Archive for the 'Vietnam' Category

May 6

‘The Necessity of the Fight’

Friday, May 6, 2016 12:01 AM


Surrounded in his CBS office with a modest library and an array of memorabilia from a distinguished career in journalism, Cronkite did not take the term "retirement" very seriously. Above his assistant's desk the headline from a clipping read, "Cronkite Cannot Say No." Courtesy L. Furgatch.

We were in an editorial meeting when our secretary, Marcia Owens, walked in and whispered, “There’s a guy on your phone who says he’s Walter Cronkite. Yeah, right! It actually does sound like him, though. What should I say?” It was indeed the man who had become known as “the most trusted man in America.” He was calling to correct an error in memory he had made in an answer to a question I had posed during our interview the previous week. We were putting together our D-Day 50th Anniversary commemoration, and we thought that someone who had had a… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 20


Wednesday, January 20, 2016 12:37 PM


Bobbi Hovis served as a Navy nurse in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

In August 1963, Lieutenant Commander Vila Hovis received orders to Saigon, Vietnam. The orders were not a surprise because she was the first Navy nurse to volunteer for service in that far-off corner of the world. Her orders directed her current command to “ENSURE THAT SHE IS ORIENTED IN CODE OF CONDUCT . . . AND DANGERS OF COMMUNISM.” It was apparent that Commander Hovis was headed for a war zone, though not for the first time, since she had been a flight nurse in Korea more than a decade before. But these were the early days in a new… Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 5

‘Marquee Title’

Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:01 AM


Marine Corps Visionary: Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, in sunglasses,
and Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch (center) study the terrain atop Hill 327, near
Danang, Vietnam in March 1965.

I require all Marines to read and discuss . . . — LTGEN Brute Krulak’s FIRST TO FIGHT: AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS These words appeared some years back in an “ALMAR” message sent to the entire U.S. Marine Corps by its then-Commandant, General James Conway, in which he described the importance of a Marine Corps reading program and designated FIRST TO FIGHT as the “Marquee Title” of that program. Because the Marine Corps values its heritage so highly, it is likely that many Marines readily knew why he chose this book from the thousands that have… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 19

The Measure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:01 AM


An undated photo of the amphibious BRP Sierra Madre the Philippines have used as an outpost in the South China Sea.

On the 9th of May, 1997, the Philippine Navy’s dilapidated tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) ran aground on a reef near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. She was stranded — but good — and it was certain the ship could not be removed under her own power. Six days later, two Chinese frigates are said to have steamed into the area, and to have trained their guns on the stranded hulk. It was alleged that no assistance was offered by the Chinese ships. But supposing they had, their assistance would neither have been desired nor… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11

Ripley at the Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 12:01 AM


Charles Waterhouse’s painting depicts Captain John Ripley dangling from the bridge to thwart the advance of the North Vietnamese Army.

As a young man I was fascinated by a tale from ancient Roman history that told of a warrior whose courage was beyond all reason, yet was inspirational as an ideal worth trying to live up to. It is a story, often recounted by Roman authors and later preserved for English literature in a poem by Lord Macaulay that tells us of an Etruscan army marching on Rome, headed for a bridge across the Tiber River that, unless destroyed, would give the enemy access to the capital city itself. Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down;… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 1

On Naval History Magazine’s Scope

Sunday, November 1, 2015 12:01 PM


CDR Robert Dunn stands in front of his A-4C Skyhawk before an Operation Rolling Thunder mission. (courtesy of retired VADM Robert F. Dunn, USN)

As the Navy attack group and supporting fighters headed west over North Vietnam, small gray puffs blossomed in the clear sky—antiaircraft fire. More appeared, joined by black bursts from larger AA guns and tracers from light guns. The flak quickly thickened, engulfing and buffeting the aircraft, while far below long orange flames indicated missiles headed skyward. The scene, as observed by then-Commander Robert F. Dunn from his A-4C Skyhawk, “was a maelstrom of sights and a cacophony of noise with warnings and voice calls. It reminded me of an orchestra with, at first, a few violins and other strings, then… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 7

The Attack on the USNS Card

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:00 AM


USNS Card 1968

In the early morning hours of May 2nd, 1964, Captain Borge Langeland of the USNS Card (T-AKV-40) was supervising the loading of old helicopters aboard the converted auxiliary aircraft carrier for their return to the United States from the Port of Saigon. The Card had just unloaded her cargo of helicopters and fighter-bombers from Manila in the Philippines, and was now getting ready to sail again for the United States. It was all routine work. Capt. Langeland, a Norwegian by birth, was undoubtedly happy with routine. He had seen more than his share action as 2nd mate aboard the Norwegian… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 10

The Dropping of the TURDSID in Vietnam

Monday, August 10, 2015 7:00 AM



Electronic warfare and surveillance are increasingly becoming topics of discussion. The nature of that type of warfare (and indeed combat itself) calls for a certain amount of creativity. To see, but not be recognized or seen oneself, begs for innovation and novel solutions to life-threatening problems. But even the most brilliant plans can be rendered moot if one builds an idea on a false assumption. Such is the nature of the ingenious yet flawed TURDSID.

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