U.S. planes strike North Vietnamese petroleum-storage facilities in a series of devastating raids. These missions were part of Operation Rolling Thunder, which had been launched in March 1965 after President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a sustained bombing campaign of North Vietnam. The operation was designed to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes in the southern part of North Vietnam and to slow infiltration of personnel and supplies into South Vietnam. During the early months of this campaign, there were restrictions against striking targets in or near Hanoi and Haiphong. In 1966, however, Rolling Thunder was expanded to include the bombing of North Vietnamese ammunition dumps and oil storage facilities. In the spring of 1967, it was further expanded to include power plants, factories, and airfields in the Hanoi and Haiphong area.
The White House closely controlled operation Rolling Thunder and at times President Johnson personally selected targets. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson halted in on October 31, 1968, under increasing domestic political pressure.