On May 29, 1965, a contingent of more than one thousand Vietcong attacked three battalions of South Vietnamese troops at the hamlet of Ba Gia near Quang Ngai. The ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) soldiers panicked and fled the battlefield, leaving behind their weapons and uniforms. The Vietcong were driven out of Ba Gia by intense rocket and napalm fire from U.S. F-100 Super Sabres and A-l Skyraiders. South Vietnamese troops reoccupied Ba Gia early in June, but on July 4, after just ninety minutes of battle, the Vietcong had driven them out again. Even though his own troops were standing by at the Quang Ngai airfield, General Nguyen Chanh Thi requested the help of United States Marines, who attacked and dislodged the Vietcong. Along with several other actions in the late spring of 1965, Ba Gia convinced U.S. policymakers that South Vietnamese forces would need substantial American military assistance if they were to stave off a Vietcong takeover.
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