The War: Ripping the Sanctuary

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It was siesta time in Viet Nam's clammy cities as the droop-nosed F-4 Phantom jets snapped off the U.S.S. Ranger's dipping flight deck. Next into the crystalline sky burst four flights of A-4 Skyhawks. Then the mission, 45 planes strong, streaked low across the Gulf of Tonkin toward the craggy, familiar coastline of North Viet Nam—and a target never before attacked by American pilots.

The strike area was two miles northwest of Haiphong (pop. 375,000), North Viet Nam's biggest port and second largest city. First, the leading Phantoms bombed and rocketed...

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