Today in History: May 17
1954: In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional.
1970: A force of 10,000 South Vietnamese troops, supported by 200 U.S. advisers, aircraft and logistical elements, attack into what is known as the "Parrot's Beak," the area of Cambodia that projects into South Vietnam above the Mekong Delta. The South Vietnamese reached the town of Takeo in a 20-mile thrust. The U.S. and South Vietnamese forces limited "incursion" into Cambodia includes 13 major ground operations to clear North Vietnamese sanctuaries 20 miles inside the Cambodian border in both the "Parrot's Beak" and the densely vegetated "Fishhook" area (across the border from South Vietnam, 70 miles from Saigon). Some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops are involved, making it the largest operation of the war since Operation Junction City in 1967.
1972: Proceeded by five B-52 strikes, which reportedly killed 300 North Vietnamese to the south, South Vietnamese forces arrive by helicopter to within two miles of An Loc in continuing efforts to relieve the besieged city. (It has been surrounded by three North Vietnamese divisions since early April.) The North Vietnamese hold An Loc under siege for almost three months while they make repeated attempts to take the city. The defenders suffered heavy casualties, including 2,300 dead or missing, but with the aid of U.S. advisors and American airpower, they managed to hold An Loc against vastly superior odds until the siege is finally lifted on June 18.