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The List 5000 TCB
I hope that you all had a great weekend. Thanks to Dutch, Carl, Dr. Rich, The Bear, Bob, Robert, Al, Donald, Richard, Don, Micro, Brown Bear, Walt, Tom, Mud, Hawk, Sam Cox and the NHHC, CHINFO and many others who continually send inputs to the list. Thanks to all of you. The first List was 11 Feb 2000.
This day in Naval History May 20, 2019
1815 Commodore Stephen Decatur sails with his flagship USS Guerriere and a squadron of nine ships for the Mediterranean to suppress piracy. Under strict negotiations, Decatur is able to secure a treaty with the Day of Algiers, His Highness Omar Bashaw, on July 3.
1909 USS Mississippi (BB 23) arrives at Natchez, Miss., and becomes the first U.S. Navy battleship to visit an inland city.
1943 The Tenth Fleet is established in Washington D.C., under the command of Adm. Ernest J. King, to coordinate U.S. anti-submarine operations in the Atlantic. Disbanded after WWII, the Tenth Fleet is reactivated in Jan. 2010 as U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.
1944 USS Angler (SS 240) sinks Japanese transport Otori Maru and survives depth charging by its escort, while both USS Silversides (SS 236) and USS Bluegill (SS 242) sink enemy vessels.
1995 USS Russell (DDG 59) is commissioned during a ceremony at Pascagoula, Miss. The 9th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named for Rear Adm. John Henry Russell and his son, Commandant of the Marine Corps John Henry Russell Jr.
Thanks to CHINFO
Leading national news headlines today is continued reporting on a possible confrontation between the United States and Iran, and reports that billionaire Robert F. Smith pledged to pay off Morehouse College Class of 2019’s student loans in a commencement speech, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) joined the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group for a series of exercises in the Arabian Sea reports Stars and Stripes. Rear Adm. John Wade said the exercises are “aimed towards increasing our lethality and agility to respond to threats, and deterring destabilizing actions in this important region.” Exercise Formidable Shield 2019 concluded on Sunday. “Our enduring relationship with the Missile Defense Agency, Maritime Threat Missile Defense Forum, our Royal Navy hosts, all of the participating navies, and our industry partners was critical to our success in Formidable Shield 2019,” said Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti. Additionally, the Diplomat reports on the La Perouse Exercise in the Bay of Bengal.
Today in History: May 20
0325 The Ecumenical council is inaugurated by Emperor Constantine in Nicea.
1303 A peace treaty is signed between England and France.
1347 Cola di Rienzo takes the title of tribune in Rome.
1520 Hernando Cortes defeats Spanish troops sent against him in Mexico.
1674 John Sobieski becomes Poland's first king.
1690 England passes the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.
1774 Parliament passes the Coercive Acts to punish the colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior. The acts close the port of Boston.
1775 North Carolina becomes the first colony to declare its independence.
1784 The Peace of Versailles ends a war between France, England, and Holland.
1799 Napoleon Bonaparte orders a withdrawal from his siege of St. Jean d'Acre in Egypt.
1859 A force of Austrians collide with Piedmontese cavalry at the village of Montebello, in northern Italy.
1861 North Carolina becomes the last state to secede from the Union.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, providing 250 million acres of free land to settlers in the West.
1874 Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.
1902 The U.S. military occupation of Cuba ends.
1927 Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York for Paris.
1930 The first airplane is catapulted from a dirigible.
1932 Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman fly solo across the Atlantic.
1939 Pan American Airways starts the first regular passenger service across the Atlantic.
1941 Germany invades Crete by air.
1942 Japan completes the conquest of Burma.
1951 During the Korean War, U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara becomes the first jet air ace in history.
1961 A white mob attacks civil rights activists in Montgomery, Alabama.
1969 In South Vietnam, troops of the 101st Airborne Division reach the top of Hill 937 after nine days of fighting entrenched North Vietnamese forces.
1970 100,000 people march in New York, supporting U.S. policies in Vietnam.
“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/.
May 19, 1908
Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, Daedalian Founder Member #544, flew an airplane called the White Wing, designed by F. W. “Casey” Baldwin, thus becoming the first Army officer to solo in an airplane.
May 20, 1967
Col. Robin Olds, commanding officer of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Ubon Rachitani Royal Thai Air Force Base, and Weapons System Officer 1st Lt. Stephen B. Croker, destroyed two Vietnam People’s Air Force MiG-17 fighters with AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided and AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles while flying an F-4C-24-MC Phantom II, serial number 64-0829, named SCAT XXVII. In the book, “Aces and Aerial Victories: The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia 1965-1973,” Olds termed the events of May 20 “quite a remarkable air battle.” According to his account: “F-105s were bombing along the northeast railroad; we were in escort position, coming in from the Gulf of Tonkin. We just cleared the last of the low hills lying north of Haiphong, in an east-west direction, when about 10 or 12 MiG-17s came in low from the left and, I believe, from the right. They tried to attack the F-105s before they got to the target.” For more on this event, click HERE. Olds was a Daedalian Hereditary Life Member.
May 21, 1927
After a flight of 33 hours, 30 minutes, 30 seconds, from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, Charles A. Lindbergh lands his Spirit of St. Louis at Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, France, at 10:22 p.m. He is the first pilot to fly solo, non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean.
May 22, 1912
First Lt. Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, the first Marine Corps officer assigned to flight instruction and afterward designated Naval Aviator No. 5, reported to the superintendent of the Naval Academy for “duty in connection with aviation.” Cunningham subsequently detached to the Burgess Co., at Marblehead, Massachusetts, for flight instruction. This date is recognized as the birthday of Marine Corps aviation. Cunningham was Daedalian Founder Member #4134.
May 23, 1988
The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the first full production tilt rotor aircraft, is unveiled at the Bell Helicopter Textron plant at Arlington, Texas.
May 24, 1978
McDonnell Douglas delivered the 5,000th F-4 Phantom II, F-4E-65-MC 77-0290, to the U.S. Air Force in a ceremony at the McDonnell Aircraft Company division at St. Louis, Missouri. The Mach 2 fighter bomber was developed in the early 1950s as a long range, missile-armed interceptor for the U.S. Navy. The first Phantom II, XF4H-1 Bu. No. 142259, made its maiden flight at St. Louis with future McDonnell Douglas president Robert C. Little at the controls. During flight testing, the U.S. Air Force was impressed by the new interceptor and soon ordered its own version, the F-110A Spectre. Under the Department of Defense redesignation, both Navy and Air Force versions became the F-4. Its name, “Phantom II,” was chosen by James S. McDonnell, founder and chairman of the board, and was in keeping with his naming the company’s fighters after supernatural beings.
May 25, 1927
At Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, 1st Lt. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, United States Army Air Corps, became the first pilot to successfully perform an outside loop. Flying a Curtiss P-1B Hawk pursuit, he began the maneuver in level flight at 10,000 feet, then pushed the nose down into a dive. When he reached 280 miles per hour, Doolittle continued to pitch the nose “down” and the airplane flew through a complete vertical circle, with the pilot’s head to the outside of the loop. Doolittle was Daedalian Founder Member #107.
Thanks to THE Bear
COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… WEEK SIXTEEN of the HUNT… 24 FEBRUARY to 2 MARCH 1969…
May 19, 2019 Bear Taylor
COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… WEEK SIXTEEN of the HUNT… 24 FEBRUARY to 2 MARCH 1969…
COMMEMORATING THE 50th ANNIVERSARY of the VIETNAM WAR: 1961-1973…
DURING THE WEEK ENDING 23 FEBRUARY 1969 AMERICAN LOSSES INCLUDED 164 TROOPS KIA, BRINGING THE TOTAL U.S. LOSS TO 31,941 IN A WAR FOUGHT ENPLOYING A “STRATEGY FOR DEFEAT.”… Ken Burns, San Diego, 2017: “The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart. There wasn’t an American alive who wasn’t affected in some way. More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”… LEST WE FORGET…
Good Morning. It’s Monday, 20 May 1969. Humble Host remembers the Vietnam war and WEEK SIXTEEN of COMMANDO HUNT I — 24 February to 2 March 1969…
THE WAR… (24 Feb) ALLIES SAY FOE HAS BEGUN LONG EXPECTED OFFENSIVE–100 Americans And 1,000 Of The Enemy Killed In Attacks Over Wide Vietnam Area–Nixon Asks For Full Report… “Enemy troops striking simultaneously at Saigon and about 105 other towns and military targets throughout the country, have launched what the allied command considers the long-predicted general offensive…. About 100 United States soldiers were reported killed in the first 15 hours of the offensive. The enemy losses were estimated at 10 times that– 1,000 dead.”… “President Nixon ordered an investigation to determine whether the enemy attacks were a violation of the agreement that led to the halt in the bombing of North Vietnam in November 1968. Aides said that the President had no desire to order immediate retaliatory raids against North Vietnam even if a new pattern of enemy action was suggested.”… SHELLING OF SAIGON AROUSES BOTH ANXIETY AND BRAVADO–U.S. Copter Teams Help to Repel Force–Gunships Use Rockets to Aid G.I.’s… (25 Feb) ENEMY CONTINUES ATTACK ON TOWNS–INTENSITY GAINS–Shells Fall On 60 Posts And Populated Areas–Few Ground Assaults–Threat to Saigon Seen–Foe Moves Troops Closer to Capital–U.S. Ponders Response to Enemy Offensive… ADVISORS GIVE NIXON PLANS FOR DEALING WITH FOE’S DRIVE–Desire of Enemy to Work For Peace is Questioned– (26 Feb) VIETCONG ATTACK MARINE POSITIONS NEAR BUFFER ZONE–Suicide Troops Carrying Explosives Breach Wires–36 Americans Killed… (27 Feb) TWO KEY BASES IN SAIGON REGION ATTACKED BY FOE–9 Copters Wrecked At Cuchi 20 Miles From Capital–Long Battle At Bien Hoa–50 Targets Under Fire–Scattered Assaults Viewed As Prelude to Expanded Offensive in Vietnam… HANOI SAYS BOMBING HALT DOESN’T RESTRICT VIETCONG–U.S. Affirms Conditions... (28 Feb) ATTACKS FALL OFF IN SOUTH VIETNAM–30 Military Installations and Nine Towns Are Shelled in Fifth Day of Drive… (1 Mar) G.I.’s BATTLE FOE ON EDGE OF SAIGON IN DAY-LONG BATTLE–Enemy Found 6 Miles From Center of Capital–Offensive Slows Further… ALLIES KILL 60 NEAR DMZ… “… The allies estimate that nearly 6,000 North Vietnamee and Vietcong soldiers have been killed since Sunday. Nearly 300 Americans have died in the same period. In addition, some 21,000 people are believed to have become refugees as a result of the shellings.”… (2 Mar) SHELLINGS MOUNT IN SOUTH VIETNAM–Military Targets Are Focus–Move to Pin Down Allied Troops Is Suspected…
TALKING PEACE IN PARIS:…sort of… (24 Feb) PROTEST CONSIDERED IN PARIS… “Allied sources said today that the United States delegation to the peace talks here might protest to Hanoi’s representatives against the attacks on South Vietnamese cities. Such a formal protest may be coupled with a warning that continued military action against Saigon and other urban areas would be harmful to the Paris negotiations and could lead to an end of the bombing halt in North Vietnam, it was suggested.”… (26 Feb) KY IN PARIS SAYS HE HAS PROPOSALS FOR NIXON–Hopes To Meet President During Nixon European Visit–Confirms That Allies Will Protest Attacks on South Vietnam Cities… (28 Feb) U.S. WARNS HANOI ATTACKS IMPERIL HALT IN BOMBING OF NORTH VIETNAM–Nixon Administration Then Sees Reduced Shellings as a Positive Response–Lodge Also Givers View–Washington’s Message Says Further Assaults Would End ‘Understanding’… (1 Mar) NIXON TO CONFER WITH KY IN PARIS–Meeting Set For Tomorrow At American Embassy…
THE REST OF THE NYT HEADLINES… (24 Feb) NIXON IN BELGIUM–BIDS ALLIES SEEK A DURABLE PEACE–President Begins 8-Day Visit To Western Europe With Meetings in Brussels…NEW FRENCH MOVE AWAITED IN COMMON MARKET CRISIS–DeGaulle Expected To Take Initiative In Market Rift… EISENHOWER HAS TWO-HOUR SURGERY–Acute Intestinal Obstruction Consisting of Adhesions Removed by Seven Doctors… PUEBLO INQUIRY: Five Admirals On Court Were ‘As Carefully Chosen as Bridesmaids’… 80 NATIONS MEET TODAY IN EFFORT TO SET UP ONE SATELLITE NETWORK… MARINER 6 POISED FOR MARS FLIGHT–Leaves Tonight On 5-Month Photographic Mission… (25 Feb) BRANDT BELIEVES SOVIET SEEKS DEAL–Asserts Here That Moscow Apparently Wants To Avoid a Major Berlin Crisis— NIXON SEES WILSON AFTER REASSURING EUROPEAN ALLIES–President Tells NATO Group He Will Consult Before and During Talks With Soviets– Welcomed in London–No Demonstrations… REDS OF EIGHT NATIONS MEETING IN HUNGARY… EISENHOWER RESTING COMFORTABLY… NEW ISRAELI STRATEGY SEEN IN RAID NEAR DAMASCUS… PUEBLO SAILOR WEEPS AS HE TELLS OF BEING BEATEN… (26 Feb) ATOM PACT VOTED BY SENATE PANEL–Approval 14-0 Clears Way For Action On The Treaty To Halt Arms Spread… LEVI ESHKOL IS DEAD OF HEART ATTACK–Led Israel Since 1963… SIRHAN NOTES OFFERED AT TRIAL– “RFK Must Die”… PUEBLO CREW RECALLS CAPTORS IN HATRED AND AWE–Inquiry Gets New Testimony On Treatment By North Koreans… (27 Feb) NINE MILLION CARS RECALLED BY G.M. FOR DEFECT CHECK–Record Numbers of Vehicles Involved–4 Deaths Tied To Flaw In Exhaust…GOVERNORS DECRY CAMPUS DISORDER–Back Nixon in Bid To Keep Colleges Safe and Open and Urge States To Act… FEDERAL RESERVE PLEDGES MEASURES TO HALT INFLATION– FED Tells Congress That Board Means Business On Monetary Curb and Sees ‘Some Headway’ Already… ASTRONAUT COLDS MAY DELAY APOLLO–Decision On Shot Expected Today–Countdown Still On… TOLL EXCEEDS 28 AS TWO WINTER STORMS EASE… (28 Feb) ASTRONAUTS COLDS DELAY APOLLO 9 FLIGHT 3 DAYS… NIXON IN BERLIN AND ROME CALLS FOR WEST’S UNITY–Pledges Support For Isolated City But Stresses Need For Talk To Ease Tensions… NEGRO MIGRATION TO CITIES IS FOUND TO DROP SHARPLY–At Same Time White Exodus to Suburbs Accelerates–Urban Study Reports–Ghetto Density Down–Follow-Up Of 1968 Riot Study Says Racial Polarization of Society Increases… POLICE USE CLUBS IN BERKELEY FIGHT–Charge Into Human Chains Formed By Dissidents… CONCLUSION OF URBAN PANELS ‘Study On Racial Division In U.S.’… (1 Mar) U.S. VOICES CONCERN ON BERLIN TO SOVIET… “The United States expressed its concern to the Soviet Union today about what appeared to be a mounting Soviet and East German campaign to impede access to Berlin.”… NEW BERLIN CURBS BACKED BY SOVIET–Roadblocks Put Up–Moscow Bids East Germany Restrict The Shipment of Industrial Products–Arms Flow Is Alleged–Warsaw Pact Commander Confers With Ulbrict–Mayor Urges Calm… PUEBLO SAILOR SAYS FAITH IN GOD AND SKIPPER SAVED HIM… EISENHOWER IS WEAKER–Pneumonia Develops… NIXON IN FRANCE CALLS FOR AN END OF ‘OLD QUARRELS’– DeGaulle Greeting is Warm–Presidents Meet For Two Hours–More Talks Today–Exchange of Views To Cover Wide Range of Subjects Including The Mideast… (2 Mar) NIXON TERMS ARMS TALKS WITH SOVIET URGENT DUTY– Europe Will Always Be Consulted, He Vows–His Aides Consider Trip One of ‘Lasting Value’… NASSER FORSEES 4th WAR UNLESS ISRAELIS WITHDRAW–In Interview He Emphasizes There Can Be No Peace in Mideast Unless Problem of Million Arab Refugees Is Solved… BERLIN ROAD SHUT 2nd TIME BY REDS–Troops On Move–East Germany Closes Main Autobahn in First Major Harassment Since 1965–Soviet And Allies Prepare For Maneuvers…
AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 24 FEB-2 MARCH 1969…References include Chris Hobson’s extraordinary compilation of facts and documentation of the air war in Southeast Asia, VIETNAM AIR LOSSES. During the week ending 2 March the United States lost seven fixed wing aircraft and left five brave, bold warriors behind. Four were killed in action and one, MAJOR STEVE LONG, was captured to spend the duration of the war as a POW in Laos, then North Vietnam.
(1) On 28 February a Nail FAC flying an O-2A of the 23rd TASS and 504th TASG out of Nakhon Phanom on a COMMANDO HUNT Igloo White Mission (Checking sensors in the “McNamara Wall”) was downed by groundfire south of the Mu Gia Pass near Ban Senphan. 1LT STEPHEN G. LONG, FAC, and SMSgt D.W. MORRELL, observer and photographer, were able to eject from the crippled O-2. SMSgt MORRELL was able to evade capture and was rescued by an Air Force HH-32E (LT SILVER and crew). 1LT LONG was not so fortunate. He sustained a broken thigh on the ejection and jungle landing and was captured. Initially, he was held in a cave in Laos and was told he would “live forever in a cave.” Not so. He became one of the few aviators downed in Laos to survive the ordeal and be returned with the POWs in March 1973 in Operation Homecoming. MAJOR LONG’s story is told below in: “LEGENDARY UNION OF LAOTIAN UNFORTUNATES.”…..
(2) On 1 March an F-4D of the 433rd TFS and 8th TFW out of Ubon crewed by MAJOR WENDELL RICHARD KELLER and 1LT VIRGIL KERSH MERONEY was downed on a night COMMANDO HUNT mission while attacking a storage area and truck park 15 miles south of the Ban Karai Pass. The Phantom was hit on the ninth pass and failed to recover from the dive. There was no apparent ejection and no beeper or voice transmissions were heard. MAJOR WENDELL and 1LT MERONEY were initially listed as missing in action. Both were promoted while MIA. “From 1994 to 2011 the joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducted several investigations and excavations of the crash site in Laos. The teams located human remains, military equipment, a military ID card and aircraft wreckage of an F-4, including an engine data plate and radio call-sign plate. In addition, during the 17 years of investigations, analysts evaluated the material evidence and the accounts of more than 40 eye witnesses to confirm the information correlated with the crew’s loss location.” (re: POW Network) The returns were positively identified and returned to the families in September 2012 and COLONEL WENDELL KELLER and MAJOR VIRGIL MERONEY were buried in a common grave in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on 19 October 2012… Leave no men behind…
MAJOR VIRGIL KERSH MERONEY was the son of COLONEL VIRGIL MERONEY, USAF, who downed 9 enemy aircraft as a P-47 pilot in World War II. The senior MERONEY completed a Vietnam tour in February 1969, recording 141 combat missions while Vice Commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon. While deployed he was able to fly two F-4H missions with his son. COLONEL MERONEY, among the bravest of the brave, passed away in 1980 never knowing the final chapters of his son’s life of service and death with honor, or the belated homecoming and burial in Arlington with full honors.
(3) On 1 March an A-1J Skyraider of the 602nd SOS and 56th SOW out of NKP piloted by 1LT CLYDE WILLIAM CAMPBELL was downed while attacking enemy troops near Lima Site 36 in central Laos. The outpost was under attack and 1LT CAMPBELL was part of flight of SOS 602 Spads responding to the enemy concentration about 10 miles west of the site. The flight reported 1LT CAMPBELL was unable to escape from his doomed aircraft. He was listed as missing in action and promoted to CAPTAIN during the period he was MIA. In 1997 a joint team of U.S. and Lao personnel investigated the crash site. In addition to finding the aircraft wreckage, human remains and military equipment correlating to CAPTAIN CAMPBELL were recovered. Additional items including his .38 calibre pistol were recovered from the site in 2010. The remains were positively identified and returned to the family for burial in 2012 and CAPTAIN CAMPBELL was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on 21 June 2012… He is remembered on this 50th year anniversary of his last flight… He is also memorialized on the Texas A&M “Corps Plaza Memorial.”… oohrah…
(4) On 1 March an A-1H of the 602nd SOS and 56th SOW out of NKP went down in Thailand when the engine failed on a training flight. The pilot survived to fly and fight again…
(5) On 1 March a C-7B Caribou of the 459th TAS and 483rd TAW out of Phu Cat was damaged beyond repair when landed short of the runway…oops…
(6) On 2 March an F-105D of the 333rd TFS and 355th TFW out of Takhli piloted by MAJOR CHRISTOS CONSTANTINE BOGIAGES, Jr. was downed while attacking troops on the Plain of Jars where Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese were on the offense against Royal Lao troops and facilities supporting American operations. MAJOR BOGIAGES was part of a flight of F-105 Thunderchiefs and was not seen to eject from his aircraft before it crashed. There were no beeper or radio transmissions. Nevertheless, he was listed as missing in action and his family lived with hope in their hearts. In October 1998 an American-Lao joint team visited the crash site. Villagers told the searchers about a burned body in the plane’s wreckage that disappeared within hours. The team offered rewards but failed to recover any of the pilot’s remains. Other artifacts confirmed that the crash site was that of MAJOR BOGIAGES. Subsequent to the search a sliver of bone was turned over to the Air Force. In 1999 it was sent from the mortuary in Hawaii to a military DNA lab in Rockville, Maryland. In April 2003 a contract was awarded to American History Company in Fredericksburg, Virginia to track down MAJOR BOGIAGES relatives and the essential living female relative from maternal lines–the required source for mitochondrial DNA. Despite a search of several generations the search failed to locate a survivng female who lived to adulthood. The option of exhuming a deceased relative was not considered– policy choice by DPAA. Thus, the search goes on. MAJOR BOGIAGES is memorialized with a marker stone in Arlington National Cemetery and the family, including a son, Christos, lives on with hope for eventual postive identification of the only key to putting MAJOR BOGIAGES to final rest–a small piece of bone..
(7) On 2 March an F-4J of VMAF-334 and MAG-13 out of Chu Lai, Love Bug 46, piloted by LCOL S.E. D’ANGELO, USMC, and 1LT P.E. DALY, USMC, was among several aircraft scrambled to strike troops in the open 20 miles south of Danang. LCOL D’ANGELO and 1LT DALY were making their third napam run from 1,000-feet when hit by enemy ground fire. The Phantom burst into flames and the pair of intrepid Marines were required to eject in short order. They were rescued to fly and fight again. 1LT DALY would have to leave a second AAA damaged F-4 in May, 1969…
“THE LEGENDARY UNION OF LAOTIAN UNFORTUNATES”… The “LULU’s”…
Operation COMMANDO HUNT was fought in the skies of Laos. Hundreds of American warriors would fall into the jungles and mountains of the small nation bounded on the east by warring neighbors North and South Vietnam. Laos became a torrid battleground–a sanctuary for the North that could not be allowed to go unchecked by the South, especially the logistic pipeline called the “Ho Chi Minh Trail.” The brunt of the air war over Laos was fought by the Air Force flying out of Thailand bases and Navy attack aircraft flying off carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Over the years, 1961 through 1973, including COMMANDO HUNT–1968-1972, more than 570 American warriors were downed and listed as missing in action in Laos. Another 90 were missing in Cambodia. More than 300 of those brave souls remain missing in 2019. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (March 2019): “Of the remaining 288 Americans still unaccounted for in Laos, 11 are in a ‘non-recoverable’ category. This means as a result of a rigorous investigation we have conclusive evidence the individual perished, but do not believe it possible to recover his remains. On rare occasions, new leads can arise to bring a case back to an active status.” The search goes on. DPAA is working to resolve: “Last Known Alive ” cases: “Of the original 81 individuals in this category–those who may of may not have survived their loss incident and were either alive on the ground, in captivity, or in immediate proximity of capture, but did not return, DOD has confirmed the death of 54, with 17 still unresolved. Of the 64 whose deaths have been confirmed, the remains of 20 have been located and identified; effforts continue to recover the remaining 44. U.S. and Vietnamese specialists will meet in Hanoi later this year to discuss Last Known Alive cases in areas of Laos controlled by Vietnamese forces during the war.”… The search goes on… That is the current status of “Unaccounted-for Americans in the Vietnam War”…
THE SAGA OF A “LULU”– 1LT STEPHEN G. LONG, USAF…
After the American raid on the North Vietnamese POW facility at Son Tay in November, 1970, the North Vietnamese decided to bring all the American POWs under one umbrella in central Hanoi. What followed was “Unity, Chaos, and the Fourth Allied POW Wing,” the title of chapter 24 in the brilliant story of our Vietnam POWs, HONOR BOUND–American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973, by Stuart J. Rochester and Frederick Kiley. Humble Host snipped the following from pages 522-524 of HONOR BOUND…
“When the PWs at the suburban camps at Dan Hoi (Faith) and Cu Loc (Zoo) were herded into the city late in 1970, they found themselves in a section of Hoa Lo none had seen before. It was a separate compound on the northwest side of the prison that contained seven large open-bay cells ringing the perimeter in roughly a U-shape and three detached smaller cell blocks, two of those with individual rooms and a third an open bay.”… “By year’s end, then, over 340 U.S. prisoners of war–all of those captured in the North and known to be alive–were gathered in one location. It was the first time all the aviators had been together in a single camp. They called the place ‘Unity.'”….
“‘Pandemonium’ is a word that appears often in the PW’s postwar reminiscences to describe both the confusion and high emotion that accompanied their consolidation in Unity, the excitement heightened by the holiday season and a buzz of rumors about the attack on Son Tay. Like classmates discovering long lost or forgotten pals at a college reunion, comrades exhanged embraces and stories as they circulated and staked out places for their bedding. ‘There was so much hugging and handshaking going on,’ Guarino wrote, ‘I had to sit down and patiently wait my turn.’ ‘Names, faces and voices all came together.’ said Risner. Dramesi noted that ‘it was amazing how different people looked. Some ended up being shorter than expected. Some people turned out to be older. It was always different looking at a person in full view rather than seeing him through a crack in a wall.’ They were still divided into separate rooms, but in each of the large chambers dozens of men milled about laughing, crying and speculating as to what it all meant. ‘For years it had taken as much as twenty-four hours to get a message around that crowd and twenty-four to get the answer back,’ Rutledge penned in his memoir. ‘Men had risked and suffered much to communicate a sentence a day. Now, suddenly, we were face-to-face. Everybody wanted to talk to everybody else simultaneously.’
“Not everyone whom mates hoped to find could be located–Storz, Cameron, Connell, and the other so called ‘Lonely Hearts’ who had dropped out of sight over the years remained sorely missing–but typical was the reunion of Jack Fellowes and George Coker, who had known of each other’s whereabouts since separated four days after their capture incident in 1966. One of the more interesting collections of prisoners surfaced in a corner of the compound in one of the smaller buildings that the PWs gave the numerical designation ‘0’ (Zero). Here in separate two- and three-man cells were lodged the four Air Force full colonels, FOUR AMERICANS CAPTURED IN LAOS (my highlighting), three Thais, and a South Vietnamese Air Force lieutenant. The Laotian captives were a fascinating story in themselves. ERNIE BRUCE and JIM BEDINGER had been joined at Hoa Lo by MAJOR WALTER STISCHER and LT STEPHEN LONG in November 1970. The quartet had been spotted by other Americans in Vegas in December, and by the time they were moved into Unity their isolation and denial of mail privileges had already earned them the label ‘LEGENDARY UNION OF LAOTIAN UNFORTUNATES’ (LULUs).”… End Honor Bound quotes…
MAJOR STEVE LONG included the following in a note he wrote (in third person) in response to families with men missing in action in Laos who were asking for information about capture and captivity in Laos.
He wrote: “Stephen Long was shot down near Mugia Pass, Laos, on 28 February 1969. After spending a few days in the caves of Laos, Steve was transported to Hanoi. after enduring an extended period of interrogation and subsequent medical treatment for a broken femur, he was inducted into the prison facilities at Camp Vegas, more commonly known as Hanoi Hilton… After six months of solitary, Steve was moved within the compound to a room occupied by MAJOR WALTER STISCHER, USAF, shot down and captured in Laos, 13 April 1968…Later that same year, two other POWs captured in Laos, Navy LT HENRY (Jim) BEDINGER (Shot down and captured 22 November 1969) and civilian EARNEST BRACE (Captured 21 May 1965), became cellmates in the other parts of Camp Vegas…. BRACE’s gripping story of nearly eight brutal years in captivity, in the jungle and in Hanoi, is excellently portrayed in his book, A CODE TO KEEP…. as a result of the Son Tay raid on 21 November 1970, the North Vietnamese captors decided to consolidate American POWs in Camp Unity. At this time, the four Laotian prisoners were separated from other POWs and formed what was to become known as the LULUs….The LULUs were later moved from prison to prison, sometimes each in a solitaire and sometimes sharing cells but never, ever with other American prisoners known to have been captured in other than Laos. At this time, it became apparent that the North Vientamese had identified the LULUs for different treatment because of their origin of capture. The LULUs were to be denied any exchange of packages or letters from the U.S. and in fact their existence was hidden from other prisoners, separated by walls and makeshift barriers, and their names were not present on any list of known POWs until after the war… On 7 February 1970 the POWs in Camp Unity held a ‘Song Fest’ and the LULUs were moved from their solitaire cell in Building 0 to Camp Briar Patch to make their cell available to punish the leaders of the ‘Song Fest.’ The LULUs remained in solitaire.”…
There is this elsewhere on the internet concerning the LULUs. “The LULUs were paraded through a number of prisons during their tenure in North Vietnam, finally being joined in the Snake Pit behind Camp Vegas (Hanoi Hilton) by USAF CHARLES REESE (shot down and captured 24 December 1972), and two young missionaries, LLoyd Oppel and Sam Mattix, captured in Laos a few months earlier. Eventually the LULUs were released through an elaborate ceremony on 28 March 1973 where an Asian participant identified as a Laotian handed the LULUs over to the North Vietnamese, who in turn released the LULUs to the U.S. officials (Operation Homecoming)… While there were other American servicemen captured in Laos and Cambodia during the SEA conflict, these seven servicemen and three civilians in the LULU group were the (only) ones the NVN identified as such and identified for ‘special treatment.’ Post-war inquiries questioning if all POWs had been released raised an issue that perhaps there were other POWs who had been captured in North and South Vietnam, or even Cambodia and Laos. While no parallel prison system was ever determined to have existed, the LULU experience was as close to ‘separate’ treatment as could be identified.”
“PROUD EX-POW’s STORY IS DEVOID OF BITTERNESS” by Deborah Hastings, Associated Press, Dateline: Las Vegas, 28 November 1999…
“He awoke while falling through the sky. He jerked the rip cord of his chute, but it was too late for a safe landing. His leg snapped. People were shooting t him. He tried to run, but his useless leg wouldn’t move. He was thrown on the back of a truck. Eventually he was sent to prison. For five months he sat alone in pitch blackness (in a cave) with a cast on his leg. Steve Long was a prisoner of war for four years (1,490 days), shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. He could be angry or bitter, but like many of the veterans he addressed at a reunion of the Special Operation Association. Instead, Long is thankful.
“‘I have a lovely wife and a lovely family,’ he said. ‘But the POW experience was the biggest thing in my life. It changed me. And it’s up to you to make it a change for the better.’ Unlike his audience, Long wasn’t in Special Operations. But in 1969 he was on a secret Air Force assignment over Laos, mapping sites for dropping listening devices. It was Long’s first (Igloo White) mission. His plane was shot down about 100 miles northeast of the Laotian capital of Vientiane. ( Not true– 1LT LONG was shot down near the Mugia Pass and after a few days in Laotian caves, he was transported to Hanoi)… His North Vietnamese captors took him to Hanoi. After 30 weeks in darkened solitary, he was moved to another cell. This one had light. Then the tapping began, and a voice whispered through the wall. It explained a kind of Morse code the prisoners used to communicate (Tap Code). ‘You could put your ear next to any wall and it sounded like Western Union,’ Long said. He passed the days creating new professions. One week he was a lawyer. Day one was law school. Day two, he took the bar exam. By week end, he had his own practice.
“He was freed only because fellow prisoner who were exchanged for North Vietnamese POWs in 1973 told American officials there were four men who’d been shot down in Laos stll in Hanoi prison. The four were released after U.S. military commanders threatened a bombing strike, Long said. ‘It was the happiest day of my life. The scariest, too, because I had no idea what the future would hold for me. His wife had divorced him. Her letter, placed in his military file, told him so (It was handed to him on the day of Operation Homecoming). He didn’t blame her. ‘She was young,’ he said. She pressed on with her life.’ But just as he had in prison, through hunger and beatings, Long refused to despair. ‘I couldn’t sleep more than three hours a night,’ he said. ‘Life was great. It is great. And it is beautiful.’
“He stayed in the military flying until he retired in 1987. He remarried and has two grown children. Now he is an activist for Veteran’s rights (Deputy Director for Veteran’s Affairs for the State of Nevada). In a hallway outside the reunion hospitality suite, the genteel former pilot said he understands covert warfare and the soul-robbing toll it takes on those who wage it. These (Special Operations) guys have a comaraderie and a respect for each other,’ he said, pointing down the hall. ‘I think that most of those missions were for the best of our country. Maybe not all of them, but most of them.'”… End AP story…
Three links for further POW reading…
(1) House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing “American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1970” (150 pages)..
American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, Hearings, 1970
AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, 1970 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 1970 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEEON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, COMMITTEEON NATIONALSEC~TY POLICYAND SCIENTIFICDEVELOPMENTS, Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:05 a.m. .in room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Clement J. Zablocki (chairman of the subcom-
(2) “Americans Missing in Laos: No Mystery Here”… Humble Host asked a dear friend and fellow Utahn, who flew SAR Helo flights over Laos and NVN during Rolling Thunder and was an escort officer for Operation Homecoming in 1973, to comment on this unpublished nine page effort to dispel any suggestion that there were POWs left in Southeast Asia after the March 1973 release of the POWs in Hanoi. FRED BERGOLD offered this: “I can understand why it was not published. There are some major errors based on the data I have learned over the years (four + decades). For starters, my source is rather credible, LT STEVE LONG (listed in the report). His info to me was: when the POW list was published in Hoa Lo prison and his name and the other POW’s captured in Laos was not on it, he went to the camp commander and was told he was captured in Laos and would go home when the Laotian war was over! Fortunately, the names came out in the Public Information debrief and Kissinger’s crew was forced to go back to Paris and get them a release. There were ten, seven Air Force pilots, one CIA, and two missionairies. Also, Steve’s roommate at the time was a Thai pilot–the NVA held him for three more years… She (the analyst who performed the ‘No Mystery Here’ study) overlooks the data on POW signals that were ‘walked’ into the areas of known POW camps. Since I did not have access to the recon flight data of the areas it is hard to tell what some really knew and when. POWs abandoned in Laos? –Yes. Also no mention of POWs going to China and the Soviet Union. The later admitted to by the Russians. Again, I can see why it was not published. … P.S. How many back seaters were captured and never returned. Didn’t Red McDaniels talk about that? (See Red’s great book, go abebooks.com: BEFORE HONOR reprinted as SCARS and STRIPES)…
(McDaniels’ BN was LT JAMES KELLY PATTERSON, who broke his leg during the ejection/parachute landing, was on his radio but in extremely hostile country 20 miles south of Hanoi. He was able to evade and hide for four days. The employment of the “Fulton Extraction System” was attempted but the North Vietnamese intercepted the parachuted Fulton package and LT KELLY PATTERSON was n ever heard from again. See RTR archives for 19 May 1967.) LEFT BEHIND AND UNACCOUNTED FOR… As Hobson notes in VIETNAM AIR LOSSES: “LT JAMES PATTERSON is still not accounted for and his case remains one of the most perplexing and intriquingof the many mysterious incidents relating to the fate of missing US servicemen in Southeast Asia.
Americans Missing in Laos: No Mystery Here - MIA Facts
Americans Missing in Laos: No Mystery Here Summary. One of the many favorite refrains of the MIA "activists" is that only nine Americans captured in Laos returned, while 471 returned from North Vietnam and over 100 returned from South Vietnam.
(3) “MIA Facts Site: The Overwater Losses: Skewing the Statistics.” This is a companion paper that explains the uselessness of comparing POW recovery rates for Laos with those of North and South Vietnam. Good numbers are used to make the case that deleting overwater losses from the losses in the three areas demonstrates the number of unaccounted pilots and aircrew are comparable. It is an interesting argument.
The Overwater Losses
The Overwater Losses: Skewing the Statistics. Summary: One of the continuing myths that plagues the MIA issue is the refrain that, because so high a proportion of the men lost in Laos were declared Missing In Action (MIA) versus Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR), this must mean that men survived and were captured in large numbers, never to be returned.
HUMBLE HOST END NOTE… MAJOR STEPHEN G. LONG, who passed away on 10 August 2018, was among the bravest of the brave and his sacrifice and service for his entire life are worthy of your attention. His biography and the citation for his second Distinguished Flying Cross are at:…
Steve Long was born on February 16, 1944, in Hastings, Nebraska. He entered Officer Training School on March 13, 1967, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas, on May 27, 1967.
Lest we forget… Bear
Thanks to Carl and Bob
Tootsie Rolls Help Marines Win the Battle of Chosin Reservoir (1950)
Posted on July 28, 2015 by admin
“If the best minds in the world had set out to find us the worst possible location in the world to fight this damnable war, the unanimous choice would have been Korea.” — Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson (1893-1971)
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army surged across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south.
It ended with an armistice signed on July 27, 1953 with the 38th parallel still the dividing line. The only thing really accomplished was the death of 34,000 Americans and several million others.
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir took place between the last week of November and the first week of December, 1950. “Frozen Chosin,” as the marines called it, is a man-made lake located in the northeast of the Korean peninsula. It was a sparsely populated area, with a single road in and out, with steep climbs and drops. The road’s quality was poor, and in some places it was reduced to a one lane gravel trail.
In mid-November, A massive cold front passed over the area and brought with it the coldest winter in recorded Korean history. Daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to -35° and lower.
Jeep batteries froze and split. C-ration cans were frozen solid, and no fuel could be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn’t cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman’s mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather.
By November 26, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemen were completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops from the laughingly-named People’s Voluntary Army. The Chinese began throwing human waves of soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied forces.
Against this backdrop, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, under the command of Capt. William Barber (1919-2002,) was tasked with protecting a vital three-mile mountain pass through which the main body of the marines would have to go if they were ever to get to freedom.
Captain Barber was shot in the upper thigh fracturing the bone on the first night of action (November 29, 1950,) and continued to command his troops from a stretcher. The unit was ordered to withdrawal and fight their way back to safety, but Barber refused to budge. The Chinese broke through the line three times, only to be thrown back by F Company.
The Chinese used the ravines between ridges to marshal their forces between attacks. Doing so protected them from rifle fire, but the Marines’ 60-millimeter mortars were capable of delivering high, arcing fire over the ridge lines and inflicting heavy casualties among the enemy soldiers. The 60mm shells were the most valuable weapons the Marines had, but their supply of mortar rounds was running dangerously low. Emergency requests for resupply were sent by radio. Using code words for specific items, they requested an emergency resupply of Tootsie Rolls, the code for 60mm mortar rounds. Unfortunately, the radio operator receiving that urgent request didn’t have the Marines’ code sheets. All he knew was that the request came from command authority, it was extremely urgent.
So when the supplies were delivered, dozens of parachutes with pallets of actual Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. Once the shock wore off, the freezing and starving troops rejoiced. Frozen Tootsie Rolls were thawed in armpits or pockets until they were warm enough to chew, then eaten. The sugar provided energy, and for many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. Just as important, the marines learned they could use warmed Tootsie Rolls to plug bullet holes in fuel drums, gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing the leaks and allowing the troops some much needed mobility
By the end of the battle more than 1,000 enemy soldiers were dead. Of Captain Barber’s original 240 men, 82 were able to walk away from the battle.
For the rest of the First Division, the battle went on more for than another week. The balance of the allied fighting force, originally numbering 15,000 men, suffered 3,000 killed in action, 6,000 wounded and thousands of severe frostbite cases. But they did eventually reach the Sea of Japan, demolishing several Chinese divisions in the process. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. Surviving Marines called themselves “The Chosin Few,” and Barber’s Company F inherited a different name: The Tootsie Roll Marines.
On August 20, 1952, Barber was presented the Medal of Honor* by President Harry S. Truman in ceremonies at the White House. He eventually retired with the rank of colonel.
The Tootsie Roll was invented by an Austrian immigrant named, Leo Hirschfeld in 1896. He named the candy after his daughter Clara’s nickname,“Tootsie.” It was such a big seller, that in 1905 Hirschfield had to move to a four-story factory to handle the orders, Beginning in World War I, the Tootsie Roll was added to every soldier’s field rations, because they held up so well to heat, cold and rough handling. The Tootsie roll was also the first one cent candy to be individually wrapped and was the most popular candy during the Depression.
* For Capt. Barber’s Medal of Honor Citation, click here. (NOTE: He had a Silver Star and Purple Heart from Iwo Jima!!)