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Gulf of Tonkin Incident (The Incident)

What do you know about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Try this quick and easy Vietnam War trivia quiz. (Answers at the bottom of the page.)

Trivia powered by Prof. Walter1. Who was on duty in the Pentagon the night of August 4 receiving messages from the ship, reported that the ship was on a secret electronic warfare support measures mission (codenamed Desoto) near North Vietnamese territorial waters.

  • Dick Cheney
  • James Rumsfeld
  • Daniel Ellsberg

2. On July 31, 1964, the Maddox had begun its intelligence collection mission in the gulf. Admiral George Stephen Morrison was in command of local American forces from his flagship. What was the name of his flagship?

  • USS John Paul Jones (CV-32)
  • USS John Henry (CV-33)
  • USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)

3. On August 2 Maddox claimed it was attacked by three North Vietnamese P-4 patrol torpedo boats 28 miles away from the North Vietnamese coast in international waters. The Maddox claimed to have evaded a torpedo attack and opened fire with its five-inch guns, forcing the patrol craft away. U.S. aircraft launched from a aircraft carrier. Name the aircraft carrier?

  • USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)
  • USS Ranger (CV-13)
  • USS Home Town (CV-75)

4. The U.S aircraft attacked the retiring P-4s, claiming one as sunk and one heavily damaged.

  • True or False?

5. An official 2005 NSA declassified report which stated on page 17: "At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of the Maddox) ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first."

  • True or False?

6. On August 4, another Desoto patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the C. Turner Joy, in order to "show the flag" after the first incident. What was the distance from the coast of North Vietnam, their orders indicated that the ships were to keep?

  • 11 miles
  • 22 miles
  • 33 miles

7. At 0127 Washington time, Maddox's captain, Herrick sent a cable in which he admitted that the attack may never have happened and that there may actually have been no Vietnamese craft in the area: "Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken"

  • True or False?

8. When did President Johnson, who was up for election that year, launch retaliatory air strikes and go on national television?

  • August 4
  • August 6
  • August 8

9. As a result of his testimony, on , Congress passed a joint resolution (H.J. RES 1145), titled the Southeast Asia Resolution, which granted President Johnson the authority to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without the benefit of a declaration of war. When was the resolution passed?

  • August 10
  • September 10
  • October 10

10. According to the Pentagon Papers, who said a few days after the incident, commented privately: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."

  • President Lyndon Johnson
  • Vice President Hubert Humphrey
  • Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara

Gulf of Tonkin Incident (The Incident) Answers

  1. Daniel Ellsberg
  2. USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)
  3. USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)
  4. False. None were sunk - all three were destroyed the following year.
  5. True
  6. 11 miles
  7. True
  8. August 4
  9. August 10
  10. President Lyndon Johnson

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