This period was from June 29, 1966-March 8, 1967.
On June 29. 1966. the USAF bombed petroleum storage and distribu-
tion facilities for the first time in the immediate vicinity of Hanoi and
Haiphong, after political leaders authorized limited and specific strikes
within the buffer zones for these cities. Gen. William W. Mornyer
replaced General Moore as Seventh Air Force Commander on July 1.
The United States expanded the Rotuvo Tttunoca campaign as of July
9 to include petroleum targets in the northeast and rail lines and
highways between China and I-lanoi. although the buffer zone on the
border limited targets. American aircraft also flew armed reconnais-
sance over North Vietnam.
On July 30, 1966. the USAF bombed targets in the demilitariaed zone
(DMZ) to counter the build-up of North Vietnamese forces there. By
September the U.S. air campaign against North Vietnam had destroyed
or damaged two-thirds of the enemy's petroleum storage capacity.
several thousand trucks and watercraft. hundreds of rail ears and
bridges. and numerous ammunition and supply storage areas. Begin-
ning on February 14, 1967. USAF aircraft hit additional strategic
targets in North Vietnam, knocking out major power plants. and
railyard repair facilities. But these results had little effect on the
enemy‘s ability to carry on the war. because the country possessed
only a small industrial base and imported most of its military materiel.
In the face of extensive air attacks. North Vietnam further strength-
ened its air defenses. By January 1967, the United States had lost 455
aircraft within 2 years. Antiaircraft guns and SAMs accounted for
most of the losses, but MiGs continued to challenge U.S. air strikes.
On January 2 the Seventh Air Force enticed a large MiG-21 force
over North Vietnam into battle against F-4s. The USAF pilots
destroyed 7 MiGs within 12 minutes without a loss. Four days later,
on January 6. the Seventh destroyed 2 more MiGs. and the North
Vietnamese temporarily abandoned aerial combat to regroup and
In South Vietnam Allied forces continued search and destroy opera-
tions. blunting new Viet Cong and North Vietnamese offensives.
Between July I4 and August 4, 1966. U.S. Marines and South Viet-
namese troops battled North Vietnam Army forces near Quang Tri. 20
miles south of the DMZ. Later. between October I5 and November
26. the Allies engaged in a major battle with Viet Cong and NVA
forces northwest of Tay Ninh. near the Cambodian border. 60 miles
northwest of Saigon. Enemy resistance was light at first. but on
November 4th as ARVN and U.S. troops approached storage areas. the
Viet Cong and NVA counterattacked. The Allies responded by
airlifting more troops, including elements of the U.S. Army's 1st' 4th,
and 25th Infantry Divisions. and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The
USAF provided close air support. and between November 8 and 25.
B-52s bombed targets in the area. The Allies drove the enemy from
the region temporarily. seizing weapons. ammunition. food. and other
supplies that the Communist forces left behind.
The next year. between February and May 1967, U.S. Army units
joined ARVN forces to return to Tay Ninh Province. about 50 miles
north of Saigon and 15 miles northeast of Tay Ninh. Seventh Air
Force C-130s dropped American paratroopers near the Cambodian
border to cut off the Viet Cong retreat. The airlifters also flew
reinforcements and supplies to the ground troops during this opera-
tion. With the help of forward air controllers flying O-1s. Air Force
F-100 and F-4 pilots provided close air support. and AC-47 gunship
crews illuminated targets and conducted air strikes at night. Again,
the enemy withdrew into Canbodia. leaving behind weapons. sup-
plies. and ammunition.
In the panhandle of Laos, the USAF pounded enemy forces on the l-lo
Chi Minh Trail. while in northern Laos U.S. pilots supported Allied
forces under attack. By August 1966 Laotian troops fighting Pathet
Lao insurgents had advanced. with the aid of U.S. close air support. to
Nam Bae. only 45 miles west of the North Vietnamese border and
about 55 miles northeast of Luang Prabang, an ancient city on the
Mekong River some 130 miles north of Vientiane. The Laotian gains
were short lived, however, and by February 2. 1967, the insurgents
had regained lost territory and were in a position to attack the airfield
at Luang Prabang.