Heavy Strikes Continue By B-52's
DECEMBER 20--The Secretary established a Director of Naval Laboratories on the staff of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Development and directed that he also serve as Director of Laboratory Programs in the Office of Naval Material. Subsequently, administrative responsibility for laboratories was transferred to this dual office while test and evaluation facilities, such as Naval Air Test Center, Naval Missile Center, and Naval Air Engineering Center were placed under the command of the Naval Air Systems Command. The tempo of the SEA conflict increased in 1965. The Viet Cong (VC) intensified its guerrilla activity and began direct attacks on U.S. forces. When the VC scored some impressive victories over South Vietnamese troops, the U.S. increased its forces even more. Officials in Washington D.C. no longer spoke of withdrawing U.S. personnel; rather, they talked of additional U.S. forces for South Vietnam and the president generally approved their recommendations.
LAOS : PLAIN OF JARS When the dry season on the Plain of Jars began in the fall of 1965, the Communists launched their largest offensive to date to drive out Laotian troops. The USAF could provide only limited support to the Royal Laotian AF because it did not have permission to actively attack the enemy which continued to advance slowly. SOUTH VIETNAM During the last half of 1965, Viet Cong activity inside South Vietnam continued to increase. Several large scale attacks were launched against U.S. and South Vietnamese positions and in each instance, airpower was used to thwart the enemy efforts. Still, the Viet Cong retained its ability to move from place to place at night, almost at will, and sever any line of communication it desired. LAOS : PANHANDLE Late in 1965 the communists greatly increased their infiltration along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
It was decided to concentrate airpower upon a small segment of the Trail closest to South Vietnam and used most extensively by the enemy. As a result, "Tiger Hound" was initiated in Dec. 1965, utilizing aircraft from the USAF, Army, Navy, Marines, the VNAF, and the Royal Laotian Air Force. On Dec. 11th, strategic B-52s were called in to this tactical operation, their first use over Laos. LAOS : PLAIN OF JARS The USAF continued its limited support to the Royal Laotian AF, sometimes providing a C-47 airborne battlefield command and control center, while USAF personnel served as Forward Air Controllers (FAC), flying in Royal Laotian AF planes.
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