Vietnam War Time Table

For a narrative version, see U.S. Involvement in Indochina.

Date
Vietnam Cambodia Laos
August 2
Gulf of Tonkin Incident

August 14
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passes in U.S. Congress

February 7
Vietcong attack U.S. camps at Pleiku

February 13
Operation Rolling Thunder is authorized by President Lyndon B. Johnson

March 24
First antiwar demonstration, held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

April 3
A month-long offensive of North Vietnam's transport system begins

April 7
U.S. offers North Vietnam economic aid in exchange for settlement but is rejected; within two weeks, President Johnson increases U.S. forces to 60,000 troops

May 15
National antiwar teach-in is held in Washington, D.C.

May 24
First U.S. Army division to leave for Vietnam

July 28
General William Westmoreland requests and receives additional troops

August 17
Operation Starlite begins after North Vietnamese deserter tells of imminent attack on forces at the Chu Lai U.S. Marine base

October 15
First draft card burned by a college student from the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam

November 14
First major battle between U.S. Army soldiers and North Vietnamese Army, led to U.S. victory in Ia Drang Valley

November 17
American troops ambushed at Plei Mei resulting in 60 percent U.S. casualties

December 25
President Johnson temporarily suspends bombing of North Vietnam in an unsuccessful attempt to bring North Vietnam to peace talks

1966
January-February
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings to question Johnson's advisors regarding U.S. involvement in the war

January 6
Largest U.S. operation launched with 8,000 U.S. troops in Operation Crimp

January 31
President Johnson orders bombing of North Vietnamese locations to resume

April-May
Operation Birmingham begins with 5,000 troops, backed by a huge number of armored vehicles and helicopters

Late May and June
Three weeks of fighting along the Demilitarized Zone, near Dong Hain, in the largest battle of the war to date in Operation Hastings

July
Near Con Thien (nicknamed "the Meatgrinder" or "Hill of Angels"), 1,300 North Vietnamese troops killed during heavy fighting

August 16
Fulbright Hearings begin with J. William Fulbright leading the charge

September 14
Aggressive search and destroy sweeps through Tay Ninh province begin with Operation Attleboro for more than six weeks

End of 1966
North Vietnamese meet and decide to fight war with troops and diplomacy; more than 6,000 U.S. soldiers killed this year, whereas 61,000 VC killed; American troops in Vietnam total 385,000 and 60,000 sailors are offshore

1967
January
North Vietnam insists on U.S. ceasing air raids before engaging in peace talks

January 8
Operation Cedar Falls begins with huge military action to rid Iron Triangle of NVA and VC

February 21
Operation Junction City, one of the largest air-mobile assaults (240 helicopters), produces very few VC captured

April 24
First U.S. strikes on North Vietnam's airfields cause heavy damage

April 28
Westmoreland, while addressing the war in Vietnam before Congress, requests greater support

May
Air battles above Hanoi succeed in U.S. shooting down 26 NVA planes, decreasing NVA air strength by half; hundreds of NVA soldiers killed in Central Highlands Air battles above Haiphong succeed in U.S. shooting down 26 NVA planes; hundreds of NVA soldiers killed in Central Highlands when discovered entering South Vietnam from Cambodia
July
NVA and Vietcong begin to plan for "Great Uprising," which became known as Tet Offensive

August
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, meeting with Congress, tells how ineffective North Vietnam saturation bombing is

Fall
Crackdown in Hanoi leads to the arrest of 200 North Vietnamese senior officials for opposing upcoming Tet Offensive

November
U.S. Marines are surrounded by 35,000 NVA soldiers in Battle of Khe Sanh

December 31
U.S. forces in Vietnam reach nearly 500,000 troops

1968
Early

Cambodian Leader Prince Sihanouk allows for pursuit of Vietcong
January 30-31
Tet Offensive launched by North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops

February 1
General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnamese National Police Chief, executes suspected NLF officer in front of photographers; opposition to war increases in U.S. when photo is published

February 24
Tet Offensive ends after weeks of fighting when U.S. and ARVN troops retake Hue

March 10
The New York Times reports of General Westmoreland's request for an additional 206,000 troops by year's end

March 11
U.S. begins massive search and destroy sweep around Saigon for Vietcong remnants

March 16
On a seek and destroy mission, My Lai Massacre occurs with hundreds of civilians killed by U.S. soldiers, and adds further doubt to the viability of war for the U.S.

March 31
President Johnson announces his withdrawal from the race for re-election and halt to North Vietnam bombing

April 8
Largest single battle to date is fought in Khe Sanh when U.S. forces, in Operation Pegasus, retake Route 9 after 77 days of fighting

May 11
Formal peace talks begin in Paris between North Vietnam and the U.S.

June
With highly mobile forces now in place, General Westmoreland orders demolition and removal of Khe Sanh

June 10
General Creighton Abrams takes over as commander of the forces in Vietnam

July 1
Bombing north of the DMZ is reinstituted

November 1
Operation Rolling Thunder, after three and a half years, ends

November 6
Richard M. Nixon is elected president

December 31
U.S. troops in Vietnam number 540,000

1969
January
President Nixon announces Vietnamization plan for South Vietnam

February

Secret bombing of Cambodia begins and lasts for more than four years
March 28
Mass graves of civilians, who had been killed by communists during the Tet Offensive, found at Hue when U.S. and ARVN troops arrive after the city is regained

April
Number of U.S. troops dead outstrips the 33,629 killed in the Korean War

June 8
Nixon announces the replacement of 25,000 U.S. troops with ARVN soldiers

September 3
Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy secretly meet in Paris to negotiate peace

October 29
Hundreds of thousands of Americans take part in National Moratorium antiwar demonstrations across the country

November 16
Americans learn of My Lai Massacre, resulting in major antiwar demonstrations

December 31
U.S. troops number 480,000 in South Vietnam

1970
February 20
Kissinger meets secretly, in Paris, with Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam

March 18

Prince Sihanouk government is overthrown by Lon Nol
April 29

When U.S. and ARVN troops invade Cambodia to fight NVA-backed Khmer Rouge guerillas, college antiwar demonstrations intensify
May 4
Four student demonstrators are killed and nine others wounded at Kent State University

December 31
U.S. troops in Vietnam drop to 280,000

1971
January 6
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is repealed by Congress

February 8


South Vietnamese enter Laos, attempting to sever Ho Chi Minh Trail supply lines, suffering 9,000 in casualties
March 29
Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of murder for My Lai Massacre misconduct

Summer
Spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam ceases Spraying of Agent Orange in Cambodia ceases Spraying of Agent Orange in Laos ceases
June 1
Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace speak out against antiwar protests

June 18
The New York Times begins printing Pentagon Papers

October
Lowest number of U.S. troops (196,700) in Vietnam since January 1966

November 10

Khmer Rouge troops attack Phnom Penh and its airport
November 12
Nixon announces that another 45,000 American troops will be removed by February 1, 1972

December 31
U.S. troops number 140,000 in Vietnam; all heavy bombing of North Vietnam had ceased

1972
January 1
Over two-thirds of U.S. soldiers removed from Vietnam and roughly 133,000 remain; ARVN forces now total one million almost exclusively to fight ground war

March 30
Unexpected attack across DMZ, by North Vietnamese troops, in first attempt to invade South Vietnam since 1968; ARVN forced to retreat, while leaving southern defense in chaos

April 1
NVA move toward Hue, guarded by South Vietnamese Army and U.S. Marines, until April 9 when they halt attacks and resupply

April 4
Nixon orders mining of Haiphong Harbor and escalates bombing; demonstrations in U.S. intensify and 1,000 University of Minnesota students form blockade of Student Union building

April 13
Vietcong manage to take Hue city's northern part but 4,000 ARVN troops, helped by U.S. elite forces and air bombings, hold position; Vietcong forced to withdraw after one month

April 27
NVA forces battle again toward Quaong Tri and overtake Dong Ha two days later, finally taking Quang Tri on May 1; ARVN troops forced to retreat

June 17
Watergate Scandal begins to be uncovered

July 19
South Vietnamese Army begins drive to recapture Binh Dinh province, with U.S. air support; battles end September 15 and ARVN successful in recapturing all but northernmost part of province

Nixon wins re-election

November 11
U.S. Army turns over massive Long Bihn base to South Vietnamese Army

November 30
White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler informs press of end to troop withdrawal announcements, since only 27,000 remain

December 13
Peace talks in Paris break down again

December 18
Heaviest bombings of the war to date begin over Hanoi in Operation Linebacker II
Heaviest bombings of the war to date begin over Haiphong in Operation Linebacker II
December 31
U.S. combat troops in Vietnam number fewer than 30,000

1973
January 15
Nixon announces deferral of all offensive tactics in North Vietnam, due to progress in peace negotiations

January 27
Paris Peace Accords signing, ending America's participation in the Vietnam War; former President Johnson dies five days earlier

February 11
First American prisoners of war are released

March 29
Last U.S. soldiers leave Vietnam; 8,500 American civilians, embassy guards, defense office soldiers remain

Early in Year

Khmer Rouge troops, under Pol Pot, begin to take over the country, after U.S. soldiers withdraw
April 5
U.S. Senate votes to discontinue aid to Vietnam, unless approved by Congress

August 15

U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends; Nixon chastises Congress for ending air bombings
October 16
Nobel Peace Prize goes to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for ending the Indochina War; Tho turns it down because the fighting continues

1974
January
NVA have rebuilt their divisions in South Vietnam; even while too weak to begin a major offensive, NVA have captured key areas

April 4
House of Representatives refuses Nixon's request for more aid to South Vietnam

August 9
Richard Nixon resigns, putting a halt to his impeachment

October
Congress completes passage of Foreign Assistance Act, cutting off all aid to South Vietnam

December 26
Dong Xoai is captured by the 7th North Vietnamese Army division

1975
January 1
In a blatant violation of Paris Peace Accords, NVA takes Phuoc Long and the surrounding province, without retaliation from the U. S.

January 6
Sixty miles north of Saigon, Phuoc Long province falls to communists

March 1
South Vietnam troops forced to retreat, suffering 60,000 casualties from a powerful NVA offensive into the Central Highlands region

March 14
South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu decides to withdraw troops from Central Highlands and northern provinces

March 25
South Vietnamese resistance collapses after a three-day siege at the Battle of Hue

April 17

Cambodia falls to Khmer Rouge forces and begin forcing people to leave the cities
April 21
City of Xuan-loc, only 40 miles from Saigon, is overtaken by NVA; ARVN forced to retreat

April 29
Largest helicopter evacuation in history occurs, as 7,000 Americans and South Vietnamese are rescued from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon

April 30
Saigon falls to Vietnamese communist forces, officially ending 10 years of fighting

December 3


Laos taken over by Laotian communists (Pathet Lao)

---- Selected Quotes ----

Quotes regarding Vietnam War Time Table.

By Henry Kissinger
We fought a military war; our opponents fought a political one. We sought physical attrition; our opponents aimed for our psychological exhaustion. In the process we lost sight of one of the cardinal maxims of guerrilla war: the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win. The North Vietnamese used their armed forces the way a bull-fighter uses his cape ó to keep us lunging in areas of marginal political importance.
Foreign Affairs, 1969
By Jimmy Carter
The destruction was mutual. We went to Vietnam without any desire to capture territory or impose American will on other people. I don't feel that we ought to apologize or castigate ourselves or to assume the status of culpability.
Quoted in the LA Times, 1977
By Muhammad Ali
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No Iím not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.
By Robert S. McNamara
I donít object to its being called McNamaraís war. I think it is a very important war, and I am pleased to be identified with it and do whatever I can to win it.
Obituar, 2009

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