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

VietnamVietnamese 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
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Thích Quảng Đức moments after setting fire to himself in Saigon as an act of protest
Thích Quảng Đức moments after setting fire to himself in Saigon as an act of protest
  • 1964-08-02 North Vietnam fires on a US destroyer in 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

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Linguist and Author Noam Chomsky
Linguist and Author
Noam Chomsky

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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."

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Politician and Presidential Candidate Eugene McCarthy
Politician and Presidential Candidate
Eugene McCarthy

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Pediatrician Benjamin Spock
Pediatrician
Benjamin Spock
Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg
Beat Poet
Allen Ginsberg
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Broadcast Journalist Walter Cronkite
Broadcast Journalist
Walter Cronkite
  • 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
  • 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

VietnamVietnam War Moratorium Demonstration

1969-11-15 An estimated 2 million people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium demonstration across the United States
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Millions marched against the Vietnam War outside the White House
Millions marched against the Vietnam War outside the White House

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1969-11-25 John Lennon returns OBE to protest against UK's support for Vietnam War

Musician and Beatle John Lennon
Musician and Beatle
John Lennon
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

37th US President Richard Nixon
37th US President
Richard Nixon
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

38th US President Gerald Ford
38th US President
Gerald Ford
  • 1975-04-02 Vietnam War: Thousands of civilian refugees flee from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops.

Victory in BattleThe 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
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South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a CIA helicopter during the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon
South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a CIA helicopter during the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon
  • 1975-04-29 Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge are the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam 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.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

39th US President Jimmy Carter
39th US President
Jimmy Carter
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

42nd US President Bill Clinton
42nd US President
Bill Clinton

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)

Person of interestVõ Nguyên Giáp

1911-08-25 Võ Nguyên Giáp, Vietnamese general (Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam War) and politician, born in Lệ Thủy District, Vietnam (d. 2013)

North Vietnamese General Võ Nguyên Giáp
North Vietnamese General
Võ Nguyên Giáp

Person of interestWilliam Westmoreland

1914-03-26 William Westmoreland, American general (commander of American forces in the Vietnam War, 1964-68), born in Saxon, South Carolina (d. 2005)

  • 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 Dale Buisand & Chester Ovnand killed in Viet Cong attack, becoming the second and third Americans killed in the Vietnam War
  • 1965-12-13 Robert Frederick Sink, United States Army Officer (WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War), dies at 60
  • 1995-02-09 J. William Fulbright, American senator from Arkansas, known for opposition to the Vietnam War), dies at 89

Person of interestWilliam Westmoreland

2005-07-18 William Westmoreland, US general during the Vietnam War, 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

Person of interestVõ Nguyên Giáp

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

North Vietnamese General Võ Nguyên Giáp
North Vietnamese General
Võ Nguyên Giáp
  • 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