The Gulf of Tonkin Incident began on July 31,1964 when the US put two ships next to the shores of the North Vietnamese including the USS Maddox. This was controversial as the were very close to the islands. The North Vietnamese began to strike on August 2, 1964 when the USS Maddox, was performing a radar sweep of the North Vietnamese coast. The destroyer was attacked by North Vietnam torpedo patrol boats. These boats fired 22 torpedoes as they got ambushed. The USS Ticonderoga sent planes to help defend the Maddox. The U.S. planes were able to destroy one of the boats while damaging the others. Later that night, the ships attacked the rest of the vessels at night.
After President Johnson was told of the incident, he brought together a special session of Congress, and on August 4, an air strike was approved. The next day, North Vietnamese targets were taken out, and on August 7, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The resolution gave the president authority to use any means necessary to resolve the situation in neighboring Vietnam. This gave him the right to start war against the Southern Asia country.