On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, was monitored by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. Maddox initiated the incident by firing three “warning” shots, and the North Vietnamese boats replied with torpedoes and machine gun fire.
One U.S. aircraft was damaged, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, with six more wounded. There were no U.S. casualties. USS Maddox was “unscathed except for a single bullet hole from a Vietnamese machine gun round”.
It was originally claimed by the National Security Agency that a Second Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead, evidence was found “ghosts” and not actual North Vietnamese torpedo boats.