August 5

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Aug 5, 1964:

Navy flies retaliatory strikes against North Vietnam

F-8 Crusaders, A-1 Skyraiders, and A-4 Skyhawks, from the carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation stationed in the South China Sea, fly 64 sorties against North Vietnamese coastal targets as part of Operation Pierce Arrow in retaliation for the Tonkin Gulf incidents of August 2 and 4. The U.S. warplanes destroyed or damaged 25 North Vietnamese PT boats (claimed by U.S. officials to be about one-half of the North Vietnamese Navy) at bases at Hon Gai, Loc Ghao, Phuc Loi, and Quang Khe; destroyed seven anti-aircraft installations at Vinh; and severely damaged an oil storage depot at Phuc Loi. Two U.S. planes were shot down. One pilot, Lieutenant j.g. (or "junior grade") Everett Alvarez, parachuted to safety, but broke his back in the process and was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. He was the first of some 600 U.S. airmen who would be captured during the war and not released until the cease-fire agreement was signed in 1973.

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