Tuesday, July 16, 2019

TheList 5046


The List 5046 TGB


To All,

I hope that you all had a great weekend.

Regards,

Skip

Today in Naval History

July 15

1862

While CSS Arkansas makes her way down the Yazoo River, she encounters the Union gunboats USS Carondelet, USS Tyler, and USS Queen of the West. In the ensuing battle, CSS Arkansas damages the first two vessels and makes her way into the Mississippi River, where she boldly fights through the Federal fleet to find refuge at the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Miss.

1896

USS Oregon (BB 3) is commissioned.

1942

USS Grunion (SS 216) sinks the Japanese submarine chasers (25 and 26) off Kiska, Aleutian Islands.

1942

USS Terror (CM 5), the first minelayer built as such, is commissioned. During World War II she participates in Operation Torch, the Battle for Iwo Jima, and the Okinawa Invasion, where she is struck by a kamikaze on May 1, 1945.

1943

TBF aircraft from (VC 29) from USS Santee (CVE 29) sinks German submarine (U 509) south of the Azores.

1943

PBY (VP 92) and British destroyer HMS Rochester and frigates HMS Mignonette and HMS Balsam sink German submarine (U 135) west of the Canary Islands. Previously, (U 135) sank 3 and damaged 1 Allied vessels, none from the United States.

2017

The guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) is commissioned in a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The ship honors Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Finn, who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the first attack by Japanese airplanes at Pearl Harbor.



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Since this is Moon Landing week

Thanks to Dr, Rich. An interesting description of the Moon Landing from Bill Whittle. More to come.

Thanks to Bill... enjoy!

Here is the link for part 1 of my four-part series called Apollo 11: What We Saw. I think it is the best work I have ever done.



Parts 2 and 3 will be released during the week, with the fourth and final part on July20th, 2019: fifty years to the day after the Apollo 11 landing.



Love to hear what you think about it.

Bill



https://youtu.be/k9BmufbVf2E





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Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• The U.K. and Iran sought to de-escalate tensions raised over the detention of an Iranian tanker, but have yet to reach a resolution, reports the Wall Street Journal.

• Exercise Sea Breeze 2019 concluded on Friday with a ceremony in Odesa, Ukraine.

• CNN reports that the U.K. has raised the security level for British ships in the Persian Gulf to the highest state of alert and is sending a second warship to the region.



This day in History

1099 Jerusalem falls to the Crusaders.

1410 Poles and Lithuanians defeat the Teutonic knights at Tannenberg, Prussia.

1685 The Duke of Monmouth is executed in Tower Hill in England.

1789 The electors of Paris set up a "Commune" to live without the authority of the government.

1806 Lieutenant Zebulon Pike begins his western expedition from Fort Belle Fontaine.

1813 Napoleon Bonaparte's representatives meet with the Allies in Prague to discuss peace terms.

1834 Lord Napier of England arrives at Macao, China, as the first chief superintendent of trade.

1863 Confederate raider Bill Anderson and his Bushwhackers attack Huntsville, Missouri, stealing $45,000 from the local bank.

1895 Ex-prime minister of Bulgaria, Stepfan Stambolov, is murdered by Macedonian rebels.

1901 Over 74,000 Pittsburgh steel workers go on strike.

1942 The first supply flight from India to China over the 'Hump' is flown.

1958 President Dwight Eisenhower sends 5,000 Marines to Lebanon to keep the peace.

1960 John F. Kennedy accepts the Democratic nomination for president.



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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

July 14, 1922

Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, Daedalian Hereditary Life Member, fighter pilot and triple ace with 17 official aerial victories in two wars, was born Robert Oldys Jr., at Luke Field Hospital, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.



July 15, 1931

The Air Corps Tactical School moved from Langley Field, Virginia, to Maxwell Field, Alabama. It produced most of the Air Corps's air doctrine during the 1930s, including the concept of long-range, high-altitude daylight precision bombing of selected military and industrial targets — the fundamental strategy of the Army Air Forces in World War II.



July 16, 1945

Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay assumed command of Twentieth Air Force, which had been commanded directly by Army Air Forces commander Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Daedalian Founder Member #2182.



July 17, 1962

Air Force Maj. Robert White flew X-15 No. 3 with the XLR-99 rocket engine on the first spaceflight by a manned aircraft: Altitude 58.7 miles (314,750 ft.), speed in excess of Mach 6 (3,784 mph). For this feat, he won the Air Force rating of winged astronaut -- the first one awarded to a pilot. White, a Daedalian Life Member, retired as a major general. He passed away on March 17, 2010.



July 18, 1934

Fourteen Class of 1933 Naval Academy graduates reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for special training toward qualification as naval aviators. Their route to designation in January 1935 was circuitous. They received an honorable discharge upon graduation from the academy because of a lack of vacancies in the Navy, enrolled and trained as Flying Cadets in the Army Air Corps, accepted a commission in either the Navy or Marine Corps, and, finally, completed the Pensacola course.



July 19, 1941

Capt. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a West Point graduate whose father had been the first black graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, reported to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, with 12 aviation cadets to begin flight training as the first class of black pilot candidates in the U.S. military.



July 20, 1948

Sixteen F–80 Shooting Stars completed a mission from Selfridge Field, Michigan, to Scotland after nine hours and 20 minutes — the first west-to-east transatlantic flight by jet planes.

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Thanks to THE Bear -





COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… WEEK TWENTY-FOUR of the HUNT… 21-27 April 1969

July 14, 2019Bear Taylor

COMMEMORATING THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR: 1961-1973…

LEST WE FORGET… NYT, 25 April 1969, page 11: "According to statistics released today, 3,379 enemy soldiers were killed last week. By contrast, American battle deaths for that period were put at 216 and South Vietnamese at 329. While neither the enemy nor the allied command has declared the offensive ended, the trend in number of men killed, battlefield contact and night shellings has been steadily downward. The statistics of the war are now about what they were before (the enemy's spring offensive started seven weeks ago)."…

ERNIE PYLE: "I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and -wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be without."… The great writer from the fronts of World War II, who was himself killed-in-action on Okinawa in the last battle of the war, also wrote for all time: "Our men can't make this change from normal civilian into warriors and remain the same people. Even if they were away from you this long under normal circumstances, the mere process of maturing would change them, and they would not come home just as you knew them. Add to that the abnormal world they have been plunged into, the philosophies they have had to assume or perish inwardly, the horrors and delights and strange wonderful things they have experienced, and they are bound to be different people from those you sent away."… God bless and keep Ernie Pyle… Ernie knew war. If you don't know Ernie, read his book, BRAVE MEN… 349 copies of the book are available on abebooks.com starting at $4 with free shipping… (A beat-up signed copy goes for $400)…



Good Morning. It is Monday, 15 July 2019. Humble Host remembers the Vietnam War and Week Twenty-Four of the all-out effort to combat the enemy's end run through Laos to supply his warfighters in South Vietnam.



I. HEADLINES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES for 21 through 27 April 1969…

A. THE WAR… (21 Apr) U.S DANANG BASE IS SHELLED BY FOE–2 MARINES KILLED AND 46 HURT IN ATTACK DURING MOVIE–Pace Of Fighting Slows… "The enemy fired 20 122mm rockets into a United States Marine helicopter base outside Danang last night. One landed among scores of men watching a movie outdoors."… (22 Apr) ENEMY LAUNCHES HEAVY ARTILLERY ATTACKS AGAINST ALLIED BASES… "After three days of relative quiet, the enemy launched heavy mortar and rocket attacks against allied bases and civilian communities last night…Ground fighting in the northern provinces also showed a marked increase over the last several days… A North Vietnamese force attacked a United States Marine overnight camp 20 miles northwest of Quangtri City and only 200 yards south of the DMZ just before dawn today. The United States command reported that eight marines were killed and 25 were wounded in the two-hour fight that ensued… 35 enemy bodies were left behind as the enemy retired."… (23 Apr) MARINE AMBUSH TRAPS 150 OF FOE–50 Enemy Soldiers Killed–25 Slain in Second Battle… "…ambushed about 150 enemy soldiers attempting to cross a river near Anhoa, 25 miles southwest of the coastal city of Danang… Near Trangbang, 40 miles northwest of Saigon, about 25 enemy soldiers were reported killed when they attacked an American infantry position. No United States casualties were reported."… (24 Apr) FIVE HELICOPTERS ARE LOST IN VIETNAM… "…the helicopter crashes had cost the lives of 19 men–11 Americans and eight South Vietnamese. Two of the UH-1 assault troop ships collided in flight before dawn this morning 33 miles northwest of Saigon… An Army helicopter was lost in mid-afternoon. A total of three men were killed and 14 wounded, all South Vietnamese."… (25 Apr) B-52s CARRY OUT HEAVIEST BOMBING–Tayninh Province Struck–Foe Quitting Urban Areas…"Daylong raids by high altitude bombers rained almost 3,000 tons of bombs at the Cambodian border area northwest of Saigon yesterday–by far the heaviest bombing concentration of the war in Vietnam….almost 100 of the long-range B-52 bombers, based in Thailand and Guam, made shuttle runs–15 waves– along the frontier 70 northwest of Saigon." ( Operation Menu? See "Memorandum From Kissinger to the President" below)… ALLIES REPORT PULLBACK…"Allied officials said today that enemy troops had pulled back from most population centers throughout South Vietnam and were arrayed much as they were before the spring offensive that began two months ago."… (26 Apr) B-52s IN SECOND DAY OF HEAVY BOMBING–Enemy Bases Near Saigon And Kontum Are Hit–Enemy Attacks Base–475 Mortars Preceded Attacks By Enemy…. (27 Apr) G.I. UNIT NEAR CAMBODIA REPULSES FOE–KILLS 213… "United States infantrymen and aircraft killed 213 enemy soldiers early today in one of the bloodiest battles fought in South Vietnam in almost a year. The cost to Americans was unusually low–one man reported wounded–in the enemy attack on a base that some officers said had been deliberately established as 'bait.' The battle was fought about 45 miles northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border."….



B. PEACE TALKS IN PARIS… (22 Apr) SECRETARY OF STATE ROGERS WARNS–ENEMY MIGHT NOT WANT A NEGOTIATIED SETTLEMENT… "…warned yesterday that the United States, although striving hard for peace in the current Paris talks, was preparing for the unwelcome contingency' that the North Vietnamese might not want a negotiated settlement. Because of that possibility, he said, the United States was urgently strengthening South Vietnamese forces… 'The readiness oif our forces, the level of offensive actions by the enemy or progress in the Paris peace talks will determine the scope and timing of actual transfers of reponsibility–and the consequent release of our forces,' he said."… PULLOUT OF TROOPS BY U.S. IS DOUBTFUL… "A top-level Nixon Administration official commented that the Administration could cope with one or the other facet of the Vietnamese war individually but the problem was to weave all the strands together…trouble meshing its battlefield strategy in Vietnam, its negotiating tractics in Paris and public relations in the United States–especially on the tricky issue of American troop withdrawals."… (HUMBLE HOST notes: This is a lucid explanation for why a nation must think thrice before entering a fight. Getting out is tough to do, as we are learning all over again in Afghanistan.)… (24 Apr) PARIS PEACE TALKS SAID TO BE STALLED… "Informed sources said today that there had been no significant movement in the Paris peace talkis since President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam offered a month ago to enter secret, unconditional negotiations with Hanoi and the Vietcong. These sources said that there had still been no direct talks between Saigon and Vietcong negotiators."… (25 Apr) SAIGON AT PARIS TALKS DENIES SEEKING ENEMY ANHILATION… "…In a prepared statement, the head of the Saigon delegation, Pham Dang Lam, appeared to foresee Vietcong guerrilla participation in his country's political progress, if they stopped fighting. Mr. Lam did not say the Vietcong must also renounce Communist ideology to enter South Vietnam politics…"



C. THE REST OF THE HEADLINES… (21 Apr) BELFAST IS STRUCK BY FIRE BOMBINGS–British Army Due–Cabinet In Northern Ireland is Granted Request For Troops At Utilities and Reservoirs–All Blazes Are Extinguished… ARMED NEGROES END SEIZURE–Cornell Yields…"Carrying 17 rifles and shotguns, Negro students at Cornell University marched out of the Student Union Building today, ending a 36-hour occupation….the administration capitulated on a series of…demands by the Afro-American Society…"… U.A.R. COMMANDOS CROSS THE SUEZ TO ATTACK ISRAELIS… "Israeli officials reported today that their forces had clashed with Egytian commandos on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal, fought lengthy duels with Jordanian artillery across the Jordan River and killed five guerrilla infiltrators in the latest intensification of hostilities around this country."…PUBLISHERS REPORT DAILY NEWSPAPERS SERVE 104 MORE CITIES THAN IN 1945… "…there were in 1945–1,500 compared with 1,396 at the end of World War II…" (There were 1,480 daily papers in 2000 and 1,331 in 2014) … (22 Apr) 23-SHIP U.S. FLEET OFF KOREAN COAST TO GUARD FLIGHTS–4 Carriers in Special Force Backing Up Nixon Ploedge–Jets May Make Runs… CORNELL FACULTY VOTES DOWN PACT ENDING TAKE-OVER BY NEGRO STUDENTS–Resolution Assails Seizure of Student Center and Carrying of Guns–Capitulation Assailed–White Students Denounce as Appeasement Accord on Seizure by Negroes"… ISRAELI JETS STRIKE GUERRILLAS AND RADAR STATIONS IN JORDAN… (23 Apr) THANT TELLS U.N. VIRTUAL WAR PREVAILS AT SUEZ–Council is Told That Truce Between Israel and U.A.R. Has Almost Broken Down–Concern Echoed by U.S.–State Department Appeals to Both Sides to Avoid Acts That Increase Tensions… RUSSIANS PROTEST U.S. NAVY BUILD-UP– Big Task Force Off Korea Draws Oral Complaints to U.S. State Department… 253 STUDENT LEADERS PLEDGE NOT TO BE DRAFTED–Insist They Will accept Jail Over Military Service–Delegates of Many Colleges Seek Audience With Nixon… (24 Apr) SIRHAN SENTENCED TO GAS CHAMBER ON 5th JURY VOTE–12 Who Convicted Murderer of Robert F. Kennedy Set Penalty After Nearly 12-Hours–Judge Can Ease the Ruling… NORTH KOREAN REDS WARN U.S. OVER PLANES–Say They Will Down Aircraft Entering Air Space–Gunfire Over Truce Line Charged… 58 AMERICAN DEFECTORS IN SWEDEN HAVE RETURNED… (25 Apr) PRICES UP IN NEW YORK 6%–IN U.S. 5%… "…increase of 1% in last month highest here in 22 years."… (26 Apr) SECDEF LAIRD SAYS SOVIET CAN LEAD BY 2 TO 1 AND SURPASS IN MISSILES BY 1975–Russians Can Surpass U.S. in All Arms–He Assserts Plea For Safeguards… MORE BRITISH TROOPS WILL GO TO NORTHERN IRELAND… CORNELL ORDERS SEARCH FOR GUNS ON CAMPUS… (27 Apr) NAVY TASK FORCE OFF KOREA SAILS INTO YELLOW SEA–Pentagon Annoiunces Shift of Fleet to Protect Reconnaissance Aircraft–Reason Not Disclosed–Move May Be a Result of Soviet Protest… U.S. TO USE WARSHIPS FOR RISKY INTELLIGENCE DUTY…





II.A. COMMANDO HUNT… THE BOMBING OF CAMBODIA… Humble Host amplifies The New York Times article on the B-52 strikes on 24 April 1969 by including the following "MEMORANDUM FROM THE PRESIDENT's ASSISTANT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS (KISSINGER) TO PRESIDENT NIXON" from the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States, Vietnam Vol. VII, January 1969-July 1970, Document #62.

Subject: B-52 Strikes Against Targets in Cambodia… I quote…

"At Tab A is the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan providing for the Cambodia B-52 strikes with specific targets in the Fish Hook area previously struck and two additional targets in the Tri-Border area with Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The plan would provide:

(1) Breakfast Bravo 48 sorties against targets in the Fish Hook area with 12 cover sorties on South Vietnam. Time over target (TOT) between 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 24 Saigon (1:00 p.m. Wednesday local time).

(2) Breakfast COCO Restrike of Fish Hook with 20 sorties plus 4 cover sorties. TOT between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Thursday night, April 24 Saigon time (7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. Thursday, 24 April local time).

(3) Operation Lunch 32 sorties against targets in the Tri-Border area and 4 cover sorties. TOT between 2:00 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. Friday morning April 25 Saigon time (1:00 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon local time).

At Tab B is a summary of the intelligence on the target area which indicates that military considerations favor the Fish Hook target complex being the higher priority.

(1) Post-strike analysis of the Fish Hook area (COVSN) following the earlier strike indicates that there is a large North Vietnamese force in the area which has not moved.

(2) Intelligence indicates that the two target complexes in the Tri-Border are contain elements of a major North Vietnamese logistics complex.

General Wheeler advises that the countermanned order for authorizing all strikes should precede TOTs by eight hours thus countermand for the operation should be prior to 5:00 a.m. Wednesday moring local time.

At Tab C is a draft instruction on the public affairs treatment of the plan.

PROS AND CONS OF PLAN… Pros: (1) Strong military blow as manifestation of U.S. resolve to end conflict. (2) Signals to Soviets and North Vietnam that EC-121 incident (Aircraft downed by North Korean MiGs) did not divert U.S. attention from Vietnam conflict. (3) Timely and effective follow-up to Kissinger/ Dobrynin conversation. (4) Could complement Presidernts' Peace Plan…. Cons: (1) Could result in public outcry if strikes "blow." (2) Could prove counter-productive to on-going actions leading twoard re-establishment of relations with Cambodia. (3) Could result in more North Vietnamese intransigence in Paris and even walkout.

On balance, I (Kissinger) favor strike primarily because it represent a forceful U.S. action in wake of EC-121 incident and message it conveys to the Soviets. It is probable that Laird and Wheeler will support plan on military grounds and that Rogers will oppose on political grounds."…. End Document 62.





II.B COMMANDO HUNT I… The following is snipped from Chris Hobson's VIETNAM AIR LOSSES, page 180, and explains the mission of the EC-121R, BAT CAT… quote…

"An integral part of the Igloo White sensor system for detecting activity on the Ho Chi Minh Trail was the EC-121R Bat Cat aircraft. Lockheed Air Services converted thirty surplus US Navy EC-121K and EC-121P aircraft to EC-121R configuration in 1966-67. The 533rd RW was formed at Otis AFB, Massachusett in February 1967 to operate the aircraft. The Wing deployed to Korat in October 1967 and was tasked with collection of electronic intelligence information. Normally the aircraft orbited over South Vietnam, Laos or even North Vietnam for about eight hours while its seven man combat information crew tuned into radio transmissions from air dropped sensors. A variety of these sensors were used with names like Acoubuoy, Spikebuoy, Adsid and Acousid and they relayed acoustic and seismic information from the nearby movement of trucks and people on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The information received from these sensors could be relayed to the Task Force Alpha center at Nakhon Phanom or it could be analyzed on board the EC-121Rs by the mission crew of radio and electronic specialists. The information thus received was used for the targeting of air strikes on sections of the Trail which were known to be active. By mid-1970 the number of EC-121Rs at Korat had been reduced from the original 27 to nine aircraft and the Wing inactivated on 15 Decenber 1970." …unquote… See tragic loss of a Bat Cat EC-121R and on board crew of 13 below…





III. AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 21-27 APRIL 1969… References include Chris Hobson's history of the air war in Vietnam, VIETNAM AIR LOSSES and the PACAF SOUTHEAST ASIA AIROPS SUMMARY for April 1969… During the week ending 27 April 1969 the United States lost seven (7) aircraft and 21 brave souls, including 18 in the crew of an EC-121R Bat Cat…

(1) On 22 April an F-100D of the 416th TFS and 37th TFW, Sunvalley 61, out of Phu Cat, piloted by 1LT R.C. DETWILER was downed by 23/37mm fire on a strike against a suspected enemy truck park. Sunvalley 61 was the first aircraft on the first pass. He made a 45-degree dive attack on a westerly heading and delivered 2 M-117 low drag bombs on target. At what appeared to be release altitude, Sunvalley 62 saw Sunvalley 61 take a hit in the right wing. Sunvalley 61 pulled off the target to the left and jettisoned bombs, pylons and external drop tank. He made an after-burner climb to exit and stated he was losing pressure to both flight control systems and was controlling by rudder. The fire warning light illuminated and smoke was seen coming from the aircraft. 1LT DETWILER ejected at 22,000′. He reported that he landed in rough terrain and was suspended in a tree upside down. He was recovered in good condition by Jolly Green 32…An HH-3E from the 37th ARRS crewed by CAPTAIN CHARLES P. LOWERYand BRUCE E. PROUSE, James Jenereaux, and John Eldridge…rescued the pilot of Sunvalley 61 about 25 miles east of Saravan, Laos….

(2) On 22 April an F-4D of the 480th TFS and 37th TFW out of Phu Cat, Cobra 2 was downerd a few miles to the north of where Sunvalley 61 had been downed 30 minutes earlier. The aircraft was flown by LCOL WALTER SHELBY VAN CLEAVE and WSO 1LT VINCENT CALVIN SCOTT and their COMMANDO HUNT target was another truck park 15 miles east of Ban Talan. They were downed by automatic weapons fire as they dove on the target. The aircraft crashed near the target and neither aviator was seen to eject. A search failed to provide any further evidence of the pair and both were originally declared MIA, then "Declared dead while missing," and finally, "Killed in action, body not recovered." COLONEL VAN CLEAVE and CAPTAIN SCOTT remain where they fell on the battlefield fifty years ago… But they are remembered and the search and effort to return them to their homeland continues… Don't stop looking DPAA…

(3) On 22 April an F-100D of the 355th TFS and 37th TFW out of Phu Cat was lost on a close air support mission when the pilot hit a tree while attacking his target and was forced to eject. He survived. (This incident inexplicably lacks the usual information…must have been the kin of an O-8 or higher–I jest…) Hobson does note tht this was the third loss of the day for Phu Cat…

(4) On 23 April an F-100D of the 531st TFS and 3rd TFW out of Bien Hoa piloted by 1LT R. M. HARGETT went down on a close air support mission in South Vietnam. He was attacking a complex of Vietcong bunkers 12 miles west of Binh Thuy and hit on his second pass by small arms fire. He ejected and was rescued by a HH-43F Huskie crewed by CAPTAIN PHILLIP H. KAMMAN, ROBERT A. WHITE, KENNETH P. JOHNSON AND MICHAEL F. DEAN. LT. HARGETT would be forced to eject a second time in July 1969…

(5) On 25 April an EC-121R BAT CAT of the 554th RS and 55th 553rd RW out of Korat crashed two minutes after takeoff from Korat on a COMMANDO HUNT mission. All 18 members of the crew were killed in the crash and explosion in a rice paddy four miles from Korat. The base HH-43 Pedro was immediately on scene but there were no survivirs. Air Force warriors lost in the tragic crash were: LCOL EMERSON E. HELLOER; MAJOR PAUL R. LUNSFORD; LCOL WILLIAM C. McCORMICK; MAJOR THOMAS M. BRANDON; CAPTAIN GEORGE R. KIDD; 1LT JOHN A. MARSH; TSGT JAMES H. BELFLOWER; TSGT ALBERT N. BOOKER; TSGT WARREN C. DELANEY; TSGT KENNETH W. FOWLER; SSGT PAUL FAULK; SSGT JERALD C. DAVIS; SSGT JAMES D. MOORE; SSGT MITCHEL MESSING; SSGT MARK M. STEELEY; SGT WILLIAM D. STEPP; A1C MICHAEL J. COTTERILL; and A1C RONALD C. DEFORREST. This tragedy came on the heels of the loss of an EC-121 with 33 on board, downed by North Korean MIGs without provocation ten days earlier on 15 April…

(6) On 26 April an A-1J Skyraider of the 602 SOS and 56th SOW out of Nakhon Phanom piloted by MAJOR JAMES BOYD EAST was lost on a night strike on enemy troops and mortar positions on the east side of the Plain of Jars in northern Laos. He was hit by 12.7mm fire on his third attack and the aircraft continued in the dive and crashed near the target. MAJOR EAST did not exit the aircraft and a subsequent search failed to develop any further evidence of his survival. The following is from Hobson: "In 1994 a Laotian witness to the incident reported the location of the crash site and a joint US/Laotian team excavated the site later the same year. Bone fragments found were identified by mitochondrial DNA testing as being those of MAJOR EAST in July 1997."… COLONEL EAST was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery near San Antonio in August 1997.

(7) On 26 April an F-8J Of the VF-51 Screaming Eagles embarked in USS Bon Homme Richard hit the ramp returning from a CAP mission. The pilot survived. The Crusader did not.





IV. HUMBLE HOST END NOTE One… The following is snipped from the PACAF SEA AIR OPERATIONS SUMMARY for APRIL 1969… While strike COMMANDO HUNT operations were conducted on the Laos side of the Annamite Mountains, the reconnaissance of enemy movements on the North Vietnam side continued at an intensive pace. They were reported as ROLLING THUNDER OPERATIONS. The following is a summary of the April 1969 reconnaissance activity and enemy reaction… I quote…

SUMMARY–ROLLING THUNDER OPERATIONS–APRIL 1969…

"Weather conditions over North Vietnam improved during April. Manned aircraft reconnaissance sorties increased appreciably. Enemy defensive reaction to overflight also increased and SAMs were fired at reconnaissance and Iron Hand aircraft. Resupply and storage buildup effort continued in the panhandle area (RP I and II). In general, weather conditions over the NVN panhandle were favorable for reconnaisance efforts. As a result, 335 missions were flown: 235 by the USAF, 64 by USN aircraft, and 36 by USMC (scheduled were 316, 117 and 70). All missions were flown during the daylight hours. Prime areas of interest for coverage were the enemy's major lines of communication, storage areas, POL areas, truck parks, and SAM sites.

"Enemy AAA reacted to 10 Air Force missions while 2 Navy flights were the target of a SAM firing. An additional 3 SAMs were fired successfully at an unmanned reconnaissance effort obver Haiphong on 21 April. The USAF escort aircraft expended CBU-24 and MK-82 ordnance on 6 occasions after receiving ground fire. The 2 USN aircraft were operating on an Iron hand mission northwest of Vinh on 23 April. Shrike missiles had been fired at a Fansong tracking signal when a SAM fire signal was received. Evasive action was successful. No manned aircraft received battle damage over NVN in April. On 17 April the USAF began escorting reconnaissance aircraft with 1 F-4D aircraft; prior to this date, 2 aircraft provided escort. MIG-19 aircraft presence in NVN was confirmed by photo evidence on 1 April. The AOB now lists 6 MIG-19s at Kep airfield.

"The enemy continues his resupply and storage buildup effort. The latest innovation is the use of waterproof bags to float supplies down stream. This method was first identified in March at the western end of the DMZ along water route 7 which connects NVN and Laos via the western edge of the DMZ. Improvements have been made along the river. Stones and logs have been emplaced to control the flow of the water, cut new channels, and guide the bagged supplies. In other areas, cables, etc. have been installed to prevent the bages floating onto the river bank and sand bars or snagging in the overhanging trees. However, this supply pipeline merely augments the primary method of logisitcs distributed by trucks and watercraft.

"Large coastal watercraft reappeared at Quang Khe for the first time since February. Both a 100 and a 200 ton capacity vessels unloaded supplies at this port during April. Watercraft appear to be the prime method of transportation, although vehicle use is still considerable as seen by the large truck parks in NVN adjacent to the Laos border.

"In summary, the enemy continues his transportation of supplies into and through the panhandle area at approximately the same level as seen during the past few months. Some slight increase may be expected in an effort to stock up supplies in Laos prior to the arrival of the rainy season."… End quote…



END NOTE Two… NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POW/MIA FAMILIES UPDATE… Among the Americans accounted for was COLONEL ROY A. KNIGHT, JR. ,USAF, who was listed as MIA on 19 May 1967 over Laos. His remains were recovered on 28 February 2019 and positively identified on 4 June 2019. This was the first Vietnam war related announcement since February… The number still missing (POW/MIA) and otherwise unaccounted for (KIA/BNR) from the Vietnam war is now 1,588. Of that number, 90% were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Cambodia or Laos under Vietnam's wartime control: Vietnam= 1,246 (NorthVN=443 and SouthVN=803); Laos=287; Cambodia=48. PRC territorial waters+7. Since the end of the war in 1975, 995 of our missing have been accounted for: 672 from Vietnam; 278 from Laos; 42 from Cambodia; and 3 from PRC. In addition, between 1973 and 1975, 63 additional American personnel were accounted for, bringing the total to 1,058…. 1,588 to go…

COLONEL KNIGHT's last flight was on 19 May 1967, a date carried in the history of Rolling Thunder as "one of the blackest days of the war for the US Navy with the loss of six aircraft and 10 aircrew over North Vietnam. In addition, it was Black Friday for the Knight family. Read more in the RTR archives: Rolling Thunder 440, posted on 19 May 2017 for 19 May 1967 (Ho Chi Minh's birthday)…

Lest we forget…. Bear…

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