Year
1965

Allies launch second wave of Rolling Thunder

Twenty-four South Vietnamese Air Force planes, led by Vice-Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky and supported by U.S. jets, bomb the barracks and depots on Con Co (“Tiger”) Island, 20 miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The next day, 100 U.S. Air Force jets and carrier-based bombers struck the ammunition depot at Phu Qui, 100 miles south of Hanoi. This was the second set of raids in Operation Rolling Thunder and the first in which U.S. planes used napalm.

Operation Rolling Thunder was a result of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision in February to undertake the sustained bombing of North Vietnam that he and his advisers had been contemplating for a year. The operation was designed to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes in the southern part of North Vietnam and slow infiltration of personnel and supplies into South Vietnam. In July 1966, Rolling Thunder was expanded to include the bombing of North Vietnamese ammunition dumps and oil storage facilities, and in the spring of 1967, it was further expanded to include power plants, factories, and airfields in the Hanoi-Haiphong area.

The White House closely controlled operation Rolling Thunder and President Johnson sometimes personally selected the targets. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost during Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson, under increasing domestic political pressure, halted it on October 31, 1968.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Jack Ruby sentenced to death

Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald–the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy–is found guilty of the “murder with malice” of Oswald and sentenced to die in the electric chair. It was the first courtroom verdict to be televised in U.S. ...read more

Birmingham Six released

In the face of widespread questioning of their guilt, British authorities release the so-called “Birmingham Six,” six Irish men who had been sent to prison 16 years earlier for the 1974 terrorist bombings of two Birmingham, England, pubs.On November 21, 1974, two Irish Republican ...read more

Mack Truck founder killed in car crash

John “Jack” Mack, who co-founded what would become one of North America’s largest makers of heavy-duty trucks, is killed when his car collides with a trolley in Pennsylvania on March 14, 1922.After the brothers sold their company to investors in 1911, it continued to flourish, ...read more

Albert Einstein born

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man’s view of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum ...read more

JFK’s body moved to permanent gravesite

On this day in history, the body of President John F. Kennedy is moved to a spot just a few feet away from its original interment site at Arlington National Cemetery. The slain president had been assassinated more than three years earlier, on November 22, 1963. Although JFK never ...read more

Max Brand publishes his first novel

Max Brand, perhaps the most prolific writer of western stories, publishes his first novel, The Untamed.Max Brand was one of 21 pen names used by the Seattle-born author Frederick Faust. When he was still a young boy, Faust’s family moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California, ...read more

Billy Crystal is born

On this day in 1948, the comedian and actor Billy Crystal, who will become known for his starring roles in such movies as When Harry Met Sally… and City Slickers, is born in Long Beach, California.Crystal began performing in comedy clubs as a teenager; after graduating from New ...read more

The FBI debuts 10 Most Wanted

On this day in 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted ...read more

Battle of New Bern, North Carolina

On this day in 1862, at the Battle of New Bern, Union General Ambrose Burnside captures North Carolina’s second largest city and closes another port through which the Confederates could slip supplies.The capture of New Bern continued Burnside’s success along the Carolina coast. ...read more

German cruiser Dresden sinks

On this day in 1915, the British ships Kent and Glasgow corner the German light cruiser Dresden in Cumberland Bay, off the coast of Chile. After raising the white flag, the Dresden‘s crew abandoned and scuttled the ship, which sank with its German ensign flying. Dresden, a ...read more

Germans recapture Kharkov

On this day, German troops re-enter Kharkov, the second largest city in the Ukraine, which had changed hands several times in the battle between the USSR and the invading German forces.Kharkov was a high-priority target for the Germans when they invaded the Soviet Union in June ...read more