VO-67 gets a Presidential Unit Citation

Sorry for going back in time again, but this one is a historic first! The Navy has never before upgraded a unit citation…
Observation Squadron (VO)-67 (the Ghost Squadron) was a highly classified outfit that was NAVY but flying over the Ho Chi Min trail for 500 days in 1967 and 1968. They lost three of twelve crews flying these operations.
Their mission was finally declassified in 1998. One of my sea-daddys was a member of this unit, but could never talk about it, other than that he had been attached to it.

Navy Presidential Unit Citation

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY WASHINGTON, D.C 20350·1000

The President of the United States

takes pleasure in presenting the

PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to OBSERVATION SQUADRON SIXTY-SEVEN

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION: For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam from 15 November 1967 to 2 July 1968. Throughout this period, Observation Squadron SIXTY-SEVEN (VO-67), operating in the Republic of South Vietnam, successfully executed its primary mission of providing quick reaction, close air support, and combat logistics support for United States and Vietnamese military forces. In the face of extremely harsh climatic conditions at a remote operating base, while sustaining extensive operating damage and losses, the flight crews and ground support personnel of VO-67 carried out their highly important and extremely sensitive missions with outstanding skill and dedication. The Squadron flew countless missions implanting newly developed sensors to detect enemy movement. The support provided by VO-67 was instrumental in supplying real-time intelligence regarding the movement of North Vietnamese troops and supplies, which enabled U.S. Forces to prevent the total invasion of the U.S. Marine Combat Base at Khe Sanh during the Tet Offensive and contributed to saving countless lives. The squadron’s operations were consistently characterized by prudent tactics while maintaining meticulous adherence to the rules of engagement, ensuring maximum deterrence of the enemy with minimum risk to friendly troops and civilians. VO-67′ s successful initiation of this new mission provided a significant and vital contribution to the art of warfare. By their outstanding courage, resourcefulness, and aggressive fighting spirit in combat against a frequently well-equipped, well-trained, and often numerically superior enemy, the officers and enlisted personnel of Observation Squadron SIXTY-SEVEN reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

You can go here and read what they did to save Khe Sahn.

The Gun is Civilization

Go check out Marko’s blog for the gun is civilization– Outstanding read!!!!

H/T Tam

How old is Grandpa???

Stay with this — the answer is at the end…

It may just surprise you!

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events.
The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandfather replied, ‘Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:
television penicillin polio shots frozen foods Xerox contact lenses Frisbees and the pill

There were no:
credit cards laser beams ball-point pens

Man had not invented:
pantyhose air conditioners dishwashers clothes dryers clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air.

Man hadn’t yet walked on the moon. Your Grandmother and I got married first, . . .and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother.Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, ‘Sir.’ And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, ‘Sir.’

We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins. Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President’s speeches on our radios.

And I don’t ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey. If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan ‘ on it, it was junk. The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam. Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, . . . but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

In my day:’grass’ was mowed,
‘coke’ was a cold drink,
‘pot’ was something your mother cooked in,
‘rock music’ was your grandmother’s lullaby
‘Aids’ were helpers in the Principal’s office,
‘Chip’ meant a piece of wood,
‘hardware’ was found in a hardware store and
‘software’ wasn’t even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us ‘old and confused’ and say there is a generation gap…

and how old do you think I am?

I bet you have this old man in mind…you are in for a shock! They would have been born in the Mid-1940’s and be in their mid-60’s! (damn, I’m almost there…)

As an aside- My parents were born on both sides of the turn of the Century- They literally saw the world go from horse and buggy to space travel in one single generation… What does that say for us? and Gen X and Gen Y???

Personal opinion, not too damn much… sigh…

Why am I on this kick? Well, I’m half way around the world, for effectively three 4 hour meetings, because even in this day and age of connectivity; they still want a body sitting across the desk to make agreements. AND one of my %^^& co-workers can’t use his computer to figure out the time difference, so he calls my US cell (which thanks to the marvel of technology works over here), and wakes my ass up at 0400!!!!

He wanted to know if I had anymore information than what I had sent yesterday afternoon my time in my trip report, which of course I don’t since it’s nighttime and nobody is at work… sigh…

Now if I can just get the chef to actually cook the bacon this morning, I’ll be a happy camper…

B. Hussein at it again…

Well, B. Hussein is not making friends and influencing people in Penn…

I was gonna write a blast about his comments, till I read the Cranky Prof’s, all I can say is she said it MUCH better than I can, and with a lot more humor!

On a side note- I’m on travel again, story of my life…

Note to self- DO NOT work a full day then fly all night and half the next day. I tend to get a ‘little’ crankier than normal…

Anyhoo- Flying from Sydney to Perth yesterday, I was sitting next to a nice Australian couple, mid-50’s, on the way to see their first grandbaby. They were asking about the political race in the US and were VERY well informed, sitting directly in front of us was a couple from New Zealand, mid-50’s, on ‘holiday’. They joined in for couple of hours and were also well informed.

Folks, bottom line, the people down under are scared to death of BOTH Billary and B. Hussein! They do not see either as any type of leader, and the NZ lady referred to Billary as a “political parasite”, and B. Hussein as a scary, scary person.

Neither couple thought it bodes well for ANY mutual aid agreements if either gets in power, and they all wondered why the MSM coverage was so biased!

I didn’t even try to go there!

Well, off to try find a hamburger that doesn’t have beets or BBQ sauce on it…

sigh… travel is just SUCH fun…

Friday Mornings at the Pentagon…

Continuing the tone of my last few posts, yet again another mostly unknown and uncovered (at least by MSM) honoring of our troops.

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war.Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.”It is 110 yards from the “E” ring to the “A” ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, thehallway is broad, and the lighting is bright.

At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls.There are thousands here.This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army.

Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies inthis area.The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.”A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.”Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden .. yet.

Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, I believe, a full Colonel.”Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway – 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down thishallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade.More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.”There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks.An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.”Did you know that?

Get your TIVO ready…

Starting April 27th, PBS will air 5 nights of CARRIER, a total of 10 hours of coverage of the USS Nimitz 2005 deployment. This one is not about the mechanical marvels, but about the people who ‘man’ the carrier. It is not always pretty, actually shows some people making some pretty bad decisions, but it is reality. The footage is culled from over 2000 hours of film taken during the 6 month deployment.

This is a chance to see what life is really like with 5200 of your closest friends and neighbors when a carrier goes about it’s business of forward power projection and keeping the folks on the ground alive.

Highly recommended!

Charlton Heston dead at 84…

Charlton Heston has died at age 84 from Alzheimer’s… RIP Mr. Heston, RIP…

A little humor…

CHiPs vs. USMC

Top this for a speeding ticket…

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, North of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill.The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off. Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet, which was engaged in a low fly exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander.

The reply came back in true USMC style:

“Thank you for your letter. We can now complete the file on this incident. “You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back toit, which is why it shut down. “Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location. “Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position. “The pilot also suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech.

SergeantJohnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

“Thank you for your concern. Semper Fi.”

For what it’s worth, it’s NOT far from the truth…

And one from my era…

James E. (Bull) Williams… 20 year Navy man, enlisted at 16, retired on 20. Volunteered to go to Viet Nam with 19 years in, because he knew small boats and thought he might pass that along to his shipmates and keep a few more swabbies alive…

Well, he did pretty damn well. I am honored to say I knew him (after retirement) and he seldom talked about his exploits…


Here is a representation of his awards- And yes, that is BOTH the Medal of Honor AND the Navy Cross. Followed by the Silver Star (2 awards), the Legion of Merit (V for Valor), Navy and Marine Corps Medal (2 awards), Bronze Star (2 awards, V for Valor), Purple Heart (3 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (2 awards, V for Valor). And those were just the major ones…


According to reports, Bull was the most decorated Navy Enlisted man ever.

Here is his Congressional Medal of Honor Citation:


James E. Williams, PO1c

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. PO1c. Williams was serving as Boat Captain and Patrol Officer aboard River Patrol Boat (PBR) 105 accompanied by another patrol boat when the patrol was suddenly taken under fire by 2 enemy sampans. PO1c. Williams immediately ordered the fire returned, killing the crew of 1 enemy boat and causing the other sampan to take refuge in a nearby river inlet. Pursuing the fleeing sampan, the U.S. patrol encountered a heavy volume of small-arms fire from enemy forces, at close range, occupying well-concealed positions along the river bank. Maneuvering through this fire, the patrol confronted a numerically superior enemy force aboard 2 enemy junks and 8 sampans augmented by heavy automatic weapons fire from ashore. In the savage battle that ensued, PO1c. Williams, with utter disregard for his safety exposed himself to the withering hail of enemy fire to direct counter-fire and inspire the actions of his patrol. Recognizing the overwhelming strength of the enemy force, PO1c. Williams deployed his patrol to await the arrival of armed helicopters. In the course of his movement his discovered an even larger concentration of enemy boats. Not waiting for the arrival of the armed helicopters, he displayed great initiative and boldly led the patrol through the intense enemy fire and damaged or destroyed 50 enemy sampans and 7 junks. This phase of the action completed, and with the arrival of the armed helicopters, PO1c. Williams directed the attack on the remaining enemy force. Now virtually dark, and although PO1c. Williams was aware that his boats would become even better targets, he ordered the patrol boats’ search lights turned on to better illuminate the area and moved the patrol perilously close to shore to press the attack. Despite a waning supply of ammunition the patrol successfully engaged the enemy ashore and completed the rout of the enemy force. Under the leadership of PO 1 c. Williams, who demonstrated unusual professional skill and indomitable courage throughout the 3 hour battle, the patrol accounted for the destruction or loss of 65 enemy boats and inflicted numerous casualties on the enemy personnel. His extraordinary heroism and exemplary fighting spirit in the face of grave risks inspired the efforts of his men to defeat a larger enemy force, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
He was honored with having DD95 an Aegis Destroyer named after him; sadly, James E Willams died in 1999 after careers both in the Navy and with the US Marshalls Service.

Something Different #20, #21, #22

Back to the Navy and Afganistan… Only two of the three citations have been released. SEALS doing the L part of the job… Sadly one was posthumous.

The President of the United States
Takes Pride in Presenting
The Navy Cross
To
Matthew G. Axelson
Sonar Technician Second Class, United States Navy
For Services as Set Forth in the Following

Citation:For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Axelson demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation, Petty Officer Axelson’s element bravely engaged the militia, who held both a numerical and positional advantage. The ensuing firefight resulted in numerous enemy personnel killed, with several of the Navy members suffering casualties. Ignoring his injuries and demonstrating exceptional composure, Petty Officer Axelson advised the teammate closest to him to escape while he provided cover fire. With total disregard for his own life and thinking only of his teammate’s survival, he continued to attack the enemy, eliminating additional militia fighters, until he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. A champion of freedom, Petty Officer Axelson will be remembered for his self-sacrificing actions in the continuing Global War on Terrorism. By his undaunted courage, fortitude under fire, and unwavering dedication to duty, Petty Officer Axelson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

The President of the United States
Takes Pride in Presenting
The Navy Cross (Posthumously)
To
Danny P. Dietz
Gunner’s Mate Second Class, United States Navy
For Services as Set Forth in the Following

Citation:For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Dietz demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz’ courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.