Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fw: TheList 4414


The List 4414

To All,
A LOT of history and some tidbits.
This Day In Naval History - March 22
1820 - Commodore Stephen Decatur dies after duel with Capt. James Barron
1915 - "Naval Aviator" replaces former "Navy Air Pilot" for officers qualified as aviators
1929 - Navy ships protect Americans and their property during Mexican revolution
1943: USS Gudgeon (SS 211) attacks a Japanese convoy 30 miles north Surabaya, Java, sinking an army cargo ship while surviving the depth charge attack by her escort vessels. Also on this date, USS Tambor (SS 198) damages a Japanese transport in the Sulu Sea, off Negros, Philippines.
1946 - USS Missouri departs U.S. to return body of deceased Turkish ambassador to the U.S. back to Turkey for burial. Missouri arrived in Istanbul on 5 April.
Mar 22, 1820:
Naval hero killed in duel
U.S. Navy officer Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars, was mortally wounded in a duel with disgraced Navy Commodore James Barron at Bladensburg, Maryland. Although once friends, Decatur sat on the court-martial that suspended Barron from the Navy for five years in 1808 and later opposed his reinstatement, leading to a fatal quarrel between the two men.
Born in Maryland in 1779, Stephen Decatur was reared in the traditions of the sea and in 1798 joined the United States Navy as a Midshipman aboard the new frigate, United States. That year, he saw action in the quasi-war with France and in 1799 was commissioned a Lieutenant. Five years later, during the Tripolitan War, he became the most lauded American naval hero since John Paul Jones.
In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by [Muslim]pirates from the Barbary states -- Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. Sustained action began in June 1803, and in October the U.S.
Frigate Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli and was captured by Tripolitan gunboats. The Americans feared that the well-constructed warship would be used as a model for building future Tripolitan frigates, and on February 16, 1804, Stephen Decatur led a daring expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy the captured vessel.
After disguising himself and his men as Maltese sailors, Decatur's force sailed into Tripoli harbor and boarded the Philadelphia, which was guarded by Tripolitans who were quickly overpowered by the Americans. After setting fire to the frigate, Decatur and his men escaped without the loss of a single American. The Philadelphia subsequently exploded when its gunpowder reserve was lit by the spreading fire. Famed British Admiral Horatio Nelson hailed the exploit as the "most bold and daring act of the age," and Decatur was promoted to Captain. In August 1804, Decatur returned to Tripoli Harbor as part of a larger American offensive and emerged as a hero again during the Battle of the Gunboats, which saw hand-to-hand combat between the Americans and the [Muslim] Tripolitans.
In 1807, Commodore James Barron, who fought alongside Decatur in the Tripolitan War, aroused considerable controversy when he failed to resist a British attack on his flagship, the Chesapeake. Decatur sat on the court-martial that passed a verdict expelling Barron from the Navy for five years. Thus began the dispute between Decatur and Barron that would end 13 years later on the dueling grounds in Maryland.
In the War of 1812, Decatur distinguished himself again when, as Captain of the USS United States, he captured the British ship of war Macedonian off the Madeira Islands. Barron, meanwhile, was overseas when his Navy expulsion ended in 1813 and did not return to the United States to fight in the ongoing war with England. This led to fresh criticism of Barron from Decatur, who later used his influence to prevent Barron's reinstatement in the Navy.
In June 1815, Decatur returned to the Mediterranean to lead U.S. forces in the Algerian War, the second Barbary conflict. By December, Decatur forced the Dey (military ruler) of Algiers to sign a peace treaty that ended American tribute to Algeria. Upon his return to the United States, he was honored at a banquet in which he made the very famous toast: "Our country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!"
Appointed to the Navy Board of Commissioners, Decatur arrived in Washington in 1816, where he became a prominent citizen and lived a satisfying life politically, economically, and socially. In 1818, however, dark clouds began to gather when he vocally opposed Barron's reinstatement into the Navy. The already strained relations between the two men deteriorated, and in March 1820 Decatur agreed to Barron's request to meet for a duel.
Dueling, though generally frowned on, was still acceptable among Navy men.
On March 22, at Bladensburg in Maryland, Decatur and Barron lifted their guns, fired, and each man hit his target. Decatur died several hours later in Washington, and the nation mourned the loss of the great naval hero.
Barron recovered from his wounds and was reinstated into the Navy in 1821 with diminished rank.
Indians attack a group of colonists in the James River area of Virginia, killing 350 residents.
The first legislation prohibiting gambling is enacted in Boston.
Charles II gives large tracts of land from west of the Connecticut River to the east of Delaware Bay in North America to his brother James, the Duke of York.
Frederick William abolishes serfdom on crown property in Prussia.
The Stamp Act is passed, the first direct British tax on the American colonists.
British statesman Edmund Burke makes a speech in the House of Commons, urging the government to adopt a policy of reconciliation with America.
Thomas Jefferson becomes the first U.S. Secretary of State.
Congress passes laws prohibiting slave trade with foreign countries although slavery remains legal in the United States.
Horace Greeley publishes New Yorker, a weekly literary and news magazine and forerunner of Harold Ross' more successful The New Yorker.
Japan proclaims that it is determined to keep Russia from encroaching on Korea.
The first color photograph is published in the London Daily Illustrated Mirror.
Russians troops complete the evacuation of Manchuria in the face of advancing Japanese forces.
A German Zepplin makes a night raid on Paris railway stations.
The first international airline service is inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris and Brussels.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill legalizing the sale and possession of beer and wine.
Persia is renamed Iran.
First U.S. built rocket to leave the Earth's atmosphere reaches a 50-mile height.
The United States announces a land reform plan for Korea.
The London gold market reopens for the first time since 1939.
President Lyndon Johnson names General William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff.
The U.S. Senate passes the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment fails to achieve ratification.
The Viet Cong propose a new truce with the United States and South Vietnam, which includes general elections.
A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, finds Captain Hazelwood not guilty in the Valdez oil spill.
Military Milestones from Patrick Henry's Speech to the First Medals of Honor by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
This Week in American Military History:
Mar. 22, 1820:  Commodore Stephen Decatur – "America's Lord Nelson," the hero of Tripoli, and the author of the famous aphorism, "Our country, right or wrong" – is mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore James Barron near Bladensburg, Maryland.
Mar. 23, 1775:  In a speech before the House of Burgesses, future Virginia governor (and colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment) Patrick Henry exclaims, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Mar. 23, 1776:  As a force-multiplier for the fledgling Continental Navy, the Continental Congress authorizes the employment of privateers (privately owned and armed merchant ships) against "enemies of these United Colonies,"
specifically Great Britain, her commercial shipping, privately owned vessels, and ships of the Royal Navy.
Mar. 23, 1815:  Though the War of 1812 has officially ended – communications being what they are in the early 19th century – the Royal Navy sloop-of-war HMS Penguin under the command of Capt. James Dickenson engages the sloop USS Hornet (the third of eight so-named American Navy
ships) under Capt. James Biddle off the South Atlantic archipelago Tristan da Cunha. The fighting is quick and hot: Both captains are wounded; Dickenson mortally. HMS Penguin surrenders in less than one half hour.
Mar. 23, 1943:  Elements of Germany's vaunted Afrika Korps clash with U.S.
Army forces near the oasis of El Guettar in Tunisia.
In previous fighting at Kasserine Pass, inexperienced and marginally led American troops had been defeated. At El Guettar, however, the American soldier under the command of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., literally outfights his German and Italian counterpart. At one point during the battle, Patton – observing the destruction of German forces – remarks, "My God, it seems a crime to murder good infantry like that."
Mar. 23, 2003:  Task Force Tarawa (2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade) under the command of Brig. Gen. (future Lt. Gen.) Richard F. Natonski attack – and will ultimately defeat – Iraqi forces in heavy fighting at An Nasiriyah.
Mar. 24, 1945:  Paratroopers of Maj. Gen. (future four-star general) Matthew B. Ridgway's XVIII Airborne Corps – composed of the U.S. 17th Airborne "Thunder from Heaven" Division and their British 6th Airborne Division comrades – strike and seize key German positions on the enemy side of the Rhine River.
Codenamed Varsity, the airborne assault is the last major parachute and gliderborne operation of World War II. During the fighting, Ridgway himself will be wounded by a grenade blast.
Mar. 25, 1863:  Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton presents six Union Army soldiers – members of Andrews' Raiders – with the first-ever Medals of Honor.
Today, America recognizes all of its Medal of Honor recipients on National Medal of Honor Day – Mar. 25  (of each year) – the anniversary of the first presentations.
Mar. 25, 1864:  Confederate cavalry under the command of Maj. Gen. (future Lt. Gen.) Nathan Bedford Forrest, "the wizard of the saddle," strike Union forces under Col. Stephen G. Hicks in the Battle of Paducah, Kentucky.
Forrest's horsemen quickly seize the town. Hicks' men retreat to prepared defenses at nearby Fort Anderson where Forrest issues an ultimatum: "If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war; but if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter."
Hicks refuses. A detachment of Forrest's cavalry attempts to take the fort, but the troopers are repulsed by both the defenders and two gunboats on the Ohio River. Forrest withdraws.
Nevertheless, Forrest's previous and future exploits will earn him a reputation as one of the most feared and respected cavalry commanders of the Civil War.
Forrest will be wounded four times over the course of the war. Twenty-nine horses will be shot out from under him. But he will purportedly kill 30 men in single combat, spawning the boast that he has one up over the Federals (Some sources say 30 horses and 31 men, but you get the idea).
In the decades following the war, U.S. and foreign military officers alike will study Forrest's campaigns. It has even been speculated that some aspects of the German Blitzkrieg were patterned after some of Forrest's operations.
Union Gen. William T. Sherman will describe Forrest as "the most remarkable man our Civil War produced on either side." And when Confederate Gen.
Robert E. Lee is asked to name the greatest soldier under his command, he will purportedly respond, "A man I have never seen, sir. His name is Forrest."
Admiral Taylor's Rolling thunder history can be viewed each day at   ... (google it and you are there to read) ...
Thanks to Clyde
 The Battle of A-Shau-50 Years ago
In the NW corner of South Vietnam, in the Thua-Thien Province lies a narrow valley known as the A-Shau. Running North-South for 25 miles, it's a mile wide bottom land covered in elephant grass and flanked by deeply forested mountains rising to as much as 5,500 ft. Bisected with a hard crusted dirt road with A-Luoi to the North and the A-Shau SF camp to the South, this valley was the scene of some of the hardest combat between US and NVA throughout the Vietnam war and was one of the strategic focal points of the war 
Because of its importance to the North Vietnamese  the A Shau became a major battle ground from the earliest days of the American involvement in South Vietnam. The US Special Forces had established their camp in 1964 at the lower end of the A Shau Valley in Vietnam. It was some two miles from Laos and was a constant problem for the North Vietnamese. From this camp, the Green Berets could observe and impede traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the other side of the border. They were also astride the infiltration route toward Hue and Da Nang.
Being in a very remote corner of the Central Highlands, the SF camp was extraordinarily reliant on airpower.
Material to build the camp had been flown in by Air Force C-123s. Everything, including food and ammunition, came by air. The camp consisted of some barracks buildings, a triangular fort, and an airstrip made of pierced steel planking. The fort had a mortar bunker at each corner. The walls consisted of steel plate and sandbags. 
The airstrip was east of the camp, just outside the barbed wire perimeter. The valley lay beyond the range of US artillery, so its only real defense was air support. At this point in the valley, the area around the camp was six miles long and a little more than a mile wide. Hills rose up on both sides, ascending 1,500 feet above the valley floor. The mountain valleys were often hidden by clouds and low-lying fog. The valley was called the tube by the pilots who had to fly there.
March 9th, 1966
In February 1966, the North Vietnamese Army decided to put the camp out of business and moved a fresh regiment down the trail to join the 325th NVA Division, which was already operating in the vicinity of Hue.
On March 5, two NVA defectors walked into the camp at A Shau and warned that an attack was coming on March 11 or 12. They said the 325th Division was about seven kilometers east of the valley. US aircraft promptly struck that location.
On March 7, Air Force C-123s brought in reinforcements, increasing the strength of the camp to 17 Green Berets and 368 South Vietnamese irregulars and Chinese Nung mercenaries.
The attack came sooner than expected. About 2 a.m. on March 9, enemy bombardment began, emanating from the surrounding hills. Mortars, artillery, and rocket-propelled grenades pounded the camp, killing two Americans and wounding 30. The barrage set the buildings and the supply dump afire. The artillery barrage stopped at dawn. Some 2,000 NVA regulars were situated to take the fort unless air support drove them away. Until the clouds lifted they were hanging as low as 200 feet in places air strikes were not feasible.
The NVA force prepared to rush the fort, but visibility was improving. At 11:20 a.m., with the cloud ceiling at 400 feet, an Air Force AC-47 gunship got through the clouds and flew up the valley at treetop level, strafing the attackers. 
On the gunship second pass, it was hit hard by ground fire. The right engine was torn from its mounts. Seconds later, the other engine was knocked out, too. The bullet-riddled AC-47 crash-landed on a mountain slope, five miles farther up the valley.
With the gunship gone, the airborne command post diverted two A-1Es from the 1st ACSq at Pleiku, callsign Hobos, and sent them to the aid of the SF camp at A Shau. Leading the A-1E flight was Air Force Maj. Bernard F. Fisher, a 39-year-old fighter pilot from Kuna, Idaho. Fisher had flown jet aircraft in Air Defense Command before coming to Vietnam, and, when he buckled into the propeller-driven A-1E, he still wore his helmet with the silhouette of an F-104 painted on the side.
Known as the SPAD, the single-engine A-1E Skyraider was undeniably an old airplane, but it was well-suited to a number of missions. It was adapted from the Douglas AD-5 dive fighter-bomber that the Navy had flown in Korea. It mounted four 20 mm machine guns and carried a wide assortment of ordnance. Cruising speed was 240 mph, but it had exceptional endurance and could stay airborne for six to eight hours. It could fly for long periods of time at low altitude, making it ideal for close air support. And the A-1Es  had two seats, side by side.
Diverted to A Shau after the gunship crashed on March 9, Fisher and his wingman, Bruce Wallace, found the mountains blanketed by clouds. Upon arrival, Fisher began probing to find the canyon in which the camp lay.
On his third attempt, he emerged from the overcast and barely missed colliding with a helicopter that had just come from A Shau with wounded aboard. The helicopter pilot directed Fisher toward a saddle in the mountains, where he found an opening in the clouds about five miles northwest of the camp. He and Wallace went through the hole and flew down the valley at very low level. The enemy AAA was intense.
A C-130 airborne command post told Fisher to destroy the AC-47 before the NVA captured it's weapons. Fisher assigned that task to Wallace who dropped six bombs on the wreckage and obliterated it while Fisher went to the direct assistance of the fort. For the next several hours, Fisher and Wallace collected arriving aircraft above the clouds and led them down into the valley. Fisher guided a CH-3C helicopter that came to evacuate the badly wounded. He also led A-1Es in a strike to break up a force that was massing to attack the fort.
Fisher went up again to bring down two Air Force C-123s. The mountains were tight on all sides, and forward visibility was less than half a mile. They began taking fire seven miles north of the camp. Fisher suppressed the ground fire as the transports air-dropped supplies for the fort from an altitude of 50 feet. Low on fuel, Fisher went through the clouds one more time to help a forward air controller lead two B-57 bombers down the valley. In all, Fisher spent about two hours under the clouds. He made an emergency landing at Da Nang, 20 minutes away, with almost no fuel left in his tank.
Allied aircraft flew 29 sorties in support of the fort on March 9. Of these, the Air Force flew 17, the Marine Corps 10, and the South Vietnamese Air Force two.
Maj Fisher would be awarded the Silver Star for his role as on-scene commander on March 9, and Wallace would receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. However, Fisher had not yet seen the last of the A Shau Valley.
March 10th 1966
On March 10, the attack resumed at 2 a.m. The NVA shelled the camp relentlessly, and, shortly before 4 a.m., it launched an assault on the southern side. Before daylight, the attack broke through the barbed wire perimeter and breached the south wall. The defenders were pushed into the northern part of the fort, and the NVA dug in between the airstrip and the camp.
Two C-123s and an AC-47 dropped flares throughout the night. Radar bombing of enemy positions by Marine Corps A-4s began just after 5 a.m. Fire support was continuous from Air Force and Marine aircraft. About 11 a.m., the defenders reported that they could hold out for no more than another hour and that airdrops to resupply them with ammunition should stop, since they could not retrieve the bundles.
Bernie Fisher and his wingman that day, Capt. Francisco Paco Vazquez, were en route to provide air support to Army forces near Kontum when they got an emergency radio call to divert to A Shau. Fishers call sign was Hobo 51, and Vazquez was Hobo 52.
By 11:15, Hobo flight had joined numerous other aircraft that were stacked and circling at 8,000 feet and higher above the valley. They had not yet gone to the aid of the camp because of the danger of running into mountain peaks hidden by the cloud cover.
One of the other A-1 flights in the stack was led by Maj. Dafford W. Jump Myers from the 602nd Fighter Squadron at Qui Nhon. Myers was Surf 41, and his wingman, Capt. Hubert King, was Surf 42. Myers was an old friend. Fisher had known him back in Air Defense Command. He had been nicknamed Jump when he was a soda jerk in high school. Myers was a hard-bitten chain-smoker who once made his living running a billiard parlor.
Myers suggested that there might be an opening to the west. Fisher went to see, found a hole, and called on Myers and King to follow him and Vazquez into the valley. Fisher told the other A-1 flight to stay in orbit above the clouds. There was not enough room in the valley for six airplanes to operate, so Capt. Jon T. Luke Lucas (Hobo 27) and Capt. Dennis B. Hague (Hobo 28) continued to circle.
Fisher, Vazquez, Myers, and King flew down the valley in trail formation. It was too tight to go in side by side. The cloud ceiling in the valley was at 800 feet better than the previous day, but the visibility also helped the enemy gunners, who were shooting down on the aircraft from the 1,500-foot hillsides.
SURF 41 is Down
The defenders had fallen back into a bunker at the northwest corner of the fort. The NVA was making a ground attack, so the A-1s flew three strafing runs, which killed between 300 and 500 of the attackers.
On the first run, Kings aircraft was hit in the cockpit canopy, shattering the plexiglass. He had to break off and go to the nearest base, which was Da Nang. On the second pass, Myers airplane was hit by shells of a heavy caliber. His engine conked out and the cockpit filled with smoke. At 400 feet, he was too low to use a parachute.
"I've been hit and hit hard", Myers radioed.
You're on fire and burning clear back past your tail, Fisher replied.
Rog, Myers said. Ill have to put her down on the strip.
Myers cockpit was filled with smoke. He couldn't see, so Fisher talked him down. At the same time, Fisher laid down suppressive fire in front of Myers and gave battle instructions to the other aircraft.
Myers was going too fast to land on the short runway, so he would have to belly slide in. He jettisoned his bombs and retracted his landing gear, but his attempt to release the center line fuel tank failed. The fuel tank exploded on contact with ground. Surf 41 skidded about 800 feet, trailing fire, then veered off the runway on the west side and exploded. Incredibly, Myers survived. Fisher saw him clamber out of the airplane and run to a ditch between the airstrip and the fort, where he was screened by a clump of weeds.
Fisher called in Hague and Lucas. Hague: It was like flying inside Yankee Stadium with the people in the bleachers firing at you with machine guns, Hague said.
Vazquez, meanwhile, was operating with a dead radio.
The A-1s put down saturated fire, driving back the NVA troops who were trying to get to Myers. The Green Berets later said the attack wiped out a company of the North Vietnamese and took pressure off the fort.
The Rescue
As the A-1Es continued their strikes, Fisher called for a rescue helicopter. Ten minutes later, the command post said the helicopter was at least 20 minutes out. Fisher figured that this was probably a guess. Anyway, it wouldn't be much longer before the NVA closed in on Myers and killed him.
Fisher thought about going to get Myers. The runway looked short. He called the command post and asked the length. It was 3,500 feet, he was told. That would be long enough.
Surf 41 on the A-Shau airfield
Even in the best of conditions, however, it was almost suicidal to land an aircraft as large and slow as the A-1E while exposed to direct enemy fire, Fisher said in his 2004 book, Beyond the Call of Duty. A helicopter crew can fire their weapons from the side doors to hold the enemy at bay while executing a rescue, but Id be defenseless while sitting on the ground.
It made no logical sense, but I felt a strong impression that I should do this. Jump was one of the family one of the fellows we flew with and I couldn't stand by and watch him get murdered without at least trying to rescue him.
The odds of coming out again were not good. He would be landing in a crossfire from 20 anti-aircraft gun positions that lined the valley. The enemy also had hundreds of automatic weapons. The runway was a major hazard. The pierced steel planking was slick, and shards of it torn by the mortars and bombs were sticking up and could rip airplane tires to shreds. The runway was cratered and littered with shell casings, pieces of Myers aircraft, barrels, pieces of tin and metal, and other debris.
Fisher counted on the other A-1s to provide him fire support. He approached the airstrip from the north, which would give him the advantage of landing into the wind, helping him to slow down. Unfortunately, the wind was also blowing thick smoke from fires ignited by the bombs and napalm in his direction, obscuring his vision. When he broke out of the smoke, he saw that he was over the runway but too far along it to stop the airplane in the distance remaining. As he passed by at low level, he caught a glimpse of Myers.
He powered up, holding the aircraft a few feet above the ground to avoid ground fire, made an S-turn, and approached the runway from the opposite direction of his first attempt.
The other three A-1s continued to strafe to cover Fisher as he went in. Vazquez went Winchester (out of ammo) on the first pass. After three more passes, the others ran out of ammunition, too.
"I'm Winchester", Hague declared.
So am I, said Lucas. Lets keep making passes, though. Maybe they dont know it.
Fisher touched down at the very end of the field, stood on the brakes, and skidded down the runway. His brakes began fading from heat at 2,000 feet.
The second landing attempt was successful although violent braking and rudder action was not always successful in avoiding debris on the battle-torn runway, Lt. Gen. Joseph H. Moore, 2nd Air Division commander, said in nominating Fisher for the Medal of Honor. Major Fisher utilized all his flying skill to miss mortar craters, shell casings, and pieces of the A-1E which now littered the runway as a result of the fuel tank explosion.
Also, Fisher had been told wrong about the length of the runway. It was 2,500 feet, not 3,500. It was too short for an A-1 under any circumstances. He overran the runway onto some grass and crossed a small embankment, which slowed him down a little. As he swung the aircraft around, he slid into a fuel storage area. His wings passed over the tops of some 55-gallon drums, although he hit several of them with the tail of the airplane.
 Fisher taxied 1,800 feet back along the runway in full view of the enemy. He saw Myers waving his arms as he passed by. It took Fisher about 100 feet to stop. He couldn't see Myers, who was running behind the airplane, off to the right side, with bullets following him along. Myers later said it was the fastest dash an old man of 46 ever made. Fisher expected Myers to climb into the cockpit momentarily. When he didn't, Fisher figured Myers must have been hit. He unbuckled and set the brake to go looking for him.
As Fisher climbed out on the right side of the airplane, he saw two little red beady eyes trying to crawl up the back of the wing. It was Myers, his clothes burned and muddy and his eyes reddened by smoke.
Fisher had left the engine running fairly fast, ready for a quick getaway, and the airflow from the big four-bladed propeller was blowing Myers back as he tried to reach the cockpit. Fisher cut power to idle, risking a stall. As bullets continued to strike the aircraft, he pulled Myers into the cockpit head first.
Myers first words were: You dumb son of a bitch, now neither of us will get out of here. He drank some water from Fishers canteen and asked for a cigarette. Fisher did not have any.
As Fisher pulled Myers aboard, Lucas who had taken a severe hit in his hydraulic system led Hague and Vazquez in a dry pass over the camp. The three Spads went hurtling by at low level. It was enough to hold the NVA back momentarily.
Turning his aircraft around, Major Fisher saw that he had less than two-thirds of an already too short airstrip ahead of him, Moore said in the Medal of Honor write-up. Calling on all his skill, he applied power and worked his way through wreckage and debris, gaining enough speed to lift off at the overrun. Flying just above the ground at insufficient airspeed to climb, he gradually built up speed, still under intense hostile fire, and began a climb into the 800-foot overcast above the valley.
According to one report, the defenders in the fort cheered as Fishers A-1 roared down the strip and rose into the air.
Fisher and Myers flew to Pleiku, where the medics met them at the flight line. Myers was not badly hurt, although he was singed and covered in soot and smelled awful, according to Fisher.
Myers wanted to buy Fisher a years worth of whiskey, but Fisher didn't even drink coffee. Instead, Myers gave him a Nikon camera engraved, A Shau, March 10, 1966.
Fishers airplane had 19 holes in it. There were 23 in Vazquezs.
Maj Fisher & crew chief at Pleiku
In all, 201 air strikes were flown in support of the fort on March 10. Of these, 103 were by the Marine Corps, 67 by the Air Force, 19 by the Navy, and 12 by the South Vietnamese Air Force. Including Myers A-1E and the gunship, six Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft were shot down in the effort.
The Medal Of Honor 
Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor, the first airman in the Vietnam War to receive it. It was presented by President Johnson at the White House, Jan. 19, 1967. His wife, Realla, and their five sons were present for the ceremony.
The aircraft Fisher flew in the A Shau Valley later crashed and burned at Pleiku as it was returning from a mission. However, it was recovered and restored. In 1967, it was flown by none other than Jump Myers from California to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, where it can be seen today.
Col Bernie Fisher passed away on 16 Aug 2014.
Item Number:1 Date: 03/22/2017 AFGHANISTAN - 4 MORE SUPER TUCANO LIGHT ATTACK AIRCRAFT ARRIVE (MAR 22/ACC)  AIR COMBAT COMMAND (USAF) -- The Afghan air force has taken delivery of four more A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, reports the U.S. Air Combat Command.   The planes arrived on Monday at Kabul Air Wing after traveling from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., where the U.S. Air Force is training Afghan pilots and maintainers.   The latest delivery brings the Afghan air force inventory to 12 A-29s in country. Seven others are still assigned to Moody for training. One crashed on March 6 in Georgia in a training accident, as reported at the time by IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, among others.   "The four additional aircraft will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide," said an unnamed Afghan pilot.   The new aircraft will receive a few modifications before being made available for combat operations, officials said
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/22/2017 AFGHANISTAN - USING TRUCK SIMILAR TO SECURITY VEHICLES, TERRORISTS ATTACK POLICE CHECKPOINT IN HELMAND (MAR 22/PAJH)  PAJHWOK AFGHAN NEWS -- At least eight Afghan security personnel have been killed and 14 injured in a suicide car bombing in the southern Helmand province, say local officials, as reported by the Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul).   A Datsun pick-up truck, similar to those used by security personnel, was blown up late Monday night at a special police unit checkpoint in the Gereshk district, said provincial police officials on Tuesday.   The use of the truck allowed the militants to reach the checkpoint. They then detonated their explosives, said local police.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/22/2017 BELGIUM - NEW NH90 HELICOPTER TO BE USED FOR SAR MISSIONS (MAR 22/DEFAERO)  DEFENSE-AEROSPACE -- The Belgian army has taken delivery of its fourth and last NH90 helicopter in the naval NFH configuration, reports   The aircraft, which was handed over on Monday at the Koksijde air base, is also the last of eight NH90s ordered by Belgium in 2007, reported the RTBH Belgian broadcaster. Four others are in the TTH tactical transport configuration.   The naval NH90s will replace aging Sea King aircraft starting in 2018 for search-and-rescue missions, said military officials.   The helicopters can also be carried by frigates for naval missions, including anti-submarine warfare
Item Number:4 Date: 03/22/2017 CANADA - DEFENSE DEPT. TRIMS NON-ESSENTIAL SPENDING TO FOCUS ON OPERATIONS (MAR 22/CP)  CANADIAN PRESS -- Senior Canadian defense officials have ordered reductions in what is considered non-essential activities across the Dept. of National Defense in an attempt to make more money available for critical tasks, including operations, reports the Canadian Press.   Spending on activities not directly related to missions or military readiness, including travel and non-mission training, has been severely cut, said the news service on Monday.   The latest reductions are in addition to the military having already stored a large number of trucks and support vehicles; docked naval vessels; and reduced flying time for aircraft because of budget pressures.   Officials want savings of about 1 percent, according to a departmental spokesman. That would be about Can$190 million (US$143 million).   Sources said the tightening of funds followed years of significant cuts followed by minimal increases, even as military operations were increased.   Cuts could continue into the new fiscal year, which starts on April 1, if additional funding is not provided.   An expected Can$550 million (US$413 million) budget boost for operations will likely not be sufficient to cover existing shortfalls and new costs for a possible peacekeeping mission in Africa and cyber defense capabilities, said experts.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 03/22/2017 CHINA - DISCIPLINARY AGENCY PUNISHES MILITARY OFFICIALS FOR EXTRAVAGANT SPENDING OF PUBLIC MONEY, FALSE CLAIMS (MAR 22/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- Chinese military officials have reportedly been punished for false reimbursement claims and diverting public monies for their own use, reports the Press Trust of India.   China's military inspectors said on Wednesday that they punished 46 people for disciplinary violations, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   According to a report issued by the discipline agency under the Central Military Commission, 10 cases were found during the New Year and Spring Festival season in February.   Alleged violations included false reimbursement, using public funds to treat personal guests, receptions and feasts exceeding standards and using official cars for private purposes, among others.   Another 19 officers not directly involved in the cases were also reprimanded for failing to oversee their subordinates, said the report.   The agency said there would be more inspections in the future because the violations demonstrate that some Communist Party officials were still not showing restraint despite a campaign against such behavior.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/22/2017 JAPAN - DELIVERY OF 2ND HELICOPTER CARRIER GIVES BOOST TO FORCE PROJECTION, PUSHES BACK AT CHINA'S GROWING INFLUENCE (MAR 22/AS)  ASAHI SHIMBUN -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) now has a second helicopter carrier, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Japan).   The Kaga was delivered on Wednesday in a ceremony in Yokohama near Tokyo. The carrier was docked next to her sister Izumo, reported Reuters.   The two carriers are Japan's largest warships since World War II.   The Kaga is 813 feet long and has five helipads. She can carry 14 or more helicopters that will be mainly used to find submarines. V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, which are to be introduced this year, will also be able to operate from the ship, according to the naval service.   The Kaga cost about US$1.1 billion to build and will be based in Kure, Hiroshima prefecture, according to the MSDF.   Speaking at the ceremony was the vice minister of defense. Said Takayuji Kobayashi: "China is attempting to make changes in the South China Sea with bases and through acts that exert pressure is altering the status quo, raising security concerns among the international community
Item Number:7 Date: 03/22/2017 NIGERIA - SUICIDE BOMBS HIT CAMP OF MIGRANTS FLEEING BOKO HARAM (MAR 22/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Multiple bomb explosions on Wednesday in northeastern Nigeria have killed at least six people and wounded 18 others, say local officials, as reported by Al Jazeera (Qatar).   The attack took place in the Muna garage area of Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno.   Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at an unofficial camp for displaced persons, and a third detonated his explosives before reaching his target, said police.   A camp coordinator told AFP that the blasts triggered fires that burned down tents in the vast camp. He had a different casualty count.   The attackers reportedly snuck into the camp the night before alongside charcoal traders.   The attacks bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram. The camp houses thousands of people who have fled the Boko Haram insurgency.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/22/2017 NORTH KOREA - MISSILE TEST FROM E. COAST EXPLODES 'WITHIN SECONDS,' SAYS U.S. MILITARY (MAR 22/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- Both the U.S. and South Korean militaries say a North Korean missile test on Wednesday has failed, reports CNN.   A launch attempt made near Kalma, an airfield in Wonsan on the east coast, exploded "within seconds of launch," according to U.S. Pacific Command.   "South Korea and the U.S. are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea's missile was not successfully launched," said the Defense Ministry in Seoul.   No details were given on the type of missile or why it might have failed.   Earlier this month, North Korean launched four ballistic missiles from its west coast that flew about 620 miles before landing in Japanese waters.   Several test launches last year from the east coast also failed, noted Reuters.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 03/22/2017 PAKISTAN - OPERATION KILLS 5 MILITANTS, INCLUDING 'HIGH VALUE' TARGET IN ORAKZAI AGENCY, SAYS MILITARY (MAR 22/DAWN)  DAWN -- The Pakistani military says it has killed five militants in an operation Wednesday along the border with Afghanistan, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Security forces carried out the operation early in the day in the Kalaya area of Orakzai agency in the northwestern tribal areas, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military's media wing.   Two members of the Frontier Constabulary paramilitary were killed, including a major, according to a press release.   One of the militants killed, identified just as "Duran," was a "high-value" Pakistani Taliban target, said the ISPR.   The raid was part of Operation Raddul Fasaad, which was launched by the army last month following a string of terror attacks.   Also on Wednesday, one security official was killed and three others wounded in a roadside blast in the Angoor Ada area of South Waziristan, said officials.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 03/22/2017 PAKISTAN - U.S. DRONE KILLS IMPORTANT TERRORIST COMMANDER, CONFIRMS MILITARY FACTION (MAR 22/XIN)  XINHUA -- A faction of the Pakistani Taliban has confirmed that a senior militant commander has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   Qari Yaseen, a senior commander of the Pakistan-based Lashkar I Jhangvi (LeJ), was killed Sunday in Afghanistan's eastern Patika province, according to the Jamaat ul Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). His death was first reported by Pakistani media on Monday.   According to Pakistani intelligence, Yaseen was behind the 2009 attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and the headquarters of the Pakistani army in Rawalpindi, noted the Voice of America.   Yaseen was affiliated with several militant groups, including Jundallah and and Al-Qaida. He was said to be an expert bomb-maker, reported the Nation (Pakistan).   A spokesman for the faction said it had made an attack in Baluchistan against the military as "revenge" for the death, reported VoA
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/22/2017 SOMALIA - AL-SHABAAB CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR FATAL BLAST TARGETING MOGADISHU CHECKPOINT (MAR 22/GAROWE)  GAROWE ONLINE -- A car bomb explosion in Somalia's capital has killed at least 10 people and wounded 12 others, say local officials, as reported by Garowe Online (Somalia).   The blast on Tuesday hit a security checkpoint near the National Theater in Mogadishu, said police.   Casualties were reported variously. The mayor of Mogadishu said at least five people were killed.   Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.   Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre unveiled a new Cabinet of 52 ministers and a deputy prime minister
  Item Number:12 Date: 03/22/2017 SYRIA - E.U. SANCTIONS SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIALS FOR USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS (MAR 22/CEU)  COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION -- The Council of the European Union has slapped sanctions on four high-ranking Syrian military officials for their alleged role in the use of chemical weapons against civilians.   The officials, who will be named soon, were added to a list of 239 members of the Syrian regime under an E.U. travel ban and assets freeze, the council said in a Monday release.   Another 67 entities are also affected by an assets freeze, noted the release.   Existing E.U. sanctions on Syria include an oil embargo; restrictions on certain investments; freezing of assets of the Syrian central bank held in the E.U.; and export restrictions on equipment and technology that could be used for internal repression or for monitoring or intercepting internet or telephone communications.   These sanctions are currently scheduled to expire on June 1
Item Number:13 Date: 03/22/2017 SYRIA - JIHADISTS, REBELS TAKE TOWN IN HAMA PROVINCE, SAY MONITORS (MAR 22/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Syrian rebels and allied jihadists have launched a major offensive in Syria's central province of Hama, reports Agence France-Presse.   Tahrir al-Sham, an Islamist group that includes former Al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham), announced the operation on Tuesday.   The group published images purporting to show a massive suicide bombing against a government checkpoint inside the town or Suran.   The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels and jihadists seized Suran and eight surrounding checkpoints within hours.   A military media unit operated by Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which backs the Syrian government, said the army was fighting rebels north of Hama. It denied that the rebels had gained control of Suran, reported Reuters.   Meanwhile, Tahrir al-Sham and other rebel groups are also fighting in eastern Damascus, trying to link two neighborhoods they control elsewhere in the capital.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/22/2017 SYRIA - MONITOR POINTS TO U.S.-LED COALITION FOR DEATHS OF 33 CIVILIANS IN NORTH (MAR 22/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- A U.K.-based monitoring group says an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition has killed at least 33 people in northern Syria, reports Agence France-Presse.   An airstrike early Tuesday hit a school in the Islamic State-held town of al-Mansoura, about 20 miles west of Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.   Raqqa is the de facto capital of ISIS.   The school was being used as a center for displaced people for about 50 families, according to the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently activist group, which publishes accounts from within areas held by ISIS.   The observatory said it had determined which aircraft were involved based on their type, location, flight patterns and munitions. The group get its information from a network within Syria.   The Pentagon has not yet commented on the reports.   Earlier this month, the coalition released it latest civilian casualty report, saying at least 220 civilians had been killed in its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Some rights organizations and conflict monitors maintain the toll is higher.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/22/2017 TAIWAN - CHINA IS AIMING DF-16 MISSILES AT US, SAYS DEFENSE MINISTER (MAR 22/TAI)  TAIPEI TIMES -- The Ministry of National Defense in Taiwan has confirmed for the first time that China is aiming advanced ballistic missiles at the island state to increase pressure on the government, reports the Taipei Times.   Beijing has been increasing its military threats toward Taiwan, according to a new report delivered to the Parliament's Foreign and National Defense Committee.   Taiwan's Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said on Monday that in addition to upgrading its armed forces, the Chinese rocket force has deployed DF-16 medium-range ballistic missiles at Taiwan, reported AFP.   The weapons are capable of precisely striking targets on the island, says the new report.   The DF-16 carries multiple warheads, making it more difficult to intercept, according to unnamed military sources.   Beijing is also seeking to provoke discontent in Taiwan by increasing its military activities, said the minister   In the past, Taipei has said that China is targeting the island with about 1,500 missiles -- though this is the first time it has acknowledged that the DF-16 is among those. The DF-16 was revealed for the first time during a September 2015 military parade, noted the Diplomat (Tokyo).   Taiwan's PAC-3 missile defense system is able to counter the DF-16, Feng said
Item Number:16 Date: 03/22/2017 TURKEY - MILITARY BLAMES KURDS FOR CROSS-BORDER SNIPER KILLING, STARTS ARTILLERY BARRAGE ON YPG (MAR 22/REU)  REUTERS -- Turkey's military says one of its soldiers has been killed by a sniper shooting across the border from Kurdish-held territory in Syria, reports Reuters.   The soldier was killed Wednesday in the Turkish province of Hatay. The shot was fired from Afrin, Syria, which is controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), said the military.   Turkey responded with artillery fire on border villages around Afrin.   A YPG spokesman said the Turkish army was the aggressor. He said 10 civilians had been wounded and said the artillery fire was continuing.   Ankara opposes the YPG, which it views as an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The YPG is an ally of the U.S
Item Number:17 Date: 03/22/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - VETERAN MI5 OFFICIAL TO BECOME DIRECTOR OF GCHQ SURVEILLANCE AGENCY (MAR 22/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- The U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's signal intelligence agency, has a new director, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Jeremy Fleming, the current deputy director of MI5, the U.K.'s internal security service, was named Monday to lead the surveillance agency.   Fleming is expected to take up his new post around mid-April. He succeeds Robert Hannigan, who took up the post in 2014. He announced in January that he was stepping down for personal reasons.   Fleming joined MI5 in 1993 and has been involved in counterterrorism operations in Northern Ireland and against Islamist group, as well as technology and cybersecurity.   He has served as deputy director of MI5 since 2013
Item Number:18 Date: 03/22/2017 USA - ARMY WANTS TO ADD 10,000 MORE TROOPS IN 6 MONTHS, LOOKING TO FILL GAPS IN BCTS (MAR 22/ARMY)  ARMY TIMES -- Seeking to increase its end-strength, the U.S. Army is trying to fill personnel gaps in its brigade combat teams (BCTs), reports the Army Times.   The active-duty component is about six months away from a deadline to increase to 476,000 personnel, which is 16,000 more troops than originally planned for fiscal 2017.   The signing of the National Defense Authorization Act by then-President Barack Obama in December 2016 opened the door for more personnel.   The Army has pledged to fill personnel gaps more in those operational forces that were hit hardest by the drawdown.   "We have some holes in our formations, in our brigade combat teams, that we will be looking to send our soldiers to," Maj. Gen. Jason Evans, director of military personnel management at the Army G-1, told the paper in an interview last week.   Headquarters elements that were recently cut for budget reasons will not get additional personnel, the general said.   One priority is new armor crewman, cavalry scouts and tank maintainers for newly converted armored brigades, said Evans.   The Army has been cutting personnel since 2012, with the end of combat operations in Iraq. Those plans called for reaching an end-strength of 460,000 by Sept. 30, 2017, and 450,000 in 2018.   The latest NDAA changed tack, with the Army scrambling to recruit and retain more troops.   As of March, the service has reached a strength of 466,600, said Evans.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 03/22/2017 USA - COALITION AIRSTRIKES AGAINST ISIS REACH NEW HEIGHTS, SAY USAF FIGURES (MAR 22/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- The latest figures from the U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) indicate that U.S. and coalition military aircraft dropped more munitions against the Islamic State in January and February than during any previous two-month period since Operation Inherent Resolve began in June 2014, reports the Air Force Times.   The coalition launched 3,600 weapons against the Islamic State in January and 3,440 in February. Previously, the busiest month was November 2015, when 3,242 weapons were released.   The increase is due in part to the Air Force's support of Iraqi and allied operations against ISIS strongholds Mosul, in northern Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria, said an AFCENT spokeswoman.   The coalition also tends to conduct more airstrikes as partner forces seize additional territory, she said.   The statistics do not account for all coalition weapons released, the spokeswoman noted. They only cover weapons dropped by aircraft under Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) control.   The number of weapons released in Afghanistan has also increased, from 54 in January 2017 to 200 in February
Item Number:20 Date: 03/22/2017 USA - USCG COMMISSIONS LAWRENCE LAWSON FAST RESPONSE CUTTER IN CAPE MAY, N.J. (MAR 22/USCG)  U.S. COAST GUARD -- The U.S. Coast Guard has commissioned its 20th Sentinel-class fast response cutter.   The Lawrence Lawson officially entered service during a ceremony on March 18 in Cape May, N.J., where the cutter will be stationed, the Coast Guard said in a release on Monday.   The cutter is named after Lawrence Lawson, who served as the keeper of the Evanston, Ill., lifeboat station and led the rescue of 18 crewmembers from the foundering steam vessel Calumet on Nov. 28, 1889. For his actions, Lawson was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.   A granddaughter of a volunteer lifesaver from that rescue was the guest of honor for the ceremony, noted the Cape May County Herald.   The Coast Guard has ordered 38 of a planned 58 fast response cutters.

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