Monday, December 11, 2017

TheList 4608

To All
I hope that your weekend is going well. Here are a couple of articles from Hal that are interesting and informative.
The Truth about Pearl Harbor
Captain Harold K. Strunk, U.S. Navy, Retired
To understand the 'why' of Pearl Harbor, we need to revisit what was going on in Europe in the days leading up to the attack.  World War One ended with victors, but no winners.  Germany had failed in their quest to expand their borders and the British and the Germans lost an entire generation of young men. In the first day of the Battle of the Somme, Britain lost 21,000 men killed. Not wounded, Killed.  We entered the war four years after it began and the Brits called us "Johnny Come Latelys".  Yet we lost 117,000 young men who are buried all over Western Europe.
At war's end, the Treaty of Versailles was so punitive to the Germans that it sowed the seeds for the rise of Adolph Hitler and World War Two.  For years the Germans were preparing to take over all of Western Europe, building a war machine to carry out a Blitzkrieg.  In 1938, Germany invaded the Sudetenland and in 1938 annexed Austria. One year later he added Czechoslavakia. Then in September of 1939 Hitler invaded Poland which forced France and Britain to enter the war. Nine months later the German Army drove the British and the French armies into the sea at Dunkirk.  Prime Minister Churchill called for everyone who could sail a boat across the English Channel to go and rescue our soldiers.  Thousands responded.  Personally I believe Hitler let them escape hoping that Great Britain would remain neutral.  It seemed that all Hitler wanted was Continental Europe. With all of Western Europe under German occupation, in June of 1941, Hitler turned East and broke the Non-aggression Pact he had signed with Josef Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union.
Hitler kept the pressure on the British with his wolf pack of submarines sinking almost every supply ship that tried to reach England.  They were clearly in trouble.  With that, Churchill needed to get the United States into the war in Europe to come, once more, to Britain's rescue.  His pressure on President Roosevelt never let up.
However, the mood in America was not what you might imagine.  Adolph Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1938.  Hitler awarded his highest civilian honor, The Order of the Golden Eagle, to Henry Ford who had built a factory for him. Our Ambassador to England, Joe Kennedy, was openly praising Hitler. So was Charles Lindberg.  And the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor were such an embarrassment to Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he had them banished to Bermuda.  Standard Oil of New Jersey was fueling German U-boats and tankers at Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Rockefeller's Chase Bank was one of Hitler's banks.
In the 'thirties I lived in a section of New York City that was entirely German.  American Germans filled Madison Square Garden in a rally supporting Hitler.  And needless to say, they were rooting for Max Schmeling when he fought Joe Louis at the Garden.
Roosevelt's problem was that he had promised while campaigning in August, 1941, that no American boys would be sent again to fight in European wars.  Europe was always at war.  And Roosevelt knew that Germany was not going to attack us.  They wanted us to be neutral.  After all, Hitler had seen the Americans in combat before.  He had been a corporal in World War I and had been awarded Germany's highest medal, the Iron Cross for heroism.
However, President Roosevelt knew of a way.  Germany had signed a pact with Italy and Japan.  War with one was war with all.  So the plan evolved to force Japan to attack us.  The American public was very isolationist in those days, so it would have to be something that would enrage us and take us into war.
Roosevelt came into possession of an eight point memorandum written on 7 October 1940 by Navy LCDR Arthur McCollum to the Office of Naval Intelligence.  Implementation of these eight points would provoke Japan to attack us. It was economic strangulation.
McCollum had grown up in Japan and spoke Japanese fluently. He knew the Japanese people well.
So President Roosevelt then set our course in history.  There are those that still say that we never broke the Japanese codes. Listen closely to this…fact is, the Japanese diplomatic and naval codes were being broken years before Pearl Harbor.  All Tokyo diplomatic messages intended for Japanese missions in America passed through the RCA radio communications systems.  Voice telephone service to and from Japan went through American Telephone and Telegraph offices near Market Street in San Francisco.  Radio messages for Japanese merchant marine vessels originated in San Francisco at Globe Wireless.
On New Year's Day, January 1, 1941 Navy Chief Radioman O.C. Coonce at Station CAST, Corregidor, intercepted the Japanese Navy's
5-Number code detailing the move of Japanese naval forces into French Indo China.  On April 22nd, Radioman Leroy Lankford intercepted messages indicating the formation of a new fleet placing all ten of
Japan's aircraft carriers under the command of MI KI 99, his code name, aboard the Carrier Akagi.  With radio direction finders they located the carrier and reported its location to Washington.  Further they determined that MI KI 99 is VADM Chuichi Nagumo.
On May 1st the Japanese Navy changed its code to Yobidashi Fugo HYOO 8.  It changed every radio address in the Japanese Navy.  They felt this would protect the security of their warships and senior officers.
Ten days later, Station CAST identified the new call sign of the Akagi as
HA MI 9. Using radio direction finders they located Akagi at the Sasebo Naval Base on Kyushu.
On June 20th, VADM Nagumo was detected in radio communications with the flagship of Japan's submarine force, Katori.
By August, 1941 six Navy Radio Stations were intercepting Japanese messages usually operating on 6775 kilocycles.  They are Station CAST on Corregidor, Station VICTOR in American Samoa, Station KING in
Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Station TARE at Point St. George, California,        Station HYPO on Hawaii, and Station X which is still classified to this
day but believed to be the British-owned Makay Radio and Telegraph station at Half Moon Bay, California.
On average, the Navy was intercepting four or more messages a day.
Then on November 25th, ADM Isoroku Yamamoto ordered the Carrier Task Force to open hostilities with the United States Fleet in Hawaii.
On  November 26th, 1941, Japan's First Air Fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo departed Hitokappu Bay with orders to attack Pearl Harbor on 8 December 1941 (Tokyo time). 
On December 1st, Elliot Okins, the watch supervisor at Station HYPO in Hawaii intercepted a message to Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet and Commander in Chief, China Fleet and from Chief, Navy General Staff. That was top Admiral Osami Nagano. When decoded it read:
  1. It has been decided to enter into a state of war between the Imperial Government on one side, and the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands during the first part of December.
  2. The C in C Combined Fleet will destroy the enemy forces and air strength in the eastern seas at the same time will meet any attack by the enemy fleet and destroy it.
  3. The C in C Combined Fleet will, in cooperation with the Commander of the Southern Army, speedily capture and hold important American and British bases in Eastern Asia and then Dutch bases.
  4. C in C Combined Fleet will in case of necessity cooperate with the operations of China Area Fleet.
  5. The time for activating the movements of forces in accordance with preceding articles will be given at a later order.
  6. Execution of details will be as directed by Chief of the Naval General Staff.
Admiral Nagano's orders were followed immediately.  Admiral Yamamoto transmitted, "Climb Mount Niitaka", the Start- the- War message in Japan's Naval Code.
By 4 December Station CAST on Corregidor had identified and located by radio direction finders the carriers Akagi, Zuikaku, and Hiryu. 
The fleet was also heard and being tracked by stations in Dutch Harbor, Seattle, Samoa and San Diego. 
Even the steamship SS Lurline heard them as she steamed between San Francisco and Hawaii.  They were also picking up messages between Nagumo and Admiral Yamamoto.  Feeling that their codes were secure, they were careless.  There were 31 ships within the fleet and they were often heard as they steamed across the deserted Northern Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii. 
All coded radio intercepts were copied and were routed to Station US in Washington, DC to be decrypted.  Only they could decode the intercepted number and letter groups.
When these messages were decoded, there were only thirty-six individuals cleared to read them. Among them was the President, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold R. Stark, Director of Naval Intelligence Captain William S. Anderson, Commander US Army Forces Philippines General Douglas MacArthur, Lt Commander Joseph J. Rochefort Commander US Navy Radio Station HYPO at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, Lieutenant John Lietwiler commander US Navy Radio Station CAST Corregidor, Captain William A. Heard, Far Eastern Division, Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC, Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner, Navy War Plans Officer, Washington, DC, Commander Arthur McCollum, head of Far East Section, Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC, Lt Commander Edwin Layton, Pacific Fleet Intelligence Officer at Pearl Harbor, Agnes Meyer Driscoll, Chief Civilian Cryptanalyst for the US Navy, Washington, DC, and Colonel William Friedman, US Army Cryptanalyst, Washington, DC. 
These were the only people who received the decoded messages that the Japanese Fleet was on its way to attack Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
The commanders on Hawaii, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were NOT on that list. Let me repeat that.  The two commanders who most needed the information were kept in the dark. 
The message that would tell them to expect an attack was sent Routine Priority, not Flash, and arrived after the attack. 
Many, including LCDR Rochefort and LCDR Layton reported to Admiral Kimmel., yet they stood by, lips sealed, and watched as their commanders took all the blame. Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed a surprise attack to get us into the war, and with this, he got it.
So, yes, Roosevelt knew, as did many other high-ranking officers and officials. What was needed was a surprise attack to enrage the American people.  The attack on Pearl Harbor did just that.  Within days, the German Parliament declared war on the United States.  We were now free to go to Britain and Europe's aid.
Contributing to the success of the Japanese attack was something going on within the Navy as well as the Army Air Corps.  There were the Battleship Admirals and there were the Station Keepers.  When the warlords came into port, they expected the base to be ready for them.  Then there was this Army aviator, BGEN Billy Mitchell, who in 1925 had demonstrated that an airplane could sink a battleship.  The navy didn't think much of it, but the Japanese did.
Mitchell's insubordination brought a Court Martial and he was reduced in rank to a Colonel and retired. To the day he died he told all that would listen that the future was in airplanes and aircraft carriers.  It is pleasing to note that four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was the sixteen B-25 bombers named after Billy Mitchell that launched from the USS Hornet that bombed mainland Japan.
There are many who believe that the sailors were asleep that Sunday, December 7th. After all, there had been a Big Band competition all week at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and US Navy Band Number 22 of the USS Arizona was a leading contender. But on that morning, all the bandsmen were dressed in their whites and on the fantail ready to play                                             
the Star Spangled Banner at 8 AM.  Then at 7:55 the attack began and boatswains mates yelled down the hatches, "Battle stations, this is no drill."                                                
The twenty-one bandsmen's battle station was below decks in the magazine.  They would pass up the gunpowder bags to the big guns above.  My friend Molly Kent's brother Clyde was one of them.  When the Arizona was hit the powder magazine exploded and nothing was left of them.  Twenty-four hundred sailors, marines and soldiers died that morning.
Blame was quickly assigned to Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short.  They were Discharged for Dereliction of Duty, reduced in rank, and discharged in disgrace from the service they loved so well.
They demanded a Court Martial to clear their names.  But a Military Court Martial would bring out the facts, so it was not to be.
Years ago our Congress voted to exonerate Admiral Kimmel and General Short and restore them to their four-star rank, but no president has signed the order, even though the truth is clear.
So, still in the minds of many, the myth of a surprise attack lives on.
The Ravens of Long Tieng, the War you didn't hear about ...
Thanks to Hal and Dutch …
Those of us who flew T-28's know about the Ravens … brave group!!
   Here is a story very, very few know anything about. It was a secret war conducted in and around Laos while the big war was going on in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were bringing their supplies down a trail that paralleled the border of Vietnam, and would then cross over and supply their troops wherever they were. The CIA set up operations in Laos to disrupt, if not stop this supply like.  I know that some of you, John, Brent and a few others were watching the Ho Chi Minh Trail and reporting traffic coming by at arm's length so that our planes could bomb them.  The men who came to be known as Ravens were Forward Observers who spotted and directed the attacks on the North Vietnamese.  Most if not all were active duty military who were sheepdipped to the CIA and a few others flew cargo and air support as pilots and crew for Air America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CIA. While not mentioned in this account, there were the technicians who manned the TACAN at Lima Site 85 on Phou Pha Thi mountain and who directed our fighter-bombers coming out of Thailand to their targets in North Vietnam.  Many of our Air Force and Navy pilots died on these missions because as we learned not long ago, Secretary of Defense McNamara gave tomorrow's target list to the Swiss Embassy to relay to the North Vietnamese so that we would not kill any civilians.  Burn in Hell.  This LS85 fell with most Americans dying in the attack by NVA sappers who climbed the cliffs.  
   I met several of the Ravens at Lucy's Tiger Den in Bangkok long ago, and several more who were members of American Legion China Post 1, Shanghai. We used to meet for Chinese New Year's at the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain.  Singha at 38 degrees and a 24/7 Hospitality Room. Fred Platt was one of the more colorful and you'll read about him here in the text. And General Aderholt who headed the Air Commandos was a member as well.
   Tiger Rydberg and his wife Lucy owned the bar and it was the 'crossroads of the expats'. Tiger was a Vice-Commander of China Post One, as was JC Bond who had been a loadmaster for Air America and now worked for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. Long ago and Far Away.  Most have gone West now.....
   Thanks to LCOL Sam, USA/SF and Sam's warriors for what follows.

Ravens of Long Tieng

In the remote highlands of Laos, U.S. Air Force pilots fought a secret war ...


No comments:

Post a Comment