The Tonkin Incident: U.S. Destroyer Ambushed, Washington Loses Their Mind

Only one part of what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin is clear. North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the USS Maddox in international waters. However, what exactly happened afterward had the world guessing.

In 2005 and 2006, the NSA declassified almost 200 documents which included phone transcripts, interviews, and signals intelligence messages. These top secret papers have explained what happened and why the U.S. entered into the Vietnam War.

Events Leading Up To The Incident

At the beginning of 1964, South Vietnam had U.S. support for several attacks and intelligence missions on the North Vietnamese coast. The mission, Operations Plan 34A, was overseen by the DOD and the CIA and executed by the South Vietnamese Navy.

When they took heavy losses, the strategy was shifted to attacks from the patrol boats. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy was doing its recon mission in the Tonkin Gulf. Destroyers were running Desoto patrols, with more scheduled for 1964.

One declassified document noted, "[L]ocate and identify all coastal radar transmitters, note all navigation aids along the DVR's [Democratic Republic of Vietnam's] coastline, and monitor the Vietnamese junk fleet for a possible connection to DRV/Viet Cong maritime supply and infiltration routes."

USS Maddox

The USS Maddox left Taiwan and headed toward her patrol station on July 28th. The Maddox had communications interception equipment.

The ship was in the Gulf of Tonkin on July 30th when OPLAN 34A attacked Hon Me Island and Hon Ngu Island. They claimed they did not know the attacks were happening and left the area when they realized what was happening, especially when the North Vietnamese patrol boats showed up.

The Maddox went back to the area on August 1st, and its technicians intercepted intel that the North Vietnamese may attack the destroyer. Captain John J. Herrick wanted to avoid the patrol boats, so he went out to sea at first. The decision was reversed, and the destroyer ended up north of Hon Me Island.

There the North Vietnamese attacked. However, the Maddox was unharmed and back to patrol on the 4th with the Turner Joy in tow. The two ships thought they were under attack at one point but realized it was poor equipment in rough seas.

Somehow wires were crossed in Washington, and President Johnson thought the North Vietnamese had attacked again, leading to a declaration of war.

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10 comments on “The Tonkin Incident: U.S. Destroyer Ambushed, Washington Loses Their Mind”

  1. The Tonkin Gulf incident never happened, it was all staged by Johnson so he would have an excuse to enter the war.

      1. Johnson needed an excuse to go to war. The Tonkin incident gave him what he needed. He was going to down in history as a great war time president. He has gone down alright, but as the greatest disaster.

    1. That happened something like 50 years ago. Personally, I feel the whole Viet Nam fiasco was a bunch of BS started by democrats. Don't misunderstand. I know those who served there spent their time in Hell. In fact look at the 20th Century. WW1 we fielded an army that was poorly trained and equipped. It had 3 things going for it. The 1903 Springfield, the 1911 Colt and a bunch of country boys who knew how to use them. WW2 we were flat caught with our pants down and unprepared. We knew the Japs were going to attack us but didn't know where or when. That Sunday morning our fleet was at rope yarn holiday instead of condition Baker. One step from General Quarters as it should have been. Korea, again we knew the North Koreans were going to attack but the people serving under that "great" General MacArthur were not in place and were poorly equipped. I'll aways remember that during WW2 Admiral Nimitz was called CINPAC. Commander in chief Pacific Fleet. MacArthur chose his own title during WW2. Supreme Commander Southwest Ocean Areas. I think any who served in Viet Nam will know what a fiasco that was. Our people were sent in as advisers but were soon in combat. We could have - should have - and would have won there if the military had been allowed to operate military operations, but the great politicians had to play General. Each and every one of those conflicts had a democrat administration running things. The first Gulf war. The President told the Pentagon what he wanted and got out of their way and let them do it. Republican administration. We had pretty much the same thing for the 4 years Trump was in office. NEED I SAY MORE? I REST MY CASE.

      1. And now we have the Democrat World Order, as Biden calls it which would kill or jail every conservative. Our country is lost because we won't get in the gutter and fight as they do. They control the House, Senate, Presidency, and every government agency has been built into a liberal army with hundreds of million rounds of ammo and guns, They have told us what they are going to do and we still sit on our hands. Now they are trying to impeach the SCOTUS with liberal judges and there will be an internal civil war. They are already going door to door in some Maryland neighborhoods and telling the people they need the serial numbers of their guns. Farmland around the country (240K acres) was purchased by Bill Gates and nothing growing on it. China buying up farmland in Oklahoma. Biden giving Iran everything they want, shutting down oil wells, and massive food shortages coming very soon, you will have to defend your home with deadly force while democrat D.A.'s prosecute conservatives because only criminals and liberals are allowed to kill. Police will be prosecuted for doing their jobs if it is against blacks. Be very careful in groups because you never know who will be there to rile you up and set you up as Antifa and BLM did on Jan 06. And the 87K IRS agents must be willing to kill you as part of their job. They won't be used to audit returns. They will be used to confiscate your bank accounts, retirement, 401k's, homes, and vehicles. Don't forget we have to go green, no gas stoves, BBQ grills gone, fireplaces, gas equipment, airplanes except for the ruling class, electric cars, or riding bicycles. Then there is the new education agenda, all conservative white people are systemically racist, boys are girls and girls are boys. The Bible says when good is bad and bad is good, that is a signal that the end times are here. Parents aren't allowed to speak out at school board meetings or they are thrown out or even arrested as terrorists now. Good thing I am too old and disabled. I don't have long. I won't have to live through it like everyone else. I wish you all luck and if you are religious, I suggest you pray hard, very hard. GOD Bless America.

  2. I never thought Johnson was very bright but conniving enough to be POTUS - he got us into more trouble with the war and his economic policies than any other POTUS ever!

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