May 28 – Jupiter AM-18 rocket launches two primates, Miss Baker and Miss Able, into space from Cape Canaveral in the United States along with living microorganisms and plant seeds. Successful recovery makes them the first living beings to return safely to Earth after space flight.
June 30 – Twenty-one students are killed and more than a hundred injured when an American North American F-100 Super Sabre jet crashes into Miamori Elementary School on the island of Okinawa. The pilot ejected before the plane struck the school.
Typhoon Vera hits central Honshū, Japan, as a 160 mph Category 5 storm, killing an estimated 5,098, injuring another 38,921, and leaving 1,533,000 homeless. Most of the victims and damage are centered in the Nagoya area.
First large unit action of the Vietnam War takes place, when two companies of the ARVN 23d Division are ambushed by a well-organized Viet Cong force of several hundred, identified as the "2d Liberation Battalion".