Monday, September 30, 2019

TheList 5108

The List 5108 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all had a great weekend.



Today in Naval History

September 30

1800 French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and American envoys sign the Treaty of Mortefontaine that releases the United States from its Revolutionary War alliance with France and ends the Quasi-War.

1918 During World War I, German submarine U-152 sinks USS Ticonderoga. Seriously wounded early in the battle, commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. James J. Madison remains on the bridge controlling the ships fight until she is abandoned. The lost included 112 Sailors and 101 Soldiers and was the greatest combat loss of life on any US Navy ship during World War I. For his "exceptionally heroic service" during this action, Lt. Cmdr. Madison is awarded the Medal of Honor.

1943 USS Bowfin (SS 287) delivers supplies and evacuates people from Siquijor Island, Philippines and sinks Japanese cargo ship, Mitake Maru. Also on this date, USS Harder (SS 257) sinks Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser No.3 Shosei Maru, while USS Pogy (SS 266) sinks Japanese army transport, Maebashi Maru, 300 miles east of Palau.

1944 USS Nautilus (SS 168) lands 95 tons of supplies, 70 drums of gasoline, and four drums of oil at designated spot on Panay, Philippine Islands and embarks 47 evacuees (seven servicemen, 10 women, five civilian males, and 25 children).

1944 USS Fessenden (DE 142) depth charges and sinks German submarine, (U 1062), south of the Cape Verde Islands.

1954 The world's first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN 571), is commissioned at Groton, Conn. On Aug. 3, 1958, she is the first U.S. vessel to transit across the geographic North Pole. Nautilus now serves as the historic ship at the Submarine Force Museum at Groton.

1981 USS La Jolla (SSN 701) is commissioned at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn., before transferring to its new homeport of Naval Submarine Base Point Loma in San Diego, Calif. The Los Angeles-class attack submarine is ideally suited for covert surveillance, intelligence gathering and Special Forces missions.

1995 USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) is commissioned at Julia Street Wharf in New Orleans, La. The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship is the second U.S. Navy ship to be named for the historical estate in Clarke County, Va., built by Nathaniel Burwell to honor his grandfather, Robert King Carter, a wealthy plantation owner and acting governor of Virginia in 1726-27.


Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• The New York Tines and Wall Street Journal report that tens of thousands of protestors clashed with police in Hong Kong ahead of Tuesday's 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

• Vice Adm. Scott "Satan" Conn took the helm of U.S. 3rd Fleet from Vice Adm. John D. "Sarge" Alexander on Friday, reports USNI News.

• CNO Adm. Mike Gilday recognized former USS John S. McCain Sailors for damage control efforts following the 2017 collision.

Today in History September 30

1399 Richard II is deposed.

1568 Eric XIV, king of Sweden, is deposed after showing signs of madness.

1630 John Billington, one of the original pilgrims who sailed to the New World on the Mayflower, becomes the first man executed in the English colonies. He is hanged for having shot another man during a quarrel

1703 The French, at Hochstadt in the War of the Spanish Succession, suffer only 1,000 casualties to the 11,000 of their opponents, the Austrians of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.

1791 Mozart's opera The Magic Flute is performed for the first time in Vienna

1846 The first anesthetized tooth extraction is performed by Dr. William Morton in Charleston, Massachusetts.

1864 Confederate troops fail to retake Fort Harrison from the Union forces during the siege of Petersburg.


Italy declares war on Turkey over control of Tripoli.

1918 Bulgaria pulls out of World War I.

1927 Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the season off Tom Zachary in Yankee Stadium, New York City.

1935 George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess opens at the Colonial Theatre in Boston.

1938 Under German threats of war, Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign an accord permitting Germany to take control of Sudetenland--a region of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a German-speaking minority.

1939 The French Army is called back into France from its invasion of Germany. The attack, code named Operation Saar, only penetrated five miles.

1943 The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps becomes the Women's Army Corps, a regular contingent of the U.S. Army with the same status as other army service corps.

1949 The Berlin Airlift is officially halted after 277,264 flights.

1950 U.N. forces cross the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea as they pursue the retreating North Korean Army.

1954 NATO nations agree to arm and admit West Germany.

1954 The first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.

1955 Actor and teen idol James Dean is killed in a car crash while driving his Porsche on his way to enter it into a race in Salinas, California.

1960 Fifteen African nations are admitted to the United Nations.

1962 U.S. Marshals escort James H. Meredith into the University of Mississippi; two die in the mob violence that follows.

1965 The 30 September Movement unsuccessfully attempts coup against Indonesian government; an anti-communist purge in the aftermath results in over 500,000 deaths.

1965 President Lyndon Johnson signs legislation that establishes the National Foundation for the Arts and the Humanities.

1966 Bechuanaland ceases to be a British protectorate and becomes the independent Republic of Botswana.

1972 Pro baseball great Roberto Clemente hits his 3,000th—and final—hit of his career.

1975 The AH-64 Apache attack helicopter makes its first flight.

1994 Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground transit system closes after 88 years.

1999 Japan's second-worst nuclear accident occurs at a uranium processing facility in Tokaimura, killing two technicians.

2009 Earthquakes in Sumatra kill more than 1,115 people.


This Day in Aviation History" brought to you by the Daedalians Airpower Blog Update. To subscribe to this weekly email, go to

Sept. 29, 1965

Ten years after it entered service, the first operational Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, RB-52B-15-BO 52-8711, was retired to the Strategic Aerospace Museum at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. 52-8711 had arrived at Castle AFB, California, on June 29, 1955, and was assigned to the 93rd Bombardment Wing (Heavy). It later served with the 22nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at March AFB, California. For decades, 52-8711 was on display outside, but it is now in a protected environment.

Sept. 30, 1958

Gen. James H. Doolittle, chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), issued the committee's final annual report. The forwarding letters pointed out that at the close of business that day, NACA was to cease to exist, and noted the absorption of all the committee's facilities and employees by NASA. Vice Adm. William V. Davis Jr. and Rear Adm. Wellington T. Hines comprised the final Navy members of the committee. NASA was established the next day. Doolittle was Daedalian Founder Member #107.

Oct. 1, 1939

In order to expand pilot training immediately, Naval Air Training Base Pensacola, Florida, set up a program of concentrated instruction that reduced the training period from 12 to 6 months. The new program provided a primary course in landplanes and a basic phase in service landplanes and instrument flying for all students. It also restricted advanced program students to specialization in observation planes, carrier aircraft, or patrol and utility aircraft. Ground school was similarly compressed from 33 to 18 weeks.

Oct. 2, 1918

The United States successfully flight-tested a pilotless aircraft called the Kettering "Bug" at Dayton, Ohio.

Oct. 3, 1962

Navy Cmdr. Walter M. Schirra Jr. piloted space capsule Sigma 7 during the launch of Mercury-Atlas 8 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After 6 orbits, the spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific 275 miles northeast of Midway Island and about 9,000 yards from primary recovery ship Kearsarge (CVS 33). Helicopters dropped swimmers near the capsule and Kearsarge hoisted Sigma 7 and Schirra on board. On Oct. 16, Schirra received his astronaut wings. Schirra was a Daedalian Hereditary Life Member.

Oct. 4, 1989

B–1B crew members of the 96th Bombardment Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, landed their aircraft successfully despite a retracted landing gear in the nose. No aircrew member was injured, and the airplane suffered only minimal damage. For this feat, the crew earned the Mackay Trophy for 1989.

Oct. 5, 1913

The Navy's first amphibian flying boat, the Over-Water-Land type, completed its initial trials at Hammondsport, N.Y., under the supervision of Assistant Naval Constructor Lt. Holden C. Richardson. The aircraft, which was subsequently redesignated E-1, was hydroaeroplane A-2 (later AH-2), in which a flying boat hull containing a three-wheel landing gear replaced the pontoon.


Thanks to THE Bear


September 29, 2019Bear Taylor


LEST WE FORGET… NYT, Friday, 11 July…"U.S. WAR DEATHS IN WEEK: 153… AT LOWEST POINT SINCE JANUARY–Lull in Vietnam Ending a Third Week–Allied Analysts Expect Heavy Fighting to Resume Soon"… "They shall grow not old, as we are left to grow old:/Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn/At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We shall remember them." (From: "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, 1914)…

Good Morning. It is Monday, 30 September 2019. Humble Host recounts the events of fifty years ago and the 12-years of war in Southeast Asia that took the lives of 58,400 American warriors. This post covers the THIRTY-FIFTH Week of COMMANDO HUNT and the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail…


A. THE WAR… (7 July) FIGHTING IN VIETNAM DIPS AFTER A SUDDEN INCREASE… "The level of fighting seesawed during the past 36 hours, leaving allied officials puzzled over enemy intentions. Shellings and ground contact imcreased sharply at one point, then quickly fell off. Whether the two-and-a-half-week lull in enemy intiated action was over remained unclear….there has been no letup in pursuit of the enemy."... U.S. OFFICERS IN VIETNAM DEPLORE PULLOUT TALK–Fear A Public Commitment Might Bring On Collapse of Morale In Saigon… DEBATE CONTINUES ON COMBAT TACTICS–Reference By SecState Rogers to Lull in Fighting Adds to Dispute… "By focusing attention on the lull in enemy-initiated combat in South Vietnam, Secretary of State Rogers has inadvertently contributed to the running debate over whether the United States should cut back its offensive operations. Reports from Saigon today on an increase in the number of enemy rocket attacks during the last 24 hours do not make it clear whether the attacks signal an end to the lull that Mr. Rogers is talking about. But whether the lull is ending or not, the public and private controversy in the capital over the proper American combat course will undoubtedly continue."… (8 July) PATTERN OF FIGHTING STILL UNCLEAR… (9 July) SAIGON HIT BY ROCKETS… "At least five enemy rockets were fired into a Saigon riverfront district tonight and touched off a large fire."… (10 July) FOE KILLS 9 U.S. PARATROOPERS IN AN AMBUSH SOUTH OF DANANG… "American paratroopers walked into a Vietcong ambush 50 miles south of Danang and nine men were killed and seven wounded in a day long battle…150 Vietcong soldiers entrenched in bunkers near a jungle trail had waited for a detachment of the 101st Airborne Division and then had opened fire with machine guns and rifles… The ambush was countered by an Air Force gunship, artillery and tactical air strikes… only two bodies of enemy troops were found after the seven hour battle."… "In another development, the first contingent of United States marines to be withdrawn from Vietnam and the second American unit to pull out in three days flew to Okinawa."… (11 July) U.S. WAR DEATHS IN WEEK AT 153… "…the lowest American casualty figures in six months as a result of the current lull in battlefield activity neared the end of its third week. The command reported that in the week ending last Saturday (5 July), 153 American soldiers were killed in action and 772 were wounded seriously enough to require hospitalization…The enemy lost 2,381 soldiers last week…There has also been a notable decline in terrorism in South Vietnam during the last few weeks…In overnight action the enemy shelled 33 locations."… (12 July) SOLDIERS AWAITING PULLOUT PRESS MEKONG WAR… "Although soldiers of the Ninth Division's First Brigade are due to leave South Viuetnam by the end of August, their immediate concern is with the soggy, exhausting and dangerous war they have to fight every day until then…."… ( 13 July) CAPTIVE G.I. SAVED BY ASSAULT TEAM–Held By Enemy Since May… "A seriously wounded American soldier, missing for nearly two months, was rescued from enemy forces in a daring operation Thursday…Specialist 4 Larry D. Aiken…was taken by helicopter from a North Vietnamese camp near Tamky, 350 miles northeast of Saigon while a security force of American and South Vietnamese troops fought the enemy, killing six."… ENEMY ATTACK KILLS 2 G.I.'s AT DONGTAM… "Enemy gunners shelled a Ninth Division center processing troops to be returned home, killing two and wounding 21… Of the casualties, one of the dead and seven of the wounded were scheduled to leave Vietnam tomorrow." … How sad is that?… Fate is the hunter!…

B. PEACE TALKS IN PARIS… (9 July) U.S. SAID TO BE SOUNDING HANOI ON WAR LULL AND DE-ESCALATION… "…has begun probing through diplomatic channels to learn if North Vietnam has been using battlefield pullbacks to signal a desire to reduce the scale of the war in Vietnam. It was not immediately clear whether the American soundings were being undertaken through new, secret contacts wiith North Vietnamese negotiators in Paris or through such intermediaries as the Soviet Union, France or Rumania, all of which have been helpful in the past."… OPPONENT OF WAR FLIES TO PARIS FOR POW TALKS–David Delinger Goes At Invitation of North Vietnamese–May Arrange For Release of Three Held in Hanoi…(10 July) DELINGER IN PARIS–Sees Hanoi Aide on American Prisoners of War… (11 July) LODGE TELLS FOE TO MODIFY DEMANDS FOR TROOPS WITHDRAWAL… Drew Middleton reporting…"The United States told North Vietnam and the Vietcong provisional revolutionary government today that a negotiated settlement of the Vietnam war was impossible unless they modified their demand for the unilateral withdrwal of American troops. The North Vietnamese and the Vietcong group insist on unilateral, unconditional retirement of allied forces and reject a mutual withdrawal of allied and North Vietnamese troops as suggested by the United States. Henry Cabot Lodge, head of the American delegation, halted his search for common ground between the two positions to assail the other side's stand on troop withdrawals, a key issue before the 25th plenary session of the peace talks. 'To hold such a position,' said Ambassador Lodge, 'is to demand capitulation by our side. This is unreasonable. We shall not capitulate. No negotiated settlement of the war in Vietnam is possible until you modify that demand.'"… PACIFISTS FLY TO HANOI NEXT WEEK FOR POWs… "…to bring home three American prisoners…"…

C. THE REST OF THE NYT HEAD LINES… (7 July) EUROPEAN COMMON MARKET AND BRITAIN MOVE TO RESUME TALKS–Hopes For London's Entry Are High–Paris May Prefer To Revise Bloc… SENATOR KNOWLES FEARFUL OF MEDICAL CRISIS–Would Be Catastrophic, He Says, If the President Nixon Policies Were to Persist… INDIA TIGHTENS SECURITY–Fears War In Kashimir… NAACP AND NIXON: Factions In Organization Are United In Assailing Administration As Hostile... (8 July) NIXON ASSAILS MOVE ON SEGREGATION IN 5 SCHOOLS IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND ILLINOIS–Cuts Off Funds In 3 Districts–4 More Actions Likely–Pleas In Court Test Negro Faculty Assignment And Freedom of Choice Plan… EVERS IS SWORN IN AND BLACKS CONTROL TOWN IN MISSISSIPPI… THANT TELLS U.N. OPEN WAR RAGES ALONG THE SUEZ–Report to Security Council Declares 'Level of Violence' is At Highest Since 1967 Fighting–A Plea to All Parties–Secretary General Asserts Attacks On Observers May Cause Their Withdrawal… (9 July) NATION GREETS FIRST TROOPS WITHDRAWN BY NIXON… ISRAELIS REPORT SEVEN MIGS DOWNED IN SYRIAN CAPITAL–They Assert No Mirages Were Lost In Air Battle In The Golan Area–Egyptians Report Troops Crossed Canal–Killed 30 Of The Enemy… TV INDUSTRY OFFERS PLAN TO END CIGARETTE ADS BY-1973… NIXON MOVES TO AID THE CITIES AND BROADEN JOBLESS BENEFITS… (10 July) NIXON ORDERS CUT OF 14,900 TROOPS AT BASES ABROAD–Calls Also For Reduction of 5,100 In Civilian Employees Overseas In Next Year–Pullback Will Not Effect War Area… EGYTIAN RESERVES CALLED–RISING ANTE IN MIDEAST FIGHTING–Arabs Resist Freeze In The Lines–Israel Resists Change… U.S. SAYS INCREASE IN MIDEAST TENSION IS VERY SERIOUS… SOUTH IN TURMOIL OVER FEDERAL EFFORTS TO DESEGREGATE SCHOOLS… (11 July) GROMYKO URGES CLOSER U.S. TIES AND WARNS CHINA–He Shows Soviet Interest In a Meeting With Nixon–Bids Peking Negotiate–Looks To Missile Talks–But Avoids Reply On A Date–Administration Pleased By Conciliation Tone… EGYPTIAN RAIDERS HIT ISRAEL POSTS–Cairo Says 40 Were Killed Or Hurt In Canal Attacks–Foe Puts Losses at 8…PRESIDENT WARNS OF MASSIVE CRISIS IN HEALTH CARE–He and Aides Call Upon The Private Sector To Assist In Revamping The System–Medicaid Is Criticized–Three Panels Being Setup To Search For Solutions and Medical Personnel… (12 July) NIXON HAILS THIEU PLAN FOR PEACE TALKS–VIETCONG DENOUNCES IT— President Says Enemy Now Has Nothing To Gain By Waiting–Perfidious Trickery Is Charged In Statement Delivered In Paris….U.S. COURT UPSETS DOCTOR SPOCK CONVICTION IN FIGHT ON DRAFT–He And Student Are Freed–New Trial Ordered For Two Students… SOVIET EXPECTED TO ACCEPT BID ON ARMS TALKS… U.S. PLANES KEEP WATCH OVER SIX SOVIET WARSHIPS OFF COAST OF FLORIDA–En Route To Cuba… ASTRONAUTS HELD FIT FOR MOON TRIP–Pass 4-Hour Medical Tests–Spirits Rated Good… SPOCK TO REDOUBLE EFFORTS TO ASSIST WAR AND DRAFT PROTESTERS… (13 July) NIXON SO FAR: THE TREND IS MIXED IN FIRST SIX MONTHS–Goals And Political Path Are Undefined… CREW OF APOLLO EASING TRAINING FOR MOON FLIGHT–Astronauts Physician Says NASA Wishes to Avoid Launching Tired Men–Florida Cape Canaveral Area Is Packed–Million People Expected for Start of Historic 8-Day Journey of Spacecraft… Launch Set for Wednesday, 16 July at 9:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time… MOSCOW CHARGES PEKING HAS HALTED RIVER WAR PARLEY… IN ARGENTINA: Tremors Of Unrest–Military Government Is Under Pressure On Many Fronts… PAKISTAN SPURNS A PLEA BY INDIA TO REOPEN TRADE AND TRANSPORT… FOUR EGYPTIAN COMMANDOS REPORTED KILLED IN CLASHES WITH ISRAELI PATROLS–Heavy Artillery Barrages Are Exchanged Across The Suez Canal…

II. COMMANDO HUNT II (April to November 1969) GOTTERDAMMERUNG– "Savage, decisive blow"… By July 1969 President Nixon had seen enough: of a war that was piling up the bodies of American warriors in a fight that showed little progress; of a war that the American public wanted over, one way or another; of peace talks that were stalled with little promise of progress; and, of an air war that couldn't stop the flow of troops and war making supplies to the battlefields and sanctuaries of South Vietnam and Cambodia. Seymour Hersh wrote in THE PRICE OF POWER (page 118):

"By the early summer of 1969, Nixon and Kissinger had reached agreement in secret on a Gotterdammerung solution to the Vietnam War: North Vietnam would be threatened with 'a savage, decisive blow'–a phrase Kissinger now used openly and repeatedly in meetings with the NSC staff that summer and fall–if it did not bring serious negotiations in Paris. There was tough war talk in the White House: Haldeman, Colson, and Robert F. Ellsworth, Nixon's Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, were convinced that the President would stop at nothing to force Hanoi to sue for peace. Its refusal to accept the Nixon-Kissinger offer of mutual withdrawal as a starting point for serious negotiations had both baffled and enraged the President. Despite the continuing secret B-52 raids on Cambodia (Operation Menu), the military was floundering in Vietnam. Frustrated by any sign that the war was slowing down, the antiwar movement was again becoming active, and Nixon's concern was that he could become a victim of Vietnam, as Lyndon Johnson had. Unless something was done, there would be no second term."

HUMBLE HOST NOTES: (1) COMMANDO HUNT and the interdiction campaign failed to live up to expectations. (2) "Savage, decisive blow"–Think LINEBACKER!!! (3) History Lesson: When the incumbent President becomes concerned about a failure to fulfill campaign promises, "something must be done or there will be no second term."

On 7 July 1969 President Nixon took his version of the "wise men" for an evening cruise on the Potomac on the presidential yacht Sequoia. Kissinger prepared the President for the muster with a memorandum, see Document 93 below, and a followup memo on 9 July, Document 95. If you have a few minutes, a perusal is recommended. The link gets you a 1200- page volume from the State Department, Foreign Relations United States, Vietnam 1969-76. You will find the two documents on about page 312-320… Use the little carrot in the right margin to troll through the first 92 docs… Peruse at:

Too much for you? Maybe these two paragraphs from John Prados' great book THE BLOOD ROAD: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War. Page 290. Prados first quotes President Nixon from his memoirs (RN, Vol. I) then summarizes the why and how of events on the Sequoia on 7 July 1969… I quote…

NIXON: "After half a year of sending peaceful signals to the Communists, I was ready to use whatever military pressure was necessary to prevent them from taking over South Vietnam by force. During several long sessions, Kissinger and I developed an elaborate orchestration of diplomatic, military, and publicity pressures we could bring to bear on Hanoi. I decided to set November 1, 1969–the first anniversary of Johnson's bombing halt–as the deadline for what would in effect be an ultimatum to North Vietnam."

PRADOS: "Several entries in the diary of presidential chief of staff H.R. Haldeman show that the decision was of the Kissinger policy, and also that Henry saw his approach as being in opposition to the Vietnamization policy of Laird and Rogers. Henry pushed his savage-blow idea vociferously–for example, on July 7 in the White House, and at an evening meeting on the presidential yacht Sequoia. A week later Nixon sent a secret letter to Ho Chi Minh warning of the measures he would be obliged to take if Hanoi were not more forthcoming at the Paris peace talks. Ho replied in late August, shortly before his own death on September 3, refusing to make any concessions."… end quote…

III. AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 7-13 JULY 1969… References include Chris Hobson's updated VIETNAM AIR LOSSES, which is available on the internet at: … During the week ended Sunday, 13 July five fixed wing aircraft were lost in Southeast Asia and four intrepid aviators were killed in action…

(1) On 8 July an A-26A Invader of the 609th SOS and 56th SOW out of Nakhon Phanom flown by MAJOR JAMES ELMO SIZEMORE, call sign NIMROD, and MAJOR HOWARD VINCENT ANDRE, Jr., Navigator, was lost on a night interdiction mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the southern edge of the Plain de Jars. They were shot down on a strafing run on enemy troops with the aircraft continuing a shallow dive into the ground. Both majors were killed in the crash. While the area was extremely hostile, a ground party was nevertheless able to furnish "unspecified information" that neither aviator could have survived the crash. An electronic search was conducted at the time the A-26A was downed. No parachutes were seen and no beepers or voice calls were heard. When the formal search was terminated, both MAJOR SIZEMORE and MAJOR ANDRE were listed as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. In 2010 two Joint US/Laotian teams made two excavations of a crash site first sighted in 1993 and recovered human remains and personal effects relating to the A-26A crew. Forensic analysis, including dental matching, confirmed the remains were those of MAJOR SIZEMORE and MAJOR ANDRE and they were interred together at Arlington National Cemetery on 23 September 2013 in a rare dual caisson ceremony. They were also honored with a flyover performed by private citizens of the Warrior Flight Team along with their affiliate, Warrior Aviation, the non-profit organization that provides scholarships in aviation related fields to wounded servicemen from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The flyover was performed by four tactical jet aircraft and four historical warbird aircraft, including an A-26A Invader. MAJOR ANDRE is also memoralized at the Air Force Academy Cemetery. MAJOR SIZEMORE is memorialized with a stone marker at Lawrenceville City (Illinois) Cemetery…. They rest in peace fifty years after their last flight together, glory gained, duty done…

Washington Post story at:…6200-2452-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html?noredirect=on

(2) On 9 July an O-1G Bird Dog of the 21st TASS and 504th TASG out of Nha Trang piloted by FAC CAPTAIN H. HIU was downed by small arms fire six miles northwest of Tuy Hoa. CAPTAIN HUI suffered major injuries but was rescued by an Army helicopter…

(3) On 10 July an F-100D Super Sabre of the 531st TFS and 3rd TFW out of Bien Hoa piloted by 1LT R.M. HARGETT was shot down by ground fire while making strafing attacks on a group of enemy troops in sampans near Can Lanh. As his engine began failing he cleared the target area and ejected to be rescued for the second time in less than three months. He was downed and rescued on 23 April… Humble Host can't figure whether that's good luck, or very bad luck…

(4) Two days later on 12 July an F-100D Super Sabre of the 309th TFS and 31st TFW out of Tuy Hoa piloted by CAPTAIN F.T. BRADY was shot down by small arms fire as he provided strafing attacks on Vietcong buildings in close support of friendlies in contact with enemy troops. He ejected at the site, 30 miles northwest of Phan Rang. He was rescued by a USAF helo just ahead of closing enemy troops to fly and fight again…

(5) On 12 July an F-4D Wolf FAC of the 433rd TFS and 8th TFW out of Ubon piloted by MAJOR PAUL WEDLAKE BANNON and WSO, 1LT PETER XAVIER PIKE was lost on a visual reconnaissance mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos. Hobson tells the story: "The target area was shrouded by low cloud and MAJOR BANNON radioed that he was turning to find a break in the cloud to move to another part of the trail. The transmission suddenly stopped in mid-sentence at the same time as the aircraft's radar return disappeared. The aircraft was lost in a remote mountainous area south of Ban Nathon and it was thought unlikely that either of the crew survived the incident. Whether the aircraft had been shot down or flew into a mountain could not be determined. MAJOR BANNON was the Wolf FAC operations officer while 1LT PIKE was on his first Wolf mission.

The following is extracted from TASK FORCE OMEGA reports… Quote…

"There was no indication of problems with MAJOR BANNON'S Phantom, and with the simultaneous loss of comm and radar return, it was assumed the aircraft went down at a specific loss location. AC-130 already in the area orbited the location for 2-hours trying to make contact with the downed aircrew. During that time no emergency beepers or voice communications were heard. Both aviators were immediately listed as Missing in Action. After 1975 when all US involvement in Southeast Asia, reports kept trickling into CIA's Bangkok station that Americans had been seen among the prisoners working on Laotian road and irrigation projects. In 1979 a Lao informant for the DIA claimed that 18 Americans had been moved to a cave north of Nammarath, Laos. He identified one of them as LTCOL PAUL W. MERCLAND, but no Mercland was listed as missing. Pentagon intelligence analysts suspected that Mercland was a garbled version of the American name and erroneously assumed to be the officrr's last name. Based on their extensive evaluation of all known data about this group of prisoners and of all records of POW/MIAs, they believed that Mercland was probably Paul W. Bannon. The source passed a polygraph test while satellite photos analyzed in the Pentagon confirmed the cave's location.

"In November 1980 US intelligence sources provided solid information about approximately 30 American pilots working on a road gang near the central Laotian town of Nammarath. These source reports were supported by a spy-satellite photo confirming that a prison camp had recently been built near the town. The camp was later named Fort Apache by the US intelligence community. Two months later the Pentagon began preparing 'OPERATION POCKET CHANGE,' a top-secret plan to retrieve these American captives. It was the only postwar rescue the US government ever considered in Southeast Asia.

"Never before had photographic, electronic and human intelligence all pointed to one site where American POWs might very well be alive. Spy satellites continued to watch the camp 24 hours a day while the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) planned and practiced to rescue the POWs. On 18 March 1981, because the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not want to run the risk of being accused of keeping too many key government officals uniformed, members of the congressional POW Task Force were given a classified briefing. The result was a flood of media leaks about Operation Pocket Change, and the need for the head of the Pentagon's news division to convince news agencies to sit on the story.

"On 29 March 1981, a 13-man CIA indigenous team crossed the Mekong River to confirm the existence of a camp and that Americans were being held there. The team did not include any Americans as originally planned. It immediately ran into trouble in crossing the 40-mile distance to Nammarath. When they finally returned to Thailand on 13 May, the extent of its failure to properly photograph and visually examine the camp was slow to unravel. In the end, the news media believed the US was intentionally dragging its feet about the raid to rescue POWs and 21 May 1981 the first news stories about this mission were aired. The end result ws Operation Pocket Change was cancelled and the POWs once again abandoned."… End quote…


Both MAJOR BANNON and 1LT PIKE remained in MIA status (and were promoted while MIA) until Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for them. For COLONEL BANNON the status changed on 22 January 1979 and for CAPTAIN PIKE, killed on his first Wolf mission, that occurred on 28 May 1974. As of this day in 2019, both fallen warriors remain in that status and rest in peace somewhere on the battlefield on which they fell fifty years ago…

IV. HUMBLE HOST END NOTE… Read (and weep) the full story of OPERATION POCKET CHANGE as recorded in a TIME article: "The Americans Left Behind" by Douglas Waller on Sunday, June 24, 2001, at…,9171,163082,00.html

Lest we forget… Bear…


This day in Military History

1938 – Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sign the Munich Pact, which seals the fate of Czechoslovakia, virtually handing it over to Germany in the name of peace. Upon return to Britain, Chamberlain would declare that the meeting had achieved "peace in our time." Although the agreement was to give into Hitler's hands only the Sudentenland, that part of Czechoslovakia where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over to the Nazi war machine 66 percent of Czechoslovakia's coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power. It also left the Czech nation open to complete domination by Germany. In short, the Munich Pact sacrificed the autonomy of Czechoslovakia on the altar of short-term peace-very short term. The terrorized Czech government was eventually forced to surrender the western provinces of Bohemia and Moravia (which became a protectorate of Germany) and finally Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine. In each of these partitioned regions, Germany set up puppet, pro-Nazi regimes that served the military and political ends of Adolf Hitler. By the time of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the nation called "Czechoslovakia" no longer existed. It was Neville Chamberlain who would be best remembered as the champion of the Munich Pact, having met privately with Hitler at Berchtesgaden, the dictator's mountaintop retreat, before the Munich conference. Chamberlain, convinced that Hitler's territorial demands were not unreasonable (and that Hitler was a "gentleman"), persuaded the French to join him in pressuring Czechoslovakia to submit to the Fuhrer's demands. Upon Hitler's invasion of Poland a year later, Chamberlain was put in the embarrassing situation of announcing that a "state of war" existed between Germany and Britain. By the time Hitler occupied Norway and Denmark, Chamberlain was finished as a credible leader. "Depart, I say, and let us have done with you!" one member of Parliament said to him, quoting Oliver Cromwell. Winston Churchill would succeed him as prime minister soon afterwards.
1939 – Germany and Russia agreed to partition Poland.

1949 – After 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The airlift was one of the greatest logistical feats in modern history and was one of the crucial events of the early Cold War. In June 1948, the Soviet Union suddenly blocked all ground traffic into West Berlin, which was located entirely within the Russian zone of occupation in Germany. It was an obvious effort to force the United States, Great Britain, and France (the other occupying powers in Germany) to accept Soviet demands concerning the postwar fate of Germany. As a result of the Soviet blockade, the people of West Berlin were left without food, clothing, or medical supplies. Some U.S. officials pushed for an aggressive response to the Soviet provocation, but cooler heads prevailed and a plan for an airlift of supplies to West Berlin was developed. It was a daunting task: supplying the daily wants and needs of so many civilians would require tons of food and other goods each and every day. On June 26, 1948, the Berlin Airlift began with U.S. pilots and planes carrying the lion's share of the burden. During the next 15 months, 277,264 aircraft landed in West Berlin bringing over 2 million tons of supplies. On September 30, 1949, the last plane–an American C-54–landed in Berlin and unloaded over two tons of coal. Even though the Soviet blockade officially ended in May 1949, it took several more months for the West Berlin economy to recover and the necessary stockpiles of food, medicine, and fuel to be replenished. The Berlin Airlift was a tremendous Cold War victory for the United States. Without firing a shot, the Americans foiled the Soviet plan to hold West Berlin hostage, while simultaneously demonstrating to the world the "Yankee ingenuity" for which their nation was famous. For the Soviets, the Berlin crisis was an unmitigated disaster. The United States, France, and Great Britain merely hardened their resolve on issues related to Germany, and the world came to see the Russians as international bullies, trying to starve innocent citizens.

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