On this day: 50 years ago, F-4Cs from the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, led by Colonel Robin Olds, and “electronically” disguised as F-105s, tricked 16 North Vietnamese MiG-21s into battle at a disadvantage (January 2, 1967). The result: Seven MiGs went down over Phúc Yên, for zero American loses. Operation Bolo, the most elaborate sting in military aviation history, was a complete success! #USAF #Vietnam
In the late evening hours of January 30, 1968, the Vietnamese New Year began. This annual celebratory event, known as Tet, signaled the coming of more than just a new year and a new beginning for the people of Vietnam. As soldiers descended on U.S. encampments, bombs and gunfire rained down upon the American Embassy, and countless members of the military were taken prisoner or gunned down, the Tet Offensive signaled a changing tide in the Vietnam War upon that very evening.Today, the Tet Offensive of early 1968 is known as one of the largest military efforts of the Vietnam War, a successful surprise attack conducted by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam. The Vietnam War was an incredibly contentious time in both American and Vietnamese histories, and the Tet Offensive adds only further complications to the stories and moments of the war.Still today, there is debate as to which army truly won the attack, and which side took control once the surprise wore off. So, who is to take the title of the victor in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive? Did the North Vietnamese exact the damage and destruction they hoped? Or do the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces lay claim to the victory?
When a violent Khmer Rouge regime under the leadership of Pol Pot overthrew the Khmer Republic government, backed by the US, Cambodia was in the state of emergency. One month after the Khmer Rouge seized power, an incident occurred involving an American merchant ship, SS Mayaguez. The SS Mayaguez was a container ship, working for the US military.The Mayaguez was carrying 107 containers of routine cargo, 77 containers of government and military cargo, and 90 empty containers, all insured for $5 million. The Khmer Rouge never inspected the containers, and the exact contents had not been disclosed, but the Mayaguez had loaded containers from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon nine days before the fall of Saigon. The captain had a U.S. government envelope only to be opened in special circumstances, which he destroyed.On May 12, 1975, the ship was en route to Thailand, sailing within the 12 nautical miles of the coast of Cambodia. The newly declared regime claimed that they were in the Cambodian territorial waters, even though the US recognized only three nautical miles off the coast of Cambodia as water under Khmer Rouge sovereignty. The Khmer Rouge stormed the ship with Swift Boats. They fired several machine gun rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade which were considered as warning shots.Captain Miller, who was in charge on the Mayaguez sent an SOS and halted the ship. The Khmer Rouge boarded and forced the captain to change his course and anchor at the Poulo Wai island, under Cambodian control. The Cambodians insisted that the captain should proceed to Ream on the Cambodian mainland, but due to a radar malfunction on the ship, they were forced to stay at Poulo Wai. Meanwhile, the Americans were outraged, and President Ford’s administration was already preparing a rescue mission. The wounds from the Vietnam War were still raw, and the public demanded a swift reaction.
Aerial surveillance showing two Khmer Rough gunboats during the initial seizing of the SS Mayaguez. By US Air Force, Public Domain
These 23 U.S. airmen were killed when their helicopter crashed due to a mechanical failure. By US Air Force, Public Domain.
The Vietnam War was officially a war between North and South Vietnam. The North had allies in China, the Soviet Union, and other communist allies. The South had allies in the Philippines, the United States, and other anti-communist allies. This war ran from 1955 through to 1975.The United States involvement in this war was viewed by the US government, and indeed the US citizens, as them preventing a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. The US wanted to carry out a containment policy wherever possible, to stop the spread of communism.
Air Power Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the start of Operation Rolling Thunder (March 2, 1965) – one of the longest sustained bombing campaign in United States history. #USAF #NAVY #USMC
Carlos Hathcock was a genuine Vietnam War hero and an undisputed legend in the U.S. Marine Corps for his exploits in southeast Asia.With a record of 93 confirmed kills but an estimated body count of between 300 – 400 enemy soldiers, Hathcock terrorized the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong.Because of these exploits, he was honored by having a rifle named after him – the Springfield Armory M25 White Feather, so called for the nickname that NVA men gave him because he always wore a white feather in his cap.
Did you know that during the Vietnam War the U.S. flew 6 million sorties and dropped nearly 8 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos? That’s four times the tonnage dropped during the entire course of #WWII.
Steven Ritchie, Charles DeBellevue, Jeffrey Feinstein the three Air Force aces of the Vietnam War. Ritchie (Pilot) scored all his kills against MiG-21s, becoming the first #USAF ace on August 28th, 1972, followed by DeBellevue (WSO) on September 9th, 1972, and Feinstein (WSO) on October 13th, 1972.https://www.facebook.com/RealAirPower/
On this day: 45 years ago, twelve Phantoms, from the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, released Paveway “smart” bombs, to finally knock down the Thanh Hóa Bridge in North Vietnam (April 27, 1972). Previously, 871 conventional sorties had only resulted in superficial damage to the bridge.
Thirty-one B-52s were lost in Southeast Asia. Eighteen were lost to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) or ground fire, and the other 13 were non-combat losses. No B-52s were lost to communist aircraft, but during Operation Linebacker II, two B-52D tail gunners, Staff Sgt. Samuel Turner and Airman 1st Class Albert Moore, each shot down a MiG-21 on separate missions.During a Linebacker II mission on Dec. 18, 1972, Turner became the first B-52 tail gunner credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft. For successfully defending his aircraft and crew, Turner received the Silver Star.
Jane Fonda is a world-known actress. She gained her well-deserved popularity in the 60s and 70s, starring in counterculture classics (Barbarella), drama films (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) and political thrillers (The China Syndrome). Her diverse acting career was also followed with adventurous escapades in writing, fashion modeling and political activism. Also, Jane Fonda became known as an expert yoga instructor.Fonda’s role as a political activist came in the 1960s when America was deeply divided on the topic of the ongoing Vietnam War. She supported the Civil Rights Movement and opposed the US intervention in Vietnam. Fonda’s frequent visits to France during the 60s radicalized her views on politics and she became a supporter of the Black Panthers back in the States. She pointed out several times her unreserved support for the movement, calling the Black Panthers “our [US] revolutionary vanguard … we must support them with love, money, propaganda and risk.”