May 15

This Day in History

Vietnam War

May 15, 1967:

U.S. positions south of the DMZ come under heavy fire

U.S. forces just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) come under heavy fire as Marine positions between Dong Ha and Con Thien are pounded by North Vietnamese artillery. At the same time, more than 100 Americans were killed or wounded during heavy fighting along the DMZ. On May 17 and 18, the Con Thien base was shelled heavily. Dong Ha, Gio Linh, Cam Lo, and Camp Carroll were also bombarded. On May 18, a force of 5,500 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops invaded the southeastern section of the DMZ to smash a communist build up in the area and to deny the use of the zone as an infiltration route into South Vietnam. On May 19, the U.S. State Department said the offensive in the DMZ was "purely a defensive measure" against a "considerable buildup of North Vietnam troops." The North Vietnamese government on May 21 called the invasion of the zone "a brazen provocation" that "abolished the buffer character of the DMZ as provided by the Geneva agreements."

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