Armed Forces: Policing the Dragons

As villagers stared curiously from the banks, a flotilla of 20 olive-green, gnat-size boats swarmed into South Viet Nam's Long Tan River for the first time last week. Planing over the water at better than 25 knots, they looked from a distance more like pleasure craft than fighting ships. In fact, they are the U.S. Navy's newest weapon against the Viet Cong, who by some estimates smuggle at least 50% of all their supplies from North Viet Nam along the Mekong River's nine tributaries—known to the Chinese as "the nine dragons"—and its labyrinth of interconnecting...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!