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  • Vietnam Conflict 1962-1975
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  • Hampton Roads Naval Museum

Radar Picket Escort USS Forster    
Caption: The Radar Picket Escort USS Forster (DER 334) stands by to board a Vietnamese junk in 1966. (National Archives and Records Administration)


Operation Market Time

The Navy established Operation Market Time (March 1965-1972) to prevent North Vietnamese ships from supplying enemy forces in South Vietnam by sea. The Coastal Surveillance Force (Task Force 115) used a system of three barriers to patrol the South Vietnamese coast. Patrol aircraft covered the outermost barrier to identify, photograph, and report suspicious vessels and U.S. Coast Guard cutters stopped and searched cargo vessels in the middle barrier forty miles off the coast. The South Vietnamese Navy, the Junk Force, and U.S. Navy Patrol Craft Fast (PCF( Swift boats cruised the coastal waters of the inner barriers. By 1968, these forces stopped virtually all seaborne infiltration from North Vietnam to South Vietnam. The blockade forced the North Vietnamese to rely on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville to transport supplies to the Viet Cong. 

Market Time Map
Caption: This period map shows the three bands of Market Time patrol and interdiction along the length of the South Vietnamese coastline, with areas of responsibility divided up between various naval units. (Naval History and Heritage Command)
Published: Wed Jun 09 14:44:09 EDT 2021