Friday, October 25, 2019

TheList 5127

The List 5127 TGB

To All,

A bit of history and some tidbits. The list will be off line until Tuesday 29 October. My wife and I are headed to Texas to attend my son's USAF Bootcamp graduation at Lackland AFB. At 39 he is the oldest one in the class. I will catch up on some of the historical items that take place over the next week in our military history when I return.


Today in Naval History

Oct. 23

1862—CSS Alabama, commanded by Capt. Raphael Semmes, captures and burns the American bark Lafayette south of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1864—During the Civil War, the blockade-runner Flamingo, which is run aground off Sullivan's Island, SC, is destroyed by shell fire from Fort Strong and Putnam, Battery Chatfield, and ships of Rear Adm. John A. Dahlgren's South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

1942—USS Kingfish (SS 234) sinks Japanese gunboat at the entrance to Kii Suido, Honshu, Japan.

1944—The Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered the largest naval battle of World War II, begins with the U.S. submarines attacking two elements of the Japanese armada moving towards Leyte. In the Palawan Passage, USS Darter (SS 227) and USS Dace (SS 247) sink heavy cruisers Maya and Atago. Takao is also hit, but survives. Off Manila Bay, USS Bream's (SS 243) torpedoes damage the heavy cruiser Aoba.

1961—Submarine Ethan Allen (SSBN 608) makes the first underwater launch of a Polaris A-2 fleet ballistic missile. The Polaris soars 1,500 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range.

1972—The United States ends all tactical air sorties into North Vietnam above the 20th parallel and brings to close Operation Linebacker raids as a goodwill gesture to promote the peace negotiations in Paris. From May through October, Navy aircraft fly a total of 23,652 attack sorties into North Vietnam, which helps stem the flow of supplies into North Vietnam.

1983—A suicide truck bomb explodes at the Marine Barracks at Beirut Airport and kills 241 Americans (220 Marines, 18 Sailors, and three Army Soldiers).

1999—USS O'Kane (DDG 77) is commissioned at Pearl Harbor, HI.

2004—USS Virginia (SSN 774) is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk, VA, the sixth U.S. Navy ship named Virginia; she is the first of its submarine class.

2007—Space shuttle Discovery launches from John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL. The pilot of the 120th shuttle flight and the 23rd to the International Space Station is U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former F/A-18 Hornet pilot Col. George D. Zamka, USMC.

Thanks to CHIINFO

Executive Summary:

• Addressing a National Defense Industrial Association conference, Vice Adm. James Kilby and Lt. Gen. Eric Smith discussed the Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment, reports Seapower Magazine.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Russia agreed to help Turkey remove Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria.

• The Iraqi military announced Tuesday that U.S. troops leaving Syria do not have permission to stay in Iraq, reports the Associated Press.

• Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts confirmed certification of three advanced weapons elevators aboard USS Gerald R. Ford during testimony before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee yesterday, reports USNI.

Today in History October 23

4004 BC

According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.


Rebellion in Ireland. Catholics, under Phelim O'Neil, rise against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (some say 100,000).


American colonial forces led by Sir William Phips, fail in their attempt to seize Quebec.


The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.


Virginia emancipates slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.


President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C. for all military-related cases.


President Wilson feels satisfied that the Germans are accepting his armistice terms and agrees to transmit their request for an armistice to the Allies. The Germans have agreed to suspend submarine warfare, cease inhumane practices such as the use of poison gas, and withdraw troops back into Germany.


The first transcontinental air service begins from New York to Los Angeles.


The Western Task Force, destined for North Africa, departs from Hampton Roads, Virginia.


The Nobel Prize for Medicine is awarded to Ukranian-born microbiologist Selmart A. Waksman for his discovery of an effective treatment of tuberculosis.


In Paris, an agreement is signed providing for West German sovereignty and permitting West Germany to rearm and enter NATO and the Western European Union.


A U.N. sanctioned cease-fire officially ends the Yom Kippur war between Israel and Syria.


A truck filled with explosives, driven by a Moslem terrorist, crashes into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The bomb kills 237 Marines and injures 80. Almost simultaneously, a similar incident occurs at French military headquarters, where 58 die and 15 are injured.


The Hungarian Republic replaces the communist Hungarian People's Republic.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a "land for peace" agreement.


Chechen terrorists take 700 theater-goers hostage at the House of Culture theater in Moscow.


An earthquake in Japan kills 35, injures 2,200, and leaves 85,000 homeless or displaced.


Libiyan National Transition Council declares the Libyan civil war is over.


The world's oldest teletext service, BBC's Ceefax, ceases operation.


Notes on The Battle of Leyte Gulf thanks to Barrett

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was not a single battle—it was a sprawling fleet engagement spread over hundreds of miles for three days. But here's the basics:

The U.S. Third Fleet under Adm. W.F. Halsey deployed 16 fast carriers in four task groups, escorted by six battleships, 15 cruisers and 58 destroyers.

Vice Admiral Thomas Kincaid's Seventh Fleet, the amphibious force, deployed six battleships, nine cruisers, 128 DDs/Des, and 55 frigates and torpedo boats. In addition to 18 escort carriers providing force protection, close air support, and transport service.

Halsey and Kincaid brought some 1,700 aircraft to the battle, well over 10 times the Japanese figure.

The fleet trains with oilers, supply ships, unreps, etc, were additional to the above.

In contrast, the widespread Imperial Japanese Navy sent four carriers, nine battleships, 20 cruisers, and 34 destroyers.

The result was the end of the Imperial Navy which lost 28 warships including all four carriers and three battleships. The Americans lost three CVEs and three escorts in the famous "Battle off Samar" when Japanese BBs and CAs surprised Kincaid's "Taffy Three" task group because of Halsey's poor staff work. While he took TF-38 north to engage Adm. Ozawa's "bait" force with four CVs, he neglected to guard San Bernardino Strait, permitting the Japanese center force to penetrate to the gulf. But for valiant work by the "small boys" and CVE aircrews, it could have been a U.S. debacle.

More to the point for tailhookers is whether Leyte Gulf is properly considered a carrier battle. The four flattop duels of 1942 (Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz) were followed in June 1944 by the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. In all five clashes the U.S. and Japanese navies exchanged air strikes, sinking flattops each time.

But at Leyte it was all one-sided. Adm. Ozawa's four carriers had very few trained aviators—many could only launch but not recover. Since the Americans sank all four enemy CVs without receiving carrier-based attacks in response, purists hold that Leyte was not a CV engagement.


Some history that we should not forget about the Marine Barracks bombing and the subsequent lack of response. Look what has happened since with Iran. They are not to be trusted and the agreement we signed with them is a travesty. They are not going to change their ways one bit.

Subj: FW: More on the Marine barracks 1983;RADM Tuttle never launched 'chip shot'

Thanks to Hal -

Dutch, would you pass this on to Micro, please. I can add a few tidbits of information about this.

We all know that Iran has been at war with us even before the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon. Unfortunately most of the American public does not. I even wonder if our president and C in C knows. He being a wee lad at that time in our history, and living in some other country. His naivete shows in his belief that Iran will cease their work on nuclear weapons if we loosen the embargoes.
Let me back up to the facts that were well-known BEFORE the attack on the Marines....on September 26th, four weeks prior to the bombing, our National Security Agency intercepted a message sent from the Iranian Intelligence headquarters in Tehran to Ambassador Mohtashemi telling him to contact Hussein Musawi, head of the terrorist group Islamic Amal and order him to take spectacular action against the US Marines, who were there only as peacekeepers and didn't carry loaded weapons. So the volunteers were recruited to blow up the barracks.
The man who made the bomb was Ibrahim Safa and he was a member of HezbAllah, the Party of God, and totally financed by Iran. He was working with the Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The driver was an Iranian, Walid Asmail al-Askari, and working under the orders of the Iranian Ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi. I met Admiral 'Ace' Lyons some months after the attack at dinner at the Pacific Club in Honolulu while in the company of a Navy Medical Corps Captain who was a member of this exclusive club. The admiral was the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations and responsible for naval security worldwide. He said that the information about the NSA intercept did not reach him until two days after the attack, so he was unable to warn Colonel Tim Geraghty. As Micro points out, the fleet and special operators were all set to seek revenge for this, but then our Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, ordered everyone to stand down. The reason was that Secretary Weinberger said the intelligence he possessed was insufficient to order such an attack. He likely had not been shown the NSA intercepts that were now in the Military Chain of Command. His military aide would have had them and would have the option of showing him, or not showing him. His military aide was General Colin Powell. Some time after that, there was some action taken and I don't know much about that, but one of our A-6s was shot down over Beiruit and the BN was captured by the Syrians and taken to Damascus. He was a black Navy Lieutenant named Goodman and if you remember Jesse Jackson was running for president that year. So, he announced to the world that he was going to go "and get that boy out." At that time I was the hospital administration consultant for the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces Hospital, Al Hada, at Taif. I received a call that day asking if I could be in Damascus when Jackson arrived. So I caught a Syrian Arab Airlines flight out of Jeddah that night and arrived in Damascus early morning and checked into the Cham Palace Hotel downtown. As we were at war with Syria, they were somewhat surprised when I showed up, but they treated me well. To Jackson's credit, however, he did get LT Goodman out of captivity and brought him home. One more thing I would add is that I used to fly British Air from London to Beiruit to catch Middle East Airlines onward to Dhahran as they had the very best food of any airline. But the last time I flew out, the crazies shelled the terminal two hours after I departed. They cratered the runway and every plane on the ground stayed there for months and nothing could fly in. Anyone who tried to repair the runway was shot by snipers. Beiruit used to be called the Paris of the Middle East. When last I saw it, it looked more like Dresden or Cologne or Berlin in WWII.


Marine barracks 1983; Tuttle never launched 'chip shot'

Thanks to Micro


There are a few more tidbits on this one, regarding going after the guys that planned the strike against the Marines in Lebanon. RADM Tuttle was raring to go, and it wasn't his decision not to launch. Here's the story from our standpoint:

I was CO of VF-143, World Famous Pukin' Dogs on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Three of my 12 F-14 aircraft were TARPS capable (Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System). We had been pulled out of an exercise in Egypt when the Ambassador's residence and compound had been shelled, starting in August. Over time, the tensions subsided, and we slowly backed away until we could go into port in Naples. After we were there for about 24 hours, they hit the Marines with the car bomb, and we emergency sortied at midnight. Our next port was Norfolk, 101 days later. A lot happened in that 101 days.

One day, a Navy CDR in Service Dress Blue, needing a shave, stepped off a COD. About half an hour later, I was called to the Captain's Inport Cabin. Gathering were the Captain (Ed Clexton), CAG (Joe Prueher), the CO's of the A-6 squadron and the E-2 squadron, the mysterious CDR, and me. He was the courier that ADM Lyons mentioned in the article below. I don't remember if RADM Tuttle was there at the initial meeting or not.

The mission was so secret that they didn't want to trust the Top Secret communications system with the news. ADM Lyons states that he knew the Soviets were reading our messages, but we didn't know that at the time (at least at my pay grade).

We planned the strike on the dining room table in the inport cabin over the next week or so. Even CVIC didn't know what we were doing. RADM Tuttle had told us he "wanted to send a message." The A-6's bomb load totaled 144 MK-83, 1000-lb bombs. To hit a little square (I recall less than a square block perhaps) with barracks surrounded by a low stone wall in a little town. I've attached a Google Earth picture with the whole barracks complex outlined as best I remember it (it may just be the line of buildings along the southwestern side of the square). You can see the scale in the lower left (200 ft), so the compound I've outlined was about 500 x 800 feet, by my eye.

ADM Crowe was CINCSOUTH, and he was sent aboard to take our briefing and to report to President Reagan whether or not we were ready to go (and if he had confidence in us). At one point, he asked me what the AOB (Air Order of Battle) was for Syria. I don't remember the exact number now, but it was several hundred MiG's, and I was using six fighters at that end of the ingress. He asked me if that would be enough, and I said I thought it was about even. We all chuckled, but he didn't, and I thought he might think we had a little too much "cowboy" in us, but he didn't say anything further. After all, it was a short ingress down the Bekaa, with a 15 mile egress, and we figured we'd catch everyone by surprise more with a small force than a huge one. Besides, if you believe anyone can get several hundred aircraft airborne from a non-alert posture, you're smoking something.

My TARPS birds were to get immediate BDA with IR and film to prove that collateral damage was minimal, because there would be all kinds of claims.

Came the day of the strike: We manned up and were shut down. President Reagan was in Japan, and his departure was delayed. So we heard, he didn't want to carry out such a strike when he was on foreign soil.

We sat around the Ready Rooms and waited for Air Force One to take off, while the airplanes were all topped off. Then, we manned up again. And we were shut down again. This time, it was cancelled.

It seems that Time magazine had just published an article that speculated where the bad guys were, with pictures of them. Their speculation was accurate, and intel reported that the bad guys were no longer there.

We were really pissed, of course. So close, and yet so far.

To my knowledge, we never have gotten these guys.


Subject: FW: marine barracks 1983; Tuttle never launched 'chip shot'

Thanks to ted -

LYONS: The Iranian origins of treachery

By James A. Lyons Jr.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

With all the media focus on the recently concluded talks in Geneva with Iran over its nuclear program, it's easy to overlook the 34th anniversary of the U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut 34 years ago on Oct. 23, 1983.

On that day, 241 of our finest military personnel were killed, with scores more seriously injured. Almost simultaneously, a similar attack was carried out at the French military headquarters, killing 58 French paratroopers. We have positive proof that these attacks were planned and ordered by Iran using their Islamic Amal terrorist proxies — forerunners to Hezbollah — in Lebanon. It is astounding that we had the information to prevent these attacks, and even more astounding is the "reason" for not retaliating.

The National Security Agency issued a highly classified message dated Sept. 27, 1983, which contained the instructions that Iranian Ambassador Ali Akbar Montashemi in Damascus had previously received from Tehran and then gave to Husayn al-Musawi, the leader of the Islamic Amal. Those instructions directed the terrorist group to concentrate its attacks on the Multi-National Force but take a "spectacular" action against the U.S. Marines.

I was deputy chief of naval operations at that time, and I did not receive that message until Oct. 25, two days after the bombing. That same day, I was called out to the CIA's Langley headquarters because CIA Director William Casey wanted to see me. At the meeting, Casey asked me whether I would develop plans to take out the perpetrators if he discovered who they were and where they were located. I readily agreed.

The terrorist group, Islamic Amal, was located in the Lebanese Army Sheik Abdallah barracks near Baalbek, Lebanon. The organization had taken over the barracks on Sept. 16 with the help of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. I had the strike plans couriered to the 6th Fleet Carrier Strike Force for the commander, Rear Adm. Jerry Tuttle, because I knew then the Soviets were reading our communications.

Everyone had been briefed, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. According to National Security Adviser Robert McFarland, at the key meeting with President Reagan, Weinberger stated that he thought there were Lebanese Army groups in the barracks. This was false.

The president turned to Casey for clarification. Casey, who had just returned from an overseas trip, was not up to speed on such details. The president then said, "Get that sorted out." As it turned out, there were no Lebanese Army troops in the barracks. But Weinberger threw more dust into the air by stating that we will lose all of our Arab friends if we go ahead with this strike.

Consequently, we never received the execute order, even though the planes were loaded and ready to launch. In the words of the Carrier Strike Force commander, "This was a chip shot." The failure to retaliate was tragic, and we are still living with that mistake.

Compounding the problem, Reagan approved a combined strike with the French against the same target several days later. This time, the secretary of defense simply ignored the president's order and would not issue the strike order. Mr. McFarland and Secretary of State George Shultz both told me that they tried to get Weinberger to change his position but failed. The French were furious. They carried out the strike alone, but did no damage, contrary to Reagan's diary entry that stated the French wiped out the terrorists.

At the time of these "acts of war," President Obama was still a student at Columbia University and later at Harvard. He was probably more involved in absorbing the wisdom of the leftist agenda than on the tragic events carried out by Iran against our military. However, he is certainly aware today of the thousands of our military personnel who have died as the result of Iran's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also must realize that Iran has provided material and training support to the September 11 hijackers. Iran was found guilty of providing such support by Judge George B. Daniels of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in December 2011. Previously, Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Iran guilty in the Marine barracks bombing.

Iran remains the world leader in state-sponsored terrorism. It is a rogue regime that will do anything to ensure the survivability of the corrupt theocracy. The mullahs have not spent billions to build underground nuclear facilities, as well as absorbing crippling economic sanctions, to simply negotiate away their nuclear weapons objectives. In August 1995, Russia offered to provide Iran with a 10-year supply of fuel for their nuclear plant at Bushehr for only $30 million. Iran adamantly rejected the proposal because Russia insisted that Iran return the spent fuel rods to Russia for reprocessing. Case closed. Iran, with enough oil and gas to last at least a few hundred years, doesn't need nuclear capability for electricity.

With Mr. Obama's eagerness to negotiate with Iran, it has been reported that he is weighing the possibility of unfreezing billions in Iranian assets in response to "potential" concessions by Iran. Such a move would be nonsensical. If Mr. Obama were to unfreeze billions of Iranian assets, then the money should not go to Iran, but to the surviving families of the Marine barracks bombing, as well as to the surviving families of the September 11, 2001, atrocity, as our courts have mandated.

Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.


Band of Brothers speech before the Battle of Agincourt

Historical context[edit]

On the morning of 25 October 1415 (feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian), shortly before the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V made a brief speech to the English army under his command, emphasising the justness of his claim to the French throne and harking back to the memory of previous defeats the English kings had inflicted on the French. According to Burgundian sources, he concluded the speech by telling the English longbowmen that the French had boasted that they would cut off two fingers from the right hand of every archer, so they could never draw a string again.[1]

In Shakespeare's account, King Henry begins his speech in response to Westmorland's expressions of dismay at the English army's lack of troop strength. Henry rouses his men by expressing his confidence that they would triumph, and that the "band of brothers" fighting that day would be able to boast each year on St. Crispin's Day of their glorious battle against the French. Shakespeare's inclusion of Westmoreland, however, is fictional as he was not present during Henry's 1415 French campaign.


WESTMORLAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember├Ęd-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


From Humphrey's Solo to Thornton's Swim by W. Thomas Smith Jr.

This Week in American Military History:

Oct. 25, 1812: The frigate USS United States under the command of Capt.

(future commodore) Stephen Decatur – hero of Tripoli and said to be the U.S. Navy's own "Lord Nelson" – captures the Royal Navy frigate HMS Macedonian under the command of Capt. John Carden in a brisk fight several hundred miles off the Azores. In seven years, Decatur will be mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore James Barron.

USS United States – the first of four so-named American Navy vessels and the first commissioned warship for the new U.S. Navy – will be seized by Confederate forces in 1861 and rechristened CSS United States.

Oct. 26, 1909: U.S. Army Lt. (future brig. gen.) Frederick Erastus Humphreys becomes the first Army aviator to solo in a heavier-than-air craft – the Wright Flyer – following three hours of instruction by Wilbur Wright.

Humphreys will write: "From a military standpoint, the first and probably the greatest use [of the aircraft] will be found in reconnaissance. … "The next use will probably be in carrying messages. … "Another time where advantage might be taken of the speed of these machines is when officers of high rank might desire to give personal supervision at a distant point of the line or to go from one point to another for a council of war. …"

Interestingly, Humphreys adds: "Probably a large amount of damage could be done to the personnel of the enemy when in mass, or in a raid to the storehouses and depot, by projectiles dropped from a flyer. That any could be done to fortifications or ships is doubtful."

Oct. 26, 1922: Lt. Commander Godfrey de Courcelles Chevalier makes the first aircraft-carrier landing on the deck of America's first carrier, USS Langley, the first of two carriers named in honor of aviation scientist Samuel Pierpont Langley. Readers will recall Eugene B. Ely's first-ever airplane-landing aboard ship on Jan. 18, 1911 (Ely's landing however was on a special platform mounted on a cruiser, not a carrier). Both Chevalier and Ely will be killed in plane crashes weeks after their historic firsts.

Oct. 26, 1944: The Battle of Leyte Gulf – the last great naval battle of the Pacific during World War II – ends in a lopsided victory for the Americans. An epic three-day, four-part engagement fought in defense of the U.S. effort to retake the Philippines, the battle has all but ended the Japanese Navy's ability to fight as a substantive fleet. It is also history's last sea battle in which battleships engage one another in pitched battle. All total, 282 U.S. and Japanese warships and 190,000 sailors on both sides have been directly involved in the battle. Four Japanese carriers, three battleships, six cruisers, 14 destroyers, and nearly 10,000 sailors have been sent to the bottom. The U.S. Navy has suffered the loss of three carriers, three destroyers, and one submarine.

Oct. 28, 1962: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev "blinks," ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Oct. 31, 1972: U.S. Navy SEAL Petty Officer (future lieutenant) Michael E.

Thornton; his commanding officer, Lt. Thomas R. Norris; and three South Vietnamese Naval commandos are conducting an intelligence-collection and prisoner-snatch operation deep behind enemy lines when they are discovered by a force that outnumbers them at least 10 to one. Fierce fighting ensues. Thornton and Norris are both wounded, Norris badly. As the team begins a fighting withdrawal toward the beach, Thornton learns that Norris is down, perhaps dead. Thornton races back through a hailstorm of enemy fire to find and retrieve his commander – dead or alive. Thornton finds Norris, kills two enemy soldiers who are standing over his wounded commander, then hoists Norris onto his shoulders and sprints back toward the beach for several hundred yards under heavy enemy fire. When he hits the surf, Thornton ties Norris to his own body and starts swimming. When he sees one of the South Vietnamese commandos shot in the hip and unable to swim, Thornton grabs him too; swimming both men out to sea for more than two hours before they are rescued.

For his actions, Thornton will receive the Medal of Honor. Norris will survive and receive the Medal himself for a previous action.


Thanks to Carl… A real hero's story More on the one above This week in Military History : U.S. Navy SEAL Petty Officer (future lieutenant) Michael E. Thornton;

The Incredible Rescue of LtCol Gene Hambleton

The Incredible Rescue of LtCol Gene Hambleton

. Mike A friend of mine who was close to Norris told me about the story of The Incredible Rescue of LtCol Gene Hambleton by Norris who survived and received the Medal himself for this rescue. He also said a book called The Rescue of BAT 21 is out that describes the rescue in detail. Something that could not be done when it happened because it was classified. It was an amazing story of a true hero. This book is a great read if you have not read it yet….skip


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