Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: Just as those who came before them and those who serve today, our Navy Vietnam War veterans served their country with honor, courage, and commitment. A Presidential proclamation calls upon all Americans to give thanks to our Vietnam War veterans. Starting today, National Vietnam War Veterans Day, and throughout the year, the Navy will honor our shipmates by learning more about their service. You can start by visiting history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: Every facet of the Navy we know today supported the Vietnam War effort. Navy Sailors were on the sea, along the rivers, coastal waters, in the air, and on land, but it was the “brown water Navy” that provided some of the most critical lessons. The experience in Vietnam gave the Navy a wealth of information on the nature of modern riverine warfare. Strategies, tactics, techniques, boats and craft, weapons, and equipment employed during the Vietnam War are still in use today. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: The Navy’s logistical support for the war cannot be understated. It ranged from sea and airlift of supplies and personnel to and within the theater of operations to base construction, medical, and administrative support on the ground. Much of the material assistance provided to the Vietnamese people came by sea, as did 99 percent of the ammunition and fuel and 95 percent of the supplies, vehicles, and construction resources required for the war effort. Over the span of several years, the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Danang became the Navy's largest overseas logistic command. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: The U.S. response to the North Vietnamese attack on USS Maddox (DD -731) in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 marked the beginning of the Navy’s air and surface bombardment against North Vietnam. During the course of the war, Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers supported allied air campaigns. Navy surface vessels steamed up and down the coasts of both North and South Vietnam, raining down shells on a variety of targets. Learn more about Navy’s role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: During the Vietnam War's official duration, 4 August 1964–27 January 1973, there were nearly 600 U.S. POWs. Included in that number were 154 Navy personnel and 47 Marines. Of these, 18 (9 per service) died in captivity. We carry on the legacy of their service through today’s devotion to honor, courage, and commitment, and by making a promise that we will never forget their service during the Vietnam War. Learn more about the sacrifice of our shipmates during the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: Surface bombardment from destroyers and cruisers was another critical Navy contribution to the war. In Operation Sea Dragon, which began in October 1966, cruisers, destroyers, and, for one month, battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62), ranged the North Vietnamese coast sinking Communist supply craft, shelling coastal batteries and radar sites, and hitting other interdiction-type targets. Learn more about Navy’s role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: 1 November 1968 marked the end of Rolling Thunder. The goal of the operation was to discourage the Hanoi regime’s direction and support of an insurgency that threatened to destroy the Republic of Vietnam. The campaign sought to strike targets sufficiently valuable to pressure the North Vietnamese into concessions, but in a limited manner that would not result in too many civilian deaths, the destruction of the North Vietnamese regime, or a Soviet or Chinese intervention. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: In December 1965, the U.S. Navy initiated Operation Game Warden to patrol the major rivers and canals in the Mekong Delta and Rung Sat Special Zone. Consisting of a fleet of patrol boats augmented by attack helicopters and SEAL units, this naval inshore force (Task Force 116) imposed a curfew in the region, interdicted enemy troop and supply movements, curbed the guerillas’ taxation of peasants, and hindered large-scale Viet Cong operations. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: Militarily, the Tet Offensive, 30 January, 1968–23 September 1968, proved disastrous for the Communists. Not only did the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces fail to hold onto any of the major towns or cities struck during the attack, but they lost over 58,000 troops in the process. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: The Vietnam War marked widespread social changes in the Navy. Then–Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt remarked that “racism was endemic in the entire structure of the Navy.” To help relieve tensions, the admiral established racial awareness, equal opportunity, and other programs, which were often addressed in his prolific series of Z-Grams. Admiral Zumwalt knew the primary force multiplier of the United States Navy was its Sailors and, as a social reformer, began quality-of-life improvements throughout the fleet. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: The Seabee presence in Vietnam grew from one battalion of 600 men in 1965 to over 10,000 Sailors. Seabees built helicopter pads, airfield runways, and hangars at Chu Lai, Danang, and Phu Bai. They also constructed port facilities at Danang and Cua Viet; surfaced, resurfaced, and kept open Route 1 and other vital roads; and erected thousands of bridges. As we wish the Seabees’ a happy 76th birthday, learn more about their role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.
Navy efforts in the Vietnam War: The Navy’s involvement in war ended in April 1975 with the evacuation of over 7,000 Americans and Vietnamese from Saigon by Navy Task Force 76 during Operation Frequent Wind. All told, 2,555 Sailors lost their lives during the war and more than 1.8 million U.S. naval personnel served their country during the 1964–72 period. Learn more about Navy's role in the Vietnam War at history.navy.mil.