November 23

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Nov 23, 1970:

Laird discloses the details of the Son Tay Raid

Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird discloses the November 21 U.S. raid on the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay. On November 21, a combined Air Force and Army team of 40 Americans--led by Army Colonel "Bull" Simons--conducted a raid on the Son Tay prison camp, 23 miles west of Hanoi, in an attempt to free between 70 and 100 American suspected of being held there. The raid was conducted almost flawlessly, but no prisoners of war were found in the camp. They had been moved earlier to other locations.

Laird revealed that approximately one hour after the raid took place, U.S. aircraft (200 fighter bombers and 100 support aircraft) inflicted the most severe bombing raids in two years on North Vietnam as retaliation for the shooting down of U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. Hanoi Radio reported that "wave after wave" of U.S. bombers attacked North Vietnam and said that the planes struck at targets ranging from Haiphong to Hoa Binh province, southeast of Hanoi.

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