Tuesday, June 18, 2019

TheList 5025

The List 5025 TGB

I hope that you all had a great weekend. I hope that you were able to celebrate Father's day



Today in Naval History

June 17

1815 Commodore Stephen Decatur's squadron engages the Algerian flagship Mashouda near Cape de Gatt, Spain. Though the Algerian frigate maneuvers actively to escape, she surrenders after 20 men, including her commander, are killed.

1833 The ship of the line, USS Delaware, becomes the first warship to enter a public drydock in the United States when secured at Gosport Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Va.

1870 Under the command of Lt. Willard H. Brownson, six boats from the steam sloop-of-war USS Mohican attack a group of pirates in the Teacapan River, Mexico.

1898 President William McKinley signs into law a Congressional bill authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps.

1944 TBF (VC 95) from USS Croatan (CVE 25) damages German submarine (U 853) in the North Atlantic. On May 6, 1945, USS Atherton (DE 169) and USS Moberly (PF 63) sink (U 853) off Block Island.

2017 The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) is involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Seven Sailors lose their lives and the ship is damaged on her starboard side above and below the waterline.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Today's national headlines include reports that a pro-democracy icon has been released from prison in Hong Kong a day after hundreds of thousands marched in protest.

• Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced that Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield will be the next president of the U.S. Naval War College, the first woman to fill the role, reports CNN.

• The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the history of TOPGUN in honor of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the program.

• Reuters reports that the U.S. Navy expects additional U.S. and international orders for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon which should extend production until late 2025.

0362 Emperor Julian issues an edict banning Christians from teaching in Syria.

1579 Sir Francis Drake claims San Francisco Bay for England.

1775 The British take Bunker Hill outside of Boston, after a costly battle.

1799 Napoleon Bonaparte incorporates Italy into his empire.

1848 Austrian General Alfred Windisch-Gratz crushes a Czech uprising in Prague.

1854 The Red Turban revolt breaks out in Guangdong, China.

1856 The Republican Party opens its first national convention in Philadelphia.

1861 President Abraham Lincoln witnesses Dr. Thaddeus Lowe demonstrate the use of a hot-air balloon.

1863 On the way to Gettysburg, Union and Confederate forces skirmish at Point of Rocks, Maryland.

1872 George M. Hoover begins selling whiskey in Dodge City, Kansas--a town which had previously been "dry."

1876 General George Crook's command is attacked and bested on the Rosebud River by 1,500 Sioux and Cheyenne under the leadership of Crazy Horse.

1912 The German Zeppelin SZ 111 burns in its hangar in Friedrichshafen.

1913 U.S. Marines set sail from San Diego to protect American interests in Mexico.

1917The Russian Duma meets in secret session in Petrograd and votes for an immediate Russian offensive against the German Army.

1924 The Fascist militia marches into Rome.

1926 Spain threatens to quit the League of Nations if Germany is allowed to join.

1930 The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill becomes law, placing the highest tariff on imports to the United States.

1931 British authorities in China arrest Indochinese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

1932 The U.S. Senate defeats the Bonus Bill as 10,000 veterans mass around the Capitol.

1940 The Soviet Union occupies Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

1942 Yank a weekly magazine for the U.S. armed services, begins publication.

1944 French troops land on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.

1950 Surgeon Richard Lawler performs the first kidney transplant operation in Chicago.

1953 Soviet tanks fight thousands of Berlin workers rioting against the East German government.

1963 The U.S. Supreme Court bans the required reading of the Lord's prayer and Bible in public schools.

1965 27 B-52s hit Viet Cong outposts, but lose two planes in South Vietnam.

1970 North Vietnamese troops cut the last operating rail line in Cambodia.

1972 Five men are arrested for burglarizing Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

1994 Millions of Americans watch former football player O.J. Simpson--facing murder charges--drive his Ford Bronco through Los Angeles, followed by police.


Thanks to THE Bear -


June 16, 2019Bear Taylor



LEST WE FORGET… AMERICAN WARRIOR LOSSES IN THE WAR REACHED 31,379 KILLED IN BATTLE, so far… For the week ending 22 March the losses were 266 Americans and 337 South Vietnamese soldiers. Vietcong and North Vietnam killed in battle were put at 3,873 as their spring offensive began to stall… "And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights a soldiers tomb, and beauty weeps the brave."… James Drake, American Poet… REMEMBER…

Good Morning. It is Monday, 17 June 2019. Humble Host remembers the Vietnam War and WEEK TWENTY of COMMANDO HUNT I, the relentless hunt for trucks on the infiltration routes through Southern Laos called "The Ho Chi Minh Trail."

I. HEADLINES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES for 24 through 30 March 1969…

A. THE WAR: (24 Mar) NEW BATTLES NEAR SAIGON–Sweep of Ashau Valley by Allies Disclosed… "New ground fighting and continued shellings were reported today into the second month of the enemy spring offensive throughout South Vietnam…the enemy shelled 25 bases last night hitting several civilian areas. Casualties were light….The United States command disclosed that a sweep was under way in the Ashau Valley…The 30-mile long valley is considered to be North Vietnam's major infiltration route in the northern provinces of South Vietnam…. Three battles were fought yesterday in an area 45 miles southwest of Saigon… In the heaviest fighting U.S. infantrymen killed 31 of the enemy in a six-hour fight. Twenty-two of the enemy were killed in the same area in two fights later in the day. American losses were two killed and six wounded."… "In the Ashau sweep by 101st Airborne units 60 of the enemy were reported killed in the first three weeks of the campaign. U.S. casualties were reported at 23 killed and 63 wounded…A month earlier U.S. marines operating in the Ashau Valley mountains reported killing 1,405 North Vietnamese regulars and seizing almost 500 tons of supplies."…NIXON MEETS WITH BUNKER–President Begins Study of Vietnam Policies… "President Nixon began a review of his diplomatic and military options in Vietnam with Ellsworth Bunker, the U.S. Ambassador in Saigon, and General Andrew J. Goodpaster, deputy American military commander in Vietnam…. Nixon is seeking a fresh assessment of the latest enemy attacks and the continuing build-up of enemy forces around Saigon. The enemy offensive, accompanied by a sharp increase in American casualties, has placed the President under renewed pressure at home to show some signs of progress toward peace. For this reason Mr. Nixon is thought to be eager to obtain from Ambassador Bunker an appraisal of what concessions–if any–the South Vietnamese leaders are prepared to make at the bargaining table in Paris."… (25 Mar) GROUND FIGHTING HEAVY IN VIETNAM–Battles Reported in All Four Tactical Zones–Enemy Shells 35 Targets… "…the battles resulted in at least 265 enemy deaths…. The fighting reflected the continuing effort by enemy forces to maintain their general offensive, now in its second month."… (26 Mar) FIGHTING ERUPTS ALONG INFILTRTION ROUTES… "…a series of battles broke out during the last 36-hours…also heavy contact in the Mekong Delta and near Quangngai, a city about 80 miles south of Danang… The most serious battle fought north and west of Saigon…broke out 35 miles from the capital city."... (27 Mar) U.S. UNIT IS BATTERED IN MORTAR AND GROUND ATTACK…"…enemy troops smothered a United States position with mortar fire last night and then moved in with a ground assault that left 8 Americans dead and 17 wounded."… "Elsewhere in South action tapered off."… (28 Mar) US DEATHS IN VIETNAM ARE DOWN 25%…Enemy Losses Also Drop As South Vietnam's Rise in the 4th Week of Foe's Drive… (29 Mar) U.S. CONVOY FOILS AN AMBUSH BY NORTH VIETNAMESE TROOPS–46 Enemy Soldiers Are Reported Killed By Day-Long Battle North of Saigon–Attack is 2nd in Area in 4 Days… (30 Mar) VIETNAM COMBAT HEAVIEST IN WEEK–Ground Fights Range From Buffer Zone to Delta, But Casualties Are Light…

B. PEACE TALKS IN PARIS… (25 Mar) FRIENDS AND KIN IN PARIS SERVE AS A SAIGON-VIETCONG CONDUIT… "Members of the Saigon and Vietcong negotiating teams at the peace talks here do not speak to each other, but they speak much about each other with cousins, sisters-in-law and friends. Their remarks have traveled through the large and largely uncommitted Vietnamese community in Paris and have established an indirect dialogue between supporters of the South Vietnamese Government and the National Liberation Front, or Vietcong…. The ties of Vietnamese family structure…provide elusive channels between hostile forces…"… (26 Mar) THIEU NOW READY TO MEET VIETCONG IN SECRET TALKS– Says He Expects Parley–Nixon Reiterates Belief That Privacy Is Essential… (27 Mar) THIEU SAID TO OPEN ELECTION ROLE FOR N.L.F. MEMBERS–Reported Ready To Integrate Them Into Political Life as Part of Vietnam Accord–Saigon Studying Plans–President Expected to Take Leadership of An Enlarged Pro-Government Party… (28 Mar) SECRETARY OF STATE ROGERS DECLARES QUICK G.I. PULLOUT DEPENDS ON ENEMY–Informs Senators Troops Will Go Soon, If Foe Does So As Well–Won't Set Time Limit–American Combat Deaths In Week Listed As 266… FOE CRITICIZES BID FOR SECRET TALKS–But The Vietcong-Hanoi Side In Paris Stops Short of Rejecting Allied Proposal… (30 Mar) LODGE EXPECTS TO BRIEF NIXON ON PEACE TALKS–Will Fly Home From Paris For Eisenhower Funeral…HANOI ASSAILS U.S. ON LAOS BOMBING AND NIXON SUGGESTION IN PEACE TALKS…

C. THE REST OF THE HEADLINES… (24 Mar) REVIEW OF JOHNSON BUDGET BRINGS INCREASE, NOT A CUT–Total Given Nixon Put at $198-Billion–President Determined to Reduce it–Treasury Chief Sees Defense Slash… NEGRO ENLISTMENT IN GUARD LAGGING–Percentage Up Only Slightly Despite Offical Calls For an End to Imbalance… U.S. AT GENEVA PREPARES TO FILL IN GAPS IN PROPOSED TREATY TO BAR NUCLEAR WEAPONS… "…from the ocean floor when the disarmament conference meets Tuesday… (25 Mar) U.S. PROPOSES BIG 4 OPEN FULL TALKS ON MIDEAST AT U.N. –Yost Is Said To Urge Raising The Bilateral Exchanges to Parley of Chief Delegates… TRUDEAU OF CANADA WITH NIXON–Discuss ABM, Student Unrest, Race Problems At White House… EISENHOWER CONDITION WORSE–Continuous Oxygen Required… FRUITLESS MEETINGS OF ISRAELI ELON AND JORDAN'S HUSSEIN… SHAH OF IRAN OPPOSES U.S. RETENTION OF BAHREIN FACILITIES AFTER 1971– ARTILLERY ERUPTS ALONG SUEZ… (26 Mar) TRUDEAU PLEDGES INDEPENDENT LINE–Tells Washington Audience Friendship Doesn't Mean Unanimity of Policy… AYUB KHAN QUITS–Places Pakistan In Army's Hands–Turbulence Cited–Martial Law Declared In Bid To End Violent… EISENHOWER STAYS IN CRITICAL CONDITION…"Doctors said today that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's heart congestion was severe and his condition critical."… U.S. REJECTS CALL BY SOVIETS TO BAN ARMS ON SEABED–Part of Plan Would Bar Conventional Weapons Is Termed Unworkable… SUPREME COURT WIDENS CURBS ON QUESTIONING BY POLICE… 225 RADICAL STUDENTS PICKET 8 BUILDINGS AT COLUMBIA… (27 Mar) CIVIL RULE IS GOAL PAKISTAN IS TOLD–But No Date is Set For Shift–Leader of Military Regime Says Military Acted To Save The Nation… U.S SPANISH PACT ON MILITARY BASES EXTENDED FIVE YEARS... JORDAN SAYS 18 DIED IN ISRAELI RAID… "…worst Israeli air raids on Jordan since the June, 1967."… EISENHOWER FAILURE TO RESPOND CALLED UNFAVORABLE SIGN… "Walter Reed Army Hospital said today there had been 'no appreciable improvement' in the condition of the former President."… PILOTS MOVE TO BOYCOTT NATIONS THAT FAIL TO PUNISH HIJACKERS… ARABS WIDEN WAR IN THE SINAI AREA–Guerrillas Fire Rockets At Israeli Positions–Israelis Report Grows Ineffective… WHITE HOUSE PICKETS, HOUSE SPEAKERS SCORE VIETNAM WAR… "There were pickets at the White House and fiery speeches on Capitol Hill today as antiwar forces pressed their demand for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. But perhaps the most dramatic appeal of all was a silent one that rolled off the Government printing presses in the hours before dawn. There, in the daily Congressional Record, were 341,379 names, seemingly endless in column after column, covering 121 pages: a roll of honor of the United States dead in Vietnam."… (Humble Host has no answer for the difference of 404 names with the count through 22 March.) "The names were inserted by Rep. Paul Findley, Republican of Illinois who said: 'the names establish, as no other arrangement of words can possibly do, the true dimensions of the Vietnam war in total overall terms, as well as the most intimate.'…(The printing covered 120 pages at $83 a page printing cost– Humble Host says: WORTH EVERY BUCK)… (28 Mar) EISENHOWER RESTS 'MORE COMFORTABLY… CHANGE IN PAKISTAN; Though Ayub Is Out, Elite That Ruled For 10 Years Still Runs The Country… NASSER SAYS ISRAELI CIVILIANS WILL BE BOMBED IN RETALIATION… "…said in a speech last night 'the day will come' when Egyptian troops would bomb and shell civilians in retaliatation for Israel bombardment of civilian centers along the Suez Canal."…U.S. IN U.N. ASSAILS ISRAELI AIR STRIKES AND ARAB ATTACKS–Soviet Denounces Israeli Raid on Jordan… (29 Mar) EISENHOWER DEAD AT 78 AS AILING HEART FAILS–Rites Will Start Today–End is Peaceful–DeGaulle Will Attend Funeral Of 34th Presidernt Monday… President Nixon Will Deliver Eulogy Tomorrow in Capitol's Rotunda–Nixon Hails 'Great Leader' For His Moral Authority– Wife and Family With General As Death Ends 10-Month Vigil— (30 Mar) EISENHOWER FAMILY AND FRIENDS JOIN TO BID HIM FAREWELL–Private Service Starts 3 Days of Mourning… SOVIET BIDS CHINA JOIN NEGOTIATION'S ON BORDER ISSUE–In Note Handed to Embassy, Peking is Asked to Refrain From Fanning Tensions–Friendship Stressed, But Moscow, Retracing the History of Disagreement Still Claims Island in Usurri River…

II. COMMANDO HUNT I… The hunt for trucks, truck parks and enemy activity on the Ho Chi Minh Trail was greatly facilitated by the sensors, aircraft, organization and personnel involved in the IGLOO WHITE operation. The Wikipedia summary of IGLOO WHITE may be accessed via the Link available through the RTR Home page. Humble Host suggests a perusal of an excellent article by GEORGE L. WEISS from Air Force Magazine (October 1971) titled: "THE AIR FORCE'S SECRET ELECTRONIC WAR."… The 3,500-word essay is a superior introduction to the entire system in place in Southeast Asia for the purpose of carrying out the mission of COMMANDO HUNT–"Find and kill trucks. Cut the flow." Read at….


III. AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 24-30 MARCH 1969… References include Chris Hobson's history of the air war in Vietnam, VIETNAM AIR LOSSES, updated by Humble Host with sources that include: VVMF, Wall of Faces; POW Network: and, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency… During the week ending 30 March 1969 the United States lost eleven fixed wing aircraft and six intrepid aviators in Southeast Asia air operations…

(1) On 24 March an O-1E Bird Dog from the 20th TASS and 504th TASG out of Danang was downed by small arms fire while flying a FAC mission in the Ashau Valley. The pilot, CAPTAIN K.G. HERRON, was at too low an altitude to bail out when hit by the enemy gunfire and was forced to crash land in the very hostile valley. He was injured in the crash and was fortunate to be rescued by friendly ground troops. CAPTAIN HERRON was evacuated out of the area by helicopter. Another great Happy Hour story with a happy ending…

(2) On 25 March an F-100D of the 615th TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang piloted by MAJOR W.R. CHAFFER was part of a flight scrambled to provide night close air support for troops in contact with the enemy 20 miles northeast of Bien Hoa. His Super Sabre was hit by automatic weapons fire on the second napalm run and he ejected from the doomed aircraft a few seconds later. An Army helo was able to outrace the Vietcong to MAJOR CHAFFER's position and rescue him. Another Happy Hour tale…

(3) On 25 March an A-1E of the 22nd SOS and 56th SOW flown by CAPTAIN K.E. GILMORE was on a night COMMANDO HUNT mission over the Trail in Southern Laos and surprised a number of trucks on a road 15 miles east of Ban Napoung. After a successful first bombing attack, while maneuvering for a second run, he was hit by antiaircraft fire and lost control of the Skyraider. He ejected, spent the night evading the enemy and was rescued at dawn the next day by a Jolly Green Giant helo that was piloted by "MAJOR SMITH"… Chalk up another great tale for the next Tactics Brief…

(4) On 25 March an F-4B of the VF-151 Vigilantes embarked in USS Coral Sea–"The Best in the West"– (oohrah..Humble Host leaking a little partiality) was lost due to an engine failure after completing a CAP mission. The two aviators ejected and were rescued from the sea snakes of the Gulf of Tonkin by Navy SAR troops. Coral Sea completed the deployment a few days later with a total of 110 days on Yankee Station. Carrier Air Wing 15 lost eight aircraft and seven aviators on the carrier's fourth deployment from Alameda to the Vietnam war.

(5) On 26 March an A-1H of the 1st SOS and 56th SOW out of Nakhon Phanom was lost on a Steel Tiger mission near Ban That, 30 miles northeast of NKP. 1LT MICHAEL J. FAAS was downed by Soviet ZPU mobile antiaircraft guns as he attacked a covey of trucks in a park. 1LT FAAS was able to eject before the aircraft crashed very near the truck park. He was able to evade enemy troops to be rescued by the same HH-3 that had rescued CAPTAIN GILMORE the day before. You gotta' love those Jolly Green Giants and their fearless crews…

(6) On 27 March a B-57B Canberra of the 8th TBS and 35 TFW out of Phan Rang piloted by LCOL RICHARD W. BURKHOLDER and LCOL H.W. WRIGHT was hit by 37mm fire on a dawn COMMANDO HUNT strike on a river ford near Tavouac, 20 miles southwest of the Ashau Valley. LCOL BURKHOLDER was able to control the aircraft clear of the target area but both he and his navigator were forced to eject short of Phu Cat. They were rescued to fly and fight again…

Chris Hobson adds: "This aircraft was the last B-57B lost in Southeast Asia. A total of 54 B-57Bs, two B-57Es and one B-57C had been lost in Southeast Asia since the first Canberra arrived at Bien Hoa in 1964. By June 1969 there were only six B-57s left at Phan Rang and these were operating almost exclusively at night by then. The 8th TBS started to run down in September and left Phan Rang at the end of October 1969 after five years in Southeast Asia. However, this was not the end of the Canberra's contribution to the war in Southeast Asia."…

(7) On 27 March an F-100C of the 120th TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang flown by MAJOR CLYDE SEILER was downed by ground fire while providing close air support near Song Be City. MAJOR SEILER was not seen to eject and was killed as the aircraft flew into the ground. His remains were recovered and he is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

(8) On 28 March an F-4D of the 389th TFS and 366th TFW out of Danang piloted by MAJOR ROBERT ARTHUR BELCHER and WSO CAPTAIN MICHAEL ANDREW MILLER was shot down while striking an enemy mortar site in the DMZ. The Phantom was hit in the attack and both aviators were still in the aircraft when it went into the ground and exploded. Both were listed as missing but later classified as Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. Fifty years after their last flight MAJOR BELCHER and CAPTAIN MILLER remain where they fell… Left Behind… Hopefully, the search goes on… Both are honored with memorial stones in Arlington National Cemetery…

(9) On 28 March an F-4D of the 555th TFS and 432nd TFW out of Udorn flown by CAPTAIN ROBERT DEAN DAVENPORT and WSO CAPTAIN WILLIAM PAUL JUSTICE was lost on a night Barrel Roll mission over the Plain of Jars. They were on their second bombing attack on a supply and storage area six miles south of Ban Naxa when hit by 37mm antiaircraft fire. The Phantom was observed to crash but no ejection was observed (dark) and no emergency beeper or voice calls were heard. A search for the wreckage failed to find the crash site but subsequent investigation led to the recovery of the remains of both warriors. CAPTAIN DAVENPORT is buried at the Air Force Academy Cemetery and CAPTAIN JUSTICE is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Niagara Falls, New York… they are remembered with admiration and respect, glory gained and duty done… so young…

(10) On 29 March an F-4D of the 390th TFS and 366th TFW out of Danang piloted by CAPTAIN W.J. POPENDORF and WSO 1LT FREDERICK WILLIAM HESS was a part of a formation of three aircraft on a "Fast Jet Defoliation" mission to defoliate a segment of route 915 southwest of the Ban Kari Pass. On the formation's second pass at 100 feet, 500 knots the POPENDORF/HESS Phantom was hit by small arms fire. The aircraft became uncontrollable and both aviators ejected moments before it crashed into a mountainside. CAPTAIN POPENDORF was seriously injured and was rescued by an Air Force helicopter after three hours on the ground. A ten hour search failed to locate 1LT HESS, who was subsequently listed as MIA. In 1979 he was presumed killed in action, and remains in this status today. Gone for 50 years. Humble host recommends the rest of the story told by Rudi Williams of the American Armed Forces Press Service in 2000. His piece is titled: "Wife Hopes Husband is Alive After 31 Years." (now 50 years)… Read at:


MAJ Frederick William Hess, Jr, Kansas City, MO on www.VirtualWall.org The Virtual Wall® Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall


To the friends and family of Major Frederick W. Hess: I have had Major Hess's POW/MIA bracelet since 1970. He has been on my mind more often than normal lately and I just wanted to let you know that he is not forgotten.

Same source explains the why and how of the short life of the "Fast Jet Defoliation" program…

(11) On 29 March an F-105D of the 34th TFS and 388th TFW out of Korat piloted by 1LT R.A. STAFFORD was downed on a Steel Tiger mission in Southern Laso near Saravane. The Thunderchief was part of a strike on a road intersection and was hit at 9,000-feet after three successful diving attacks on the target. He was forced to eject a few miles from the target area and was rescued by an Air Force helicopter to fly and fight again. This was the only F-105 lost in Steel Tiger in March 1969….

IV. HUMBLE HOST END NOTE… On 11 January 1972 the Russian Newspaper KRASNAYA ZVEZDA ran a "Reports on Vietnam Convoys" article by a Lt. Colonel M. Sviridov, that provides the enemy's eye-view of the American interdiction campaign in North Vietnam and Laos that is a must read for anybody who flew in Route Packs I, II, and III (Highway 1/1A) and Steel Tiger (COMMANDO HUNT). Colonel Sviridov's report should also be of interest to every reader of this blog… Read at…



Lest we forget… Bea


"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/.

June 16, 1936

Seversky Aircraft Company won a contract to provide the Air Corps with P–35 airplanes—the Army's first single-seat fighters with enclosed cockpits and retractable landing gear.

June 17, 1986

After being returned to flyable condition, B-47E-25-DT Stratojet serial number 52-166, made the last flight of a B-47. It was flown by Maj. Gen. John D. ("J.D.") Moore and Lt. Col. Dale E. Wolfe from the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the high desert of Southern California, to Castle AFB in California's San Joaquin Valley, to be placed on static display. Click HERE to learn more about this historic mission.

June 18, 1981

The first Full Scale Development Lockheed YF-117A Nighthawk, 79-10780, made its first flight at Groom Lake, Nevada, with Skunk Works test pilot Harold "Hal" Farley Jr. at the controls. The super-secret airplane was made of materials that absorbed radar waves, and built with the surfaces angled so that radar signals are deflected away from the source. Commonly called the "Stealth Fighter," the Nighthawk is actually a tactical bomber. Five developmental aircraft and 59 operational F-117As were built. They were in service from 1983 until 2008, when the Lockheed F-22 Raptor was planned to assume their mission. They are mothballed and could be returned to service if needed.

June 19, 1968

Lt. j.g. Clyde Everett Lassen was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as the pilot and aircraft commander of a search and rescue helicopter during operations against enemy forces in North Vietnam. In part, the citation reads: "Although enemy fire was being directed at the helicopter, he initially landed in a clear area near the base of the hill, but, due to the dense undergrowth, the survivors could not reach the helicopter. With the aid of flare illumination, Lieutenant Lassen successfully accomplished a hover between two trees at the survivor's position. Illumination was abruptly lost as the last of the flares were expended, and the helicopter collided with a tree, commencing a sharp descent. Expertly righting his aircraft and maneuvering clear, Lieutenant Lassen remained in the area, determined to make another rescue attempt, and encouraged the downed aviators while awaiting resumption of flare illumination. After another unsuccessful, illuminated, rescue attempt, and with his fuel dangerously low and his aircraft significantly damaged, he launched again and commenced another approach in the face of the continuing enemy opposition." Click HERE to read the full story of this historic mission.

June 20, 1941

The Department of War established the United States Army Air Forces. The new organization consisted of Headquarters Army Air Forces, the newly formed Air Force Combat Command, and the existing United States Army Air Corps. The U.S.A.A.F. was placed under the command of Maj. Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, Chief of the Air Forces. At the end of 1941, the U.S. Army Air Forces had a strength of 354,161 (24,521 officers and 329,640 enlisted) and 12,297 aircraft, with 4,477 of these classified as combat aircraft.

June 21, 1993

Lt. Col. Nancy J. Currie-Gregg, the first female Army aviator to become an astronaut, made her first space flight.

June 22, 1962

The last of 744 Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers, B-52H-175-BW, serial number 61-0040, was rolled out at the Boeing Military Airplane Company plant in Wichita, Kansas. The U.S. Air Force contracted 62 B-52H Stratofortresses, serial numbers 60-0001 through 60-0062, on May 6, 1960. A second group of 40, serials 61-0001 through 61-0040, were ordered later. All were built at the Boeing Wichita plant.


Thanks to Wigs

Father's Day

Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea of a day to honor fathers in 1909. Her own father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran whose wife had died in childbirth. Dodd thought about the difficulties her father had faced as he struggled to raise his six motherless children on a farm in eastern Washington, and she set her mind to honoring all fathers. She approached local churches, and on Sunday, June 19, 1910, Spokane ministers celebrated the first Father's Day by reminding their congregations of the appreciation fathers deserve and the duties fathers owe to their families.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson took part in a Father's Day celebration by pressing a button in the White House that unfurled a flag in Spokane. In 1924 Calvin Coolidge recommended the widespread observance of the holiday to honor dads and "impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations."

The idea of a national Father's Day was slow to catch on, but communities and states gradually joined the observance. During the Depression, in an effort to boost sales, retailers began encouraging the holiday with "Give Dad Something to Wear" campaigns.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a law officially recognizing the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Each year, the president issues a proclamation urging Americans to remember all that their fathers have given to family and country

Make It A Nice Day,



Those in the military and other jobs manage to miss many of the holidays over the years. It was a great story from Shadow in the middle of trying times that he was able to meet with his dad and celebrate.

A great Father's Day story from Shadow

Thanks to Shadow -

Oh Great Bear…

This one brings back some memories… Will never forget Father's Day 1966… or the men who made it so memorable, for my Father and me.

As summer approached… I was "in country" and in late May we came in from one of the longest periods of being in the field for anyone… almost 90 days. It had been a ball buster. I think I had lost almost 30 of my 160 pounds. As we left our operating area near Co Bi Than-tan, just north of Hue… we moved back to Phu Bai. I was with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, Fourth Marines. When we got to Phu Bai… we separated from the rest of the Battalion and became the stand-by company for quick reaction; besides guarding the SeaBee Battalion next door. The rest of the battalion got to eat hot meals on the other side of the highway… we were sill eating C-Rations. We were constantly being called out on "Sparrow Hawk" missions (reinforced platoon quick reaction team) and even Company sized reaction missions. Someone stepped in chit… we were the go-to guys to bail them out. We settled in, knowing our stay in Phu Bai would be short, before we moved further north in I-Corps to Dong Ha.

Unknown to me at the time was that three men were conspiring to make the upcoming Father's Day, my most memorable. You see, my father was in VA-55 on the USS Ranger, on Yankee Station. His immediate superior was LCdr. Theodore Kopfman (think he was the AMO)… He worked for the Skipper, Cdr. M.J. Chewning, the C.O. of VA-55. Kopfman and Chewing became aware that I was "in country" while they and my dad were off shore. One of them, don't know which one… came up with the idea it would be neat if we could be together in the war zone for Father's Day. Kopfman, with Chewning's blessing, set about to make it happen. This was in late May.

Then on the 3rd of June… Chewning took a hit in his A-4 cockpit, was severely wounded, but managed to make a single handed landing back on Ranger, despite his injury and loss of blood. I'm sure that you and others know of his heroic efforts. Unfortunately, his command was over as he could no longer fly. Kopfman went to my dad and finally told him what they were planning… and hoped Chewning's loss would not stop their intended surprise to get me out to Ranger… but he was worried it might not come off. Meanwhile, I and the Marine Corps were oblivious to what was in the works.

On 15 June, Delta Company was called out on a company quick reaction operation… One of our Combined Action Companies just north of Phu Bai, had been attacked the night before and we mounted up to try to find the retreating enemy force. We were inserted by hero's (I think this was a Freudian slip – Dutch) and got hot on their trail. It was hot as hell and the terrain was tough… everything from dense bush to flooded rice paddies and irrigation ditches… along with bamboo rushes. We tracked them most of the day, but made no direct contact. The irrigation ditches (small canals) and the rice paddies were full of water and had a distinct gray color due to the high clay content in the soil. During a rest period… Dan McMahon, my Company Commander, pointed out I had a "High Water" mark across my chest from fording one of the canals. From mid-chest down… my jungle utilities were no longer green, but gray. And my jungle boots were caked with the same gray mud and muck. Add to that, we had a potable water shortage and none of us had shaved for a couple of days. Dan opined, I was a sorry sight. It was a ball busting day, but it was decided to extract us by helo at days end, as we'd made no contact. They picked us up and flew us back to Phu Bai and we arrived just at dusk. And we were trucked back to our Company area.. We were all exhausted… and I just threw myself on my canvass cot in our tent and passed out just after mail call.

15 June 1966 was a ball buster for me… but nothing compared to what LCdr. Kopfman was going through… for that same day… LCdr. Theodore Kopfman was shot down and forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken prisoner! And he remained so until 1973. That very night about 2330… I was awaken by the Company Runner and told to get to McMahon's tent ASAP! I crawled out of my rack and walked to the CP Tent and found McMahon sitting on the edge of his rack and he looked up and smiled and said… "You're to report to the Heli-Pad at 0500… They're flying you out to see your dad for Father's Day". I think I said… "You gotta be shitting me… Sir". Dan smiled and said… "Nope, just got this flash message from Division that Battalion sent over". I started to leave and realized I had no change of clothing… all our stuff was put in storage when we were sent out since they didn't know how long we'd be in the field. I turned to Mcmahon and said… I don't have a change of clothes. Dad looked at me and said, "Fuck it, you look hard"… with that, he slumped back on his cot. He was as tired as I was. On the way out of the CP… I put in a piss call with the Company Runner for 0430, so he could use the Skipper's "Mighty Mite" to get me over to the Heli-Pad. We got there just at 0500… I looked a mess… Filthy jungle utilities, muddy boots, my .45… and nothing else. My eyes were blood shot and I had about three days growth of beard. They put me in a CH-46 and we flew down the coat line to Da Nang and landed on the Marine side of the airfield. Now I had no orders and no idea how things would go from there? As I walked out of the helicopter… I see this Marine Major… he came over to me and says, "Are you Stafford"? I said, "Yes Sir"… His next words were… "Son, you look like shit"! I quickly explained we'd been out in the bush, fording rice paddies and dykes and our stuff was in storage… He stepped back and said… "Come to think of it… You look hard (just like McMahon)… Be good PR if they take pictures"… The Major's name was Chervin. He drove me over to the other side of the field and pulled up next to a Navy COD and said, "There's your ride". I thanked him and asked if he had any orders for me, he said no… just use your judgement, stay a couple of days and get back as soon as you can… also told me I could catch a flight back to Phu Bai from the transient line where we now were when I came back. I was then herded onto the C-1 and we flew out to Ranger.

After we trapped, they taxied us up in front of the island on the starboard elevator and chocked and chained us and shut us down. As I got out of the airplane… I must have been a sight… all these sailors were looking at me and trying to figure out who and what I was? We wore no rank in the field per our C.O.'s orders… I was filthy, unshaven and caked in mud… and I had a .45 on my shoulder. Later I was told they speculated I was someone who'd been rescued after evading for days… Later they got a kick out of finding out I was there to see my dad for Father's Day. Spent three glorious days on the boat… Marine Detachment spirited away my Jungle Utilities and boots, gave me a clean set of Stateside utilities and finally gave me mine back the next day… C.O. said they had to wash them three times to get all the mud out… and some poor bastard had to clean and polish my boots. That night they gave me a big steak for dinner… couldn't eat most of it as my stomach had shrunk. That night my dad sadly told me that the men who'd put together the whole thing had been wounded, CDR. Chewning... and LCdr. Kopfman had been shot down the day before and they didn't know his fate. Kinda put a damper on things.

Regardless… it was a nice visit. When I left to go back… it took a work party to load all the goodies the Navy and Marines gave me to share with my fellow Marines back in country. When I finally came back to the States… My mom showed me a letter my dad had written her the night I arrived… It started with… "Your Son"... came aboard today… as usual with his dirty laundry… BTW… Had an exciting end to the trip as the C-1 I was on, along with some ARVN wounded and a Corpsman… almost smacked the water after deck launching off the angle. I was looking up at the flight deck and could see all these sailors running to the deck edge to see if we were gonna make it. Things were never easy it seemed, where Vietnam was concerned? That's life I guess?

My dad and I talked about it for years and I made it a point to fly an F-4 up to Lemoore to try to meet both men after Kopfman was released and express my gratitude in person. Unfortunately, my timing was bad and both men were unavailable. I left them a letter, but never heard from them. But I remain, forever grateful.



The mention of the ill fated Marine patrol… has a back story that most don't know… I'll share it if you want. They fought heroically… but they should't have had to if they'd followed orders. One of those instances where the C.O. wanted to Court Martial the patrol leader… instead he gets the MOH!


Some news from around the world 17 June

Cameroon—Military Bringing Humanitarian Aid To Anglophone Regions

Voice Of America News | 06/17/2019

The Cameroonian military is bringing 55 truckloads of humanitarian aid to the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions, reports the Voice of America News.

Separatists who say the Francophone government has been discriminating against English-speakers have been battling security forces there since late 2017.

Clashes between the combatants in the Anglophone regions have killed at least 25 people in the last two weeks.

The government in Yaounde has accused non-governmental organizations of exaggerating the crisis to make it look like it is not doing enough to resolve it.

The U.N. estimates that at least 1,800 people have been killed and more than 530,000 displaced since fighting broke out.

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