America's Wars in Vietnam: 1961-1975

Bldg. 70

America’s Wars in Vietnam: 1961-1975:  Into the Lion's Den

This exhibit area details the wars in Vietnam.   Fear of losing Southeast Asia to the Communist-led independence movement brought the U.S. to back the French effort during the 1950s.   French defeat resulted in a divided country, with the United States supporting the weak but pro-Western government of South Vietnam.   Assuming a more active role in 1961, the United States sent the first of 11,000 military advisors to South Vietnam and committed ground troops to combat guerilla insurgency in the south.   American strength peaked at 540,000 in 1969, and then rapidly declined.    Growing numbers of Americans opposed the war on political, or moral grounds, and public protest mounted.    The war was widely seen as futile by 1968, when peace talks opened in Paris.  The 1973 peace accord required the last U.S. Forces to withdraw, leaving the war solely to the Vietnamese.  South Vietnam did not survive long, falling in 1975 to the invading regular North Vietnamese Army.  

Interesting artifacts, artwork, and models in the Vietnam War exhibit area include: 

  • 3"/50-caliber round, U.S. Navy destroyer escort.
  • 5"/54-caliber round, U.S. Navy destroyer or frigate
  • 6"/47-caliber round, U.S. Navy light cruiser
  • 8"/55-caliber round, USS Newport News (CA-148)
  • 16"/50-caliber round, USS New Jersey (BB-62)
  • Shrapnel from enemy fire, USS Mansfield (DD-728)
  • Battle Pennant from USS Richard B. Anderson (DD-786)
  • POW/MIA Missing Man Table
  • "The Zoo" U.S. POW Camp at Hanoi, Vietnam, model
  • USS Albany (CG-10), model
  • USS Carronade (IFS-1), model
  • USS Enterprise (CVA-65), model
  • USS Forrestal (CVA-59), model
  • USS LSMR-501
  • USS New Jersey (BB-62)
  • USS Newport News (CA-148)
  • USS Northampton (CLC-1, later CC-1)
  • USS PTF-17
  • USN Brown Water and Riverine Craft, models (ASPB/ATL-CCB/PBR/PCF)
  • Communist China AK-47 assault rifle, 1966
  • Viet Cong battle helmet, 1965
  • Viet Cong 7.62 millimeter smooth bore rifle, single-bolt action
  • Viet Cong 9 millimeter, automatic pistol, 1965
  • Viet Cong 12-guage shotgun, single shot, 1965
  • Viet Cong Junk Propeller from Operation Market Time, 1965
  • Viet Cong Sky Horse mortar
  • Viet Cong water mine

Interactive Exhibit:

  • Into the Lion's Den:   Bridge of USS Newport News (CA-148), providing gunfire support off Vietnam

To view photographic histories of the U.S. Navy ship models in this exhibit area, please click on the model below.   


NMUSN: GWG:  USS Albany (CG-10)
Description: USS Albany (CG-10). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN: GWG:  USS Carronade (IFS-1)
Description: USS Carronade (IFS-1). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN: CWG:  USS Enterprise (CVAN-65)
Description: USS Enterprise (CVAN-65). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN: CWG:  USS Forrestal (CVA-59)
Description: USS Forrestal (CVA-59). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN: CWG:  USS LSMR-501
Description: USS LSMR-501. Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN:  Cold War Gallery: Vietnam War:  USS New Jersey (BB-62)
Description: USS New Jersey (BB-62). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN:  Cold War Gallery: Vietnam War:  USS Newport News (CA-148)
Description: USS Newport News (CA-148). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.

NMUSN: CWG:  USS Northampton (CLC-1, later CC-1)
Description: USS Northampton (CLC-1, later CC-1). Please click on model for photographic history of the ship.
Published:Thu Mar 22 18:51:45 EDT 2018