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Vietnam War Timeline: 1965

January
26th Armed Forces Council (AFC) removes Huong as RVN (Republic of Vietnam) Prime Minister and installs General Nguyen Khanh. President Suu remains in power.
February
7th Viet Cong attack the air base at Pleiku, killing 8 Americans. U.S. responds with Flaming Dart bombing operation against southern targets in North Vietnam
10th VC sappers blow up enlisted men’s billet in Qui Nhon killing 23 American servicemen. Operation Flaming Dart II launched in response, with USAF, VNAF, and Navy aircraft striking targets north of the DMZ.
16th - 20th AFC votes out Nguyen Khanh as Prime Minister and replaces him with Phan Huy Quat
March
2nd U.S. Air Force launches Rolling Thunder, the sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The air strikes are designed to convince the North Vietnamese to cease their support of the insurgency in the South
8th Two battalions of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) land at Da Nang to strengthen the security of the air base, which is being used as part of the Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam.
17th CIA estimates VC have 37,000 regulars and approximately 100,000 irregulars in South Vietnam
20th The JCS recommends that U.S. and Allied forces be introduced with a mission to assume the offensive against the Viet Cong
30th A car bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. 2 Americans and 20 Vietnamese are killed. Nearly 200 people are wounded.
April
1st In National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 328, President Johnson approves the deployment of two addition Marine Battalions and an 18-20,000 man increase in U.S. forces to "fill out existing units and supply needed logistic personnel."
NSAM 328 also changes the security mission of U.S. in forces in Vietnam "to permit their more active use".
11th Two additional Marine Battalions begin landing at Phu Bai and Da Nang
20th Honolulu Conference – Senior officials meet and propose sending an additional 17 U.S. / Free World Battalions to South Vietnam to establish four brigade-sized enclaves at Bien Hoa / Vung Tau, Chu Lai, Qui Nhon and Quang Ngai
May
5th 173rd Airborne Brigade arrives at Bien Hoa / Vung Tau to secure the air base, becoming the first regular army combat unit to deploy in South Vietnam
11th Viet Cong overrun Song Be, the capital of Phuoc Long Province
13th U.S. pauses Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam to test Hanoi’s willingness to negotiate. Bombing resumes on 18th May.
June
7th General Westmoreland requests more troops to prevent the ARVN from being defeated. He asks for a 35 battalion U.S. / 3rd Country force and identified 9 additional battalions which may be required at a later date. The appeal was subsequently dubbed the "the 44 Battalion request"
8th State Dept Press Officer Robert McCloskey tells the press "American forces would be available to fight alongside Vietnamese forces when and if necessary"
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiments arrives in RVN
12th RVN Prime Minister Phan Huy Quat forced to resign
18th First Arc Light mission - B-52s strike VC targets near Saigon
19th Air Vice Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky becomes Prime Minister of RVN. Major General Nguyen Van Thieu assumes role of Chief of State
26th General Westmoreland given the authority to commit U.S. forces to combat in support of GVN forces
27th The first major ground combat operation by U.S. forces in the Vietnam War – 173rd Airborne together with Australian and ARVN troops begin a search and destroy operation into the Viet Cong base area of War Zone "D" northwest of Saigon
July
12th 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division arrives in Vietnam
20th U.S Army, Vietnam (USARV) is established, replacing the U.S. Army Support Command, Vietnam (USASCV )
Ho Chi Minh claims that his people are willing to fight for 20 years or more until they win.
24th First U.S. aircraft downed by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) over North Vietnam
28th President Johnson announces U.S. troop levels will increase to 125,000 men and additional forces will be needed later. As a result the monthly draft call will rise from 17,000 to 35,000
29th 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division deploys near Cam Ranh Bay
August
17th U.S. Marines begin Operation Starlite against Viet Cong in the Van Tuong peninsula, the largest American military operation of the war to date.
September
14th 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) arrives in RVN
October
8th The first elements of a Republic of Korea (ROK) infantry Division arrive in Vietnam
19th North Vietnamese soldiers launch a major attack on the Special Forces camp at Plei Me in the Central Highlands. The assault is eventually repelled on October 25th.
November
14th - 18th The first major battle of the Vietnam War involving U.S. forces – In the Ia Drang valley of the Central Highlands, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) uses helicopter assault tactics to inflict heavy losses on the Vietnamese Peoples Army (VPA).
27th ARVN 7th Regiment is overrun at Michelin Plantation
December
24th President Johnson orders a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam to explore peace possibilities
31st U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam: 184,314

1963-1964    1966