ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 2 JULY 1967… THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF TWO HEROIC RESCUES…

RIPPLE SALVO… #484…Honors to: MAJOR RICHARD MEHR (AFC); CAPTAIN GREGORY ETZEL (AFC); and, PETTY OFFICER SECOND CLASS ANTHONY HANSON (NC) …    oohrah!!!…

Good Morning: Day FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FOUR of remembering the gallant performances of the warriors who carried the Vietnam War to the enemy’s homeland… but first…

2 JULY 1967…HEAD LINES from The New York Times on a cloudy and rainy Sunday in NYC…

Page 1: “Saigon’s Assembly Accepts Minh Slate”… “The Constitutional Assembly approved 17 presidential tickets today for the September 3 Presidential election. They included that headed by Major General Duong Van Minh, an exiled former chief of state.”… Page 1: “Peace Up To Hanoi, Kosygin Declares–Russian After Talks With De Gaulle, skirts criticism of U.S. Role”… “…peace is up to the Vietnamese people and the government in Hanoi to decide the issue of war or peace because they are the ones who do the fighting.’ “…

SIX-DAY WAR: Egypt and Israel In 5-Hour Battle Along Suez Canal–A Spokesman in Jerusalem Says About 120 of Foe Crossed the Waterway–Israelis claim Victory–Cairo Asserts Enemy Tried to Advance Toward Port and Was Resisted”... “…fighting broke out yesterday breaking the cease-fire that ended the Six-Day War in the Middle East on June 11. An Israeli army spokesman said an Egyptian force had penetration nine miles into Sinai Peninsula before being driven back.”… Page 4: “Israelis Will Try to Resettle Refugees”… “Israel has decided to assume the initiative in resettling the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees within her newly occupied territories…not sure how to accomplish this difficult issue that neither side has been willing to accept for two decades.”... Page 4:”45 Nation’s Envoys Back Arab Cause at Meeting in Cairo”... “Delegations from 45 African and Asian countries met in Cairo to give the Arab world moral support in its struggle with Israel.”… Page 5: “Hussein of Jordan In London Calls for Justice”…

Page 1: “Party Governors shift On Johnson, See 1968 Victory–Democrats say President’s Popularity Rises–Praise Federal-State Relations–President at Meeting–Calls Reports He Received on the Political Situation: ‘Music to my ears’ “… ‘The Democratic Governors, who were on the verge of a revolt six months ago, voiced strong support for him today and expressed confidence that he would be reelected in 1968. President attended Democratic Governors caucus in St. Louis.”… Page 1: “House Panel Plans to Trim Social Security Increase”… “The House Ways and Means Committee in recent closed-door sessions have rewritten major provisions of the Administration’s Social Security bill to reduce its prospective costs. Proposed increase in payroll taxes is scaled down.”… Page 1: “McNamara Decries Lack of Gun Curbs–Tells Edward Kennedy That Congress Inaction Invites More Urban Violence”… “…says that lack of gun control legislation may contribute to urban violence this summer. ‘While congress deliberates, we now face the prospect of another summer which may well develop into more bloodletting in our streets with weapons, from whatever source, that have found their way into the hands of bigots and extremists,’ he said in a letter to Edward Kennedy. ‘The absence of sensible gun control legislation is not only unreasonable, it is an open and permanent invitation to violence and disorder.”… Page 2: “Quakers Expanding Draft Counseling”…”…for young men seeking alternatives to military service.”… Page 2: “Saga of the Paraplegics”... “57 Vietnamese, military victims of war are undergoing rehabilitation in U.S….brought to U.S. in 1965 at Castle Point Veterans facility across from West Point. Two thirds of the 57 are now independent.”…

Page 14: “Sentencing of Two Young Pop Musicians Arouses Storm In Britain”… “Jail sentences imposed on two young pop musicians in a drug case… members of the Rolling Stones. Those in trouble are Mick Jagger and Keith Richard, both 23. They were caught in a police raid last winter.”… 

 

2 JULY 1967… OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER…New York Times (3 July reporting 2 July ops) Page 3:”In the air war over the North an Air Force plane was shot down yesterday but its pilot was rescued from a hillside ringed by hostile troops by Navy helicopter crewmen...A total of 145 raids were flown against North Vietnam yesterday. The raids were directed against supply routes. Air Force pilots struck at rail lines north of Hanoi and reported destruction of 81 rail cars and damage to 10 others and many cuts on rails in the two lines linking Hanoi and China.

“The downed plane–the 593rd shot down over the North–fell in a hilly jungle 15 miles inland from the port city of Vinh. Petty Officer Anthony C. Hanson, a 26-year old aviation electronics technician on the final day of his one year tour of combat duty was lowered by winch from the hovering helicopter to search for the injured pilot. Bullets buzzed around him as he made the descent. He carried the Air Force pilot 50-feet and fastened him to the winch. After the pilot was safe, Petty Officer Hanson ascended through the ground fire to complete the pickup. (Then came a hairy flight back to the Gulf of Tonkin and safety)… “

“Vietnam: Air Losses”(Hobson) Five fixed wing aircraft were lost in Southeast Asia on 2 July 1967…

(1) LTJG FREDERICK MORRISON KASCH was flying an A-4B of the VSF-3 Chessmen embarked in USS Intrepid was on a strike on the Hai Duong railroad yard when hit by anti-aircraft fire. He was able to fly the battle damaged aircraft with partial engine power 35 miles, descending slightly all the way. Within sight of the water near Luc Linh he was down to 500-feet and his escort told him to eject. When the escort aircraft turned back all he saw was the wreckage of LTJG KASCH’s aircraft. There was no parachute visible, or beeper of comms heard. In November 1988 the North Vietnamese returned remains that were subsequently identified as LTJG KASCH, who was Killed in Action fifty years ago this date. He rests in peace in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego….

(2) MAJOR R.F. STONE was flying n F-105D of the 357th TFS and 355th TFW out of Takhli was part of  strike group hitting  target in the mountains 40 miles southeast of the Mu Gia Pass and hit by anti-aircraft fire in the target area. He was able to fly away from the target area and into the mountains before he had to eject. MAJOR STONE was rescued by a Navy helicopter crewed by a squad of heroic sailors, including Second Class Petty Officer Anthony Hanson who hooked up MAJOR STONE to a rescue sling before the NVN troops could get there…

(3) MAJOR RAY DANIEL PENDERGRAFT, USMC, and CAPTAIN DAVID GLENN SPEARMAN were flying an F-4B of the VFMA-542 Bengals and MAG-13 out of Chu Lai with a flight of F-4s providing air support for Marines under fire north of Cothien on the southern border of the DMZ. They were on their fourth attacking run when hit by enemy ground fire. A successful retirement to the Gulf of Tonkin was observed but the aircraft crashed 15 miles north of Hue and both MAJOR PENDERGRAFT and CAPTAIN SPEARMAN were Killed in Action fifty years ago and remain lost at sea….

(4) MAJOR BRUCE A. MARTIN, USMC was flying an F-8E of the VMF(AW)-232 Red Devils and MAG-11 out of Danang and responding to the calls to support the Marines near the DMZ when hit by ground fire while releasing his eight bombs on a single pass. He was able to fly his burning aircraft out to sea before ejecting. MAJOR MARTIN was rescued by a USAF HH-3 to fly and fight again…

(5) CAPTAIN DALE M. PICHARD was flying an F-105D of the 44th TFS and 388th TFW out of Korat was on a strike on a anti-aircraft weapons site southwest of Vinh when hit by a 57-mm and forced to eject about 20 miles north of the Mu Gia Pass. He came down in very hostile country and was forced to hide. A major recovery operation was put in motion commanded by MAJOR LARRY MEHR from the 602nd ACS, but was secured for the night due to darkness and the inability to locate CAPTAIN PICHARD. The effort was resumed at dawn and amid intensive opposition by NVN forces in the area, countered by 20 F-105s from Korat, an  Air Force HH-3 flown by CAPTAIN GREGORY ETZEL, who was on his first rescue mission, disregarded continued opposition to make the pickup.

 

RIPPLE SALVO… #484… A drum roll please… With great respect and admiration your Humble Host posts the award citations for three of the many, many rescue warriors involved in the three successful rescue operations of 2 July 1967, especially those of F-105 warriors MAJOR STONE and CAPTAIN PICHARD…

OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER… EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM…AVIATION ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN SECOND CLASS ANTHONY C. HANSON, UNITED STATES NAVY…the NAVY CROSS… 2 JULY 1967…

“The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to ANTHONY C. HANSON, Aviation Electronics Technician Second Class, U.S. Navy, for EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM on 2 July 1967 while serving as Combat Aircrewman aboard a Search and Rescue Helicopter embarked in U.S.S. Reeves (DLG-24). When the helicopter rescue of a wounded U.S. Air Force pilot, downed by hostile fire, was rendered impossible due to extensive jungle growth, Petty Officer HANSON with full knowledge that enemy ground forces were closing the rescue scene, descended 150-feet from the helicopter to the wounded pilot, disengaged the latter from his parachute and, after carrying the downed pilot one hundred yards through the dense undergrowth, fastened him to the hoisting equipment and guided him into the hovering helicopter. By his heroic action and fearless devotion to duty. Petty Officer HANSON was directly instrumental is saving a life. His inspiring effort was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

RTR QUOTE for 2 July: LGEN GS PATTON: “If you are afraid of being shot at, you are whipped before you start.”…

OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER…EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM… MAJOR RICHARD L. MEHR, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE… the AIR FORCE CROSS… 2 and 3 JULY 1967…

“The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the AIR FORCE CROSS to RICHARD L. MEHR, MAJOR,  U.S. Air Force, for EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as an A-1E Pilot in the 602d Tactical Fighter Squadron (Commando), Udorn Royal Thai Air Base Thailand, SEVENTH Air Force, in action in Southeast Asia on 2 and 3 July 1967. On 2 July, MAJOR MEHR flew through intense hostile fire to provide cover for an F-105 pilot downed in a heavily defended area of North Vietnam. With the onset of darkness and diminishing fuel, MAJOR MEHR returned to base for minimum rest. He volunteered to continue rescue operations that were set up for the next day and took off at first light. Amidst MiG fighters, deadly missiles, antiaircraft fire, and hostile small arms fire, he located the downed pilot. Braving this deadly arsenal that damaged his aircraft, he continued to direct air strikes against the hostile position and thereby protected the downed pilot and permitted a helicopter to rescue the pilot from the area. Through his EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, MAJOR MEHR reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”…

RTR QUOTE for 2 JULY: LGEN GS PATTON: “The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on. Discipline, pride, self-respect, self-confidence, and the love of glory are attributes which will make a man courageous even when he is afraid.”..

OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER…EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM…CAPTAIN GREGORY E.M. ETZEL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE… 2 and 3 JULY 1967…

“The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the AIR FORCE CROSS to GREGORY A.M. ETZEL, CAPTAIN, U.S. Air Force, for EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an HH-3E Pilot of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, SEVENTH Air Force, in action on 2 and 3 July 1967. On 2 July, CAPTAIN ETZEL flew his helicopter into one of the most heavily defended areas of North Vietnam to rescue a downed F-105 pilot. Unable to effect a pickup because of oncoming darkness and intense small arms fire that damaged his aircraft, CAPTAIN ETZEL withdrew from the area. After landing at a friendly base, he volunteered to continue rescue operations the next day. After minimum rest, he took off at first light and flew through intense automatic weapons fire, dodged deadly missiles, and evaded attacking MiGs in search of the downed pilot. In the face of heavy small arms fire that severely damaged his helicopter, he located and rescued this valuable pilot. Through his EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, CAPTIN ETZEL reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

RTR QUOTE for 2 July: ANONYMOUS: “You gotta’ believe!”…

Lest we forget…           Bear

 

 

 

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