June, 15

US Navy Ships in Vietnam: A Historic Account of American Naval Operations

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When we speak of the Vietnam War, many things come to mind—the political turmoil that surrounded it, the human cost of one of America's longest military engagements, and the technological advances made in warfare. One aspect that may not immediately spring to mind is how vital US Navy ships were in this conflict. The use of US Navy ships in Vietnam was a critical element in supporting ground troops and carrying out strategic missions during this prolonged war.

US Navy vessels played an essential role throughout the conflict—operating as mobile bases for support services such as medical care, communications infrastructure, and provisions for allied forces. With mobility being such a crucial factor when trying to combat guerilla warfare tactics on land and waterways alike—these ships provided flexibility that would be impossible with more static installations.

In this article we will dive deep into how exactly these US navy ships contributed towards the war effort – from their various functions onboard ship operations while patrolling Vietnamese waters- all so you can have a deeper understanding about what it took for America's brave men and women who served there during those difficult times.

US Navy Ships in Vietnam: A Historic Account

The US Navy played a crucial role in the Vietnam War, and its ships were an integral part of the conflict. The war lasted for almost 20 years, from 1955 to 1975, and during that time numerous naval vessels were deployed to Southeast Asia.

The Role of US Navy Ships in Vietnam

The primary mission of the US Navy ships in Vietnam was to provide support to ground troops. This included several tasks such as providing naval gunfire support (NGFS), conducting reconnaissance missions, delivering troops and supplies, evacuating wounded personnel and civilians, protecting sea-lanes against enemy attacks and laying mines.

In addition to these duties on land, the navy also carried out operations at sea that involved patrolling coastlines for smugglers or enemy activities. Furthermore, they conducted air strikes on targets deep inside North Vietnamese territory with planes launched from aircraft carriers like USS Enterprise (CVN-65) or USS Coral Sea (CV-43).

However,the majority of combat actions performed by navy ships occurred when they provided NGFS. These missions consisted mainly of bombarding enemy positions onshore using their large guns which could reach up to distances exceeding twenty miles away!

Types of Naval Vessels Deployed

The types of vessels employed by the navy during this period varied widely depending upon their specific roles but generally included cruisers/destroyers/frigates used for surface warfare , minehunters/minesweepers used for clearing waterways , LSTs/LPHs/LPDs intended more towards troop transportation & amphibious assault capabilities respectively and Aircraft Carriers which hosted air wings comprising fighter/bomber/strike planes .

Some notable examples include USS New Jersey (BB-62), a battleship equipped with nine sixteen-inch guns capable enoughto level entire hillsides; Oriskany-class carrier USS Bon Homme Richard(CVA-31); submarine chasers like USS Pigeon (ASR-21); amphibious assault ships like USS Tripoli (LPH-10) and transport vessels such as the Newport-class tank landing ship USS Schenectady.

Challenges Faced by the Navy Ships

The US Navy faced numerous challenges during its operations in Vietnam, ranging from harsh weather conditions to sophisticated enemy weapons. The North Vietnamese had access to advanced anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles which made it difficult for naval planes to penetrate their airspace.

Apart from that, riverine warfare was also a major challenge faced by the navy ships operating in Vietnam's inland waterways. These areas were often heavily mined and booby-trapped with explosive devices, making them extremely hazardous for boats travelling through them.

Finally,the constant threat of guerrilla attacks on supply convoys traversing along coastal waters added another layer of complexity towards securing sea lanes and protecting delivery systems.


The role played by U.S.Navy ships in Vietnam War was invaluable . The navy provided crucial support on land , air as well as sea which helped achieve significant victories against communist forces . They endured many hardships throughout this long period but nonetheless remained committed towards achieving their objectives despite all odds.

In conclusion, while there are many accounts of war time events that have been written over the years,it is important not forget how much these brave sailors sacrificed during those turbulent times so we can enjoy our freedom today!


What was the role of US Navy ships in Vietnam?

During the Vietnam War, US Navy ships played a crucial role by providing support to ground troops, conducting airstrikes against enemy targets and transporting troops and supplies. They patrolled the coastline to prevent North Vietnamese vessels from coming close to shore. The navy also deployed minesweepers which were responsible for clearing naval mines that had been planted by North Vietnamese forces in harbors and waterways.

The navy's primary goal was to provide fire support for ground troops engaged in combat operations. They accomplished this by using their guns, missiles and bombs against land-based targets such as enemy bunkers, artillery positions or troop concentrations. This allowed ground forces to advance under cover fire from naval gunfire support.

In addition, aircraft carriers were used extensively during the war as they could launch bombing raids deep into North Vietnam territory while remaining outside of range of enemy anti-aircraft guns. Helicopters also played a vital role as they could be used for medical evacuations or transport of soldiers into combat zones.

How many US Navy ships served in Vietnam?

During the entire course of the war (1955-1975), over 600 U.S Navy vessels served off-shore in Southeast Asia waters at one time or another . There were six main types: attack carriers (CVA), antisubmarine carriers (CVS), destroyers (DD/DDG), amphibious assault ships with helicopter landing capability (LPH/LHA/LHD) , mine warfare platform boats(MSC/MHC) and auxiliary-type vessel(AKA/AKS).

What kind of weapons did US Navy Ships use during their deployment in Vietnam?

US Navy ship carried an arrayed weaponry that varied depending on its class/designation.
Destroyer class DD/DFF/ DDG carried fast firing lightweight automatic canons ranging from 76mm -127mm caliber along with torpedoes capable ASW(anti-submarine warfare) engagements.
Attack Carriers CVA/CVAN carried powerful bombers and fighters that could launch air strikes on North Vietnamese targets from a safe location. They also carried an assortment of missiles, bombs and rockets for use in the different missions.
Amphibious assault ships LPH/LHA/LHD had choppers that were used for troop transport, medical evacuations and hot extractions while their deck guns ranging from 20mm-127 mm caliber were used to provide fire support during landing operations.

Were any US Navy ships sunk during the Vietnam War?

Yes, several U.S Navy vessels were lost in action or damaged beyond repair during the conflict. One of the most significant losses was USS Pueblo (AGER-2), which was captured by North Korean forces in January 1968 while operating off their coast. In Vietnam waters , thirty-four U.S naval vessels suffered damage as per official records; some examples include USS Oriskany (CVA-34), USS Forrestal(CV-59) & USS Enterprise(CVN-65).
USS Frank E Evans(DD -754 ) collided with HMAS Melbourne on June 3rd ’69 resulting into sinking of former ship killing over seventy crew members.

Did US Navy Ships have any impact on ending the war in Vietnam?

While not solely responsible for ending the war, US navy's presence played a crucial role indirectly towards its conclusion.Their blockades prevented supplies arriving at enemy shores effectively limiting movement against South Vietnamese territories.Another impact can be seen through Operation Linebacker I/II where massive aerial bombing campaigns against key military sites severely depleted North Vietnamese resources forcing them to sign peace treaties eventually.
Additionally,the threat posed by modernized Armed Forces led Viet Congs to withdraw underground allowing S.Vietnamese forces couldn't combat them directly,making USA’s job easier . These factors altogether made sure that American troops returned home victories aside being one of the costliest war in American history.

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