USS Maddox On August 2, 1964, North Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Military Type: Essay Paper: #78897703 Related Topics: Boat, Military Intelligence, Southeast Asia, North American
Excerpt from Essay :

USS Maddox

On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. A few days later, another American ship, the U.S.S. Turner Joy, was also attacked. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed in response to the aggression, authorizing the President to take "all necessary steps, including the use of armed force," to protect American interests ("Gulf of Tonkin Incident," n.d.). The attack marked a major turning point in United States policy and military action in Vietnam. Until this point, there was no full commitment of troops in Southeast Asia. After the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Johnson committed 500,000 American troops to the region. Therefore, the attack on the Maddox represented the escalation of war.

Events leading up to the turning point remain shrouded somewhat in secrecy. There is some evidence to suggest that the attack on the U.S.S. Maddox was provoked and that reports of a second attack on the ship had been fabricated ("Gulf of Tonkin Incident," n.d.). The United States had also been playing a "dangerous game" by engaging in covert ops using the help of South Vietnamese (Paterson, 2008). The full story behind the covert ops that preceded...


Maddox attack is gradually being revealed as some 140 documents have been only recently declassified ("Gulf of Tonkin Incident," n.d.; Paterson, 2008). The engagement in covert ops were necessary and essential in preparing for the turning point, which might have been strategically planned as an attempt to escalate military activity in Vietnam.

The covert ops were grouped loosely under code name Operations Plan (OPLAN) 34A. OPLAN involved a loose intelligence-based collaboration between the South Vietnamese Navy, the CIA, and the Department of Defense (Paterson, 2008). Several early OPLAN missions failed, but they continued to operate. On July 30 and 31, South Vietnamese commando ships fired on two North Vietnamese islands: Hon Me and Hon Ngu. The North Vietnamese responded by pursuing the vessels that attacked the islands (Paterson, 2008). At this point, the Maddox had withdrawn from the area. According to Paterson (2008), the South Vietnamese commando attacks were uncoordinated with American efforts and the Maddox focused attention on new communications intercepts and launched attacks against North Vietnamese ships. By the time August 4 arrived, tensions in the Gulf of Tonkin had already escalated.

A series of cataclysmic events occurred subsequent to the turning point. Commitment of American troops turned…

Sources Used in Documents:


"Gulf of Tonkin Incident," (n.d.). Ohio History Central. Retrieved online:

National Museum of the Air Force (2012). Tonkin Gulf Resolution: Authority for war. Retrieved online:

Paterson, P. (2008). The truth about Tonkin. Naval History Magazine 22(1). Retrieved online:

Cite this Document:

"USS Maddox On August 2 1964 North" (2015, March 20) Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

"USS Maddox On August 2 1964 North" 20 March 2015. Web.27 January. 2022. <>

"USS Maddox On August 2 1964 North", 20 March 2015, Accessed.27 January. 2022,

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