7 Battles That Changed Public Perception Of The Vietnam War

096 Downed chopper at Camp Holloway

Attack on Camp Holloway, February 7, 1965

The attack on Camp Holloway took place on February 7, 1965. Camp Holloway was a U.S.-constructed helicopter base located near the town of Pleiku, built in 1962. Prior to extensive U.S. involvement in Vietnam, helicopters at Camp Holloway provided a range of support services to the South Vietnamese. The attack on Camp Holloway was the result of a number of different political events, and led to additional political alliances after the attack and retribution for it.

In August 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated a full-scale military action in Vietnam in retaliation for North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. Navy vessels. In February 1965, the Soviet Union increased and reinforced its ties with North Vietnam, leading to increased action on the part of the North Vietnamese, particularly a spring campaign.

The Viet Cong began their spring offensive with an attack on Camp Holloway. Camp Holloway was well-protected with extensive fencing and South Vietnamese troops. In total, around 400 Americans were stationed at Camp Holloway.

The Viet Cong divided their forces, with one group attacking the airfield, and the other directly attacking troops stationed at Camp Holloway to more easily penetrate the camp’s defenses. The attack required far more planning than it did time, ending within just a few minutes. The Viet Cong, numbering around 300, regrouped and retreated relatively quickly, leaving eight dead and 126 wounded at Camp Holloway. Ten aircraft were destroyed and an additional 15 damaged by mortar fire.

The attack on Camp Holloway directly led to Operation Flaming Dart. Operation Flaming Dart bombed a range of North Vietnamese targets, particularly military barracks. While the South Vietnamese celebrated this increase in American involvement, it brought with it a much stronger relationship between North Vietnam and the Soviet Union. An April 1965 missile treaty between North Vietnam and the Soviet Union further reinforced the strength and abilities of the North Vietnamese.


  • PK

    Your first paragraph says, “For America, the Vietnam War was an attempt to spread communism.” You can’t really believe that, right? I imagine this was simply something that made it past your proof readers? Perhaps, For America, the Vietnam War was an attempt to STOP THE spread OF communism

    • Robert Zornes

      You really can’t believe much of anything on these blogs. They get things wrong ALL the time and don’t even properly proofread their own materials.

    • Jason Joiner

      Learn to read. For America(The North Vietnamese )wanted to spread Communism

      • Bill Parton

        Imperialism is tyranny.

        The denial of democratic vote is tyranny.

        Vietnam, the entire country, was to hold an election in 1954 per the Geneva Accords. Pro-French leaders in the South canceled the election because they knew they were to lose.

        What is a “Christian founded Democracy”?

        Do you still feel it is the duty of the United States to “stop the spread of tyranny”?

        • Ben Drake

          Yes, it is our duty to do that. Something tells me you were a draft dodger.

          • Bill Parton

            Imperialism is tyranny.

            Go see someone about those voices
            that are telling you things.

          • Steve Weathers

            No it is not our duty………….

          • Thomas

            That would have been Donald Trump for sure!!!

        • John M. Baxter

          I seriously doubt the Communists would have won such an election. Most South Vietnamese wanted to remain independent of the Communists in the North.

      • papasan173

        If it is our duty to stop tyranny then how did Trump get elected by a bunch of Christians who go against the teachings of Christ?

    • Walter Kernaghan

      As vet of VIET nam, the VIET nam war was about food, the north had an agreement with French on giving them rice from the south, because patties in the north were not producing. The French got greedy, and said screw them, so the north came south and kick the French out, and we signed an agreement called sato, that’s why we got involved, then arms industry took over , that’s why we were their

  • Don Akin

    Democrats got us into that one to fight the spread of communism, and then embraced the communism party. Look at ole Bernie Sanders. I spent all my time there in a OH-6A like the one in the picture of the little helicopter that was wrecked. All those Americans killed and now all of us still fighting the war in our minds. Thanks for the agent orange and PTSD and the warm welcome we got when we came back…

    • Margaret

      you betcha! I lived through that time with a brother serving 3 tours. And that’s when I began to hate the media. The BS coming on the tube and watching soldiers welcomed back being splattered with blood from activists and the media loving filming it. I hope the MSM shrivels into nothing!

    • Brent Leatherman

      I didn’t realize that Ike was a Democrat. The first US troops were sent over there in 1955, two years into his term.

      • Gary Schrecongost

        Better check your history book Brent. Ike was a republican

        • Brent Leatherman

          Gary – the definition of sarcasm:

          the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

    • historyrepeatsitsself

      Well obviously you do not knw the difference between “communism” and “Socialism” .. the sad part is you have lived your entire life in a hybrid Socialistic/capitalistic society… You also are unaware that it was Eisenhower who put us into Vietnam… not Kennedy, not Johnson (although he accelerated our involvement)… you need to break open a dictionary and perhaps do a little research before you open your big mouth publicly… so you even know what “socialism” is… do you have any idea what the difference is between “socialism” and “Communism”.. any clue at all? You might want to not post any more without some serious investigation on your own and not just take it that three tooth “Billy Bob” next to you knows what he is talking about.

    • Gus Ramos

      I served with 2nd Batallion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. I have a History degree from UCLA. Don Akin, you don’t know your history. The ‘Nam War was started by Dwight Enisonhower, a Republican. Presidet Kennedy was blamed for the ‘Police Action,’ which they always do very well. We were there for the natural resources,oil, etc. The domino effect was never an issue. To fight Communisn was just an excuse to invade another country. We lost 58,000 plus for nothing. The only ones who benefited were the Vietnamese who entered the country thru the back and were given monety to establish a business, buy homes, and send their children to the best universities while American born were denied entrance. Too add salt to the wound, most Veteran Hospitals are full of Vietnamese doctors. Please don’t tell me about building a wall.

      • Thomas

        Thanks Gus – – 1st Cav Div 69-70!!

    • Thomas

      Don, I was there also and I don’t remember any democrat or republican thing for when I was there I could not vote, but if you check your history Vietnam troops were inserted under the Eisenhower administration and carried forward by Kennedy for Ike and Jack were friends and Jack highly respected Ike’s opinion on the Vietnam situation!!

  • Gary Masters

    We did not have an immediate victory. The Government in Vietnam that we supported fell. But after so many years in Vietnam we left enough associations and friends that we soon became a trading partner and ally of the Vietnamese who now see China as their threat. We got more than we expected and our work was not lost. It was a victory of our culture and economy. A program of support for education and cultural activities would finish the deal.

    • Margaret

      Yes, I think you’re right. Like South Korea after the Korean War. And Japan after WWII.

      • Larry J O’Daniel

        Until 1975, Vietnam was never unified. It was aggression,pure and simple. The media reports were often reported from Saigon bars, rather than the field. The VC existence was largely manufactured as separate organization. Their political existence was nil in 1975. What little that was left was betrayed by the North rapidly. We could’ve easily lost WWII with the biased reporting from Vietnam.

  • Doc N’ Carol BikerGypsy

    So you really have it all wrong. I mean really. America’s perception of the war began in the mid-60’s. The I’Drang with Hal Morris was a well kept secret from the American public for years. Average Americans simply didn’t get emotionally involved as early as you say. We didn’t “perceive” anything. The first draft card burning wasn’t until late october 1965 and it was initially a conscientious objection by a Catholic priest. Actually it was Khe San that changed the perception of the war as well as the public execution of a Viet Cong by an ARVN officer.

    • John Mercer

      Do you mean the execution of a leader of the Viet Cong by the commander of the Vietnamese National Police, who was authorized to act by the laws of his country?

      • Bill Parton

        John Mercer – Were summary executions
        authorized by the laws of Vietnam?

    • historyrepeatsitsself

      No… that stuff you talk about was not what caused the public to wake up… it was the DRAFT… that is why we have never had a draft since… Think on it… if we had a draft today we would be out of the middle east.

  • Doc N’ Carol BikerGypsy

    You forgot Khe Sahn

  • Margaret

    This History Collection needs correction.

  • luckless pedestrian

    “Good Morning, Viet Nam!”…Cue: “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” We were fighting the Korean War in Vietnam. I recall heading out on yet another “Search & Destroy,” walk in the noonday sun, when I realized that the VC/ NVA didn’t want to “spread Communism all over the world.” They just wanted their country back. Then it was back to the business of winning the “hearts and minds” of farmers and civilians by stomping through their houses and then burning them down. Building and supplying huge bases to fight a guerrilla war. Yeah! That’s the ticket! Turning huge patches of land into the surface of the Moon with B-52’s so high in the sky you could barely see them and then getting pinned down by 4-6 guys in pajamas. Picking up pieces of guys you had been talking to 15 minutes before they stepped on a mine. Learning how to keep it all “outside” yourself or find yourself standing by the wire, shaking like a leaf. Again. “Christian founded Democracy?” STFU!— RVN ’65-’66. USMC. 100% PTSD. Semper Fi.

    • Dirk L. Zollinger

      Jarhead, your not PTSD, your problem is embarrassment. Failure to look back at what you accomplished, even though your Government was wrong. It is the people like you who add to reasons 22 vets commit suicide every day. My Government was wrong, but AT THAT TIME we were fighting Communism in Russia,Cuba, China, and the RVN. I performed my job and I performed it well as did all I knew over there. I hurt severely every day for those I knew who lost their life, but to demean what they did to make you feel better,won’t work. You want to go after some for the deaths of our brothers and sisters over there, Hanoi Jane, John Kerry, the American public who worked on Congress to make rules of war. I guess you jarheads must have been the reason for people talking of the atrocities over there. I was there in 1968, and the only villages that got burned down was villages we received fire from. Unless it was the North, most of the B-52s hit jungles or mountains. I was with the unit Platoon was about. This was used to draw the anti war crowd. Stone was in Delta Company, and I was in Alpha, and I assure you Alpha Company didn’t do what was portrayed in the movie. I don’t want to hear your cry baby stuff about seeing death and complete disection of buddies. All of us did if we were in the bush. My squad leader, gunner and myself were standing in front of a bunker. Gunner and squad leader were killed right beside me, wanted to run, but was too scared,so I just started shooting into the bunker until some sergeant pulled me away. If you want to keep that hate in you, there is nothing I can do about that. I would recommend you get in a group.

      • historyrepeatsitsself

        Leave off of him.. just because your experiences were not the same is no reason for you to go off on him…what is a “unit Platoon” by the way? Not everybody can walk away easily my friend… and those who did feel guilty for having been able to… I am glad you have no residual issues…. Oh and the “Jarheads” name calling.. why would you do that? Was there a reason?

        • Dirk L. Zollinger

          You stupid twit, do you hear him saying anything, if you have no idea about a subject, you need to listen or leave. It is quite obvious you never walked the walk, so you have no frikkin idea what I am talking about. Platoon was a movie. I was a VFW service officer for 6 years, you don’t know what that is either, but I helped troops get the disability they deserved. If he is legit, which I am doubting, he is in line to be one of the 22 suicides military people commit every day. A jarhead is another name for a Marine. I am also100% PTSD. Listen and learn or stay out of the conversation.

      • luckless pedestrian

        Fuck you, Doggy!

        • Dirk L. Zollinger

          Nice reply. Your Welcome.

      • Thomas

        Dirk, sorry ole friend but you sound like a lot of Anger in yourself also – – If Vietnam taught me one thing – – it was Compassion – – No two souls leave Vietnam thinking the same on right and wrong – – no two souls handle death and the Horrors of War alike and Brothers Forever means FOREVER!!! WE DON’T JUDGE OTHERS THAT HAVE BEEN THERE – – WE ARE THERE FOR THEM NO MATTER WHAT – – THAT IS WHAT BROTHERS DO!!!

  • Josef-Peter Roemer

    It started way before any of what is mentioned, started with the French loosing their war in Vietnam the USA stepping in to help the French. We complain when another country interferes in our internal issues, but we interfere in other countries all the time to topple leaders our Government does not like even democratically elected ones which we replace with a puppet Dictator.

    • Bill Parton

      It goes way earlier than that.
      Ho Chi Minh pleaded for an independent
      Vietnam at the negotiations that ended World War I.
      His plea was rejected.

      • Thomas

        Ho Chi Minh write a letter to the President of the United States talking about the Constitution of our country and how he would like to design the Constitution of Vietnam after it!! During WWII Ho Chi Minh saved the lives of a lot of Air Force pilots that were shot down over South East Asia – – he was a Friend of the USA during WWII!! My Uncle who was with the 82nd Airborne on D-Day was captured in France who we were trying to free from German Occupation was turned in to the Germans by the French we were trying to Free. Uncle never liked the French after that and we came to America as French Huguenots- – probably fleeing the same people then that turned him in during WWII!!

  • 1984isnow

    Khe Sahn, Con Thien, 881, Especially Khe Sanh, to leave that out is stupid. What agout the battle for Hue?

  • casevier

    What a ridiculous caption to the Khe Sanh photo. Communist mortar fire? What? Are there Capitalist M-16s?

  • George Pease

    I was there in 1968 TET when we delivered a decisive military blow to the enemy. However it is my 20 year military opinion that we had many arrogant, irresponsible leaders in command from Gen Westmorland on down. These idiots not only got many soldiers dead but some deservedly themselves, for instance by taking an entire battalion in the same footsteps 3 days in a row (totally against protocol) and into an ambush that wiped the entire battalion out (2nd/28 Inf). As forward observers (LRRP), we also knew and gave those leaders information that the enemy was building up for something as early as Oct 1967 so if that is not incompetence then I do not know what is. Many soldiers died for nothing but for the arrogance and stupidity of our politicians and military leaders and probably for the monetary gain of others.

  • Richard Young

    I got wounded at Khe Sahn on 4/30/67. Shrapnel from a Vietcong mortar round in my right forearm and both sides of my face

  • Robert Radigan

    Before there was a “hamburger hill” there was a place called Dak To (HILL 875)

  • Roger Davidson

    It was not a war. Korea & Vietman were classified as conflicts as congress never declared war on North Vietnam

    • Thomas

      If you were there Roger – – it was a WAR!!!

  • Douglas Kyle

    — Dear Pk, That is worded poorly on the authors part. What it means is that America saw this as a “War to spread communism around the world” by the communists of the world.