DAYTON, Ohio - Flag of the 17th Air Division (Provisional), located at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. The 17th, activated on June 1,1972, and deactivated Jan. 1, 1975, directed the B-52 Linebacker II bombing missions against Hanoi and Haiphong that convinced the North Vietnamese to agree to a cease-fire. The flag is on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
In response to the North Vietnamese "Easter Offensive" into South Vietnam in 1972, President Nixon suspended peace talks on May 8 and ordered OPERATION LINEBACKER, the renewed bombings of North Vietnam and the aerial mining of its harbors and rivers. When North Vietnam seemed ready to talk peace in October, Nixon directed yet another bombing halt. North Vietnam then balked for two months over cease-fire provisions. So, Nixon eliminated the sanctuaries and ordered the heaviest bombing of the entire war against Hanoi and Haiphong, OPERATION LINEBACKER II.
Beginning on Dec. 18, the USAF pounded military and transportation targets with B-52s and tactical fighters. After 11 days of intense bombing, the North Vietnamese finally agreed to return to the peace table in Paris. Consequently, the U.S. restricted its air attacks on North Vietnam to the area south of the 20th parallel.
On Jan. 15, 1973, the U.S. announced an end to all mining, bombing and other offensive operations against North Vietnam. A peace agreement, initialed on Jan. 23 and officially signed on Jan. 27, took effect on Jan. 28. The communists agreed to a cease-fire and to peaceful reconciliation and reunification with South Vietnam, and the agreement brought an end to U.S. combat operations over North Vietnam.
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