The “Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club” was the tongue-in-cheek nickname of the U.S. Seventh Fleet that was stationed off the coast of Vietnam, and this book tells the full story of the US Naval air campaign in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1975.
On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox became embroiled in the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident that led directly to America’s increased involvement in the Vietnam War. Supporting the Maddox that day were four F-8E Crusaders from the USS Ticonderoga, and this was the very start of the U.S. Navy’s commitment to the air war over Vietnam.
The Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 77, which at points during the war had as many as six carriers on station at any one time with 70-100 aircraft on each, provided vital air support for combat troops on the ground, while at the same time taking part in the major operations against North Vietnam itself such as Rolling Thunder, Linebacker I and II. All of these operations took place in a hostile environment of flak, missiles and MiGs.
The story is told through the dramatic first-hand accounts of those that took part in the fighting, with many of the interviews carried out by the author himself. The Vietnamese perspective is also given, with the author having had access to the official Vietnamese account of the war in the air. The author also has a personal interest in the story, as at the age of 20, he served with the U.S. Seventh Fleet off the coast of Vietnam and was personally involved in the dramatic history of The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club.
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