Operation Rolling Thunder was an aerial bombing campaign, during the Vietnam War, conducted by the United States Air Force, United States Navy, and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force, from March 2, 1965 to November 2, 1968.
Its purpose was to demonstrate America’s air supremacy in an effort to demoralize North Vietnam's Communist leaders (Ho Chi Minh) and to reduce their ability to carry out attacks against South Vietnam, supported by the United States. The four main objectives of this operation were to destroy North Vietnam’s industrial foundation, transportation systems, and air defenses, stop the flow of troops and supplies, to boost the morale of the South Vietnamese and to sway North Vietnam’s support of communist insurgency in South Vietnam.
The attainments of these objectives were unattainable due to the constraints placed on commanders from the White House and the clash between political and military advisors. Other contributing factors were Cold War requirements, lack of properly trained aircrews for these missions, a clash between political and military advisors, and the communist support of North Vietnam from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.
Operation Rolling Thunder was the largest air/ground battle waged during the Cold War. During this strategic bombing campaign, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped , nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost, and these raids cost the U.S. about $900 million, while North Vietnam’s estimated damages were only $300 million. President Johnson ceased Operation Rolling Thunder on October 31, 1968, under increasing domestic political pressure.1
Prior to the Vietnam War, the United States had witnessed the break-up of the World War II alliance...
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...r College, 2003.
Fey, Peter, "The Effects of Leadership on Carrier Air Wing Sixteen’s Loss Rates During Operation Rolling Thunder, 1965-1968," MMAS diss., U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2006.
Global Security website. “Operation Rolling Thunder.” Accessed January 23, 2014. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/rolling_thunder.htm.
The History Channel website. “Johnson approves Operation Rolling Thunder.” Accessed January 23, 2014. http://www.history.com/this-day-in- history/johnson-approves-operation-rolling-thunder.
The History Channel website. “Operation Rolling Thunder.” Accessed
January 24, 2014. http://www.history.com/topics/operation-rolling-thunder.
The History Channel website. “President Johnson announces bombing halt.” Accessed January 23, 2014. http://www.history.com/this-day-in history/president-johnson-announces-bombing-halt.
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