Nixon’s Trident Naval Power in Southeast Asia

Overall, the U.S. Navy contributed a total of 17 carriers to the air war in Vietnam during the 1968–1972 period. Those carriers made 73 cruises lasting a total of 8,248 days. Of the 1,626 Navy personnel killed in action during the war, 317 were aviators. The Navy lost 538 fixed-wing aircraft in combat and suffered another 316 losses through in-flight accidents. Task Force 77 often included 4 carriers, 400 aircraft, 25 supporting ships, and 30,000 Sailors and naval air crewmen. This task force, which included Marine air units, dropped 1.5 million tons of bombs during the course of the war—approximately 24 percent of the total tonnage dropped by America in the air war.  Despite the Navy’s massive investment in the various bombing campaigns of the war, air power never proved strategically decisive.

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