The year is 1969. Rock and roll blares from transistor radios, Woodstock echoes in the memory, and the Vietnam War remains a festering wound on the American psyche. Yet, beyond the headlines and protests, a clandestine operation unfolds, casting a long shadow over Southeast Asia.

On March 18th, under the cloak of night, American B-52 Stratofortresses, nicknamed “Arc Light” for their devastating firepower, take flight, not for Vietnam, but for neighboring Cambodia.

This is Operation Menu, a controversial escalation of the Vietnam War that would shatter Cambodia’s neutrality and contribute to a future of unimaginable horror.

From Sporadic Raids to Calculated Escalation

Prior to 1969, American involvement in Cambodia had been a murky affair.