Highlights of this day in history: The Tonkin Gulf incident sparks U.S. escalation of the Vietnam War; Saddam Hussein's Iraq invades Kuwait; JFK's PT-109 boat sunk; President Warren G. Harding dies; 'Wild Bill' Hickok killed in Deadwood. (Aug. 2)
CAMILLE BOHANNON: August 2, 1964-- the Pentagon reports the first of two attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Days later, President Lyndon Johnson orders the first bombing raids on North Vietnamese military installations.
LYNDON JOHNSON: We still seek no wider war.
CAMILLE BOHANNON: Congress swiftly approves broad powers to Johnson to escalate America's military involvement in Vietnam. A National Security Agency analysis released in 2005 contends a second attack in the Tonkin Gulf never happened.
1990-- in the Persian Gulf, Iraq invades neighboring Kuwait. The following year, an American-led war known as Operation Desert Storm drives Saddam Hussein's forces out of the oil-rich emirate. A US-led invasion of Iraq in the following decade topples Saddam from power.
1943-- during World War II, a Japanese destroyer sinks a US Navy torpedo boat commanded by future President John F. Kennedy. Two on board the PT 109 are killed when the destroyer rams and cuts then Lieutenant Kennedy's boat in two off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Kennedy and the vessels other survivors cling to the wreckage and swim to a nearby island where they are rescued.
WARREN G. HARDING: America's present need is not heroic but healing, not nostrums but normalcy.
CAMILLE BOHANNON: President Warren G. Harding dies in San Francisco at age 57. Vice president Calvin Coolidge succeeds him in the White House.
And 1876, frontiersmen Wild Bill Hickock is shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, what's now South Dakota.
Today in history, August 2, Camille Bohannon, the Associated Press.