Vietnam War 1965–1969
The Vietnam War, like the Korean War, was precipitated by Communist expansion ambitions in East Asia. North Vietnam was backed by the Soviet Union and China, while South Vietnam was supported by the United States and anti-Communist allies. The two adversaries were separated by a DMZ at the Ben Hai River. U.S. presence increased sharply after the 2 August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident, a skirmish between USS Maddox (DD 731) and North Vietnamese torpedo boats. By this time more than 40,000 North Vietnamese troops had infiltrated the south, where there were also 23,000 US advisors. USS Taylor (DD 468) arrived off the coast of Vietnam on 21 March 1965 in support of U.S. forces ashore, now numbering 184,000.