Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Remembers Operation Linebacker II - DEC 19th, 2002
Posted on 12/19/2002 5:37:52 AM PST by SAMWolf
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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The Christmas Bombing - 1972
Operation Linebacker II operations were initiated on 18 December 1972 and were directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to continue until further notice. The primary objective of the bombing operation would be to force the North Vietnamese government to enter into purposeful negotiations concerning a cease-fire agreement. The operation employed air power to its maximum capabilities in an attempt to destroy all major target complexes such as radio stations, railroads, power plants, and airfields located in the Hanoi and Haiphong areas. Unlike previous bombing campaigns, Linebacker II provided the Air Force and U.S. Naval forces with specific objectives and removed many of the restrictions that had previously caused frustration within the Pentagon.
During these operations, Air Force and Navy tactical aircraft and B-52s commenced an around-the-clock bombardment of the North Vietnamese heartland. The B-52s struck Hanoi and Haiphong during hours of darkness with F-111s and Navy tactical aircraft providing diversionary/suppression strikes on airfields and surface-to-air missile sites. Daylight operations were primarily carried out by A-7s and F-4s bombing visually or with long-range navigation (LORAN) techniques, depending upon the weather over the targets. In addition, escort aircraft such as the Air Force EB-66s and Navy EA-6s broadcast electronic jamming signals to confuse the radar-controlled defenses of the North. The Strategic Air Command also provided KC-135s to support the in-flight refueling requirements of the various aircraft participating in Linebacker II operations.
Andersen Air Force Base in Guam was the site of the most massive buildup of air power in history. More than 15,000 people and more than 150 B-52s lined all available space on the flightline. During Operation Linebacker II in December 1972, bombers stationed at Andersen flew 729 sorties in 11 days.
Navy tactical air attack sorties under Linebacker II were centered in the coastal areas around Hanoi and Haiphong. There were 505 Navy sorties in this area during Linebacker II. The following carriers participated in Linebacker II operations: Enterprise, Saratoga, Oriskany, America and Ranger. Aircraft of the Seventh Fleet performed the most extensive aerial mining operation in history, blockading the enemy's main avenues of supply. The reseeding of the mine fields was resumed and concentrated strikes were carried out against surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery sites, enemy army barracks, petroleum storage areas, Haiphong Naval and shipyard areas, and railroad and truck stations.
Between 18 and 22 December the Navy conducted 119 Linebacker II strikes in North Vietnam. The attack effort was concentrated in the Haiphong area. Strikes were conducted against surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery installations, railroads and highways Thanh Hoa Army barracks, the Haiphong Naval Base, petroleum centers and other military related targets.
Until the cease-fire ending US combat operations in Vietnam took effect on 28 January 1973, USS America and the other carriers ranged off the coast of Vietnam, conducting strike operations in support of troops and targeting strategic targets throughout North Vietnam.
On 25 December 1972 a Christmas Day bombing/tactical air attack recess went into effect during which none of the US air services flew sorties. Heavy raids around Hanoi, which resumed the day after the Christmas bombing halt, were eased as NVN showed indications of returning to the conference table.
The impact of the bombing was obvious in the severe damage to the North Vietnamese logistic and war-support capability. By 29 December 1972, the 700 nighttime sorties flown by B-52s and 650 daytime strikes by fighter and attack aircraft persuaded the North Vietnamese government to return to the conference table. Linebacker II formally ended on 27 January 1973.
Bad weather was the main limiting factor on the number of tactical air strikes flown during Linebacker II.
Of 741 planned B-52 sorties, 12 were aborted. The Air Force SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) mission was carried out by F-105, F-4C, and F-4E fighters. CAP (combat air patrol), escort, and chaff dispersal were carried out by numerous types. In addition, US Navy and US Marine aircraft flew a total of 277 night support sorties in A-6, A-7, and F-4 aircraft.
| 'I saw the SAMs as we came in closer to the target area. They made white streaks of light they climbed into the night sky. As they left the ground, they would move slowly, pick up speed as they climbed, and end their flight, finally, in a cascade of sparkles. There were so many of them it reminded me of a Fourth of July fireworks display -- a beautiful sight to watch if I hadn't known how lethal they could be.'
-- Lieutenant Colonel Hendsley Connor, USAF
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- You could call it a family reunion, and it happens every year. Like clockwork, Mary Kreigh comes to Hawaii to visit her twin sister, Nancy.
However, this is not a typical reunion, because Nancy doesnt really live here.
According to Mary, her father, Chief Yeoman Albert T. D. Wagner, had a plan for the final resting place of his daughter, Nancy, who died prematurely in the Philippines. Wagner had his daughter cremated and wanted to spread her ashes at sea.
In fact, he was storing her urn in his locker aboard his ship, USS Utah (AG 16). All he needed was a chaplain, and he could commit his baby to the sea.
That was the plan, but Japanese warplanes changed all that on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
Utah had just pulled into Pearl Harbor for the weekend of Dec. 6-7 and moored at berth Fox 11 on the west side of Ford Island. It had just finished its duties as a target ship for the fleet.
One of the first ships hit during the surprise attack by Japanese naval forces, Utah took two torpedoes in her port side. Within 12 minutes, the ship capsized, taking the lives of six officers and 51 Sailors, most trapped aboard the vessel. The others were killed from Japanese strafing attacks while they were swimming for shore.
In all, 58 Utah Sailors died that day. Fortunately, Wagner survived that day, but his daughters ashes went down with the ship.
After the Navy tried to salvage the ship, my dad tried in vain to recover my sisters ashes, said Mary. I never really knew my sister. She died when she was only two days old.
But that doesnt matter to the Wagner family. Mary still visits the Utah Memorial on Ford Island every year from her home in Lompoc, Calif., to remember.
This year, she had company. Dolores Higdon and her husband, Ray, came to the Utah Memorial to remember Dolores 21-year-old brother, Electricians Mate 1st Class Rudolph Martinez. Martinez died that morning 61 years ago. Joining them was Utah survivor Gean Seltzer and Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor recipient John Finn.
The small group laid wreaths at sunset Dec. 6 in memory of those who died and then threw flowers from 58 leis into the water between the memorial and the rusting ship before observing evening colors.
I am so happy to be here, said Dolores, referring to their impromptu gathering. Last year, we had an incredible ceremony from boats to mark the 60th anniversary of the attack. But this was no less moving. There is a certain calm here, especially at sunset. It was meaningful.
I feel nothing but pride and pleasure that my sister is in such magnificent company, she said. I love coming here to remember her and to honor them all. I could not ask for anything better than for her to be tenderly, carefully looked after by Americas finest.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Facilla (left) and Sgt Mark Finney open a box they received from their sponsor at a forward operating base in Southeastern Afghanistan.
KHOST, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Dec. 17, 2002) - The soldiers at this forward operating base have never met Elaine Harmon, but they know she always ends her letters with "Hugs, mom."
Infantrymen from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Bragg, N.C., look forward to the comfort Harmon sends them in large packages.
"She sent a box to our sergeant major who gave it to us," said Sgt. 1st Class Wylie Hutchinson, from Chino, Calif., "and we've been writing her ever since."
He said Harmon sends them packages in themes. For example, for the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Harmon sent them flags. On Halloween, she sent them items like pumpkin plates, napkins, cups, candy, movies and popcorn.
"She must have spent more than $1,000 on us," Hutchinson said.
Harmon, from Lawrenceville, N.J., makes them feel appreciated said Sgt. Mark Finney, from Phoenix.
"She's great because she gives us a time out," he said. "She thinks we're heroes."
In addition to the regular packages they receive, Harmon elected to do more for the troops.
"The single guys got letters from older women," Finney said.
Harmon also sends individual packages to soldiers on their birthdays.
"I get more from her than my family," Finney said.
In return, he said his company will present her with a gift for all her hard work.
"We're getting her a plaque with an American flag enclosed," Finney said. "We took the flag on every mission."
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Stay Safe Sam!!
Bet some of these guys were there:
7th Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB, TX. Currently flying the B1-B. Motto translated is "Death From Above."
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