Naval History and Heritage Command

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

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<p>USS Higbee Art&nbsp;</p>
Caption: Destroyers were the fleet's first line of defense. On April 17, 1972, enemy MiG fighter bombers attacked these ships, dropping a bomb on USS Higbee. USS Sterett shot down one of the MiGs with a Terrier missile. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

Air Defense

Surface ships tracked, identified, and attacked enemy MiG fighter planes with surface-to-air missiles. Ships such as USS Long Beach (CGN 9) guided Navy, Marine, and Air Force planes across North Vietnam, warned them of enemy aircraft, and also engaged fighters directly. The cruiser’s RIM-8 Talos missile could hit a target one hundred miles away at altitudes up to 80,000 feet. By 1968, Long Beach had tracked over 500 MiG flights on radar, enabling allied aircraft to complete more missions over North Vietnam.