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On the Offensive, 1964-1969

The Gulf of Tonkin Crisis in August 1964 triggered a steady buildup of U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. To respond more quickly to the growing demands for air support, the USAF began using jet-powered B-57, F-4, F-100 and F-105 aircraft for close air support missions. At night, the Air Force's more capable AC-130, AC-119G and AC-119K gunships frequently decimated enemy ground forces. High-flying B-52s dropped massive bomb loads on communist troops, most famously during the siege of Khe Sanh, and sometimes very near friendly forces.

The FACs became more effective with O-2A and OV-10 aircraft. New technology -- starlight scopes, infrared detectors and side-looking airborne radars -- gave FACs the ability to pinpoint the enemy at night and in bad weather.

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