Monday, May 6, 2019

The List 4989




The List 4989 TCB

To All,

I hope that you all had great weekend.

Regards,


Skip



This day in Naval History May 6, 2019

1860 The sloop-of-war Portsmouth, commanded by John Calhoun, captures the slaver brig Falmouth off Porto Praya.

1908 The Great White Fleet anchors in San Francisco Bay, Calif. The fleet is delayed from its round-the-world cruise after both Rear Adm. Robley D. Evans and Rear Adm. Charles M. Thomas fall ill. On May 15, Rear Adm. Charles S. Sperry assumed command and completes the cruise ending Feb. 22, 1909.

1916 The first ship-to-shore radio telephone voice conversation was held on board USS New Hampshire (BB 25) off the Virginia Capes.

1944 USS Buckley (DE 51) rams German submarine U 66 while TBMs (VC 55) from USS Block Island (CVE 21) attack U 66 near Cape Verdes.

1945 USS Farquhar (DE 139) sinks the last German submarine, U 881, in the North Atlantic.

1995 USNS Laramie (T-AO 203) is launched at the Avondale Shipyard, Inc. at New Orleans, La. The Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler is operated by the Military Sealift Command. The Laramie enters non-commissioned U.S. Navy service May 7, 1996.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

Today’s national headlines include continued coverage of a plane sliding off a runway in Florida and the UNC Charlotte shooting hero will be buried with military honors. Defense News sat down with Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) to discuss how the 7th Fleet has changed following the deadly collisions of 2017. The New York Times reports that the White House announced on Sunday that the U.S. is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group along with Air Force bombers to the Middle East in the face of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” related to Iran. Additionally, Reuters reports that USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

This Day in World History May 6

1527 German troops begin sacking Rome. Libraries are destroyed, the Pope is captured and thousands are killed.

1529 Babur defeats the Afghan Chiefs in the Battle of Ghaghra, India.

1682 King Louis XIV moves his court to Versailles, France.

1856 U.S. Army troops from Fort Tejon and Fort Miller prepare to ride out to protect Keyesville, California, from Yokut Indian attack.

1861 Arkansas becomes the ninth state to secede from the Union.

1862 Henry David Thoreau dies of tuberculosis at age 44.

1864 In the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Confederate Gen. James Longstreet is wounded by his own men.

187Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to U.S. troops in Nebraska. Crazy Horse brought General George Custer to his end.

1937 The dirigible Hindenburg explodes in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

1941 Bob Hope gives his first USO show at California's March Field.

1942 General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders Corregidor to the Japanese.

1944 The Red Army besieges and captures Sevastopol in the Crimea.

1945 Axis Sally makes her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1954 British runner Roger Bannister breaks the four minute mile.

1960 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960.

1962 The first nuclear warhead is fired from a Polaris submarine.

1994 The Channel Tunnel linking England to France is officially opened.

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“This Day in Aviation History” brought to you by the Daedalians Airpower Blog Update. To subscribe to this weekly email, go to https://daedalians.org/airpower-blog/.

This Week in Aviation Heritage


May 5, 1917

Secretary of War Newton D. Baker agreed to a proposal from the Secretary of the Navy concerning the establishment of a joint board for the purpose of standardizing the design and specifications of aircraft. The board subsequently established was initially called the “Joint Technical Board on Aircraft, Except Zeppelins.”

May 6, 1914

A Curtiss AH–3 hydroairplane, flown by Lt. P. N. L. Bellinger and Lt. R. C. Saufley of the Navy in a reconnaissance mission over Mexican positions near Vera Cruz, became the first U.S. airplane hit by hostile ground fire. Bellinger was Daedalian Founder Member #2101. Saufley was #13307.

May 7, 1958

Maj. Major Howard C. Johnson, the operations officer of the 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at Hamilton AFB, California, zoom-climbed a Lockheed F-104A Starfighter, serial number 55-2957, to an altitude of 91,243 feet over Edwards AFB, establishing a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale altitude record. Major Johnson was part of a group of engineers and pilots awarded the Robert J. Collier Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association in 1958 for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics” because of their involvement in the Lockheed F-104 program.

May 8, 1911

The Navy ordered its first airplane, an A–1 amphibian, from Glenn Curtiss. By July the service was flying this aircraft at Hammondsport, New York.

May 9, 1932

Capt. Albert Francis Hegenberger, Air Corps, United States Army, flew the first solo instrument approach and landing, using a system which he had developed, at McCook Field, Ohio. The Hegenberger system, which was adopted by both civil and military aviation authorities, used a series of non-directional radio beacons and marker beacons on the ground, along with a radio-compass and other gyroscopic instruments and radio receivers aboard the aircraft, a Consolidated NY-2 biplane. This flight was the first solo blind instrument flight, approach and landing. (Lt. James H. Doolittle had made a blind instrument flight in 1929, but he carried a safety pilot aboard.) For his accomplishment, Captain Hegenberger was awarded an oak leaf cluster (a second award) for his Distinguished Flying Cross, and received the Collier Trophy, an annual award for the greatest achievement in aeronautics in America. He was Daedalian Founder Member #3827.

May 10, 1911


Lt. George Kelly becomes the first Army pilot to die in an airplane. He crashed to avoid striking encamped soldiers. While Lt. Thomas Selfridge died earlier (Sept. 17, 1908), he was flying as an observer, not as a pilot. Selfridge was the first person, and the first active duty person, to die in an aircraft crash. Kelly was Daedalian Founder Member #575, and Selfridge was #544.


May 11, 1964

The first prototype North American Aviation XB-70A-1-NA Valkyrie, 62-0001, was rolled out at Air Force Plant 42 near Palmdale, California. More than 5,000 people were there to watch. In August 1960, the U.S. Air Force had contracted for one XB-70 prototype and 11 pre-production YB-70 development aircraft. By 1964, however, the program had been scaled back to two XB-70As and one XB-70B. Only two were actually completed.

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Thanks to THE Bear -

COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 10-16 FEBRUARY 1969…WEEK FOURTEEN OF THE HUNT…

May 5, 2019Bear Taylor

COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 10-16 FEBRUARY 1969…WEEK FOURTEEN OF THE HUNT…

COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR (1961-1973)…

IN THE WEEK ENDING 9 FEBRUARY 1969 ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-THREE (183) U.S. TROOPS WERE KILLED IN COMBAT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND AN ADDITIONAL 541 WERE HOSPITALIZED WITH COMBAT INJURIES. OUR SOUTH VIETNAMESE PARTNERS LOST 223 KIA AND 966 WOUNDED. ENEMY LOSSES (“Body Count”) WERE PUT AT 2,264… In Washington a general reported to a Senate committee that the enemy was losing 10 soldiers for every American trooper who fell in combat. Senator Hollings blunt response: “Westy, the American people don’t care about the ten. They care about the one.” Total American war fighters KIA so far in the Vietnam war: 31,580… LEST WE FORGET…

Good Morning. It’s Monday, 6 May 2019. Humble Host remembers WEEK FOURTEEN of OPERATION COMMANDO HUNT I–THE HUNT FOR TRUCKS on the Ho Chi Minh Trail…

HEADLINES from The NEW YORK TIMES (10-16 FEBRUARY 1969)…

THE WAR IN VIETNAM… (10 Feb) THREE AMERICAN CIVILIANS SEIZED BY FOE IN VIETNAM–Car of Americans is Abandoned and Ransacked–Two Executed by Vietcong, Third Hospitalized With Burns… (11 Feb) MORE ENEMY CACHES UNCOVERED BY ALLIES IN THE SAIGON AREA– “United States and South Vietnamese forces have uncovered several more stockpiles of enemy supplies in the area around Saigon in the last 24 hours….South Vietnamese troops meanwhile are still digging out the weapons and ammunition they discovered yesterday about 25 miles from Tayninh. Subsequent reports said that the cache contained 50 240mm rockets, a type and size never seen before in the Vietnam war. The rockets are almost nine feet long and have a range of about 20 miles.”… (12 Feb) SAIGON’S TROOPS REPEL A VIETCONG ATTACK IN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS–Two Clashes Near Saigon… (13 Feb) MARINE SEARCH-AND-CLEAR DRIVE IS ON IN VIETNAM–115 of Foe Killed in Two Areas… “…the operation seven miles from the Laotian border has been underway since Jan.22…Marine losses were put at 18 killed in action and 63 wounded.”… (14 Feb) FOE ON OFFENSIVE IN SHARP CLASHES–U.S. Marines Are Attacked In Sweep Near Quangtri... (15 Feb) LIGHT ACTIONS ADD UP TO HEAVY CASUALTIES–Two Days Of Operations Near U.S. Base North of Hue Brings Clashes Typical of Those Throughout the War… by B. Drummond Ayres, Jr… Fire Base Sally…”For the last five months the daily war communique issued in Saigon have for the most part reported ‘light and sporadic’ action. But each week, about 2,500-3,500 allied and enemy soldiers have been killed. In the week ended Feb. 1 the total was reported as 3,630.”… (16 Feb) ALLIES IN VIETNAM CALL A TET TRUCE LASTING 24-HOURS–Shortness Of Period Reflects Fear of Enemy Offensive Similar to Last Year’s–Heavy Guard in Saigon–Vietcong Begin Their 7-Day Cease-fire–3 U.S. Copters Downed with 5 Killed…


THE PARIS PEACE TALKS… (10 Feb) KY WILLING TO MEET VIETCONG IF HANOI WITHDRAWS TROOPS… “Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam said today that his Government would be willing to negotiate a political settlement directly with the Vietcong after North Vietnam withdrew its troops from his country.”... (11 Feb) LEADER OF HANOI TEAM IN PARIS FLYING HOME FOR CONSULTATIONS–Tho To Stop In Moscow and Peking–Trip Considered Significant, But Interpretations of Purpose Differ… HARRIMAN URGES EARLY MOVE ON VIETNAM DISENGAGEMENT… (13 Feb) SECRET MEETING OF U.S. OFFICIALS WITH HANOI AIDES IS REPORTED… “…based on information supplied by the north Vietnamese and Cietcong side… the United States delegation had requested the confidential contact to protest alleged enemy attacks on the city of Hue…the protest had been rejected.”... (14 Feb) PARIS TALKS RESUME–DEADLOCK CONTINUES–Fourth Session of Peace Talks Fails To End Impasse… “… The restatement of earlier proposals and demands, repetitions of old charges, and even occasional invective at the session sounded perfunctory. It lasted 6 hours and 10 minutes.”… (15 Feb) NORTH VIETNAMESE AGAIN TELL OF SECRET MEETING… “…strengthened impression that Washington had indeed attempted to invlove Hanoi in a new round of confidential bargaining…After yesterday’s fourth plenary session of the broadened peace talks (our side–your side), the leaders of all four delegations agreed that no progress had been made since substantive talks opened on Jan. 25.”… (16 Feb) TWO SIDES IN VIETNAM TALKS CONFER SEPARATELY IN PARIS…


OTHER NEW YORK TIMES HEADLINES: 10-16 Feb 1969… (10 Feb) 15″ SNOWFALL DISRUPTS TRAVEL–Schools To Close–Storm Blankets Wide Area of Atlantic Coast–Massive Tie-Ups Are Threatened For Today–Emergency Is Declared–Stalled Cars Clog Streets–Airports Shut–Long Island Railroad Suspends All Service… JOHNSON CONCEDES HE FAILED TO WIN THE TRUST OF YOUTH… LAIRD SAYS SOVIET SPURS MISSILE NET–It Spends Far More Than U.S. On Defense Systems, the Secretary of Defense Asserts… PRESENCE OF B-52s STIRS OKINAWA RESENTMENT–Islanders Opposition Could Impair Effective Operation of Big U.S. Military Base… TESTIMONY OF PUEBLO CREWMEN RAISES QUESTIONS AND CONFLICTS… BILLY CASPER WINS BOB HOPE OPEN AND TOP PRIZE OF $20,000 of $122,000 Purse… (11 Feb) A PARALYZED CITY DIGS OUT OF SNOW–14 Dead, 68 Hurt–6,000 Stranded Second Day… RUSSIAN MARSHALL VISITS EAST BERLIN AS TENSION RISES–Surprise Visit Follows Announcerment of New Access Restrictions–Allies Denounce Curbs–Warsaw Pact Commander’s Mission Unclear–Nixon To Go To City Despite Crisis… NEGRO MARCHERS END SECOND LEG–Arrive In Washington, N.C. In Segregation Protest… (12 Feb) HAVANA ACCEPTS U.S. PLAN TO HELP HIGH JACKING VICTIMS–Action To Speed The Return of Passengers–But Problem Remains–Move By Cuba Still Awaited On Prosecution of Those Who Pirate Aircraft… MIAMI RIOTS LAID TO DEPRIVATIONS–Disorder While G.O.P. Met Held Non-Political By panel… MONTREAL STUDENTS WRECK $1-MILLION COMPUTER AS POLICE END RACISM SIT-IN… PUEBLO CREWMAN SAYS DESTRUCTION OF PAPERS LASTED 10 TO 15 MINUTES… (13 Feb) TWO NATIONS IN WARSAW BLOC SCORE MOVE BY SOVIETS–Parley Of Italian Communists Hears Yugoslavia and Rumanian… “Yugoslav and Rumanian delegates to the Italian Communist party congress drew enthusiastic applause today for a blunt, unqualified condemnation of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia last August.”… SYRIAN MIG-21 JET DOWNED BY ISRAELIS… ISRAELIS IN U.N. SAY U.A.R. DIRECTS ARAB GUERRILLAS–Terms Operations Violation of Cease-Fire–Tension Mounts… (14 Feb) PENTAGON DOUBTS NIXON WILL ALTER SENTINEL PROJECT–A Delay For Soviet Talks Of Shift To Minuteman Sites Called Very Unlikely–Expansion Also Barred–Laird Defends Present Plan As Effective and Stresses Threat of China Attack… TROOPS USE TEAR GAS AT UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN–Protesters Disrupt Duke and CCNY–Madison Calms Down… PROSECUTOR SAYS SIRHAN STALKED ROBERT KENNEDY FOR DAYS BEFORE THE KILLING… PUEBLO SKIPPER TELLS OF DIFFERENCES OF OPINION WITH HIS EXECUTIVE OFFICER… PRESIDENT MAY FORGO STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS… (15 Feb) PERUVIANS ATTACK U.S. FISHING BOATS AND CAPTURE ONE–Tuna Craft Is Freed After Captain Pays Fine–Two in Fleet Are Damaged–Crew Reported Unhurt–SecState Rogers Expresses Serious Concern Over Incident To Lima’s Ambassador… REDS TEST RADIO JAMMING IN BERLIN’S AIR CORRIDOR… NEGRO MARCHERS ARRIVE AT RALEIGH… (16 Feb) GALLUP POLL SEES CONCERN ON CRIME–Survey Finds Public Favors Hard Line By Courts…HUNGER IN AMERICA–Stark Deprivation Haunts a Land of Plenty…PROTESTS FOUND LIKELY TO ENDURE–Professor Says Turbulence On Campus Is Permanent…


COMMANDO HUNT I … “HO CHI MINH TRAIL REVISITED: VIETNAM’S DEATH MARCH”…

The battlefield for COMMANDO HUNT and STEEL TIGER was Southern Laos and the infiltration route of the North Vietnamese for the entire war, 1961-1973. The following Washington Post feature article by KEITH B. RICHBURG, ran on page A33 on 26 April 1990. This is the story of life and death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which John Prados called THE BLOODY ROAD, the title of his book on the war in Laos. Before reading the article Humble Host suggests readers first review the extraordinary photographs of the Laotian environment and the “bloody road” in this web site’s Photographs link on the Home Page. Then read on…

“HO CHI MINH TRAIL REVISITED: VIETNAM’S DEATH MARCH”… “Death hunted us like a bad dream…”

“Ho Chi Minh City (Formerly Saigon), Vietnam (Formerly South Vietnam)– What Nguyen Thanh Linh remembers most vividly about his first journey along the Ho Chi Min Trail in 1965 was the death and destruction wrought by tons of American bombs. ‘I saw many bombed and burned trucks,’ said the former North Vietnamese army lieutenant. ‘You could see them after they had been pushed down the ravine, and the remains of the drivers were still inside.’ Linh spent countless anxious hours in underground bomb shelters along the trail, an elaborate complex of jungle and mountain trails and roads that wound from North Vietnam through Laos into Cambodia and South Vietnam. When the bombs came–some 4 million tons of them over eight (twelve) years– soldiers would sing patriotic songs, trying to drown out the roar of the bombers’ engines and the deafening explosions outside. Some would scream invectives at the American pilots. Linh recalled that he would take out a comb and remove the dirt and gravel from his jet-black hair–a gesture more of nervousness than vanity, he explained.


“For the hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese who made the tortuous journey down the trail to reinforce and resupply Communist insurgents and their own forces in South Vietnam, the fear and death from the bombing are only part of their story now beginning to be told here. Past Vietnamese accounts of the trail mostly have extolled it as a great symbol of victory: a largely peasant army having frustrated America’s massive attempt at aerial interdiction and gone on to help their comrades ‘liberate’ the South. ‘Truong Son Road,’ as the Vietnamese called the trail because of the mountain range it traverses, has bec0me a central part of the country’s war legend.


“But now, because of Vietnam’s new campaign of limited openess, a broader picture of the Ho Chi Minh Trail is emerging, and it speaks not only of victory, but of great suffering and loss. ‘The period of writing about the trail’s glorious victories is over,’ said writer Nguyen Quang Sang, who went from North to South along the trail in 1966. ‘We want to write about its sorrows, its hardships, its loves.’


“‘So many facts about the Ho Chi Minh Trail have never been revealed,’ said Hanoi poet Pham Tien Duat, who spent 11 years on the trail from 1964 until the fall of Saigon fifteen years ago this month (April, 1990). ‘The difficulties, the sorrows, the sacrifices, even the failures. All of the books extolling the trail as a great victory are highly exaggerated.’


HUNGER AND SICKNESS WORSE THAN THE BOMBING


“The official cemetery for victims of the Ho Chi Minh Trail contains the graves of 10,306 men and women. But the ex-soldiers, writers, and others interviewed here say that is only a small percentage of those who died along the trail. Interviews with a dozen survivors of the war on the trail shed new light on the daily lives and hardships of those who traveled it and why the most intense bombing campaign in history failed to severely disrupt the supply of arms and fighters to the South. The interviews also revealed the extent of suffering by soldiers on the trail, aside from that inflicted by the bombs. There was the shear burden of carrying heavy supplies and equipment through mountain passes and across rivers. And there was the constant, nagging hunger, with most meals consisting of a little tin of rice, twice a day when rations were good.


“Also there was sickness, mostly malaria. Linh and other veterans told of discovering the skeletal remains of long-dead colleagues, still lying in hammocks and clutching their guns. Linh described being so weakened from malaria at one point that he was unable to move, even though his flesh was being eaten by big red ants. The hunger and sickness were by far the most serious hardship, the survivors said–worse, in many ways, than the bombing, which might bring instant death. ‘Many soldiers said they would rather die fighting than to walk there and not know if they would survive,’ said one trail survivor.


“Taking a walk now along a mile long portion of the trail beginning at Loc Quan, on the southernmost point where it slices back into Vietnam’s Song Be Province from Cambodia, it is difficult to fathom what the trail was like during the fighting. Most of the jungle that hid the trail from U.S. pilots in that area has disappeared, cut down by loggers or by triblal farmers using traditional slash and burn methods clearing land. Because of the lack of maintenance, stretchs of the trail that once bore tanks are now barely large enough for a small car. The Song Be provincial authorities are refurbishing the trail, hoping to turn its mystique into a tourist attraction. The word ‘trail’ is actually a misnomer. Although a few hundred miles long in its most direct path south, the route was developed as an extensive, 9,600-mile maze of roads, passes and side branches, which split apart deep inside North Vietnam and only converged at a few key places.


WALK WITHOUT TRACKS, SPEAK WITHOUT SOUND


“By 1965, a separate main road just for vehicles was operating on the western side of the Trong Son mountain range, through Laos, with the smaller original road on the eastern side in Vietnam reserved for pedestrians. ‘There was one main road that could be seen from an airplane,’ said Linh, who is now the director of an electrical power supply station. ‘If you stood on the road, however, you could see many, many other roads that were not visible from the air. There was a ‘network’ through the jungle, but all led back to the main road. When a bombing raid would start on the main road, the Vietnamese soldiers could simply use one of the smaller, connecting roads as invisible escape routes into the jungle. On the smaller, hidden trails, quiet and secrecy meant survival. The slogan was: ‘Walk without tracks, cook without smoke, speak without sound.’


“By 1973, the trail had grown into the equivalent of a highway, wide enough to accommodate two army trucks passing in opposite directions. It was then complete with market places, field hospitals, mailboxes to post letters back home to the North, rest stations, even a telephone and telegraph line that allowed Communist-side journalists to file their dispatches direct from the trail. The markets were run mostly by the Montagnards, the hill tribes who mainly populate the Central Highlands region. Since the North Vietnamese soldiers had little or no money, they traded batteries, needles–even their uniforms–for banannas, deer meat or a little pork.


“By the end of the war, recalled poet Duat, the trail was being used to transport not only rice and fuel, but heavy tanks and missiles for the North’s final offensive against the Saigon government. By then, Hovever, the Americans had withdrawn, and the South Vietnamese were considered much less effective at bombing the trail. Most of those interviewed said that if the intense U.S. bombing had continued, their now-celebrated April 30, 1975, ‘liberation’ day would no doubt have been delayed. ‘After 1973, there was almost no bombing, ‘said an engineer and communications specialist who worked on the trail. ‘If the United States had continued to bomb the trail, April 1975 would have come much later.’


OUTFOXING THE PILOTS


“Besides relying on the very complexity of the road network for protection, the Vietnamese interviewer said, they were able to outfox the American pilots with a number of diversions. Retired brigadier general Vo Bam–who was assigned to construct the road following the Communist Party Politboro’s May 19, 1959, resolution calling for a supply link to the South–recalled one typical antiaircraft diversion. At every river, his construction team would build a fake bridge at the best and most likely crossing point. At the same time, they would construct their actual crossing point some distance away in a difficult place where the river was particularly high. The Americans, he said, would mostly bomb the fake bridges. By concentrating on the strategic crossing points, ‘the Americans made the correct choices about where to bomb the road,’ said Vo Bam, considered the country’s leading military expert on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. ‘But they were not very effective…. They never knew exactly where the trail lay. They kept bombing the left side, and then the right side, but rarely the trail itself.


“Vo Bam and others said nature–the Truong Son mountain range and the thick jungle foliage–provided the best protection against the U.S. bombs. The mountain acted like a natural shield, and the jungle growth made most parts of the trail virtually invisible from the air. Despite the general inability of the bombing to halt the Communist supplies, it does appear to have had one certain effect: the former soldiers and others interviewed all spoke often of the demoralizing pyschological impact of the bombing runs, particularly those by the huge B-52 jets. ‘In my unit, each person had a separate shelter,’ said writer Sang. ‘We’d rather die together than by ourselves. The most dreadful moment was when the first explosion was over and we survived. Then everyone became dead silent because we knew the next raid was coming, and we never knew if we would survive the second one. The birds stopped, even the wind seemed to stop rustling the leaves in the trees.’


“Nguyen Phuong Nam, a businessman who went to cover the Ho Chi Minh Trail as a journalist in 1970, recalled that his closest call came as he was sharing a bed with an army commander. When a bomb fell onto their position, ‘the blast severed the commander’s leg and threw it into the air,’ he said. ‘I was wet with his blood, and pieces of his flesh were all over me. But I didn’t have a single scratch anywhere. In the morning, when we buried the commander, the soldiers all told me I must have been protected by Buddha.’

‘WE KNEW WHERE THEY WOULD BOMB’

“Nguyen Thuy Kha, an engineering graduate who went to the Ho Chi Minh in 1972 to help construct a communications line along the trail, said the soldiers survived the bombing by learning the ‘rules of bombing’ used by the American pilots. ‘We got so used to their timetable that if a day went by without any bombing, it meant something even worse lay ahead,’ he said. For several nights in 1972, he recalled, there was no bombing of his position, so no one in his unit was able to sleep. Several days later they discovered the planes had bombed Hanoi. Another Vietnamese writer and musician, Diep Minh Tuyen, traveled from the North in 1968, during a particularly fierce bombing run following the Communist Tet Offensive in the South earlier that year. He recalls being trapped in a shelter for two weeks while B-52s carpet-bombed his location. ‘We were afraid of the B-52s, but we usually knew in advance where they would bomb. We knew their coordinates,’ he said. ‘The Americans had to inform the local South Vietnamese commanders where they were going to bomb. We had several special units assigned to eavesdropping on those communications.’


“For the soldiers and other who walked the trail from the North, the most vital person during a bombing raid was the local guide. He lived in the jungle along the trail and was responsible for guiding a southbound unit from one designated point to another, where the unit was picked up by another. The guides knew where all the shelters were, and they were supposed to know the ‘rules of bombing and artillery’ in the section of the trail under their responsibility.

PILOTS OF THE EARTH

“The bombing was worse for the trucks, since they were larger targets and confined to the main road. Drivers thus have acquired a special status among the trail survivors for their daring and courage–‘pilots of the earth,’ they are called. Many now work as drivers for Vietnam’s main bus company in Hanoi. The truck’s headlights were removed, and a single small light was mounted under the front bumper, just enough so the drivers could see a few inches of road ahead without giving away their position. At particularly difficult crossing points, like river bridges, women and young girls would wear white clothing and line up on either side, turning themselves into human markers for the drivers. ‘When a truck was bombed or burned, the soldiers would just push it off the side of the road and move on,’ said Phuong Nam. Only when there was time were the dead buried.


“‘In each unit, there was a deputy political commissar,’ said Nguyen Thuy Kha. ‘In his packet was incense, because if a person dies, incense must be burned. Also in his packet was a pen, a very good quality Chinese pen. When a person died, that pen was used to write his name, home village and date of birth on a penicillin bottle about the size of one finger. That bottle was put into the mouth of the dead. The body was put in a rainproof wrapper. That way, when the body was found later, it could be identified. Often, he said, females were assigned the task of searching for bodies. He called them some of the unsung heroes of the trail. ‘I am sure I have some friends who are still there,’ he said. ‘Death hunted us like a bad dream.'”… End Keith Richburg article…


AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 10-16 FEBRUARY 1969…References include Chris Hobson’s VIETNAM AIR LOSSES. During the week ending 16 February the United Sates lost seven fixed wing aircraft. Six COMMANDO HUNT aviators perished carrying the fight to the enemy in Southern Laos.


(1) On 11 February an F-105D of the 34th TFS and 388th TFW (out of Korat) departed Takhli piloted by 1LT ROBERT JOHN ZUKOWSKI and was downed on a COMMANDO HUNT mission while attacking a POL target 15 miles southwest of the Ban Karai Pass. 1LT ZUKOWSKI’s Thunderchief may have been hit by groundfire as he executed a 45-degree bombing run and he failed to eject or recover the aircraft as it rolled inverted in the dive and flew into the ground. The crash was observed by his flight leader. With no chute, beeper or radio transmission there was no SAR. LT ZUKOWSKI was listed as MIA. His status was changed to KIA in January 1979 and his remains were recovered in 1996, positively identified and returned to his family for burial. MAJOR ZUKOWSKI rests in peace at Resurrection Cemetery, Justice, Illinois. He died a hero on his 122nd mission having been awarded two DFCs and seven Air Medals among his military awards. The positive identification of the remains included recovery of MAJOR ZUKOWSKI’s personal effects. Among them were a St. Christopher medal, dog tags, and an engraved watch. The watch was part of a family set matching those of his father and his brothers. The watch and dog tags were buried with MAJOR ZUKOWSKI.


(2) On 12 February an F-105D of the 333rd TFS and 355th TFW out of Takhli piloted by MAJOR VINCENT COLASUONNO was lost on a COMMANDO HUN T mission in Steel Tiger after attacking a target 35 miles west of the DMZ. He was hit by small arms fire and was able to fly the aircraft toward home base. The rest of the story is told by Howie Plunkett in his extraordinary on-line compilation of F-105 History. “While egressing from the target, the aircraft began oscillating about the longitudinal axis, with the pilot stating he had lost control. As the aircraft began a tight spiral towards the terrain, the pilot ejected at a high airspeed. Owing to severe oscillations and excessive velocity upon ejection, the injuries sustained were terminal.” A rescue operation successfully located MAJOR COLASUONNO and Pararescuemen from Jolly Green 37, which had landed in a rice paddy, went to the aid of the serously injured aviator, who was surrounded by villagers from the area. The Major was flown to a Thai hospital where he passed away from his injuries. MAJOR COLASUONNO is buried and rests in peace among fallen warriors at Arlington National Cemetery.


(3) On the night of 14 February a Wolfpack F-4D of the 4976th TFS and 8th TFW out of Ubon piloted by LCOL GORDON SCOTT CLARK and Weapons System Officer 1LT GORDON K. BREAULT was hit by 37mm while striking a COMMANDO HUNT target in Southern Laos 20 miles northeast of Saravan. LCOL CLARK climbed to 12,000-feet before ordering his WSO to eject. 1LT BREAULT contacted another F-4 from his parachute while observing the failed Phantom crash in a river. He was subsequently rescued by an HH-53 from NKP amid intense enemy ground fire that downed an A-1J during the rescue. The fate of LCOL CLARK was not seen or heard from again. He was subsequently reported as MIA. The POW Network notes: “The area in which COLONEL CLARK (and COLONEL WALSH, see (4) below) were lost was recaptured by friendly forces about three months later. The wreckages of both aircraft were located.” COLONEL CLARK’s ejection seat was not in the wreckage of his F-4. The remains of COLONEL WALSH were not located in or near the wreckage of his SANDY Spad and he rests in peace, left behind on the battlefield where he fell fifty years ago…Our thoughts are with his family.


(4) On the morning of 15 February a Search and Rescue force of four SANDY A-1Js and two helicopters of the 602nd SOS and 56th SOW out of Nakhon Phanom, led by LCOL RICHARD A. WALSH arrived on scene to rescue 1LT BREAULT. The enemy opposition was intense and in the execution of several low passes to locate the downed Phantom Flyer and suppress enemy fire–which included the employment of CBU-19s– LCOL WALSH’s Spad was hit by 37mm anti-aircraft fire. No further transmissions were heard from LCOL WALSH, no parachute was seen or beeper heard as the aircraft crashed and exploded. He was listed as missing in action until October 1979 when he was “presumed to have been killed in action,” which remains his status today. A stone in his memory is at Arlington National Cemetery.


(5) AND (6) On the night of 14/15 February two A-4Cs of the VA-216 Black Diamonds embarked in USS CORAL SEA piloted by LCDR J.F. MEEHAN and LTJG LARRY JAMES STEVENS were flying in a formation at 14,000-feet on the wing of pathfinder A-6 Intruder on a COMMANDO HUNT night mission west of the Ban Karia Pass, where they encountered intense 37mm anti-aircraft fire. LCDR MEEHAN observed the flak, an explosion, and the aircraft of his wingman LTJG STEVENS crash and explode. His own aircraft damaged in the incident, LCDR MEEHAN struggled to fly his A-4 east and over the Gulf before he was forced to eject. He was rescued by an Air Force SAR helicopter to fly and fight again. The SAR effort to find LTJG STEVENS was for naught. A stone marker in his memory is at Los Angeles National Cemetery. He rests in peace where he fell on Valentines Day 1969. Humble Host refers you to Task Force Omega and the POW Network for more info on the continuing search for LTJG STEVENS. …


http://taskforceomegainc.org/s145.html

STEVENS, LARRY JAMES Compiled by Task Force Omega Inc

taskforceomegainc.org

REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The Douglas A4 Skyhawk was a single-seat light attack jet flown by both land-based and carrier squadrons, and was the US Navy's standard light attack aircraft at the outset of the war.

https://www.pownetwork.org/bios/s/s145.htm

(6) On 14 February an A-7A Corsair II of the VA-105 Gunslingers embarked in USS Kitty Hawk was the third aircraft lost on the night of February 14. LTJG WILLIAM CLINTON NIEDECKEN was on a COMMANDO HUNT mission attacking a truck park 25 miles west of the A Shau Valley when hit by anti-aircraft fire on his fourth run on the target. He did not recover from the diving attack and perished in the crash and explosion of his Corsair. He remains in the status of “BB– Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered”… Left behind, and the search goes on…right?… LTJG NIEDECKEN is memorialized with a military marker in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Kerrsville, Kerr County, Texas…


A HUMBLE HOST END NOTE… One of the controversies of the Vietnam War was our way of measuring our effectiveness and progress in the war. The war had no front where progress could be determined by the taking and holding of hard fought-for ground. The number of enemy killed–body count– became the metric for how we were doing. My RTR-CH blogs will report the numbers of enemy killed as they are reported in weekly summaries by General Abrams’ briefers and carried in the Friday newspapers in the States. A post-war study determined that the U.S body count estimates were inflated by about 30% above the most likely real number. I suggest a reading of the cogent WikiPedia discussion of the subject. Google “Vietnam War Body Count Controversy” or try this…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_body_count_controversy

Vietnam War body count controversy - Wikipedia

en.m.wikipedia.org

The Vietnam War body count controversy centers on the counting of enemy dead by the US forces during the Vietnam War with issues around killing and counting unarmed civilians as enemy combatants as well as inflating the number of actual enemy KIA. For search and destroy operations, as the objective was not to hold territory or secure populations, victory was assessed by having a higher enemy ...

Lest we forget… Bear

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Thanks to Mike…See the attachment

1956 RB-47 Mission to Russia

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Some items from around the world

USA—Navy Conducts Another Freedom Of Navigation Op In S. China Sea Reuters | 05/06/2019 Two U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers have sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea amid growing tension with Beijing, reports Reuters. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Preble and USS Chung-Hoon, passed within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs, both claimed by Beijing, in the Spratly Island chain, according to a statement by the Navy's Seventh Fleet. The reefs are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, noted the South China Morning Post. U.S. ships sailed through the area to "challenge excessive maritime claims," said a fleet spokesman. "All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows," he said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the Chinese navy identified and warned the U.S. vessels. The U.S. operation "infringed on China’s sovereignty and undermined peace and security in relevant waters," said a ministry spokesman. This was the third freedom-of-navigation operation by the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea this year, compared to a total of five last year and four in 2017.


USA—Carrier Strike Group, Bombers Head To Middle East In Response To Iranian Threats ABC News | 05/06/2019 The Trump administration says it is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to "clear indications" that Iran and Iranian proxies are planning to attack U.S. forces in the region, reports ABC News. The deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group and a bomber task force was expedited in response to an escalating security situation, National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move had been planned for some time due to undisclosed escalations. Two officials told CNN that the deployment was intended to deter Iran and that there was no indication of an imminent attack. The news service noted that it is routine for U.S. forces to move in and out of the region. The Air Force withdrew B-1 bombers from Qatar in March, while the Navy has been without an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf since early April. The Lincoln was likely headed to the Persian Gulf and its schedule was simply accelerated, said analysts. The strike group includes the cruiser Leyte Gulf, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Bainbridge, Mason and Nitze, according to the Navy. A Spanish destroyer is also operating with the group during its deployment.


USA—Kaman To Reactivate Marine K-Max Helos To Support Autonomous Technology Projects Kaman Aerospace | 05/06/2019 The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded Kaman Aerospace a contract to return its K-Max helicopters to flight status, reports the Bloomfield, Conn.-based defense firm. The two aircraft, designated CQ-24As, flew unmanned missions in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013. The Corps recently finalized plans to return the two helicopters to flight readiness and install the latest autonomous technology in them to support future unmanned work. Once operational, Kaman will continue to work with the service to develop and integrate new autonomous systems.


USA—Growing Chinese Armed Forces Seek To 'Contest U.S. Military Superiority,' Says Pentagon Fox News | 05/06/2019 A new report from the Dept. of Defense says that the Chinese military is a growing threat that seeks to "contest" the American armed forces at greater distances from mainland China, reports Fox News. Chinese "ground, naval, air, and missile forces are increasingly able to project power" and "contest U.S. military superiority" in the region, according to the Pentagon's annual report on the Chinese military, which was released on May 2. The Chinese navy can operate at increasingly greater ranges and plans to commission its second aircraft carrier later this year. Beijing has also expanded its Arctic operations, which could include the deployment of submarines to deter nuclear attacks, says the study. China's growing fleet of icebreakers and civilian research stations in Iceland and Norway could also support a strengthened military presence in the region, reported Bloomberg News. The report also warns about growing Chinese espionage.


Canada—Irving Kicks Off Construction of 4th Arctic Patrol Ship Canada Department Of National Defense | 05/06/2019 Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has launched construction for the fourth of six Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Canadian navy, reports the Canadian Dept. of National Defense. Construction of the William Hall formally began on Friday at the Halifax shipyard. The ship is scheduled to enter service in 2022. The patrol vessel is named after William Hall, the son of freed African-American slaves living in Nova Scotia who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1859 for heroism and support of the British army during the relief of Lucknow in northern India during a rebellion in 1857. The first Harry DeWolf-class Arctic patrol ship is slated to enter service this summer. Construction on the fifth is expected to begin later this year, the department said.


France—Army Withdraws Caesar Guns From Middle East Defense-Aerospace | 05/06/2019 The French army is bringing home its self-propelled howitzers that it deployed to Iraq and Syria for the fight against the Islamic State, reports defense-aerospace.com. The Caesar truck-mounted 155-mm howitzers are being withdrawn after nearly three years as part of Task Force Wagram, said a release from the Ministry of the Armed Forces on May 3. The gunners took part in all of the recent battles against ISIS, including the recapture of Mosul in northern Iraq and the terrorist group's last stronghold in Baghouz, Syria.


United Kingdom—RAF Activates Another Quick Reaction Alert Squadron U.K. Ministry Of Defense | 05/06/2019 The British Royal Air Force has activated its fourth quick reaction alert squadron at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense. The IX(B) Squadron was formally stood up during a ceremony at RAF Lossiemouth on May 2 but has been operational since April 1, the ministry said. Some of the unit's Eurofighter Typhoons will be painted as adversaries to serve as aggressors for training with RAF and NATO pilots. The U.K. flies quick reaction alert mission from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby, which cover northern and southern British airspace, respectively.


Estonia—American, Estonian Military Police Train Together During Spring Storm Drills Baltic News Service | 05/06/2019 Military police from Estonia and the U.S. have been training together for the first time during Estonia's annual large-scale Kevadtorm (Spring Storm) exercises, reports the Baltic News Service. Two military police platoons, one from the Maryland National Guard, have been subordinated to the Estonian 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Service Support Battalion. The training is focused on developing the individual skills of the Estonian and U.S. personnel taking part. More than 9,000 troops from 13 countries are participating in this year's Spring Storm drills, which will take place in several parts of Estonia.


North Korea—Short-Range Rocket Launches Seen As Effort To Pressure U.S. Over Stalled Nuclear Talks Yonhap | 05/06/2019 North Korea has test-launched several short-range projectiles into the Sea of Japan, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). On Saturday, the North Korean military conducted a strike drill involving multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons, reported the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The exercise involved a new tactical guided weapon, said to resemble the Russian Iskander short-range ballistic missile, and 240-mm and 30-mm multiple rocket launchers. The projectiles traveled from 44 miles (70 km) to 150 miles (240 km), according to the South Korean Defense Ministry. South Korea and the U.S. are working to analyze and identify the new tactical weapon. The launches were likely intended to pressure the U.S. in stalled talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapon program, analysts said.


India—4th Kalvari-Class Submarine Launched In Mumbai Asian News International | 05/06/2019 The Indian navy has launched another Kalvari-class diesel submarine, reports the Asian News International. On Monday, the Vela, the fourth of six boats being built to the French Scorpene-class design, was launched at Mazagon Dockyard in Mumbai. The boat will complete additional testing before entering service. The fifth submarine in the class will be launched soon, said an official at the state-owned dockyard. INS Kalvari, the first submarine in the class, was commissioned in December, noted the Times of India. The second is slated to be delivered soon and the third recently completed deep diving trials.


Afghanistan—Taliban Assaults Police HQ In Baghlan, Killing 13 Officers TOLONews | 05/06/2019 At least 13 Afghan national police officers have been killed in a Taliban attack in the northern Baghlan province, reports the Tolo News (Afghanistan). On Sunday, a militant detonated a Humvee packed with explosives outside of the police headquarters in Pul-e-Khumri, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). Eight gunmen, all wearing suicide vests, then entered the compound, setting off a six-hour gun battle, reported the Voice of America News. All nine attackers, including the car bomber, were killed by a special police unit, said an Interior Ministry spokesman. At least 55 people, including 20 civilians, were injured in the assault. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.


Bahrain—Patriot Air Defense Missiles, Radars Sought From U.S. U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency | 05/06/2019 The U.S. State Dept. has approved the potential sale of Patriot missiles and associated equipment to Bahrain, reports the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The possible US$2.48 billion deal covers 60 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile segment enhancement (MSE) missiles; 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T) missiles with canisters; nine M903 launching stations; five antenna mast groups; three electrical power plants III; two AN/MPQ-65 radar sets; and two AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations. The proposal also includes communications, test and repair equipment; spare parts; and personnel training. The Patriot systems would enhance Bahrain's interoperability with the U.S. and enhance its missile defense capability and ability to defend its territorial integrity and deter regional threats, the agency said.


Israel—Truce Enters Effect In Gaza After Weekend Of Clashes Haaretz | 05/06/2019 A cease-fire has come into force after a weekend of fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip killed four Israelis and 25 Palestinians, reports Haaretz (Israel). The violence began on Friday, when a Palestinian sniper injured two Israeli troops who were deployed to the border with the Gaza Strip, reported the Times of Israel. In response, Israel launched airstrikes on targets in Gaza, which killed two Hamas members and injured two others. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad retaliated by launching hundreds of rockets over the course of the weekend, injuring at least 194 Israelis. Of the 690 observed projectile launches, about 240 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to Israeli military assessments. The military said it hit 350 militant targets in Gaza over the weekend, including targeted attacks on individuals and multistory buildings it said were used for military purposes, reported the New York Times. At least 177 Palestinians were injured, according to Gazan health officials. Among the dead was Hamid Ahmed Abdul Khudri, a militant who transferred money from Iranian backers to Palestinian militant groups, reported CNN. An official from Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that Israel agreed to loosen restrictions on the flow of goods to and from the Gaza Strip as part of the truce, reported Agence France-Presse.


Israel—Truce Enters Effect In Gaza After Weekend Of Clashes Haaretz | 05/06/2019 A cease-fire has come into force after a weekend of fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip killed four Israelis and 25 Palestinians, reports Haaretz (Israel). The violence began on Friday, when a Palestinian sniper injured two Israeli troops who were deployed to the border with the Gaza Strip, reported the Times of Israel. In response, Israel launched airstrikes on targets in Gaza, which killed two Hamas members and injured two others. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad retaliated by launching hundreds of rockets over the course of the weekend, injuring at least 194 Israelis. Of the 690 observed projectile launches, about 240 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to Israeli military assessments. The military said it hit 350 militant targets in Gaza over the weekend, including targeted attacks on individuals and multistory buildings it said were used for military purposes, reported the New York Times. At least 177 Palestinians were injured, according to Gazan health officials. Among the dead was Hamid Ahmed Abdul Khudri, a militant who transferred money from Iranian backers to Palestinian militant groups, reported CNN. An official from Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that Israel agreed to loosen restrictions on the flow of goods to and from the Gaza Strip as part of the truce, reported Agence France-Presse.



Somalia—12 Instructors Complete E.U. Training Course E.U. Training Mission Somalia | 05/06/2019 The European Union Training Mission Somalia (EUTM-S) has completed training another class of Somali soldiers to be military instructors. On April 30, the sixth EUTM-S train-the-trainers course concluded with a ceremony at the General Daghadaban Training Center in Mogadishu, the mission said. Th 14-week course qualified 12 new Somali army instructors to provide basic military training to other troops. The goal of the course is to build a core of Somali army instructors who will be able to eventually create a self-sustaining and independent training capability. The course covers leadership, military tactics, crowd control, instructional techniques and human rights.


Venezuela—7 Officers Die When Helicopter Goes Down Outside Caracas Cable News Network | 05/06/2019 At least seven Venezuelan military officers have been killed after their helicopter crashed near Caracas, reports CNN. The Cougar helicopter was on its way to San Carlos in the northern Cojedes state, where President Nicolas Maduro was overseeing a training exercise, when it crashed into a mountain near the town of Hatillo, reported the Independent (U.K.). Two lieutenant colonels and five lower-ranking officers were killed in the crash, said a military spokesman An investigation into the crash has been opened.

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