August 18

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Aug 18, 1965:

Marines launch Operation Starlite

After a deserter from the First Vietcong Regiment had revealed that an attack was imminent against the U.S. base at Chu Lai, the Marines launch Operation Starlite in the Van Tuong peninsula in Quang Ngai Province.

In this, the first major U.S. ground battle of the Vietnam War, 5,500 Marines destroyed a Viet Cong stronghold, scoring a resounding victory. During the operation, which lasted six days, ground forces, artillery from Chu Lai, close air support, and naval gunfire combined to kill nearly 700 Vietcong soldiers. U.S. losses included 45 Marines dead and more than 200 wounded.

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