Year
1965
Month Day
March 08

U.S. Marines land at Da Nang

The USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch, take up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang.

First ashore was the Battalion Landing Team 3/9, which arrived on the beach at 8:15 a.m. Wearing full battle gear and carrying M-14s, the Marines were met by sightseers, South Vietnamese officers, Vietnamese girls with leis, and four American soldiers with a large sign stating: “Welcome, Gallant Marines.” Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Saigon, was reportedly “appalled” at the spectacle because he had hoped that the Marines could land without any fanfare. Within two hours, Battalion Landing Team 1/3 began landing at Da Nang air base.

The 3,500 Marines were deployed to secure the U.S. airbase, freeing South Vietnamese troops up for combat. On March 1, Ambassador Maxwell Taylor had informed South Vietnamese Premier Phan Huy Quat that the United States was preparing to send the Marines to Vietnam. Three days later, a formal request was submitted by the U.S. Embassy, asking the South Vietnamese government to “invite” the United States to send the Marines. Premier Quat, a mere figurehead, had to obtain approval from the real power, Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, chief of the Armed Forces Council. Thieu approved, but, like Westmoreland, asked that the Marines be “brought ashore in the most inconspicuous way feasible.” These wishes were ignored and the Marines were given a hearty, conspicuous welcome when they arrived.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes with more than 200 people aboard

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur then veers off course and disappears. Most of the plane, and everyone on board, are never seen ...read more

Egypt opens the Suez Canal

Following Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Egyptian territory, the Suez Canal is reopened to international traffic. However, the canal was so littered with wreckage from the Suez Crisis that it took weeks of cleanup by Egyptian and United Nations workers before larger ships ...read more

February Revolution begins, leading to the end of czarist rule in Russia

In Russia, the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia’s use of the Julian calendar) begins when riots and strikes over the scarcity of food erupt in Petrograd. One week later, centuries of czarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of Nicholas II, and Russia ...read more

Ali battles Frazier in "Fight of the Century" for heavyweight championship

On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout marked Ali’s return to the marquee three-and-a-half years after boxing commissions revoked his license over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam ...read more

Reagan refers to U.S.S.R. as “evil empire” again

Speaking to a convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Florida on March 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan publicly refers to the Soviet Union as an evil empire for the second time in his career. He had first used the phrase in a 1982 speech at the British House of ...read more

"Beavis and Butt-Head" premieres on MTV

On March 8, 1993, the Music Television Network (MTV) airs the first episode of the animated series Beavis and Butt-Head, which will go on to become the network’s highest-rated series up to that point. Beavis and Butt-Head offered audiences rude and crude buddy humor in the ...read more

Mount Etna begins rumbling

On March 8, 1669, Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily in modern-day Italy, begins rumbling. Multiple eruptions over the next few weeks killed more than 20,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Most of the victims could have saved themselves by fleeing, but stayed, in a ...read more

The Lonely Hearts Killers are executed

The Lonely Hearts Killers, aka Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The couple had schemed to seduce, rob and murder women who placed personal ads in newspapers. Beck and Fernandez boasted to killing as ...read more

VW bus, icon of counterculture movement, goes into production

Volkswagen, maker of the Beetle automobile, expands its product offerings to include a microbus, which goes into production on March 8, 1950. Known officially as the Volkswagen Type 2 (the Beetle was the Type 1) or the Transporter, the bus was a favorite mode of transportation ...read more

Pennsylvania militiamen murder Patriot allies

On March 8, 1782, 160 Pennsylvania militiamen murder 96 Christian Indians–39 children, 29 women and 28 men–by hammering their skulls with mallets from behind as they kneel unarmed, praying and singing, in their Moravian Mission at Gnadenhutten in the Ohio Country. The Patriots ...read more

Dutch surrender on Java

Dutch forces surrender to the Japanese after two months of fighting. Java is an island of modern-day Indonesia, and it lies southeast of Malaysia and Sumatra, south of Borneo and west of Bali. The Dutch had been in Java since 1596, establishing the Dutch East India Company, a ...read more