Monday, April 8, 2019

TheList 4967

The List 4967 TGB


 
To All,
 
I hope that you all had a great weekend.
 
This day in Naval History April 5, 2019
 
1823 The barges USS Mosquito, USS Gallinipper, and sloop-of-war Peacock chase the pirate schooner, Pilot, which is driven ashore off Havana, Cuba.
1848 The first U.S. flag is flown over the Sea of Galilee when Lt. William F. Lynch sails in an iron boat up the Jordan River. He later authors a book, Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea.
1925 Lt. John D. Price, piloting a VF-1 plane, makes a night landing on USS Langley (CV 1), at sea off San Diego, Calif., the first on board a U.S. Navy carrier.
1944 USS Seahorse (SS 304) and USS Trigger (SS 237) successfully attack a Japanese convoy off Guam, damaging a Japanese destroyer and a tanker.
1961 USS Laffey (DD 724) and USS Tanner (AGS-15) assist in rescue work and firefighting after the British passenger liner Dara catches fire in the Persian Gulf.
 
Thanks to CHINFO
 
Executive Summary:
Leading national new headlines today are reports that President Trump announced that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "will be leaving her position" after 16 months in the job. CNN reports that the Russian destroyers Admiral Tributs and Vinogradov and the tanker Admiral Irkut have docked in Manila as a part of a "goodwill visit." USNI News reports that the Navy is creating "digital twins" of its four public shipyards to simulate more efficient shipyard layouts as a part of its 20-year modernization and optimization effort. Additionally, Inside Defense reports that the Navy and Marine Corps are assessing more than 80 emerging technologies along with new operation concepts in the 10-day 21st Century Combined Arms Advanced Naval Technology Exercise.
 

Today in History: April

1789 bThe U.S. House of Representatives holds its first meeting.

1832 Some 300 American troops of the 6th Infantry leave Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, to confront the Sauk Indians in what would become known as the Black Hawk War.
1864 In the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, Federals are routed by Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor.
1865 General Robert E. Lee's retreat is cut off near Appomattox Court House.
1898 British General Horatio Kitchener defeats the Khalifa, leader of the dervishes in Sudan, at the Battle of Atbara.
1913 The 17th Amendment is ratified, requiring direct election of senators.
1935 The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is approved by Congress.
1939 Italy invades Albania.
1942 The Soviets open a rail link to the besieged city of Leningrad.
1952 President Truman orders the seizure of U.S. steel mills to prevent a strike.
1962 Bay of Pigs invaders get thirty years imprisonment in Cuba.
1974 Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record.
1975 Frank Robinson of the Cleveland Indians becomes first black manager of a major league baseball team.
 
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Thanks to THE Bear - 
 

COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 13-19 JANUARY 1968… WEEK TEN of the HUNT…

April 7, 2019Bear Taylor

 

COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 13-19 JANUARY 1968… WEEK TEN OF THE HUNT…
COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR… THROUGH THE WEEK ENDING 17 JANUARY 1969 A TOTAL OF 30,795 INTREPID WARRIORS OF THE UNITED STATES HAD LAID DOWN THERE LIVES FIGHTING FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE, 151 OF WHOM PERISHED IN THE SECOND WEEK OF JANUARY 1969… 27,433 MORE WILL DIE FOR THE CAUSE… AND FOR THE VETS WHO DID COME HOME– THERE WOULD BE NO "VICTORY BONUS," PARADE, OR THANK YOU… lest we forget…
Good Morning. It's Monday, 8 April 2019. Humble Host remembers Week TEN of COMMANDO HUNT I– 13-19 January 1969…
HEADLINES from The New York Times (13-19 Jan 1969)…
THE WAR… (13 Jan) FOE'S COMMANDOS RAID CANTHO BASE–8 Americans Die On U.S. Airfield In Delta–Three Copters Destroyed… "Enemy commandos burst through the barbed wire defenses of the Cantho air base before dawn today, hurling explosive satchel charges into 18 helicopters. Eight Americans were killed and 15 wounded…Bodies of five enemy soldiers were found after the base was cleared."… (14 Jan) BRIDGE DAMAMGED IN ENEMY ATTACK–Farther North Foe Abducts 40 At A Refugee Camp… USE OF CAMBODIA AS ENEMY SANCTUARY RISES… "The enemy's use of Cambodia as a refuge and supply route has increased in recent months and is reported to be possibly at a high for the Vietnm war. The increase began last summer as enemy units started a general withdrawal–often into Cambodia–from South Vietnam's urban areas."… (15 Jan) 24 DIE, 85 HURT ON CARRIER ENTERPRISE–Blasts Follow Fire On Two Plane Decks–Ship's Atom Plant Safe In Accident Near Hawaii–18 Injured/ 17 Missing… 122 ENEMY SOLDIERS KILLED IN AMBUSH OF A U.S. SUPPLY CONVOY… "It was the heaviest combat in South Vietnam in several weeks. Seven Americans were killed and 10 wounded in nearly seven hours of fighting."… (16 Jan) ALLIED FORCES DEPLOYED TO MEET EXPECTED ATTACK WEST OF SAIGON–Some Believe Enemy Will Attempt Major Offensive Before Inauguration… (17 Jan) MARINES AMBUSH PATROL…"American marines ambushed and shot up a patrol of 50 North Vietnamese and killed 25 of them in Northern Quangtri Province…There were no American casualties reported."…DAMAGED CARRIER UNDERGOES REPAIRS AT PEARL HARBOR…. (18 Jan) ENEMY MINES SINK NAVY BARGE KILLING SIX AMERICANS NEAR DMZ–Another U.S. Craft Damaged–Vietcong Force South Of Danang Still Hunted… SIX HOUR BATTLE FOUGHT…"Troops of the United States 25th Infantry Division fought a sharp six-hour battle today in the Boilio woods five miles northeast of Saigon…15 enemy were killed and 10 Americans were wounded."… (19 Jan) TERROR DRIVE IN SAIGON BLUNTED BY ARREST OF 516… "The South Vietnamese national police announced today the arrest of 516 Vietcong agents and demolition experts in the capital over the last three months."…
PEACE TALKS IN PARIS… (13 Jan) VANCE REBUFFED IN NEW MEETING WITH HANOI AIDES–Allies Two Proposals On the Design of a Conference Table Are Assailed–U.S. Requested The Session–Another Parley Before Shift of Administration January 20 Is Believed Doubtful… (14 Jan) HARRIMAN DECRIES TALK OF VICTORY IN VIETNAM WAR–Emphsizes U.S. Goals Are Limited As He Begins Week of Paris Farewells–He Calls For Patience–Accord On Seating Plan Still Seems Remote as Hanoi Is Said to Take Rigid Stand… (16 Jan) NEW JOHNSON PROPOSALS TO HANOI AWAITED IN PARIS… "Third working session in three days today amid reports that the Johnson Administration was preparing new proposals to Hanoi to break the deadlock in the peace talks."... (17 Jan) EXPANDED PEACE TALKS BEGIN IN PARIS TOMORROW–Round Table Agreed Upon–Deadlock Ended–Washington and Hanoi Concur on Seating After 10 Weeks… NIXON INTERVENED FOR PARIS ACCORD–He Joined Johnson In Urging Saigon to Accept Plan for Procedural Compromise… (18 Jan) NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT AIDE IN PARIS STRESSES 'FULLY INDEPENDENT' PARLEY–Terms His Delegation 'Equal party'–Vance Doubts Session Today Will Solve All Procedural Issues… (19 Jan) FOUR PARTIES AGREE ON PROCEDURES FOR PEACE TALKS–At 5-Hour Session In Paris, They Arrange For Seating and Use of Language–Will Begin Next Week–Agenda Yet to Be Drawn Up–U.S. Delegates Pleased At Progress in Negotiations…
THE REST OF THE NEWS…(13 Jan) JETS UPSET COLTS BY 16-7 FOR TITLE IN SUPER BOWL–A.F.L. Club Wins For First Time As Joe Namath Pierces Baltimore Defense–Millions Watch Game… HUMPHREY HINTS AT RACE IN 1972–'I'm Not Done Yet' He Tells Leaders In New York… (14 Jan) JOHNSON SUMS UP: HE HAS HELPED THE PEOPLE… Neil Sheehan… "President Johnson said last night that 'what really matters is not the ultimate judgement that historians will pass' on his Administration 'but whether there was a change for the better in the way our people live. I'm going to let you in on a little secret,' the President said. 'I really think there has been.'… 'Black citizens, bound in silence for so long are finding their voice in the voting booth in every part of the nation.' … NIXON REPORTED  TO PLEDGE GAINS IN NEGRO BENEFITS–6 Black Leaders Say They Were Told He'd Surpass All Previous Programs… PUEBLO HEARINGS OFF UNTIL MONDAY–Navy Gives Captain Bucher More Time To Prepare… (15 Jan) JOHNSON CALLS ON NATION TO CONTINUE PEACE QUEST AND HIS SOCIAL PROGRAMS–Farewell Speech– Congress Hails Him–He Utrges Accords With Moscow… TWO MANNED SPACE CRAFT ORBITED BY RUSSIANS…  (16 JAN) JOHNSON'S BUDGET $195.3 BILLION WITH A $3.4 BILLION SURPLUS SEEN–Rise in Social Security Provided–Vietnam Fund Cut–Reduction Is First To Be Asked Since Beginning of War...7-CENT MAIL RATE ASKED FOR FIRST CLASS–10 CENTS FOR AIR MAIL… (17 Jan) JOHNSON AWARDS MEDAL OF HONOR TO FOUR HEROES OF THE VIETNAM WAR… 8,000 KILLED-IN-ACTION SINCE PEACE TALKS BEGAN… (18 Jan) HANOI SAYS P.O.W.s GOT CHRISTMAS PACKAGES FOR THE FIRST TIME… RUSK BIDS FAREWELL IN SHORT TALK TO AIDES AT FOGGY BOTTOM… JOHNSON TO LEAVE WITHOUT iGRUDGES–Concedes Difficulty In Past But Tells A News Conference That 'All Is forgotten"... (19 Jan) AIRLINER CRASHES IN PACIFIC WITH 37–All Aboard Feared Dead–3 Bodies are Recovered–United 727 Down After Take Off From Los Angeles… DEATH TOLL FROM USSS ENTERPRISE FIRE AT 26… INQUIRY BY 5 ADMIRALS INTO SEIZURE OF PUEBLO OPENS TOMORROW ON WEST COAST…
COMMANDO HUNT I… Humble Host goes to GEORGE J. MARRETT's great book of stories from his tour during COMMANDO HUNT as an A-1H "Sandy" pilot and leader of many rescue operations, including a leading roll in the operations described in the following segment of aircraft losses on 17 and 18 January. Colonel Marrett's book is titled CHEATING DEATH: COMBAT AIR RESCUES IN VIETNAM AND LAOS… It is a five star read that documents the unsurpassed bravery of the men whose duty it was to "leave no man behind."… As Col. MARRETT writes: (page 150)
"There is a code among warriors that they always bring out their casualties, living or dead. It was a feeling common to all combatants, offering a form of comfort when we were in combat. We felt assured that we woundn't be left behind on a filed of battle, slowly dying. 'If you are down, we'll get you out,' we told the jet fighter pilots. 'and if you're dead, we'll bring you out anyway. At least you'll be dead among friends."
The SAR episode of 17-18 January represents one of the greatest rescue stories of the war. Storyteller MARRETT does it justice. Humble Host snips the story of Parachute (rescueman) Jumpers SGTs DONALD "Surfer" JOHNSON and THOMAS POPE for this post as a teaser… (pages 158-162)… I quote…
"It wasn't until I (Marrett) got airborne that the command post reported to me that Wild Bill Coady was down… Flying the H-53 Jolly Green 67 was aircraft commander Major Paul Darghty; co-pilot Major Barton Libby; flight engineer S. Sgt James Purdue; and two pararescue specialists–Sgts. Thomas Pope and Donald 'Surfer' Johnson. The Jolly had just refueled and was ready to make the pickup of Colonel Morris. After beating up the area, we started in for the rescue, firing rockets, our 20-mm guns, and laying down CBU bomblets. The Jolly made visual contact with Morris's parachute, and, as they approached, he uncovered himself from the foilage he had been hiding behind. It was decided with the flip of a coin that Don Johnson would be the number one PJ, meaning he would be designated to ride the penetrator down the hoist and recover Morris if he were too injured to help himself. Tom Pope, the second PJ, was stationed at the rear of the Jolly and manned the number-three minigun position on the tail ramp; it was a fully exposed and vulnerable position. Jolly Green 67 came into a hover over Morris. He did not require assistance, so Johnson  positioned himself at the number two minigun position on the left side, returning fire as North Vietnamese troops opened fire on them. The Jolly started to take small arms hits as Pope fired out the rear. Flight engineer James Purdue operated the hoist and kept a running commentary on the intercom while bringing Morris on board. Once Morris was inside the chopper, the flight engineer moved to the minigun place on the right side and fired out the doorway. Major Darghty turned his Jolly 180-degrees and started to lift up and accelerate away from the enemy-defended position.
"As they pulled away, enemy gunners found their mark. PJ Don Johnson yelled into the intercom, 'Tommy's been hit!' He threw off his helmet and ran the length of his safety harness until it jerked him to a stop. Johnson then unhooked his harness and continued to rush to the rear of the helicopter. Hot, pink hydraulic fluid, under high pressure, gushed out in streams all over the interior of Jolly Green 67. Tom Pope, his left leg practically severed, was drenched in blood and hydraulic fluid and nearly slipped out over the tail ramp to a three-hundred-foot drop because his safety strap was in two pieces by ground fire, Johnson reached out to save Pope and also slid on the slippery floor, starting to follow him into the void outside the helicopter. Desperately, Johnson grabbed Pope with his right hand and stretched the other arm out to grab a retainer strap, preventing both of them from falling to their deaths. Johnson has a vivid memory today of Pope using both of his legs to struggle to safety. Meanwhile, the two Jolly pilots valiantly fought the unresponsive flight controls to try to maintain forward flight. Johnson told me the HH-53 started to roller-coaster.
"At that very moment I was escorting the Jolly Green 67 flying in its five o'clock position. Jolly Green and I were approximately five hundred feet above the jungle, headng for NKP. Then I heard a strange call on the UHF radio. The desperate pilot did not identify himself, but stated in a calm voice, 'I have lost my hydraulic system. I can't hold the flight controls.'…. On board the Jolly, Don Johnson remained in the rear of the heliciopter with the seriously wounded Tom Pope. Frantically, he applied a battlefield dressing, using the tails of a rectangular bandage as a makeshift tourniquet… They were taking ground fire, and James Purdue, the flight engineer, fired back with the only minigun still operating. Pete Morris came over to help Johnson when Purdue yelled, 'We're gonna' crash.'… I was helpless to assist the Jolly; the chopper pilot continued to keep forward motion, and it appeared to me that he planned to land in the clearing. I stayed in his five o'clock position and descended with him to around 200-feet. Then I saw him contact the ground, but unfortunately his foreward motion continued… he passed through the clearing and into the surrounding tree line. As the Jolly's rotor beat up the trees the helicopter finally came to a stop and rolled over.
"Inside Jolly Green 67 the five crew members and survivor Pete Morris were having the ride of their lives. It was the second crash landing for Pete in two days…. When they came to a stop after their crash landing Pope was on top of Johnson. Pete Morris was trying his best to keep a tight grip on both of them. Though shaken, they were still alive. That was the good news, the bad news was that they immediately started receiving enemy ground fire.
"As a Sandy rescue team, we had little ordnance remaining because we had expended most of it in the first rescue of Pete Morris. The situation was getting desperate. Over two days we had lost an F-4D, two Skyraiders, and now a Jolly Green helicopter. Evidence indicated that Wild Bill Coady was lost. (At the time I did not know that Tom Pope, the PJ on board Jolly Green 67, was critcally injured). The backup helicopter, Jolly Green 70, was called and requested to be ready for another pickup.
"In the crashed Jolly, Pete Morris helped Johnson place Tom Pope on a litter and they started for the exit… Even though Pope's flak jacket had protected his vital organs, he was showing signs of irreversible shock. Johnson grabbed his M-16 rifle, inspecting it to make sure it was locked and loaded. All six of the survivors wer safely out of the chopper and waiting to be rescued. Johnson ran back into the destroyed Jolly for extra ammunition and Pope's survival kit. He couldn't find it and said to Pope, 'I can' find your kit.' Pope replied, 'Well you're just going to have to do the job with yours.' Johnson knew what he meant, he would have to defend them as best he could with the ammo they possessed but save some rounds to use on themsrelves. Both Johnson and Pope agreed they would not be captured alive. Major Darghty, the Jolly commander, interrupted them to report that a helicopter was inbound. Johnson then injected morphine into Pope to ease the his pain.
"Our Sandy aircraft were now out of ordnance and practically out of fuel as Jolly Gereen 70 lifted the six survivors away from the wrecked aircraft. With no backup now, we turned toward NKP. The radio was quiet on the way home, silence felt good after what we had been through…. "  End snipped pages…
COLONEL MARRETT  includes in his Epilogue chapter a short summary of the after-Vietnam years on Tom Pope, who survived the 18 January 1969 episode. Suffice it to say that the young warrior–sans left leg– had a rocky road into the new century, but COLONEL MARKETT's last line on Tom Pope reads: "Indeed, Tom Pope has lots of talent and is still an inspiration to those of us who served with him in combat, he's a true American hero."…    oohrah…
HUMBLE HOST NOTE: There are about 90 copies of CHEATING DEATH on sale at abebooks.com starting at less than $6.00 (free mailing)…
FIXED WING AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA DURING WEEK TEN OF COMMANDO HUNT I (Sources include Chris Hobson's VIETNAM: AIR LOSSES)… Eight aircraft were lost and seven bold, brave American military aviators were killed during the week…
(1) On 13 January a B-57B Canberra of the 8th TBS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang piloted by LCOL NORMAN DALE EATON and CAPTAIN PAUL EVERETT GETCHEL failed to return from a night COMMANDO HUNT mission to southern Steel Tiger. Their aircraft was observed to go down in flames ten miles north of A Shau Valley. No ejection or parachutes were observed but a faint beeper was heard by a FAC in the area. Searches failed to find the wreckage or either of the two aviators. They were declared Missing-in-Action. The remains of both COL EATON and COL GETCHEL, both promoted while MIA, were recovered in 2003, identified and returned for burial in Arlington in 2007. The rest of the story is below in the Ripple Salvo post…
(2) On 14 January an F-4E of the 469th TFS and 388th TFW out of Korat piloted by MAJOR EMIL E. BOADO and 1LT JOSEPH G. WILSON was lost in Thailand in a non-combat related accident and both MAJOR BOADO and 1LT WILSON perished in the crash. MAJOR BOADO is buried at Wilmington National Cemetery and 1LT WILSON rests in peace at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg, Virginia…
(3) On 16 January an A-4E of the VA-153 Blue Tail Flies embarked in USS Ranger (on their fourth combat cruise at Yankee Station) flown by COMMANDER JOHN HERBERT WEAVER settled into the Gulf of Tonkin following a normal catapult shot and exploded killing COMMANDER WEAVER… His body was recovered by a Navy boat searching the area of the crash and COMMANDER WEAVER rests in peace at Arlington National Cemetery…
(4) On 17 January an F-4D Stormy FAC of the 390th TFS and 366th TFW out of Danang piloted by CAPTAIN VICTOR ARLON SMITH and 1LT J.R. FEGAN was lost on a COMMANDO HUNT armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The flight spotted and attacked an occupied 37mm gun site. CAPTAIN SMITH's F-4 was hit by ground fire while bombing the site and set afire requiring the crew eject. 1LT FEGAN ejected first but it is unknown if CAPTAIN SMITH cleared the Phantom before it crashed in a very hostile area. In one of the largest rescue operations of the war– 284 aircraft sorties were flown over a period of several days– 1LT FEGAN was rescued. CAPTAIN SMITH was listed as Missing-in-Action and remains in a status of "presumptive" KIA. He is memorialized with a military marker at the Air Force Academy Cemetery…
(5) About 90-minutes after the 390th F-4 was downed a flight of A-1H Skyraiders of the 602nd SOS and 56th SOW out of NKP arrived on scene to provide RESCAP for 1LT FEGAN and search for CAPTAIN SMITH. Chris Hobson tells the story: "One of the Skyraiders was hit by AAA at 5,500 feet and limped away a few miles to the south before LCOL LURIE J. MORRIS, the pilot, ejected safely. He was picked up by a 40th ARRS rescue helicopter the following day, although not before another helicopter had been shot down. Jolly Green 67 was an HH-53B fo the 40th ARRS from Nakhon Phanom that was taking part in the SAR mission for the Stormy FAC crew and LCOL MORRIS. The lhelicopter was recovering LCOL MORRIS when it was hit by intense ground fire, lost a hydraulic system and made a crash landing nine miles southeast ot Tchepone, Laos. Pararescueman SGT THOMAS POPE was hit in the leg and was saved from falling out of the helicopter by his fellow PJ, DON JOHNSON. Minutes later Jolly Green 70 landed in the face of heavy ground fire and picked up everyone from Jolly Green 67, as well as LCOL MORRIS. A little while later strike aircraft were ordered to destroy Jolly Green 67 to prevent the NVA from capturing it intact. LCOL MORRIS was the Commanding Officer of the 602nd SOS."…
(6) On 17 January an A-6A of VMA(AW)-242 and MAG-11 out of Danang piloted by CAPTAIN EDWIN JAMES FICKLER, USMC, and 1LT ROBERT JOHN KUHLMAN, USMC, were downed while providing night close air support for embattled US and allied troops operating along the east side of A Shau Valley. Their A-6 was observed to get hit by enemy ground fire and crash about one mile south of a primary road running east-west from the east side of the valley. An immediate search was undertaken but failed to locate the crash site. There were no voice calls or beepers heard and no parachutes sighted. Due to the level of enemy activity in the area a ground search was not possible. The search was terminated and both aviators were listed as Missing-in-Action. Both were subsequently "presumed" to have been killed in action. Fifty years later both Marines rest where they fell while on the attack on a bloody battlefield called A Shau Valley. Left behind… (Why?) Humble Host prays that this is an Active Pursuit by Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency….
(7) On 17 January a C-7A Caribou of the 536th TAS and 483rd TAW out of Vung Tau with five aboard veered off the runway as it was landing and was damaged beyond repair. The five aboard survived to fly and fight again…
(8) On 18 January an A-1H of the 602nd SOS and 56th SOW out of NKP flown by CAPTAIN ROBERT FRANKLIN COADY was downed while covering the continuing rescue operation started on the 17th. CAPTAIN COADY's Spad was hit by 37mm while in a diving attack on the site and was seen to continue in his dive to crash into a wooded hillside. He was not seen to eject and was initially listed as Missing-in-Action then in 1978 presumed to have been killed. In 1992 his crash site was excavated and personal effects and remains found, identified and returned to his family in November 2001. COLONEL COADY is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Greater love hath no man than he who lays down his own life for another….
(9) On 18 January an O-2A of the 20th TASS and 504th TASG out of Danang was on a damage assessment flight in the COMMANDO HUNT area over the Ho Chi Minh Trail when hit by AAA. Both the pilot, MAJOR G.H. BLAIR and observer 2LT W.E. TOWNSLEY were forced to bail out of the faltering O-2. They were rescued by a USAF HH-53 helicopter from the 40th ARRS, although 2LT TOWNSLEY was badly injured. CBU19 "tear gas" cannisters were used during the rescue to keep North Vietnamese troops clear of the downed O-2 aviators…
RIPPLE SALVO–FOR THE RECORD… The rest of the COLONEL NORMAN DALE EATON story…
WASHINGTON POST, Saturday, May 1, 2004 by Ellen Nakashima…Saravan, Laos…
"IN LAOS, SIFTING THE EARTH FOR AMERICAN DEAD–Team Is Part Of Search For Vietnam MIAs"…
"On the first day of the dig, Franklin Damann spied what appeared to be a bone fragment resting on the soil surface. But he could not be sure. He put it in a ZipLoc bag labeled 'Possible osseous remains.' He hoped the fragment, and several more found over the next few days, would yield DNA to help identify U.S. Air Force Colonel NORMAN DALE EATON or his navigator, LIEUTENANT COLOLNEL PAUL E. GETCHELL. their B-57 exploded and crashed on a remote hill in southern Laos in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam war.
"Damann, a forensic anthropologist, and about a dozen U.S. service members shoveled and sifted hundreds of buckets of dirt from that metal-pocked hill in February. In several equally isolated and treacherous sites in Cambodia and Vietnam, other teams were also scanning for every shard of steel, canvas, plastic, bone or, best of all, tooth tht might help identify men who died in the Vietnam war, more than 1,800 of whom are still missing.
"Since 1992, 10 times a year, the military has sent teams to the old battlegrounds of Southeast Asia to search for Vietnam combatants' remains. Two to six teams go on each trip. So far, they have accounted for 724 Americans, according to the Pentagon. But time is running out. Witnesses are dying. Investigators are now talking to people who can remember their fathers telling them about a crash site. The most accessible areas already have been excavated, and bone disintegrates more readily in the acidic soil of Southeast Asia. It is an arduous yet optimistic endeavor, costing $100 million a year spread over five agencies. Though the military has long proclaimed that no man or woman shall be left behind on the battlefield–and made recovery efforts for several years after World War II and the Korean War–it took the emotional upheaval of the Vietnam war to spur the government to undertake a continuous search effort. Scientists and recovery teams have been finding and identifying remains of those killed in World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
"They have identified remains of about 500 service members from World War II, Korea and the Cold War. The U.S. military estimates that 88,000 service members are still missing from all wars. The effort to find them is destined to continue, officials say, as long as the United States sends its men and women into battle zones.
"'I can't think of a more noble mission,' said Marine Captain William P. 'Bay' Dobbins, 29, leader of a team searching for the remains of a downed Navy pilot in southern Laos. Dobbins, who served in Iraq last year, said he had been waiting for this job with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. 'I love the idea of bringing these guys home,' he said.
"So it was that on a chilly morning in February, a dozen soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and Damann, who works at the Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu, piled into an aging Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter at the team's base camp in southern Laos. Twenty minutes later, they landed on a hill in Saravan Province that was transversed by the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of paths used by the North Vienamese to ferry supplies along the border with Laos into South Vietnam. The team hiked down a long, steep slope and putting spade to soil, dug in a space roughly as long and wide as an Olympic swimming pool.
"About 90 Laotian villagers, who live a day's trek away and were hired for a small daily wage, were already there. They formed a bucket brigade down the slope, men and women with high cheekbones and broad faces, wearing old jeans, Nike caps and wool head scarves. Pairs of villagers rocked the trays slung from bamboo poles, massaging red dirt through quarter-inch wire mesh. As a boombox blared a Motown mix, the American team members scanned for pieces of zipper, boot, oxygen hose–what the investigtors call life support material.
"The hill was not an easy one. At a 35-degree angle, it had a view at 3,700 feet of a valley below filling with deceptively fast-moving clouds. Army Sergeant Robert Bryson, in charge of team safety, warned the crews: 'This site is dangerous. When the pilots say go there's no lollygagging or we'll be here overnight.' During a mission three years ago, seven military personnel and nine Vietnamese died when their Mi-17 helicopter slammed into a fog-shrouded hill.
"The site was surveyed last summer by Joan Baker, an anthropologist who also works at the Honolulu forensics lab. She found no crash crater, leading her to conclude that the planes had exploded before it plunged. Her investigative team found hundreds of pieces of fan blades, wires and bolts strewn over more than 350 square yards. Then she saw a small metal object nestled in the roots of a tree. it was a dog tag bearing Eaton's name. 'It was pretty exciting, 'Baker recalled. 'I couldn't believe if for a minute. I was like, No.' Team members planted a yellow stake wherever they found even a jot of debris, turning the hill into a dandelion field of stakes.
"Damann held up a slice of rusted metal to the gray light filtering through the trees. The words 'cylinder hydraulic actuating' were still visible. The metal plate was engraved with the manufacturer's name, Glenn L. Martin Ltd, Baltimore, Maryland, which in the 1960s retooled the British made B-57s from straight and level bombers to dive bombers. We'll be pulling stuff all day,' said Damann, a lanky Louisianan who analyzes skeletal remains to figure our a person's size, sex, race and other characteristics. As it turned out, the team would not be pulling stuff all day. After lunch, the clouds rolled inobscuring the valley below. Bryson gave the word to load up the buckets and gather the tools. 'It's time to get off the hill.' The son of a Navy veteran, Bryson is a mortuary affairs specialist, or 92-Mike in Army lingo. He was on his 31st recovery mission in Southeast Asia, has worked directly with MIA families and relishes the satisfaction of delivering a memento to a wife or parent.
"'There are cases where a family member said, 'He always carried a 1945 buffalo nickel,' and then you go to the site and dig and pull it out of the dirt.,' he said. 'There are the wedding rings, the crucifixes, wallets with pictures.' Working one World War II case, he said, he found letters ready to be mailed home. 'You bring them home to a wife or mother, and the gratitude is immense. That's pretty amazing you can do stuff like that.'
"Elderly locals are another source of information. Khampoy Khun, a grandfatherly man with an impish grim, was trying to clear a rice filed about a decade ago when he came upon metal aircraft parts poking up from the soil. He eventually told his story to American investigators and led them to a site a Navy pilot had plowed into a hill in April 1970. "I would be very glad if the Americans find what they are looking for and can return the remains to the families,' said Khampoy, 70, cheering on the Americans and Laotians digging, hauling and screening soil. 'I think the families back home are hoping the remains will be found.' He had one request, though: that the United States do more to remove the unexploded ordnance left from the war. 'I am very poor,' Khampoy said. 'and I cannot work my rice fields with the unexploded bombs. It's all over the place.' In February, the team looking for the Navy pilot's remains unearthed a 500-pound unexploded bomb.
"Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. air campaign dropped more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance on the hills and valleys of Laos, the world's most heavily bombed nation per capita, according to Untied Nations Development Program statistics some of the craters were as large as houses. Up to 30 percent of the ordnance, it is estimated, failed to detonate and continues to kill about 200 people, many of whom are children, each year, according to the program. In this fiscal year the United States spent $1.2 million on clearing the ordnance in Laos, about one-fourth of the total international donor aid to the effort, U.S. officials said.
"After 30 days, Damann, Bryson and their team flew back to Honolulu. another team took their place in March to continue the dig. All the evidence found is bagged and sent to the lab. There, a different set of anthropologists examines the remains and the life support material. The lab, which is part of the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, identifies on average two Americans a week. The best way to make an identification is to match a tooth, especially one that has had a filling or a drilling, to dental records, Thomas Holland, the lab's scientific director, explained in a telephone interview from Honolulu. 'No two fillings are alike,' he said. 'That's really how most identifications are made (in 2005)… Even as the difficulty of the missions has increased, the technology has improved, Holland said. These days, up to 70 percent of cases are identified by matching mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through the maternal line, from remains to a relative from the same maternal line, he said. About five grams of dense bone, the type found in the arm or leg, is needed to gather enough DNA for a identification.
"On the night of January 13, 1969, EATON and GETCHELL took off fro Phan Rang Air Base in South Vietnam. They flew west toward Laos, to drop bombs and napalm on a target laong the Ho Chi Minh Trail in an effort to disrupt the enemy's supply line. EATON's last recorded words before the plane crashed were, 'Off Target,' according to a wartime Air Force report. A C-130 pilot who was flying nearby, directing EATON's strike, said that his cockpit was lit up by the flash from the bomb EATON dropped, and lit up again five seconds later by the B-57's crash, according to the report. No parachutes were seen. A two-second emergency beeper signal was heard by another aircraft in the area, but it was unclear if that was from EATON of GETCHELL. EATON, then 43, had always said that when he went, he wanted to go 'down in a ball of fire,' his wife, Jeanne Eaton, now 75, recalled in a telephone interview from Alexandria. He loved to fly, loved 'that wonderful, celestial feeling,' she said, though he had concerns about the war. Eaton's oldest son, Paul Eaton, 53, is now a Major General in the Army, stationed in Baghdad, the commander in charge of training the nascent postwar Iraqi army.
"GETCHELL was 32, slender, dark-haired and a carpenter with a philosophy degree. 'He was always learning and reading,' and looked forward to teaching, recalled his widow, Teresa Getchell, 67.
"As the years passed, the two women, who have never remarried, gradually came to terms with their husbands' deaths. For Getchell, it has been so long since her husband died, she said, that finding any remains now will not mean much. 'It will just verify what I feel is already the case, that he's gone,' she said from her winter home in Bradenton, Florida.
"For Eaton, the search holds out hope for some peace of heart 'the very fact tht they found my husband's dog tags, at least there's substance there, there's a reality,' she said. 'Hopefully, they will find fsme tangible evidence of him.'
"In March, the team that took over from Damann found more possible remains at the site. The evidence will be sent to the lab. A new team returns in June to continue the hunt."…. End article…
POSTSCRIPT… "News Release from the United States Department of Defense, April 24, 2007… AIRMEN MISSING IN ACTION FROM VIETNAM WAR ARE IDENTIFIED… and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors…They are COLONEL NORMAN D. EATON, of Weatherford, Oklahoma, and LIEUTENANT COLONEL PAUL E. GETCHELL, of Portland, Maine. EATON will be buried April 25, 2007, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and GETCHELL will be buried later this spring at Arlington."…. "Scientists used mitochondrial DMA to identify the remains, defense officials said."…
Humble Host is proud to recognize and honor in this post, two teams of unsung heroes of the battlefield: The Search and Rescue forces that "bring'em back alive," if it is humanly possible and can be done; and, the teams who later comb the battlefields to bring those missing-in-action home to our country and the families who also serve… Some of this respect and admiration for these special angels originates in my roots–my great-great grandfother Private Isaiah T. Enders of the Pennsylvania Militia, who spent the months of July and August 1863 burying the dead and cleaning up the battlefield at Gettysburg–before he enlisted to complete the war in the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry (Rode with General Kilpatrick, under General Sherman, though Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, surviving to muster out in July 1865)…  oohrah…
Lest we forget… Bear
 
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The Airpower Blog from the
 
April 7, 1943
First Lt. James Elms Swett, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 7, 1943. In part, his citation read: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as a division leader in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO TWENTY-ONE in action against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the Solomon Islands Area, April 7, 1943. In a daring flight to intercept a wave of 150 Japanese planes, First Lieutenant Swett unhesitatingly hurled his four-plane division into action against a formation of 15 enemy bombers and during his dive personally exploded three hostile planes in mid-air with accurate and deadly fire." To see a video of Swett talk about his heroic experience, click HERE.
 
April 8, 1940
The United States Navy places a contract with Grumman on April 8, 1940, for two prototypes of the XTBF-1, later named "Avenger," a chunky mid-wing monoplane that would become the Navy's standard carrier torpedo bomber of World War II.
 
April 9, 1951
Jackie Cochran set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world record and National Aeronautic Association U.S. National Record on April 9, 1951, flying her North American Aviation P-51C Mustang, N5528N, to an average speed of 464.374 miles per hour (747.338 kilometers per hour) over a straight 16-kilometer (9.942 miles) high altitude course at Indio, California.
 
April 10, 1919
The Victory Loan Flying Circus, a barnstorming group of World War I pilots using WWI combat aircraft, toured the United States from April 10 to May 10, 1919. The circus was composed of three flights, with each flight consisting of 15 pilots and various airplanes. Performances were given in 88 cities and 45 states. A total of 1,275 flights were made, 368 civilians were taken as passengers and 19,124 miles were flown.
 
April 11, 1952
The crew of a U.S. Coast Guard PBY-5A amphibian landed in rough ocean waters to rescue 16 survivors of a DC-4 which had crashed off San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Good Friday, April 11, 1952. Read more about the story HERE.
 
April 12, 1953
Read the story of the air battle that took place between American F-86 Sabres and Soviet MiG-15 fighters in the skies over North Korea HERE. Capt. Joseph C. McConnell, Jr., leading a flight of fighters of the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, was flying his usual airplane, North American Aviation F-86F-15-NA Sabre 51-12971, which he had named Beautious Butch, in honor of his wife, Pearl "Butch" Brown McConnell.
 
April 13, 1960
Maj. Robert M. White made the first flight of an X-15 by an Air Force test pilot on April 13, 1960. Carried aloft by a Boeing NB-52A Stratofortress, serial number 52-003, the first of three X-15 hypersonic research aircraft, 56-6670, was airdropped at 0915 above Rosamond Dry Lake. Major White ignited the two Reaction Motors XLR-11 rocket engines and with a burn time of 4 minutes, 13.7 seconds, the X-15 accelerated to Mach 1.9 (1,254 miles per hour/2,018 kilometers per hour) and reached 48,000 feet (14,630 meters). Both numbers were slightly short of the planned Mach 2.0 (1,320 miles per hour/2,124 kilometers per hour) and 50,000 feet (15,240 meters). Read more HERE. White, who would retire as a major general, was a Daedalian.
 
 
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Some news from around the world
 
Israel—Netanyahu Pledges To Annex Parts Of W. Bank If Re-Elected Haaretz | 04/08/2019 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will launch the process to annex portions of the occupied West Bank if his party wins upcoming elections, reports Haaretz (Israel).  On Saturday, Netanyahu told Channel 12 that he would begin extending Israeli sovereignty to the area if he wins another term during the April 9 polls.  Netanyahu said that he would not distinguish between large, organized settlements and smaller more isolated ones that have spread across territory officially designated as part of a future Palestinian state.  The international community does not officially recognize the settlements.  A Palestinian state would endanger Israel, claimed Netanyahu. In a separate interview on Sunday, Netanyahu said he envisioned Israeli control over the entire West Bank, reported the Guardian (U.K.).  The incumbent prime minister is running neck-and-neck with former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz for the country's top post.  Polls suggest that Netanyahu's alliance with smaller right-wing parties could give him an edge in forming a ruling coalition.    
 
Libya—Fighting Rages With Haftar's Forces South Of Tripoli Libya Observer | 04/08/2019 More than two dozen people have been killed as forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar march on Tripoli, reports the Libya Observer.  At least 32 people have been killed and 50 injured in the fighting, said the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli late Sunday, as reported by RTE (Ireland). Haftar's forces acknowledged 14 fatalities. On Sunday, the armed forces loyal to the Tripoli government announced the Volcano of Rage operation to push back an offensive by Haftar, who is loyal to the government in Tobruk in eastern Libya.  Fighting has been concentrated in the southern suburbs of Wadi Rabea, Sooq Al-Ahad, Airport Road, Ain Zara and Al-Aziziya, the health ministry said.  Both sides have reportedly conducted airstrikes. Tripoli government jets hit the Wattiya Airbase and sites in Wadi Rabea, while Haftar's forces reportedly struck the Naqiliya camp south of Tripoli.  Fighting has caused some nations to relocate personnel, reported the BBC. France and Italy have called on their citizens working in the oil sector to leave Libya. U.S. Africa Command said that it had temporarily relocated U.S. troops due to the security situation.  Tensions have escalated sharply since April 4, when Haftar released an audio recording calling on supporters to march on Tripoli.  U.N. requests for a two-hour pause to open a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the wounded have gone unheeded.  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for talks and an immediate halt to fighting.   
 
USA—Nielsen Resigns As Homeland Security Secretary Cbs News | 04/08/2019 Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has resigned, reports CBS News.  Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will serve as acting secretary, President Trump said on Sunday.  Nielsen said she would formally step down on April 10 to ensure a smooth transition. Rumors of Nielsen's potential resignation have swirled for months. Her departure now is part of a larger effort to revamp the department overseen by Trump domestic adviser, Stephen Miller, said sources.  Another White House source told NBC News that she had come under pressure from President Trump amid reports of additional waves of immigrants from Central America.  During Nielsen's tenure, DHS came under fire from human-rights groups for policies involving placing minors suspected of crossing the border illegally in detention centers, separating them from their families.   
 
USA—Trump Administration Set To Designate IRGC A Terrorist Organization Wall Street Journal | 04/08/2019 The U.S. government is preparing to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, reports the Wall Street Journal.  The White House is expected to announce the move on Monday, administration officials told the newspaper.  National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have championed the move as necessary to hit the web of international businesses that allow Tehran to bypass sanctions and avoid scrutiny.  Military officials have expressed concern that the step could alienate some regional allies without providing substantial benefits. U.S. Central Command is preparing a regional alert to U.S. troops in case of any backlash to the declaration. This would be the first time that the foreign terrorist organization designation would be applied to a state body, experts said. Some have expressed concern that it could set a precedent that would lead adversaries to similarly designate elements of the U.S. armed forces. The IRGC's 100,000-plus members follow the direct orders of Ayatollah Khamanei. The force operates Iran's ballistic missile program and, through the Quds Force, manages cooperation with international partners and terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.  It is estimated to have a hand in up to 20 percent of the Iranian economy.  Iran has warned of retaliation if Washington continues with the move, reported Reuters.   
 
USA—Shanahan Launches Another Review Of Niger Investigations ABC News | 04/08/2019 Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has appointed a four-star officer to review the investigations into a deadly attack on U.S. forces in Niger in 2017, reports ABC News. The new review was confirmed by the Pentagon on April 4. The unnamed officer will evaluate previous investigations into the October 2017 attack, which killed four U.S. soldiers, and determine whether additional punishments are merited.  An investigation report was released in May 2018 detailing a series of "individual, organizational and institutional failures and deficiencies that contributed to the tragic event," such as a lack of adequate training, lax communication and poor attention to detail. The report concluded that "no single failure or deficiency was the sole reason." Nine individuals were held accountable for lapses in training and other mission preparedness, including Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks, who was serving as the commander of special operations forces in Africa. Punishments largely consisted of letters of reprimand, drawing criticism from officials and members of Congress. Hicks was the most senior officer punished, raising questions as to whether other more senior leaders had unfairly avoided punishment. A review has been called to be certain there is a full accounting, from the troops on the ground to the most senior officer, Shanahan said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month.     
 
USA—Marines To Speed Up F-35C Procurement To Support Carrier Deployments USNI News | 04/08/2019 The U.S. Marine Corps plans to accelerate its procurement of F-35C carrier variant jets in support of Navy carrier deployment schedules, reports USNI News. Accordingly, the service is slowing its purchases of F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft. The change will not affect the overall plan for a total of 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs, said a Marine spokesman. The Marine Corps has requested nine additional F-35Cs for a total of 28 under the five-year Future Years Defense Program to ensure that the service can make the transition to its F-35C squadrons on schedule, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, the deputy commander of the Marine Corps for aviation, told the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee on April 4. The service is reducing its planned purchase of F-35Bs by 10 aircraft in fiscal 2020, five in 2021 and three in 2022. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 will be the second unit to deploy with the F-35C. The Navy and Marine Corps will rotate their squadron transitions to the F-35C until about 2026 or 2027, said Navy officials.    
 
NATO—Foreign Ministers Adopt Measures To Enhance Security In Black Sea Region Nato Press Release | 04/08/2019 NATO foreign ministers have approved a series of measures to counter Russia and enhance security in the Black Sea region, reports the alliance. The measures call for increasing support for Georgia and Ukraine in areas such as training, port visits and exercises, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 4 following a meeting in Washington, D.C. NATO will continue to maintain a credible deterrence and presence in the region. Alliance naval groups are on patrol in the Black Sea and are training with Ukrainian and Georgian ships, Stoltenberg said. The measures are part of efforts to address Russia's pattern of destabilizing behavior, such as its continued violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF); the illegal annexation of Crimea; and its military buildup across the region, said a NATO release. The ministers also called for Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships seized last year in the Sea of Azov.  
 
United Kingdom—Defense Cooperation Strengthened With Cyprus Under Latest MoU U.K. Ministry Of Defense | 04/08/2019 The British and Cypriot defense ministers have signed an agreement to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense. On April 4, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson hosted his Cypriot counterpart, Savvas Angelides, in London, said a ministry release. The ministers signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance defense cooperation in areas such as training, capability development and crisis planning. The agreement will reinforce the already close ties with Cyprus, Williamson said. The British military has about 250 personnel deployed in Cyprus for Operation Tosca, the U.K. contribution to the U.N. peacekeeping mission there. Cyprus also is home to RAF Akrotiri, which is used by the U.K. and partner nations in the fight against the Islamic State. The RAF has used the base as a launch point to conduct more than 1,700 airstrikes in Syria, the release said.   
 
Albania—Military Receives Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles From U.S. U.S. Embassy in Albania | 04/08/2019 The Albanian military has taken delivery of a batch of armored vehicles donated by the United States, reports the U.S. Embassy in Albania. On April 3, 37 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAPs) were formally handed over during a ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Tirana, said an embassy release. The MRAPs, in addition to the armored Humvees previously provided, will allow Albania to field a motorized infantry battle group, enhancing its defense and strengthening NATO's southern flank, the release said.    
 
Philippines—Russian Ships Pay Unofficial Visit Tass | 04/08/2019 Three ships from Russia's Pacific Fleet have arrived in Manila on an unofficial visit, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow).  Two Udaloy-class destroyers and the tanker Irkut arrived in the Philippine capital on Monday, according to a fleet release.  The flotilla departed Vladivostok on April 1. In addition to visiting a number of countries, the warships are scheduled to take part in a joint bilateral exercise with China later this month. This is the second Russian port visit this year. The Admiral Varyag cruiser and the Boris Butoma tanker arrived for a five-day visit in January, the official Philippine News Agency reported at the time.  The two countries are expected to sign a naval cooperation agreement in July that will lead to more joint training exercises, reported CNN.  Manila is looking for ways to balance Beijing's increasingly assertive posture in the South China Sea.
China—Another Flotilla Heads To Somali Waters To Fight Pirates  Global Times | 04/08/2019 The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy has deployed a new flotilla for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, reports the Global Times (Beijing). On April 4, the 32nd convoy fleet departed from a military port in Zhoushan in China's eastern Zhejiang province, said a military official. The guided-missile destroyer Xi'an, multirole frigate Anyang and the Gaoyanghu supply ship are taking part in the mission. This is the first time that the Xi'an, which entered service in 2015, and the Anyang, which was commissioned in April 2018, have participated in the counter-piracy operation.
India—Modi Proposes Stripping Special Status From Kashmir Press Trust Of India | 04/08/2019 India's ruling party has proposed stripping special rights given to the residents of India-administered Kashmir, reports the Press Trust of India.  The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled its election manifesto on Monday.  It called for abolishing article 35A, which limits the activities of non-permanent residents in Kashmir, and article 370, which grants the state substantial autonomy.  Abolishing article 35A would allow people outside of Kashmir to invest in and move to the state, said analysts cited by the Financial Express (India).  Such a move could bring economic progress but also destabilize the already tense situation in the Muslim-majority state.  The BJP is widely expected to win elections that begin on Thursday, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar).
Sri Lanka—President Declares General Amnesty Period For Deserters Colombo Page | 04/08/2019 The president of Sri Lanka has offered a general amnesty period for army personnel who have left service for any reason to obtain a formal discharge, reports the Colombo Page. President Maithripala Sirisena authorized an amnesty period from April 22 through May 10 for absentee personnel that fit within one of four categories. Those long-term absentees who do not owe any money to the army or are not implicated in any legal matter are eligible to receive a direct discharge, as are those who owe money but are able to secure loans or otherwise satisfy the debts. Absentees who have been charged for indiscipline or accused of other malpractices or criminal acts could also receive a discharge in accordance with existing legal procedures and regulations. In addition, individuals absent from service for more than 6 months but want to rejoin will be considered for reinstatement.
 
 
 
Sudan—5 Killed As Security Forces Crack Down On Renewed Protests Al Jazeera | 04/08/2019 At least five people have been killed in the latest protests against the government of Sudanese President Omar Bashir, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).  On Monday, members of the security services fired tear gas into crowds staging a sit-in in front of the defense ministry.  Witnesses told Agence France-Presse that soldiers erected barricades and blocked several paths leading to the complex.  Four people in Khartoum and one in Omdurman have died in the demonstrations that began on Saturday. Protesters chose the date to coincide with the 1985 uprising that ousted President Jaafar Nimeiri.  At least 32 people have been killed in the protests, which first began in December, according to official statistics. Human Rights Watch says that at least 51 people have been killed during demonstrations. The role of the army in the crackdown has been ambiguous. The opposition outlet Sudan Tribune (Paris) reported that soldiers have intervened to protect the demonstrators, suggesting potential splits within the service.  One soldier may have been killed while protecting protesters.  The navy headquarters also reportedly allowed some demonstrators to shelter inside their building, reported the BBC.
 
 
 
Angola—Upgraded Su-30Ks Expected In May Defence Web | 04/08/2019 The Angolan air force will soon receive two more refurbished Su-30K fighter jets, reports Defence Web (South Africa).  Angolan Defense Minister Salviano de Jesus Sequeira told Sputnik news (Russia) during a visit to Russia last week that the jets would be delivered in May.  Angola ordered 12 refurbished Su-30Ks in October 2013. Deliveries were slated to begin in 2015 but later pushed back. Work on the jets, formerly in service with India, included upgraded radars, navigation systems and video recorders, reported Itar-Tass (Moscow).  Angola has received six of the aircraft so far.                                                                                         
 


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