Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fw: TheList 4473

The List 4473

To All,
A lot of History today surrounding the D-Day landings.
This Day In Naval History - June 7
1898: During the Spanish-American War, USS Marblehead (C 11), along with auxiliary cruisers USS Yankee and USS St. Louis, engage the Spanish gunboat Sandoval and the shore batteries at Guantanamo, Cuba for 2 1/2 hours.
1942 - Battle of Midway ends with loss of USS Yorktown
1944 - Construction of artificial harbors and sheltered anchorages begins off Normandy coast
1944 - USS Susan B. Anthony (AP 72) strikes a German mine while approaching "Omaha" Beach to land reinforcements. After an unsuccessful effort to contain flooding, she is abandoned and, within a few hours, sinks. No lives are lost in her sinking.
Today in History June 7
Christopher Columbus leaves on his third voyage of exploration.
The Peace of Ardes ends the war between France and England.
Louis XIV is crowned king of France.
The Pennsylvania Assembly bans the importation of slaves.
Daniel Boone sights present-day Kentucky.
The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
Mexico City is captured by French troops.
The Boxer rebels cut the rail links between Peking and Tientsin in China.
Professor Pierre Curie reveals the discovery of Polonium.
The first vessel passes through the Panama Canal.
Over 7,000 war veterans march on Washington, D.C., demanding their bonus pay for service in World War I.
The Japanese invade Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
In Operation Swift Saber, U.S. Marines sweep an area 10 miles northwest of Da Nang in South Vietnam.
Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers destroy Iraq's only nuclear reactor.
The Organization of African Unity formally admits South Africa as its fifty-third member.
The List 4194
To All,
I hope your week is going well
This Day In Naval History - June 9
1882 - Establishment of Office of Naval Records of the War of the Rebellion
(became part of Naval Historical Center)
1942 - First Navy photographic interpretation unit set up in the Atlantic.
1959 - Launching of USS George Washington (SSBN-598), first nuclear powered
fleet ballistic missile submarine, at Groton, CT
They say History bears repeating. I believe that very much so we do not forget what happened and to who we owe our freedom. Here are some more repeats today from years past.
Subject: Remembered Sky: Morning After Reflection: 5 June 1942 "we sank a carrier"
For those who've followed Remembered Sky or Project White Horse 084640 websites, you know that in early June I always put together something on the Battle of Midway and always pay tribute to my first post flight school boss, LCDR Pat Patterson, who on 4 June, 1942 was a radioman-gunner in SBD Dauntless 6B15 of Bombing Six (VB 6) off of USS Enterprise.
For me, it is a constant base plate for reflection on my own participation in VA-56/CAG -5/USS Midway operations in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1972, and for analysis of today's "strike fighter" airwings and the emerging one size fits all F-35.
So here's to Naval Aviators past present, future.. and particularly to AMC3/LCDR Pat Patterson and Ens/Adm Lew Hopkins of Bombing Six. I owe you... all Naval Aviators owe you...the country owes you.
Fly Navy, the BEST Always Have
Close-in fire support for the infantry at Omaha Beach was terribly lacking until...US Navy destroyers "saved the day".

As many of you know, a massive German slaughter house awaited US troops at Omaha Beach.

June 6, 1944, at H-hour 0630 real trouble started. Landing craft coxswains lost their bearings in the early morning mist, deepened by smoke and dust kicked up by the naval bombardment. Many of them missed their assigned landing sectors. Of the 64 DD tanks (amphibious) 27 made it to the Dog beaches but only five got ashore on Easy beaches; the rest foundered on the way in.

0830 USS Carmick breaks the cease-fire order that had suspended supporting naval gunfire at H-hour. (Some 1 & 1/2 to 2 hrs of withering German cliff-top defensive firing w/o much, if any, U.S return fire support at all.) 1st and 29th Division assault waves - sitting ducks.

USS Carmick action report:
..."Early in the morning a group of tanks were seen to be having difficulty making their way along the breakwater road toward Exit D-1 [the Vierville draw]. A silent coorporation was established wherein they fired at a target on the bluff above them and we then fired several salvos at the same spot. They then shifted fire futher along the bluff and we used their bursts again as a point of aim."...
Captain Sanders, COMDESTRON 18 Commander was in the USS Frankfort, arriving off the beachead just before 0900. Concerned about increasing casualties on the beach, he ordered ALL destroyers to close on the beach as far in as possible and support the assault troops.

Close-in fire support by navy destroyers speeded up much improved conditions all along the beach at Omaha by 1000.

After action report: (personal letter from Sergeant James E. Knight of the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion wrote to the crew of the USS Frankfort)..."There is no question, at least in my mind, if you had not come in as close as you did, exposing yourself to God only knows how much, that I would not have survived the night. I truly believe that in the absence of the damage you inflicted on German emplacements, the only way any GI was going to leave Omaha was in a mattress cover or as a prisoner of war."...Sergeant Barton Davis, 299th Combat Engineer Battalion wrote to say: " How well I remember your ship coming in so close. I thought then as I do now that it was one brave thing to come in so close...Your ship not only knocked out the pillbox but the mortar positions above us...I always thought how great it would be to tell the Captain of this ship how grateful I am..." ( a personal letter to Captain James Semmes, CO of the USS Frankfort).

Colonel S.B. Mason, USA, Chief of Staff of the 1st Division, wrote the following letter to Rear Admiral Hall after an inspection of the German defenses at Omaha. They should have been impregnable" "But there was one element of attack they could not parry...I am now firmly convinced that our supporting naval fire got us in; that without that gunfire we positively could not have crossed the beaches."...

Almost scraping the bottom with destroyer keels off Omaha Beach were the: USS Frankfort; USS McCook; USS Doyle; USS Thompson; USS Carmick...D-Day - June 6th, 1944.


In his book, "The Longest Day", Cornelius Ryan so described German defenses of Omaha. The German 352nd Division's artillery batteries were only a part of what Ryan called "the deadly guns of Omaha Beach":
There were 8 concrete bunkers with guns of 75 millimeters or larger caliber [75mm to 88mm]; 35 pillbox ea with artillery pieces of various sizes/or automatic weapons; 4 batteries of artillery [presumably Pluskat's]; 18 antitank guns [37mm to 75mm]; 6 mortar pits; approximately 40 rocket-launching sites; each with four 38-millimeter rocket tubes; and NO LESS THAN 85 strategically placed machine gun nests.

(bop at Normandy's Omaha Beach, and general area - 1963, 1985, 1997.)
Thanks to Barrett. Some more Battle of Midway info
D-Day: The Day America Forgot
Ken Colvin
D-Day has come and gone.  The hours that made up June 6, 2013 have passed, just as most of the men who risked their lives on the beaches of France sixty-nine years ago have.  No big parades, no fanfare, no widely publicized messages of thanks to a generation who loses 600 a day. 
I live in one of the largest cities in North Carolina.  Neither the largest television station nor the major newspaper carried any stories mentioning D-Day until I e-mailed the news departments.  The newspaper searched and found a touching story about two men who fought together at Omaha Beach.  The television station, owned by a big Blueprint NC supporter, never did publish a story. 
A co-worker's father was involved in the landing at Normandy.  I had the honor of meeting him -- sadly, at the funeral of his wife.  He is not sure why he receives all the attention from his hometown newspaper, but he and his three brothers are celebrities because of their service involving "DDAY6644," as his license plate reads.  He will tell you that he was just doing his duty and following orders.  That day was just another day in a series of long and dangerous days he spent in Europe in 1944, but he made it home alive.  At the time, people knew what had to be done, and a man was expected to serve his country.  I think that for him, the importance of what he and so many others did in Normandy is finally sinking in.
I have a neighbor who served in the Navy during the Second World War.  He was a spotter for the big guns fired from the ships during the invasion.  His story, which might be slightly embellished through the years, tells of deeds performed by average men with two things on their minds: winning the war and coming home alive.  The selfless acts performed to accomplish the former make it incredibly difficult to imagine anyone accomplishing the latter.  There were no ballistic vests like those worn by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, no state-of-the-art materials or weaponry.  Just men wearing a uniform and carrying a rifle.
My father was a Marine who fought in the Pacific.  He received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained on Iwo Jima.  He always joked that he had it tougher as a Marine than the "dog faces" in the Army -- except for those who were involved in the D-Day landing.  He never had anything but respect for those brave men who stormed the beaches in France. 
America's "Greatest Generation" is dying at a rate of 600 per day.  For my city's mainstream media to have no coverage about D-Day is shameful.  We are seeing the results of leadership that does not care about honor, integrity, the people, or the Constitution.  Perhaps the mainstream media should stop and realize that without people like those they largely ignored yesterday, they would be publishing only what the State dictated.
On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you.  Those are words that everyone who has served deserves to hear while they still can.  Six hundred next of Kin are hearing similar words every day on behalf of a loved one who fought in World War II -- with no mention from the president.  But why would the president care?  These heroes are not the demographic that supports entitlements.  These heroes took a stand and risked everything to keep us free.
The president and his administration, including John Kerry, have no idea what it means to "serve."  Their only interest is being served by their subjects.  The "Greatest Generation" were no one's subject.  They fought and risked their lives to keep us from the tyranny that we have freely elected because of low-information (or no-information) voters being promised "entitlements," because of white guilt, and because of the lack of desire to work.  The government has made it too easy not to work and at the same time to have the quality of life that is better than someone who works and is not a burden to society.
The Greatest Generation fought their fight against tyranny.  Now it is time to turn back Socialism once again.  We fail to recognize the efforts of these men with parades and media attention.  If you were to take the time to talk with these veterans, parades and news stories are all well and good, but what they really want is for the country they fought to protect to remain free.  America needs to remember the lessons of these great men and make this country great once more.
These men have done their part.  Let it not be in vain or forgotten.
Page Printed from: at June 07, 2013 - 05:50:26 AM CDT
Subject: CDR Robert J. Flynn by Stephen Coonts who wrote "The Flight Of the Intruder" a great book and followed up with many more.
CDR Robert J. Flynn by Stephen Coonts
CDR Robert J. Flynn, USN 
The Vietnam War is ancient history. It ended for America in 1973 when the POWs came home. One of the POWs was an A-6 bombardier-navigator, Robert J. Flynn, shot down over North Vietnam on August 21, 1967, and marched north into China, where he was held in solitary confinement for five and a half years, 2,032 days, in a prison in Beijing. He was released in Hong Kong, walked across a bridge into the British colony under his own steam, on March 15, 1973. Shot down as a Lieutenant (junior grade), Bob came out a Lieutenant Commander and stayed in the Navy, ultimately retiring as a Commander. Bob died Thursday, May 15th, 2014 in Pensacola, Florida, at the age of 76. 
 It is doubtful if any American survivor of that war paid as heavy a price as did Bob Flynn. It is also doubtful that anyone was more deserving of the Medal of Honor than Bob Flynn, recognition he didn't receive. 
 August 21, 1967, was a bad day for Bob's A-6 Intruder squadron, VA-196, The Main Battery, which launched four bombers on a daylight strike into the heart of North Vietnam. The lead Intruder, flown by the squadron skipper, Leo Profillet, was hit and exploded in the dive on the target. The other three planes managed to drop their bombs, but on egress flew north of Haiphong into heavy build-ups. One plane broke away from the formation and proceeded out to sea alone. The remaining two were attacked by MiGs, and both were shot down. Of the six airmen shot down, only Bob Flynn survived.
 He was quickly captured and marched for days through the jungle into China. Once there, the Chinese Communists claimed that the two A-6s shot down by MiGs were over Chinese airspace, a claim that Flynn denied all his life. Propaganda photos were taken and released to the world's press.
 Flynn was taken to Beijing and imprisoned. There he was kept in solitary confinement and repeated tortured for propaganda purposes for five and a half years! The Chinese never broke him, but the physical and psychological price Flynn paid was higher than any human should ever have to endure. Any lesser man would have died or lost his grip on sanity. 
 I met Bob that fall of 1973 when he was finally released from the hospital and came to NAS Whidbey, the home of the west coast A-6s, for the Intruder Ball as the guest of honor. I had the honor of flying him back to Colorado Springs, where his wife was living, in the right seat of an A-6. At 36,000 feet over the Rockies, I gave him the POW bracelet with his name upon it that I had worn for my two Vietnam cruises. That flight was one of the great moments of my life. Probably not so memorable for Bob, who was inundated with bracelets bearing his name as the months passed, almost two bushels of them. 
 Bob returned to Whidbey that fall as a staff officer and instructor at VA-128, the west coast fleet replacement squadron that trained new A-6 pilots and BNs. At the commanding officer's request on several Friday all-officer's meetings Bob took the podium and tried to tell the staff and students what it had been like being in solitary in China for five and half years. What it was like to be handcuffed for up to sixty days at a time and have to eat off a plate like a dog. What it was like to be unable to drop your trousers and have to live in your own filth. What it was like to have only God and your loyalty to your country and your shipmates to sustain you. What it was like to be without hope and tortured beyond your ability to resist. And yet. and yet, with no resources except his inner strength, he never gave in.
 These sessions reduced Bob and most of his listeners to tears. Someone thought to videotape his lectures, but years later, when Bob tried to find the tapes, they had been lost. Another tragedy. 
 Bob Flynn was always a rebel. He carried a trumpet in the cockpit and broadcast the notes of Charge over the radio before he crossed the beach into North Vietnam. Not once, but every time. He was his own man, then and always. 
 After he returned from China, Bob had psychological problems. He was in therapy for years. The wounds finally scarred over. 
 In the early 1990s, after Bob retired from the Navy and at his request, I asked a friend of mine, former Washington Post military correspondent George C. Wilson, author of six terrific books, including Supercarrier and Mud Soldiers, to interview Bob and see if perhaps they could collaborate upon a book that would tell Bob's story. 
 George went to visit Bob, and came away discouraged. He told me, "Bob hasn't even talked to his kids about his experiences. He has put that part of his life away in a place he refuses to visit. I could rip the scars off, but I couldn't bandage them afterwards." The book never got written. 
 Of all the rare and honorable men I have met through the years, none impressed me as did Robert Flynn. America just lost a true son. 
 We who knew him will miss him deeply. Farewell, shipmate.
 Stephen Coonts
Thanks to Dick for this History of the USS Oriskany and her Airwing and what they went through.
The 50th anniversary of our Summer of '67 begins 14 July.

Seven months to the day the literally "still smoking" USS Oriskany tied up at San Francisco's Hunter's Point shipyard for major repairs, we again "set sail" for Yankee Station. During our previous explosion-fire shortened, second Rolling Thunder deployment, we'd lost almost half of Air Wing Sixteen's combat aircrews. Oriskany's extensive repairs and restricted availability limited our opportunity to train replacement pilots and flight deck personnel, and basic carrier qualifications continued as we crossed the wide Pacific. Operating beyond range of divert airfields was risky business, and we paid for it in operational losses enroute. The crossing predicted the nightmare that was our third Rolling Thunder deployment, July '67-January '68.

Facing the ever-increasing demands placed on Yankee Station operations by "Higher Authority," we were denied the usual arrival week of warm-up on Dixie Station . . . and sailed directly into the fiery hell that was our Summer of '67 air battle from Yankee Station. We were immersed in SecDef McNamara and President Johnson's "Dr Pepper" war, with major Alpha strikes in the morning, mid-day, and late afternoon. Ho Chi's gunners knew when we were coming; and thanks to SecState Dean Rusk's perverted sense of fairness, and his contacts through the Swiss Embassy, they knew exactly where we were going!

As I recall, the first time my highly motivated and talented, but desperately inexperienced, wingman Ensign John Laughter ever carried a full load of weapons on his F8C Crusader was into heavily defended Route Package 6B, which included Hanoi, During our first three days on Yankee, beginning 14 July, John and I participated in three major Alpha's, against Cam Pha harbor, Phu Ly trans-shipment point and Thai Binh bridge. My "Nugget" wingy was tempered by fire into cold steel during his first 72 hours on Yankee!

We had 22 aircraft hit by enemy fire during our first 22 days "back on the line." Eleven aircraft were downed, with 5 pilots KIA, 1 POW, and 5 recovered. We also lost 3 aircraft and 2 aircrewmen in operational accidents during that brief period of time. That turned out to be a relative piece-of-cake, when we followed with a record setting 58 consecutive days and nights of combat. That record was later eclipsed by the Kitty Hawk's 63.

Against fierce, coordinated enemy defenses, Oriskany's operating schedule was soon modified to include late afternoon/evening sorties to locate the day's downed pilots, and next-morning pre-dawn launches for attempted recoveries. That "routine" began on our second day on the line, with the rescue of LCDR Butch Verich of VF-162 from Phu Ly, after he was shot down for his second time. It continue 24 hours later with the rescue of VA-164's LT(jg) Larry Duthie and our bitter, very costly, failure to rescue their LCDR Dick Hartman. I don't recall ever getting more than four hours sleep on Yankee Station in '67. Same for my wingy and most of the Air Wing.

I encourage all readers of Admiral "Bear" Taylor's Rolling Thunder Remembered to follow the saga of Oriskany and Air Wing Sixteen, as his historical report enters the Yankee Station hell that was our Summer of '67.

Former TOPGUN Instructor and now noted Naval Aviation Historian Peter Fey titled his published research of Oriskany and her Air Wing, "Bloody Sixteen." Unfortunately, a well-earned recognition: Oriskany's combat deck- loading while conducting Rolling Thunder flight ops on Yankee was 65 aircraft and 72 pilots. During the 23 months of our three Rolling Thunder deployments, we had 242 aircraft hit by enemy fire, 62 were downed, and we lost another 31 to the hazards of bad weather and high tempo carrier flight operations. We suffered 56 aircrew killed in action, 12 became prisoners of war, and 5 were missing in action. The statistical probability of an Oriskany pilot surviving all three deployments was less than 30 percent. The probability of an Oriskany pilot being an atheist approached zero! The 50th anniversary of our Summer of  '67 begins 14 July. I pray we will all celebrate the memory of our dearly departed leaders, wingmen, and friends by contributing stories to the Admiral's historical research.

Very Respectfully,
Then LCDR Dick Schaffert aka Brown Bear aka Old Nick, and all-too-often, aka Pouncer
7 June 2017
See the Bear's Rolling Thunder below for more
With our thanks to THE Bear at
June 7, 2017  Bear Taylor 
RIPPLE SALVO… #459… On 19 May 1967 Commander Paul Speer and two of his five F-8 Crusader  TARCAP wingmen,  LT Phil Wood and LTJG Joe Shea, along with one of the six flak suppressors in the same strike group,  LCDR Bobby Lee, produced one of the great war stories of the Vietnam war… Humble Host has it all… but first…
Good Morning: Day FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT of a return to Operation Rolling Thunder, a by-passed chapter of American military history…
7 JUNE 1967… HEADLINES from The New York Times on a warm and fair Wednesday…
MIDDLE EAST CRISIS… ISRAEL SWEEPS AHEAD ON ALL FRONTS; SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS FOR CEASE-FIRE; EGYPT BREAKS WITH U.S., CLOSES SUEZ; ISRAELIS SEIZE GAZA AND PUSH SOUTH INTO SINAI… The war between Israel and the Arab nations raged through its second day as the Israelis moved with surprising swiftness into Jordan and the Sinai Desert. The Israelis swept around the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem including the Old City and dominated roads into the city. Israeli columns went through Mandelbaum Gate and reached Mount Scopes. Other Israeli troops reported capture of Gaza, a deep thrust in Sinai and farther south on the peninsula, a drive past Kumtella toward the approach to the Gulf of Aqaba. Syrian artillery pounded  Israels settlements north of the Sea of Galilee and Damascus claimed the capture of Shear-Yashiev. The Israelis denied this."…
EGYPTIAN TANKS BATTERED; JORDANIAN LINE COLLAPSES… ISRAELIS CONTROL ALL OF JERUSALEM…KUWAIT AND IRAQ CUT OFF ALL OIL FOR UNITED STATES… U.S. DENIES CHARGES BY CAIRO THAT U.S. HELPS FOE…BRITISH ALSO ACCUSED…U.N. IMPASSE ENDS; U.S. PROTOCOL VOTED…SOVIET DROPS PULLBACK DEMAND…6TH FLEET SHIPS IN HIGH STATE OF ALERT…"Carriers USS America and USS Saratoga are moving east in Readiness Condition three accompanied by the flag ship of Sixth Fleet Commander Admiral William Martin, USS Little Rock. The carrier decks are full of F-4s, A-4s and A-6s. Soviet Kashin-class destroyer #381 is following…"
Page 1: "New Mexican Band Eludes Pursuers"… "550 National Guardsmen and police are hunting land dispute rebels…Forty insurrectionists who demand 2,000 square miles of New Mexico under an old Spanish land grant eluded 350 National Guardsmen and 200 state policemen in the forested mountains of Carson National Forest. They are pursuing Relis Lopez Tijeras and his followers who are accused of shooting up a county courthouse yesterday and freeing 10 of their comrades who were under arrest. Governor David Cargo called out the National Guard."... Page 2: "House Votes to End Cropland Aid"… "The House, told that the United States must produce more food to meet Vietnam war needs and to combat starvation in asia, voted today to halt a two-year program in which farmers get paid to divert crop land to other uses."...Page 2: "Okinawa Shifting Attitude On Rule by U.S."... "Sentiment here in Naha, Okinawa appears to have swung over to 'gradual' return of Okinawa to Japanese civil jurisdiction instead of the immediate reversion widely demanded in the past. Condition of economy is a factor."…
Page 3: "Marines in Clash Near Buffer Zone"... "Small scale fighting erupted today near Khe Sanh in northwest South Vietnam where American Marines fought a 12-day battle in early May."... Page 3: "2,752 of Foe Killed in May"... "Marines killed a total of 2,752 North Vietnamese regulars in South Vietnam's northern most province in May. In March the number was 2,159."… "The Enemy Infiltration Route of Choice"... 50,000 North Vietnamese troops flow down to south Vietnam every year. As they enter the southern "panhandle" then head for "Ho Village" near Dong Hoi, in the southwestern-most corner of North Vietnam coming south on Highway 15. From there they cross the What Lee River and pass through Quangminh district into Laos, then down the Ho Chi Minh trail into Cambodia. They feed into South Vietnam on three routes that angle toward Kontum, Pleiku, and Tayninh. All travel in North Vietnam is at night and in Laos by day, using the jungle for cover. All clothing is left behind at Ho Village where the troops are issued new clothing with no North Vietnam markings…
7 June 1967… The President's TS Daily CIA Briefing… ARAB STATES-ISRAEL: At this point the shooting continues despite the UN ceasefire resolution. Early this morning Israel planes were hammering Jordanian positions outside Jerusalem. There also was some firing in the city last night. The Israelis appear to hold substantial portions of the Sinai Peninsula, and Cairo is ordering the Egyptian force at Sharm ash-Shaykh on the Straits of Tiran to withdraw. In fact, there are strong indications that the Egyptians may be withdrawing most if not all, of their forces from the Sinai…. There are no indications of any major Soviet military moves…The US Embassy in Cairo was not set on fire as reported in this morning's Washington Post... NORTH VIETNAM: Further analysis of n unusual article in the May issue of the North Vietnamese Party Journal shows that it was intended as an indirect, but unmistakable swipe at Mao Tse-tung. It is the first time Hanoi has made such an open display of its displeasure with Peking. The Chinese have been increasingly unhappy over Hanoi's close association with Moscow… The Article, ostensibly in honor of Ho's birthday, praises Ho's adherence to collective leadership–as opposed to the practices of "a certain leader." In an unmistakable reference to Mao's use of the Red Guards against the regular party apparatus, the article asserts that "a leader of the working class does not separate the working class from its vanguard, the Communist Party."… THE SOVIET UNION: "The Soviets appear to be working on several new strategic weapons. The latest satellite photography shows at least three land-based missiles and one submarine launched system under development… COMMUNIST CHINA: We continue to see signs of disorder in China…riots have taken place, rail lines are out and the regime's control is weakening in some localities…
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting PAUL HAROLD SPEER, Commander, United States Navy, the NAVY CROSS for EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM and ACHIEVEMENT as a pilot flying jet fighter aircraft attached to and serving with Fighter Squadron Two Hundred Eleven embarked in USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) in action against hostile enemy forces in North Vietnam on 19 March 1967. As the flight leader of six F-8 aircraft on a very special and important mission against the Hanoi thermal power plant in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Commander SPEER astutely planned the defensive formation to maximize the protection of the bombers, yet still give the fighters the flexibility for evasive maneuvering and initiating or countering MIG attacks. En route to the target the flight was taken under a vicious and intense surface-to-air missile attack coupled with MIG-17 fighters slashing at the group. Although having to maneuver violently to evade the missiles, Commander SPEER directed the fighters in successfully turning away the enemy. As the flight approached the target area, a rapidly increasing concentration of antiaircraft fire of all calibers was directed against it. Cooley, ignoring this fire, Commander SPEER led the fighters through the precise tactical maneuvers required to protect the A-4 aircraft during target acquisition and weapons release. By the time the strike had reached the target the enemy defenses had downed one F-8 and others were damaged. Nevertheless, Commander SPEER maintained the tactical formation. As the bombers retired from the target the F-8s and MIGs were engaged in a classic aerial battle with the additional hazards of surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft fire being directed at them. Calmly ignoring all threats except the MIGs, Commander SPEER brought under fire and destroyed, with a Sidewinder missile, a MIG that had closed the A-4 aircraft. As the MIG exploded on the ground Commander SPEER's wingman, while maintaining his tactical position, was able to score a kill with a Sidewinder on another MIG that had gained an attack position on the bombers. By now all the F-8s, including the eight flak suppressors, were engaged with MIGs. During this aerial melee two more MIGs were downed and one damaged at the cost of another F-8 destroyed. Only through dedicated leadership, exemplary airmanship and dauntless courage was Commander SPEER able to protect the strike group against the estimated 12 MIGs that had the advantage of operating within their own radar control. With complete disregard for his own personal safety and heroic determination to protect the A-4 aircraft, he fought the MIGs while being subjected to intense surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft fire, Commander SPEER's extraordinary bravery and courage along with his aeronautical skill and heroic deeds in this aerial battle will be remembered and are examples of the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service…….
Humble Host continues this tale in Ripple Salvo below…
7 June 1967… OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER…New York Times (8 June reporting 7 June ops)… Page 6: "The Khe Sanh fighting was the only significant ground action reported today (Marines kill 63 in one day battle), but in the air war over the North Navy fighter-bombers reported having destroyed one MIG and having damaged four others on the ground during a raid on Kep airfield, 37 miles northwest of Hanoi. No United States aircraft were lost in today's strikes, but yesterday a Navy F-8 Crusader was hit by ground fire as it crossed the coast on a strike near Vinh, 160 miles south of Hanoi. The pilot (LTJG T.R. Hall) turned out to sea and ejected into the Gulf of Tonkin where he was rescued by a helicopter from the destroyer England. The loss was the 573rd downed over North Vietnam. The Air Force and Navy pilots flew 88 missions during the day. Air Force Thunderchiefs attacked three railroad yards within 50 miles of the capital. The major targets were the Bacgiang railroad yard where the Thunderchiefs tore up 1,000 feet of track and the Viettre yard, 31 miles from Hanoi. Fighter-bombers knocked out the eastern span of a railroad bridge bypass 18 miles northwest of Hanoi. Navy pilots from the carrier Constellation destroyed 3 bridges near Vinh and Thanh Hoa."…
"Vietnam: Air Losses" (Chris Hobson) There was one fixed wing aircraft lost in Southeast Asia on 7 June 1967…
(1) MAJOR ALVIE WAYNE GAPP was flying a U-10B of the 5th ACS and 14th ACW out of Nha Trang and inexplicably crashed on takeoff on a psychological warfare mission from Bien Hoa. MAJOR GAPP was killed in action fifty years ago this day and is remembered for his sacrifice and service to our country.
RIPPLE SALVO… #459… Commander PAUL SPEER was in great company when he led the target cover for the A-4 Walleye shooters who put the lights out in Hanoi on 19 May 1967. As you may remember, this was the mission that the President himself was involved in. This was the mission that waited for the Walleye, a precision guided weapon that had the best chance to avoid civilian casualties, which was the most important consideration in the mind of the Secretary of State. The world was watching. and Hanoi knew what was coming–and they were ready. The Walleyes did a fair job on May 19 and 20. But without the fighter coverage provided by the eight target cover F-8s and eight flak suppressors, all of whom helped make stopping the two A-4s from penetrating the toughest, most heavily defended target in history, it is unlikely they would have survived to deliver their smart weapons. Two of Commander SPEER's flight of six F-8 Crusaders nailed MIGs right behind their fearless leader. A fourth MIG was downed by flak suppressor come MIG killer LCDR BOBBY LEE. All were awarded well deserved SILVER STARS for their roles in what has been described as "the greatest jet victory in Naval Aviation history."… Gangway, F-8 Crusader warriors…
LTJG JOSEPH MERRILL SHEA, VF-211, was Commander SPEER's wingman through thick and angry skies that day… "LTJG SHEA was wingman to the flight leader of six F-8 aircraft assigned to escort and provide target combat patrol for a group of A4 aircraft. While en route to the target the flight was subjected to intense anti-aircraft fire of ll calibers, a vicious surface-to-air missile barrage and slashing attacks by MIG fighters. LTJG SHEA displayed extraordinary gallantry and determination at great personal risk by at all times covering the flight leader while protecting the vulnerable A4 aircraft. In an aerial engagement that began as the bombers retired from the target, LTJG SHEA by his superior airmanship and boundless courage shot down a MIG-17 with a Sidewinder missile while at the same time he was evading surface-to-air missiles and calmly ignoring the heavy enemy flak all around him. LTJG SHEA's heroic action and flawless devotion to duty while exposed to prolonged personal hazard from the enemy defenses were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service."
LT PHILIP RAY WOOD, VF-24, was flying lead of the third section of F-8s behind Commander SPEER… "During the approach to the target area the strike group was intercepted by an enemy MIG. LT WOOD engaged the aircraft and forced it to break off its attack. He continued to provide protection for the strike group despite the intense and accurate automatic weapon, light, medium and heavy anti-aircraft artillery. LT WOOD's aircraft was hit by fire from another MIG aircraft. Calmly and expertly outmaneuvering the enemy aircraft, LT WOOD shot it down with a Sidewinder missile. All his ordnance expended and his aircraft badly damaged, LT WOOD retired from the area. LT WOOD's courage, airmanship and devotion to duty in the face of intense enemy opposition were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United Sates Naval Service."
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER BOBBY CLYDE LEE, VF-24, was flying as the second section leader in a flight of eight F-8 flak suppressors. "During the approach to the target the strike group was taken under fire by several surface-to-air missile sites which launched a least 25 missiles toward it. Anti-aircraft fire from the largest concentration of light, medium and heavy anti-aircraft artillery in North Vietnam was directed against the flight. Lieutenant Commander LEE delivered his ordnance on his assigned flak site reducing its fire considerably. During his retirement from the target, Lieutenant Commander LEE engaged an enemy MIG fighter and destroyed it with a Sidewinder missile while avoiding intense enemy anti-aircraft artillery, automatic weapons and missiles. Lieutenant Commander LEE's courage, airmanship and devotion to duty under intense enemy opposition were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
19 May 1967 was a great day for some. However, the Bonny Dick losses of LCDR KAY RUSSEL, VF-211, and LTJG WILLIAM JOHN METZGER, VF-24, to the enemy to spend the rest of the war, six years, as POWs made the day a bitter-sweet memory for all. In addition, losses on USS Enterprise and USS Kitty Hawk on that day totaled four aircraft lost and eight aviators KIA or POW… It was called Black Friday…
Lest we forget…    Bear

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