U.S. Navy Commences Operation Sea Dragon
Operation Sea Dragon occurred during the Vietnam War and was a series of naval operations beginning in 1966 to interdict sea lines of communications and supply going south from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, and to destroy land targets with naval gunfire. The primary purpose of Sea Dragon forces was the interception and destruction of water borne logistic craft (WBLC), which ranged in size from large self propelled barges down to small junks and sampans. US Navy advisers were assigned to the South Vietnamese Navy (VNN) and US Navy minesweepers assisted South Vietnamese Navy ships in carrying out patrols near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Other American naval operations during the Vietnam War included Operation Market Time and Operation Sealords.
Steaming generally in pairs, the two to four American and Australian destroyers and one cruiser worked with carrier-based spotter planes, such as A-1 Skyraider and Grumman S-2 Tracker, to find, identify, and destroy infiltrating vessels and shore targets. Often, North Vietnamese coastal batteries fired back. Although several of the 19 ships that were hit required repairs at shipyards in Japan and the Philippines, no vessel was sunk during the two-year long Sea Dragon operation. Damaged ships were quickly replaced on the gun line and the coastal deployment was maintained. Periodically, this group reinforced the Seventh Fleet cruisers and destroyers providing naval gunfire support to allied forces in South Vietnam. The naval surface group conducted the Sea Dragon effort until the end of October 1968, when American combat operations in North Vietnam ceased.