representatives votes 184-12 to deny Julian Bond his seat as a result of his opposition to the Vietnam War
  • 1966-03-26 Large-scale anti-Vietnam War protests take place in the United States, including in New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago
  • 1966-06-29 Vietnam War: US planes bomb the North Vietnamese capital Hanoi and the port city of Haiphong for the first time
  • 1966-08-06 US citizens demonstrate against war in Vietnam
  • 1966-12-04 Military Working Dog "Nemo" saves the life of his handler Airman Robert A. Throneburg during the Vietnam War, surviving a gunshot wound to the nose

Historic Publication

1967-02-23 Noam Chomsky's anti-Vietnam war essay "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" is published by the New York Review of Books

Historic Event

1967-04-24 Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland says in a news conference that the enemy had "gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily."

  • 1967-05-20 10,000 demonstrate against war in Vietnam
  • 1967-06-20 Mohammed Ali [Cassius Clay] sentenced to 5 years by jury after 21 minutes of deliberation for refusing to be inducted into the armed forces during the Vietnam War
  • 1967-10-21 Tens of thousands of anti-Vietnam War protesters march on the Pentagon, besieging the military headquarters for two days
  • 1967-11-03 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dak To begins, becoming one of the bloodiest battles of the war
  • 1967-11-21 Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland tells news reporters: "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing."

Historic Event

1967-11-30 Senator Eugene McCarthy announces he will run for the US presidency on an anti-Vietnam war platform

Historic Event

1967-12-05 Pediatrician Benjamin Spock and poet Allen Ginsberg arrested in New York while protesting against the Vietnam War

  • 1968-01-21 The Battle of Khe Sanh - one of the most publicized and controversial battles of the Vietnam War - begins at the Khe Sanh Air Base
  • 1968-01-24 Operation Coburg, an Australian and New Zealand military action during the Vietnam War, begins
  • 1968-02-18 Thousands of people in West Berlin demonstrate against US involvement in the Vietnam War

Film & TV History

1968-02-27 CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite delivers a scathing editorial on America's chances of winning the Vietnam War

  • 1968-03-16 My Lai massacre occurs when American soldiers kill ~400 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, in one of the most controversial incidents of the Vietnam War
  • 1968-08-21 PFC James Anderson Jr is 1st African American Marine to win Medal of Honor (Vietnam War)
  • 1969-04-03 Vietnam War: U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States will start a policy of "Vietnamization", reducing American involvement
  • 1969-04-05 Massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations occur in many U.S. cities

Vietnam War Moratorium Demonstration

1969-11-15 An estimated 2 million people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium demonstration across the United States

Music History

1969-11-25 John Lennon returns MBE to protest "against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts."

  • 1970-04-29 US and South Vietnamese forces launch an incursion into Cambodia, expanding the Vietnam War
  • 1970-05-08 Thousands of students protest against the Vietnam War following the Kent State shootings in Ohio
  • 1971-04-25 About 200,000 anti-Vietnam War protesters march on Washington, D.C.
  • 1972-09-29 Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defense, is almost thrown overboard on a ferry by an artist wanting to confront him on his role in escalating US involvement in the Vietnam war (no charges pressed)
  • 1972-12-18 US launches Operation Linebacker II, its heaviest bombing of North Vietnam, as negotiations to end the Vietnam War collapse

Historic Event

1973-01-23 US President Richard Nixon announces an accord has been reached to end Vietnam War

  • 1973-02-05 Funeral for LC William Nolde, last US soldier killed in Vietnam War
  • 1974-02-05 John Murtha becomes the first Vietnam War veteran elected to the United States Congress

Historic Event

1974-09-16 US President Gerald Ford announces conditional amnesty for US Vietnam War deserters

  • 1975-04-02 Vietnam War: Thousands of civilian refugees flee from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops.
  • 1975-04-29 Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge are the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War

The Fall of Saigon

1975-04-29 Vietnam War: US begins to evacuate its citizens from Saigon in Operation Frequent Wind in response to advancing North Vietnamese forces, bringing an end to US involvement in the war

  • 1975-04-30 North Vietnamese troops capture Saigon, ending the Vietnam War
  • 1976-07-20 Vietnam War: The US military completes its troop withdrawal from Thailand.

Historic Event

1977-01-21 US President Jimmy Carter pardons almost all Vietnam War draft evaders

  • 1981-02-05 Military jury in North Carolina convicts Robert Garwood of collaborating with the enemy during the Vietnam War
  • 1981-06-06 Maya Yang Lin wins competition to design the Vietnam War Memorial
  • 1982-11-13 Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens in Washington, D.C., featuring the names of over 58,000 US soldiers killed or missing in the Vietnam War

Historic Event

2000-11-16 Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War

COVID-19

2020-04-28 US confirmed cases of COVID-19 pass 1 million, while death toll of 58,365 surpasses that of US soldiers killed in Vietnam War (Johns Hopkins)

  • 2021-02-22 US death toll from COVID-19 passes 500,000, higher than US deaths in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined

Famous Birthdays

  • 1905-04-03 Robert Frederick Sink, United States Army Officer (WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War), born in Lexington, North Carolina (d. 1965)
  • 1905-04-09 J. William Fulbright, American senator from Arkansas, known for opposition to the Vietnam War), born in Sumner, Missouri (d. 1995)

Võ Nguyên GiápVõ Nguyên Giáp (1911-2013)

1911-08-25 Vietnamese general (Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam War) and politician, born in Lệ Thủy District, Vietnam

William WestmorelandWilliam Westmoreland (1914-2005)

1914-03-26 American general and commander of American forces in the Vietnam War between 1964-68, born in Saxon, South Carolina

  • 1914-09-15 Creighton Abrams, American general (commander of American forces in the Vietnam War, 1968-72), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 1974)
  • 1916-07-19 James D. Ramage, American Naval Aviator in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War, born in Waterloo, Iowa (d. 2012)
  • 1921-05-09 Daniel Berrigan, American Jesuit priest and peace activist (Vietnam War), born in Virginia, Minnesota (d. 2016)
  • 1922-07-14 Robin Olds, American World War II and Vietnam War ace fighter pilot (d. 2007)
  • 1932-02-14 Leo Thorsness, American Vietnam War pilot (Medal of Honor), born in Walnut Grove, Minnesota (d. 2017)
  • 1943-04-15 Hugh Thompson Jr., American Vietnam War veteran who played a major role in ending the 1968 My Lai massacre, born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 2006)

Famous Deaths

  • 1959-07-08 US Army Maj. Dale Buis & MSgt. Chester Ovnand killed in Viet Cong attack, becoming the first and second Americans killed in combat in the Vietnam War
  • 1965-11-15 John Geoghegan, U.S. Army infantry lieutenant and Silver Star recipient, killed during the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam War at 24
  • 1965-12-13 Robert Frederick Sink, United States Army Officer (WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War), dies at 60
  • 1967-07-28 Karl W. Richter, American Air Force pilot during Vietnam War (youngest to shoot down a MiG), shot down at 24
  • 1995-02-09 J. William Fulbright, American senator from Arkansas, known for opposition to the Vietnam War), dies at 89

William WestmorelandWilliam Westmoreland (1914-2005)

2005-07-18 American general and commander of American forces in the Vietnam War between 1964-68, dies at 91

  • 2006-01-06 Hugh Thompson Jr., American Vietnam War veteran who played a major role in ending the 1968 My Lai massacre, dies of cancer at 62
  • 2012-07-21 James D. Ramage, American Naval Aviator in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War, dies at 96

Võ Nguyên GiápVõ Nguyên Giáp (1911-2013)

2013-10-04 Vietnamese general (Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam War) and politician, dies at 102

  • 2016-04-30 Daniel Berrigan, American Jesuit priest and peace activist (Vietnam War), dies at 94
  • 2017-05-02 Leo Thorsness, American Vietnam War pilot (Medal of Honor), dies at 85