March 14th – This Date in the Vietnam War

March 14 1965, supported by U S jets, a group of twenty-four aircraft from the South Vietnamese Air Force, executed a strike on the barracks and depots located on Con Co Island, which was situated approximately 20 miles off the coast of North Vietnam. Subsequently, 100 jets from the U S Air Force and carrier-based bombers launched an attack on the ammunition depot located at Phu Qui, situated 100 miles south of Hanoi. This event marked the second instance of raids in Operation Rolling Thunder, which was also the first time U S aircraft used napalm. Operation Rolling Thunder was a direct consequence of the decision made by President Lyndon B Johnson in February, where he resolved to undertake the persistent bombing of North Vietnam – a plan that he and his advisers had been contemplating for a year. The objective was to disrupt North Vietnamese transportation routes located in the southern region of North Vietnam and impede the infiltration of personnel and resources into South Vietnam.

March 14 of the year of 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, the United States Navy established a naval force by the name of River Squadron Five, also recognized as RIVRON 5. The formation of this unit was a crucial element of the United States endeavor to maintain authority over the intricate network of waterways present in the Mekong Delta. The expansive waterways of the Mekong Delta were of high strategic importance to the U S military, given its status as a major operational center for the Viet Cong, and its capacity to provide valuable resources such as rice and fish.

March 14 1969, President Richard Nixon addressed the press, and stated that there were no imminent plans for a reduction in the number of U S troops deployed in Vietnam. The reason cited for this was the ongoing enemy offensive that was underway. President Nixon further noted that the possibility of troop withdrawals would be dependent on various factors such as enemy activity levels, progress in the Paris peace negotiations, and the ability of the South Vietnamese forces to fend off their adversaries. Despite these remarks, the Nixon administration was covertly contemplating U S troop withdrawals from Vietnam.

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