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(1972) (Left) U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers drop their loads of 750-pound bombs on targets in Vietnam. The increase in the U.S. air war over North and South Vietnam caused a flurry of protests by churchmen and peace groups during 1972. (Right) South Vietnamese refugees huddle into a helicopter to be flown to safety as the Spring North Vietnamese offensive threatened their homes. Although the U.S. ground combat role in Vietnam decreased during 1972, the war continued to take a large toll in life and uprooted civilians. Religion News Service file photos. *This Day in History note: On Sept. 18, 1947 the U.S. Air Force formed.