United States involvement in Vietnam in the 1950s and early 1960s consisted of sending military advisers to help the South Vietnamese in their struggle against Communists in the North. But when it was reported that North Vietnam had fired on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, President Johnson responded by bombing North Vietnam and sending in ground troops in 1965. Within three years, more than a half million Americans were fighting in the jungles and cities of Southeast Asia. Communist supplies and troops were carried along two major trails (see map.)

Map by National Geographic Society

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