The Battle of Dong Hoi Gulf.

Striking Eight Bells: A Vietnam Memoir

In April of 1972, along the coast of North Vietnam the Dong Hoi Gulf was a unique and active area. The coastline was mountainous and Highway 1 went through a pass very near to the Gulf of Tonkin. There was the point south of Brandon Bay where the highway could be attacked by naval forces and naval gunfire. It was in this place on April 19, where North Vietnamese MIG aircraft attacked U.S. Navy destroyers in what was known as the Battle of Dong Hoi Gulf. In that battle, one destroyer, the USS Higbee (DD 806), suffered damage from a bomb hit and the USS Sterrett (DLG 31), a guided missile destroyer, shot down two MIGs with her Terrier missiles. On the Higbee no one was killed, but four sailors were injured. Fortunately, the ship had just evacuated the gun mount due to a misfire and no one was inside.

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Why do older people move so slow???

theleansubmariner

Why do old people move so slow?

I am fully prepared to get blasted from both the young and the old that read this post. But as I pass another milestone in less than a month, the question has bothered me a bit and I have sought to find an answer.  Perhaps it has puzzled you as well?

You see it every day in all walks of life. Driving down the highway, a line of cars will suddenly appear in front of you for no particular reason. You were cruising along at traffic speed (which typically is about 15 miles above the speed limit) and you find yourself punching for the breaks, perhaps with a small curse on your lips. Its a two lane winding road and there doesn’t seem to be any escape from this slowly moving mobile impediment to progress. Finally, the road in front of you dips…

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Wishful Drinkin’

Wishful Drinkin’

By Garland Davis

I took a little literary license and rewrote Waylon Jennings’ Drinkin’ and Dreamin’. I call it Wishful Drinkin’.

Verse 1:

My shipmates looking for a way out

I’m looking for a way back in

I’ve been wasting my time, standing in line

What civvy street is all about

 

Verse 2:

All I’ve got is a world that I don’t like

And girlfriends that don’t understand

So tonight, in a bar, I’ll go aboard my ship

And sail off for a fairer land

 

Chorus:

Drinkin’ and dreamin’, Knowing Damn well I won’t go

I’ll Never see Hong Kong again, or ol’ Olongapo

But here at this table, I’ll just put it out of my mind

Drink til I’m sailing just half a world out of my mind

 

Verse 3:

This suit and this tie, they just don’t fit me

Like thirteen buttons do

Some were born to be tied to the land

My kind was just born to be free

 

Verse 4:

When I look toward the horizon

How I can feel it again

The shore has me but my true heart and soul

Are in the sea riding the wind

R

epeat Chorus

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Patriots’ Day

Patriots’ Day

Today is Patriots Day in the USA.

Patriot’s Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot’s Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

For veterans, I would say that every day is Patriots Day!

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Asia Sailors and a Marmont Pool Party

Asia Sailors and a Marmont Pool Party

By Cort Willoughby as told to Garland Davis

Some recent events in a couple of Facebook groups brought to mind an event that happened in Subic. Basically, it ended up with some member of the groups being told, “If you don’t like what we are doing here, get the fuck out and shut up. It reminded me of a story of USS Parsons and a Captain who shall remain nameless.

Obviously, Subic was part of the story. We had a group of rooms at the Marmont for the week or whatever amount of time it was. This was back when the Marmont was new. The incoming C.O. of the Ammunition Depot was staying there with his family. We mostly spent our time in the Barrio at Traveler’s Inn, the Marmot pool, or at Marilyn’s in Subic City. The Captain and his family barely tolerated us.

Well, his teenaged son would sneak away and meet some of the younger guys at Traveler’s for a drink and to meet with the girls. One night we were having a pretty wild pool party and some participants were involved with getting underwater blow jobs. The Captain’s kid got an underwater hummer and went to the family’s room a bit tipsy.

The Ammo Depot C.O. wasn’t there but his wife came down and began chastising one of our shipmates, who shall also remain nameless. The wife’s rant ended with a loud, “God will get you for this!”

Our shipmate responded with, “Yea God. Fuck you!”

That statement was heard round Subic Bay where all Asia Sailors congregate and, especially, in the Parson C.O.’s Cabin the next morning when the incoming C.O. of the Ammo Depot paid a visit to our Captain.

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PR-21

PR-21

Posted on Facebook by Danny Fowler

Most of you I’m sure don’t remember what happened on this day 49 years ago, but as a former member of VQ-1 I certainly do. It happened before my watch, but it was a tragedy nonetheless and should never be forgotten.

If you never saw our aircraft, our informal call sign was Peter Rabbit, and we had either the Black Bat and Lightning Bolt (because of our association with the Black Bat Squadron) on the tail or the infamous Playboy Bunny.

So today as you go about your busy lives, please take a moment and think of these brave 31 souls who gave their all for our freedom. The politicians won’t, they didn’t then during the Pueblo incident and they won’t now.

The full story is below…

At 07:00 local time of Tuesday, 15 April 1969, an EC-121M of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1) took off from NAS Atsugi, Japan, on an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance mission. The aircraft, Bureau number 135749 bore the tail code “PR-21” and used the radio call sign Deep Sea 129. Aboard were 8 officers and 23 enlisted men under the command of LCDR James Overstreet. Nine of the crew, including one marine NCO, were Naval Security Group cryptologic technicians (CTs) and linguists in Russian and Korean.

These missions, while nominally under the command of Seventh Fleet and CINCPAC, were controlled operationally by the Naval Security Group detachment at NSF Kamiseya, Japan, under the direction of the National Security Agency.

Very soon after arrival over the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), at 10:35, North Korea reacted to the presence of the EC-121, but not in a way that would jeopardize the mission. At 12:34 local time, roughly six hours into the mission, the Army Security Agency and radars in Korea detected the takeoff of two North Korean Air Force MiG-21s from East Tongchong-ni near Wonsan and tracked them, assuming that they were responding in some fashion to the mission of Deep Sea 129. In the meantime the EC-121 filed a scheduled activity report by radio on time at 13:00 and did not indicate anything out of the ordinary, but this was the last message sent from the plane. Twenty-two minutes later the radars lost the picture of the MiGs and did not reacquire it until 13:37, where they were closing with Deep Sea 129 for a probable intercept.

The communications that this activity generated within the National Security network was monitored by the EC-121’s parent unit, VQ-1, which at 13:44 sent Deep Sea 129 a “Condition 3” alert by radio, indicating it might be under attack. LCDR Overstreet acknowledged the warning and complied with procedures to abort the mission and return to base. Approaching from the northeastern coast at supersonic speed, the MiGs easily overtook the EC-121, who could do little with their “warning.” The MiGs were armed with 23 mm cannons and AA-2 Atoll missiles; the EC-121 was unarmed and without a fighter escort. At 13:47 the radar tracks of the MiGs merged with that of Deep Sea 129, which disappeared from the radar picture two minutes later.

The MiGs had blown the EC-121 out of the sky, and while the details of the incident have never been released to the public, it is assumed that an air-to-air missile was used as the North Korean press mentioned that a “single shot” downed the aircraft.

Image may contain: airplane, sky, cloud and outdoor

Image may contain: airplane, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: airplane and sky

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My Shredded Wheat Heiress

My Shredded Wheat Heiress

By Cort Willoughby

As told to and embellished by Garland Davis

I was a newly minted Third Class Petty Officer on a flight to somewhere. A very pretty girl parked her lovely posterior in the seat beside me. As it turns out, she was related to the cereal folks in that famous Michigan city. I believe she told me that her Grandpappy had invented those straw bales they call Shredded Wheat.

I was on a roll, Mr. Smooth. I had a Westpac under my belt and had a fairly good idea of my goal in this budding relationship. This was, of course, before the days of burning bras and the advent of g-strings that did duty as Muff Covers. I was clicking and knew what the future might offer if I played the game right. I could tell that she was impressed with me and my suavity. I could tell I was making a positive impression.

I was deep into explaining the purpose of the thirteen buttons and the rapidity with which I could unbutton them when I caught her eyes directed to the vicinity of my crotch. In other words, she was indicating that she was more than a little interested in “Ole Luthor.” Holy shit, Little Eva! Signs that my future was assured. Looking good to give her a chance to meet and shake hands with him. A situation that any Fleet Sailor yearns for.

We had just finished the in-flight meal and were getting along just famously. That is when tragedy struck. My gut doesn’t play well with cucumbers. The salad was riddled with them. Not thinking I ate them. Cucumbers cause my digestive system to produce a noxious, eye burning, singe the hairs in your nose, a gas that will curl your fuckin’ hair. I mean it could surpass the odor of a thousand camels with the drizzlin’ shits.

Sure ‘nuff, my guts were percolating worse than Granny’s old coffee pot. We were getting around to trading addresses or making wedding plans or something. My guts were roaring. I was sure everyone could hear them. I had to park my ass on an in-flight shitter, Right Fuckin’ Now. A heaving swell from my throat to my asshole told me to move. Sweat popped out. Tryin’ to be slick and not let on, I said, “Be Right Back” and lunged to an upright position at the same time some asswipe dropped the overhead bin right on my gourd.

I couldn’t hold it. Blast, Blast, Blast my asshole went. Sure ‘nuff, my asshole is eye level to her face. As desperately as I try, I cannot stop it from belching out the noxious odor. I heard her gasp and gag, all in the same breath. I made a beeline for the head. My asshole must have caught a snag and busted open. Row after row of people are turning green, gagging, and coughing as I clamor down the aisle toward relief.

I remained in the head until after the plane landed and all the passengers had deplaned. The Flight Attendants never checked on me. Hell, they wouldn’t even look at me as I made my walkout. I am sure they were planning on “gas freeing” the aircraft before its next flight.

I never saw my Battle Creek, true love, again.

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