From Ohio History Central
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, in 1964, was a major turning point in United States military involvement in Vietnam.
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred in August 1964. North Vietnamese warships purportedly attacked United States warships, the ''U.S.S. Maddox'' and the ''U.S.S. C. Turner Joy'', on two separate occasions in the Gulf of Tonkin, a body of water neighboring modern-day Vietnam. President Lyndon Baines Johnson claimed that the United States did nothing to provoke these two attacks and that North Vietnam was the aggressor. Subsequent reports show that the United States actually provoked these attacks by supporting South Vietnamese commandos operating in North Vietnam and by using U.S. warships to identify North Vietnamese radar stations along the coastline of North Vietnam. There remains no doubt that the North Vietnamese attacked the ''U.S.S. Maddox ''in the first incident, which occurred on August 2, 1964, although it does appear that the United States provoked this attack. Many government officials and historians contend that the second incident, which allegedly happened on August 4, 1964, never occurred.