Shortly after the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin episode that drew the United States deeper into the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sent two civilian officials to the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay, Philippines, to conduct an inquiry into what happened. As the Chief of Staff for the Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, I had been sent to sit in on the inquiry. I heard one eyewitness, an experienced petty officer, asked whether he could have mistaken the trail of a dolphin for the wake of a torpedo. He replied with some heat, "Sir, I have been a destroyerman for 15 years and I know the [expletive deleted] difference between a dolphin and a torpedo wake. That was a [expletive deleted] torpedo."
Tonkin: Setting the Record Straight
The Gulf of Tonkin incident of 1964 remains as divisive a topic as the Vietnam War itself. But according to the author, despite the current conventional wisdom, the second attack did occur.
By Rear Admiral Lloyd R. "Joe" Vasey, U.S. Navy (Retired)