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.