Operation Rolling Thunder
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Operation Rolling Thunder was a sustained air strike against North Vietnam by the US Navy, US Air Force, and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force during the Vietnam War. It lasted from March 2, 1965 until November 1, 1968.
The Objectives of Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder had four objectives:
- Destroy North Vietnam's transportation system
- Improve morale in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
- Make it difficult for North Korea to support communists in South Vietnam during the war
- Prevent North Korea from sending insurgents into South Vietnam
By waging an air strike, the United States hoped to limit the number of soldiers that it would have to commit to a ground war in Vietnam.
The Limited Success of Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder had limited success, largely because North Korea received assistance from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China that allowed them to fight back with sophisticated ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons. The U.S. also had limited success with the operation because of a Pentagon policy that required a one-year rotation for soldiers in Southeast Asia. This meant that many of the soldiers involved in Operation Rolling Thunder did not have much experience. By the time they gained experience, the Pentagon removed them from Vietnam. Seasonal monsoons also prevented the U.S.'s air strikes from having their intended effects.
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