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Vietnam War Operation Rolling Thunder 1965-1968 Chapter 1 Introduction Operation Rolling Thunder was a frequently interrupted bombing campaign that began on February 24 1965 and continued until the end of October 1968 During this period US Air Force and Navy aircraft engaged in a bombing campaign designed to force Ho chi Minh to abandon his ambition to take over South Vietnam The operation began primarily as a diplomatic signal to impress Hanoi with Americas determination Warning the North Vietnamese that the violence would increase until Ho Chi Minh gave in Secondly it was intended to bolster the sagging morale of the South Vietnamese Additionally targets were supposedly chosen to damage the supply lines between Hanoi and their soldiers fighting in South Vietnam This damage to the supply chain began to increase in importance as the US determined that the will of the North was not being broken by this campaign This paper will evaluate the strategy of saturation bombing used in this campaign and intends to show that Operation Rolling Thunder was a complete and udder failure in all of its objectives and cost the lives of hundreds of American servicemen Chapter 2 Conflict and Campaign Background The Vietnam conflict was the longest war America ever fought against a foreign power the French and Indian War and the American Revolution being the only two other conflicts that were longer in duration The US began its involvement in Vietnam at the end of 1954 initialing just helping train the South Vietnamese army The war lasted until April 1975 when South Vietnam finally collapsed The heaviest US involvement occurred from 1963 to 1973 taking the lives of some 58000 American men and women with another 365000 being wounded 115 The main goal of the US involvement in this conflict was to preserve the independence of a non-Communist South Vietnam The means employed to attain this objective as well as our relations with
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