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War hath no fury like a non-combatant.-- Charles Edward Montague
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The helicopter's jet engines strained, with the Huey B's blades slicing through the air, making the familiar sounding "chop, chop, chop," as the bird made a sharp turn. We were sitting on our helmets to protect against rounds coming through the floor of the aircraft.
I remember the first time we were told to go to Dong Tam-it seemed strange for flame thrower APC's, from the 9th Inf, 15th Engineers to be told we were going to be with the Navy for awhile. We were nicknamed on the radio and respectfully so "Zippos" sometimes the electronic firing device didn't work, so we'd bring out our Zippos lighters and light the napalm this way as it was leaving the barrel. I had no hair on my arm for the first 8 months of this.
There I was on the port side of a mighty Destroyer the U.S.S. O'Brien, DD725, sailing into the east coast waters of a place called Korea. Seemed to me the place was pretty hilly. As we got closer I noticed a flash of light. Not long after, another. I asked the nearest Chief I could see what that was all about. His reply was " Count to seven, kinda slow "
In May of 1967, and as a young Marine PFC aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3), attached to the 1st Bn. 3rd Marines, RLT 26, I was already years older than my chronological number of 19. Our Battalion had been using this ship as a Combat Assault Base since we left Khe Shan in late February.
More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Turmoil and confusion are everywhere. Troops, baggage, and all the litter of war, lumbers up every available space. R.T. Officers are here, there, and everywhere. They sort us out, guide, and lead us to our trains. We file in. Where are we going? No one knows. Where's the 8th? Where's the 7th? Where's the 6th? Where is any regiment?
Our Combat Crew's operated RB-29s prior to the Korean Conflict from Kadena AB, Okinawa. We were accomplishing border surveillance flights both electronic and visual photography of sensitive areas with some overflights of targets of concern to the defense of the United States. Unfortunately our equipment, both aircraft, photo and electronic capabilities were antiquated and derelict.
USS Oregon, 4 July 1898
Sir - I have the honor to report that at 9.30 AM yesterday the Spanish fleet was discovered standing out of the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. They turned to the westward and opened fire, to which our ships replied vigorously. For a short time there was almost continuous flight of projectiles over this ship, but when our line was fairly engaged and the Iowa had made a swift advance, as if to ram or close, the enemy's fire became defective in train as well as range. The ship was only struck three times, and at least two of them were by fragments of shells. We had no casualties.
The flights to our new station at K-2 (Taegu) consumed one day and within several days more the squadron was in full operation. While we unpacked and positioned our main equipment, hundreds of cans of exposed aerial film began to backlog in our holding area.
October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00
It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
A starry night in January 1968, found me on a westbound Trailways Bus somewhere in the Nevada desert. My transistor radio was playing "Hey Jude", and my destination was Vietnam. The first time I had ever heard of Vietnam was in 1965. I was assigned to the 396th Truck Company located at Panzer Karserne in Boeblingen, Germany. Our CO would call us together periodically and brief us about this place called Vietnam.
8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
The nights were accompanied by the throaty drone of these lumbering killers, orbiting over their home base, boresighting their various sensors, tuning up for their moonlight symphony over the jungle trails of Laos. As a fellow pilot, I had worked these same hostile skies with the AC-130 Spectres many nights. I had seen the still smoldering evidence of their effectiveness in harnessing the flood of Communist truck traffic that ran the gauntlet of Laos each night.
Sometime in the spring of 1969, a U.S. plane was shot down by North Korea. We responded by sending an amazing armada of Naval vessels to "show them our shit." I remember waking at sunrise and going out on deck after having joined up with the task force sometime during the night. We were totally surrounded by ships of all shapes and sizes: cruisers, carriers, destroyers, tankers, supply ships, and the battleship New Jersey. I was on a destroyer and felt dwarfed by the firepower around us.
1862: Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacks Union General George McClellan as he is pulling his army away from Richmond, Virginia, in retreat during the Seven Days' Battles.
1863: Lee ordered his forces to concentrate near Gettysburg, PN.
1918: Marines landed at Vladivostok, Russia, to protect the American Consulate.
1942: Chiang Kai-shek presents his Three Demands to General Stilwell: three US divisions before September, 500 combat planes, and a guaranteed monthly aerial supply of 5,000 tons.
1943: A squadron of American cruisers and destroyers shells the Japanese base at Shortland while other vessels lay mines in the area.
1943: Germany began withdrawing U-boats from North Atlantic in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Europe.
1944: On Biak, American forces mop up lingering Japanese resistance.
1945: President Truman approves the plan, devised by the joint chiefs of staff, to invade Japan. The plan calls for 5 million troops, mostly Americans.
1949: US troops withdrew from Korea after WW II.
1950: Great Britain announced that her Far Eastern Fleet would join the fight in Korea, including the carrier HMS Triumph with 40 planes, three cruisers, seven destroyers and eight frigates manned by 6,000 men. New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, the Philippines and India also offered assistance to the Republic of Korea.