Keep Your Helmet On!

Be A Part of a Tribute to Fallen Heroes - Help Build the Fallen Soldiers' Bike
Help support the families of our deployed Heroes - Visit Soldiers' Angels' Operation Outreach
Help Our Heroes Help Others - Click Here to visit SOS: KIDS
Nominate your Hero for IWT's "Hero of the Month" - click here for details!
Search Iraq War Today only

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blogging the Immigration Speech

Not what I was hoping to hear, for sure, and to be honest, I'm a little bit at a loss for words.

So, check out what Michelle Malkin has to say.
Atlantic Ocean (May 11, 2006) - An SH-60F Seahawk helicopter assigned to the "Dragonslayers" of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Eleven (HS-11) releases flares, while practicing for an air power demonstration aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) are currently underway on a scheduled six-month deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Rob Gaston
MEDICAL CHECKUP — U.S. Army Maj. Michael Ellis checks an Iraqi girl's ear for an infection as her father looks on during a community health outreach program at a school in Guymria, Iraq, May 10, 2006. Ellis is a physician's assistant for 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Larson

Today in History - The Mayaguez Incident

( information gathered by the P.O.W. Network)

When U.S. troops were pulled out of Southeast Asia in early 1975, Vietnamese communist troops began capturing one city after another, with Hue, Da Nang and Ban Me Thuot in March, Xuan Loc in April, and finally on April 30, Saigon. In Cambodia, communist Khmer Rouge had captured the capital city of Phnom Penh on April 17. The last Americans were evacuated from Saigon during "Option IV", with U.S. Ambassador Martin departing on April 29. The war, according to President Ford, "was finished."

2Lt. Richard Van de Geer, assigned to the 21st Special Ops Squadron at NKP, had participated in the evacuation of Saigon, where helicopter pilots were required to fly from the decks of the 7th Fleet carriers stationed some 500 miles offshore, fly over armed enemy-held territory, collect American and allied personnel and return to the carriers via the same hazardous route, heavily loaded with passengers. Van de Geer wrote to a friend, "We pulled out close to 2,000 people. We couldn't pull out any more because it was beyond human endurance to go any more..."

At 11:21 a.m. on May 12, the U.S. merchant ship MAYAGUEZ was seized by the Khmer Rouge in the Gulf of Siam about 60 miles from the Cambodian coastline and eight miles from Poulo Wai island. The ship, owned by Sea-Land Corporation, was en route to Sattahip, Thailand from Hong Kong, carrying a non-arms cargo for military bases in Thailand.

Capt. Charles T. Miller, a veteran of more than 40 years at sea, was on the bridge. He had steered the ship within the boundaries of international waters, but the Cambodians had recently claimed territorial waters 90 miles from the coast of Cambodia. The thirty-nine seamen aboard were taken prisoner.

President Ford ordered the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA, the guided missile destroyer USS HENRY B. WILSON and the USS HOLT to the area of seizure. By night, a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft located the MAYAGUEZ at anchor off Poulo WaI island. Plans were made to rescue the crew. A battalion landing team of 1,100 Marines was ordered flown from bases in Okinawa and the Philippines to assemblE at Utapao, Thailand in preparation for the assault.

The first casualties of the effort to free the MAYAGUEZ are recorded on May 13 when a helicopter carrying Air Force security team personnel crashed en route to Utapao, killing all 23 aboard.

Early in the morning of May 13, the Mayaguez was ordered to head for Koh Tang island. Its crew was loaded aboard a Thai fishing boat and taken first to Koh Tang, then to the mainland city of Kompong Song, then to Rong San Lem island. U.S. intelligence had observed a cove with considerable activity on the island of Koh Tang, a small five-mile long island about 35 miles off the coast of Cambodia southwest of the city of Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom), and believed that some of the crew might be held there. They also knew of the Thai fishing boat, and had observed what appeared to be caucasians aboard it, but it could not be determined if some or all of the crew was aboard.

The USS HOLT was ordered to seize and secure the MAYAGUEZ, still anchored off Koh Tang. Marines were to land on the island and rescue any of the crew. Navy jets from the USS CORAL SEA were to make four strikes on military installments on the Cambodian mainland.

On May 15, the first wave of 179 Marines headed for the island aboard eight Air Force "Jolly Green Giant" helicopters. Three Air Force helicopters unloaded Marines from the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines onto the landing pad of the USS HOLT and then headed back to Utapao to pick up the second wave of Marines. Planes dropped tear gas on the MAYAGUEZ, and the USS HOLT pulled up along side the vessel and the Marines stormed aboard. The MAYAGUEZ was deserted.

Simultaneously, the Marines of the 2/9 were making their landings on two other areas of the island. The eastern landing zone was on the cove side where the Cambodian compound was located. The western landing zone was a narrow spit of beach about 500 feet behind the compound on the other side of the island. The Marines hoped to surround the compound.

As the first troops began to unload on both beaches, the Cambodians opened fire. On the western beach, one helicopter was hit and flew off crippled, to ditch in the ocean about 1 mile away. The pilot had just disembarked his passengers, and he was rescued at sea.

Meanwhile, the eastern landing zone had become a disaster. The first two helicopters landing were met by enemy fire. Ground commander, (now) Col. Randall W. Austin had been told to expect between 20 and 40 Khmer Rouge soldiers on the island. Instead, between 150 and 200 were encountered. First, Lt. John Shramm's helicopter tore apart and crashed into the surf after the rotor system was hit. All aboard made a dash for the tree line on the beach.

One CH53A helicopter was flown by U.S. Air Force Major Howard Corson and 2Lt. Richard Van de Geer and carrying 23 U.S. Marines and 2 U.S. Navy corpsmen, all from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. As the helicopter approached the island, it was caught in a cross fire and hit by a rocket. The severely damaged helicopter crashed into the sea just off the coast of the island and exploded. To avoid enemy fire, survivors were forced to swim out to sea for rescue. Twelve aboard, including Maj. Corson, were rescued. Those missing from the helicopter were 2Lt. Richard Van de Geer, PFC Daniel A. Benedett, PFC Lynn Blessing, PFC Walter Boyd, Lcpl. Gregory S. Copenhaver, Lcpl. Andres Garcia, PFC James J. Jacques, PFC James R. Maxwell, PFC Richard W. Rivenburgh, PFC Antonio R. Sandoval, PFC Kelton R. Turner, all U.S. Marines. Also missing were HM1 Bernard Gause, Jr. and HM Ronald J. Manning, the two corpsmen.

Other helicopters were more successful in landing their passengers. One CH53A, however was not. SSgt. Elwood E. Rumbaugh's aircraft was near the coastline when it was shot down. Rumbaugh is the only missing man from the aircraft. The passengers were safely extracted. (It is not known whether the passengers went down with the aircraft or whether they were rescued from the island.)

By midmorning, when the Cambodians on the mainland began receiving reports of the assault, they ordered the crew of the MAYAGUEZ on a Thai boat, and then left. The MAYAGUEZ crew was recovered by the USS WILSON before the second wave of Marines was deployed, but the second wave was ordered to attack anyway.

Late in the afternoon, the assault force had consolidated its position on the western landing zone and the eastern landing zone was evacuated at 6:00 p.m. By the end of the 14-hour operation, most of the Marines were extracted from the island safely, with 50 wounded. Lcpl. Ashton Loney had been killed by enemy fire, but his body could not be recovered.

Protecting the perimeter during the final evacuation was the machine gun squad of PFC Gary L. Hall, Lcpl. Joseph N. Hargrove and Pvt. Danny G. Marshall. They had run out of ammunition and were ordered to evacuate on the last helicopter. It was their last contact. Maj. McNemar and Maj. James H. Davis made a final sweep of the beach before boarding the helicopter and were unable to locate them. They were declared Missing in Action.

The eighteen men missing from the MAYAGUEZ incident are listed among the missing from the Vietnam war. Although authorities believe that there are perhaps hundreds of American prisoners still alive in Southeast Asia from the war, most are pessimistic about the fates of those captured by the Khmer Rouge.

In 1988, the communist government of Kampuchea (Cambodia) announced that it wished to return the remains of several dozen Americans to the United States. (In fact, the number was higher than the official number of Americans missing in Cambodia.) Because the U.S. does not officially recognize the Cambodian government, it has refused to respond directly to the Cambodians regarding the remains. Cambodia, wishing a direct acknowledgment from the U.S. Government, still holds the remains.

graphic by Doug Kidd

In Today's News - Monday, May 15, 2006

Quote of the Day
"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
-- Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
41 Dead, 70 Wounded in Iraq
Bomb Kills Two GIs
Insurgents Down U.S. Helicopter, Killing 2
Saddam: 'I Am Ready to Die'
Saddam ignores murder charges

Operation Enduring Freedom
Taliban commanders said among dead in Afghan clash

Other Military News
Report: U.S. Military Ignoring Troops' Mental Problems (Basically the same as the "Hartford Courant" story I linked to yesterday)

NSA / CIA News
Report: Cheney Derailed in Push for Domestic Wiretaps
Hayden CIA bid hinges on spying role: senators

Bush to Call on National Guard
Video: Americans Speak Out
Video: Bush's Immigration Plan

Hamas Rising
Abbas urges Hamas to respect deals

Worldwide Wackos
Iranian President Dismisses European Nuke Proposals
Video: Nuclear crisis deepens
EU promises "generous, bold" Iran nuclear offer

Bush political problems may have no quick fix
Mrs. Bush: Don't Campaign on Marriage Ban

News from My Neck of the Woods
New England Emergency
Torrential rains swamp states
Video: More Rain Expected - Dangerous Situation
New England hit by heaviest rains in a decade
New England Braces for More River Flooding

Hair-raising Beethoven piece: da-da-da Diamond!
Worry over mobile phone explosions
Baby's Hand Severed at Chocolate Factory
Teacher Regrets Murderous Essay Assignment

Other News of Note
Brazilian Gang Kills 52
Girl Missing on Mother's Day Found 30 Years Later
Third Deadly Alligator Attack in Florida in Past Week
Video: Facing death after marrying for love (Pakistan)
Chat Rooms Help FBI Hunt for Pedophiles

Fox News
Villagers Ignore Indonesian Volcano On Verge of Eruption
Video: New Duke Evidence
Stocks to Watch: Target
'MI:3' Sinks 'Poseidon'
Greece's Orthodox Church: 'Da Vinci Code' False
American Idol Center

Reuters: Top News
Merapi volcano erupts with gas and ash
Climate change may kill millions in Africa: report
China draws veil of silence over sacked academic
Work, motherhood a healthy combo for women - study
Cardiovascular disease costs UK billions a year
Da Vinci Code's last secret: how did it succeed?
Judge dismisses suit by Bob Marley bass player
HealthSouth March quarter loss widens
AstraZeneca agrees to buy CAT
Talks to resume in GM's UK job cut plan
Abbey plans first big branch expansion for 17 yrs
H&M April sales below forecast, shares fall
Belgium's Roularta Q1 EBIT misses expectations
Stock futures fall as commodities stumble - Video
AWD shares fall as restructuring hits earnings
Enodis shares hit 5-year high
Rumors fly as Sleeman launches strategic review
Inflation data may give stocks whiplash
Experts warn of dollar-inflation link
Watchdog targets bloated audits
On the Radar: Biovail

AP World News
Report: 48 Million Refuse to Buckle Up
'Survivor' Picks Its $1 Million Winner
Brand, Cassell Help Clippers Tie Series Blurs Lines Between Ads, Content
'West Wing' Ends With Graceful Transition
3 Teens Killed in Minn. Prom Night Crash
Move of Halliburton Meeting Draws Fire
Porn Maker Allows Downloads for TV Viewing
Texas RB Charged With Marijuana Possession
Raising the Stakes for Female Troops
Bush to Speak on Border Control
Attacks in Iraq Kill 2 U.S. Marines
Saddam Charged With Murder and Torture
Advocate for America's Vets Dies
VA Launches Anti-Obesity Campaign
Games at Fort Monroe Take Veterans Back
Tempers Flare Over Iran Nuke Program
Baghdad Unwinds at Edge of Bridge
Pentagon Eyes Iran, but Takes Tack of Diplomacy
Hayden Hearings to be Battleground
Plan to Deploy Guard at Border Worries Mexico

CENTCOM: News Releases








Department of Defense
Terrorists Kill Iraqi Civilians in Baghdad - Story
U.S. Troops Conduct ‘Mother’s Day’ Patrol - Story - On Assignment
Transition Teams Coach, Mentor Iraqis - Story
North Baghdad Council Discusses Security - Story

Airmen Enable Iraqi Police Training
4th Infantry Division Troops Can See Kids Graduate

‘Soldier Ride’ Takes Off - Story
Mother's Day Away from Home - Story

Citizen’s Tip Leads to Weapons
Deputy Shares Impressions
Rumsfeld: Conclusions Premature
Coalition Strikes Insurgents
Casey Outlines Signs of Progress
Renewal In Iraq
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (PDF)
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

IED Injures Two Afghan Civilians
U.S. General Notes Progress
Air Strike Kills 4 Enemy Fighters
'Mountain Lion' Roars Into Valley
Afghan Police Discover IED
Afghanistan Update

House Votes on Border Security
Submarine USS Memphis Deploys
Rumsfeld Cites Intel Challenges
Guam Unit Trains for OEF Duty
Memorial Honors Va. 9/11 Victims
'Ardent Sentry' Tests Response
N.D. Guard Team Trains for WMDs
Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

DoD Offers Best Mental Health Services
NWC Prof to Study Terrorism
Top Doc Talks Tricare
National Guard, Reserve Update

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al KutAn Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
- Cape Cod discovered.
1702 - War of Spanish Succession.
1718 - James Puckle patents world's 1st machine gun
1862 - The Confederate cruiser Alabama runs aground near London, the USDA is created, General Benjamin F. Butler directs that the women of New Orleans are to be treated as whores as a result of their treatment of Union soldiers.
1864 - Battles in Reseca, GA and New Market, VA.
1882 - Czar Alexander III bans Jews from living in rural Romania.
1902 - Lyman Gilmore becomes the first person to fly a powered craft.
1916 - Asiago, Italy falls.
1940 - First successful helicopter flight in US, German armor division moves into northern France, German troops occupy Amsterdam, Gen. Winkelman surrenders, Nazis capture General Persbureau.
1941 - British attacks in Egypt & Libya; Nazis in the Netherlands forbid Jewish music.
1942 - Nazis arrest 2,000 Dutch officers.
1943 - Halifax bombers sink U-463, The Warsaw ghetto uprising ends with the ghetto's destruction.
1944 - 14,000 Hungarian Jews are deported to Auschwitz, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Churchill and George VI meet to discuss plans for D-Day.
1948 - Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi-Arabia attack Israel.
1958 - The USSR launches Sputnik III.
1960 - The USSR launches Sputnik IV.
1962 - U.S. marines arrive in Laos.
1963 - Faith 7, the last Project Mercury flight, is launched.
1966 - The South Vietnamese army clashes with Buddhists, killing approximately 80.
1988 - Moscow begins withdrawing its 115,000 troops from Afghanistan.

1802 - Confederate Major General Isaac Ridgeway Trimble
1819 - Union Major General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
1830 - Confederate Brigadier General Laurence Simmons Baker
1859 - Pierre Curie France, physicist, Nobel prize winner
1910 - Robert F. Wagner (Mayor, NYC)
1942 - Anthony Wayne England, Ph.D. /astronaut (STS 51-F)
1949 - Frank L Culbertson Jr , Commander USN/astronaut (STS-38)

- Valentinianus II emperor of Rome (375-392), murdered at 21
1932 - Ki Inukai premier Japan (1931-32), murdered
1945 - Major Courtney US medal of honor marine, dies in battle of Sugar Loaf
1992 - Robert Morris Page US physicist (radar), dies at 88

Reported Missing in Action:
McMorrow, John P.,USN, Air America medic - Released August, 1962

Shore, Edward R., Jr., US Army, Air America pilot - Released August, 1962

Wolfkill, Grant, civilian (WA), Air America reporter - Released August, 1962

Balcom, Ralph C. USAF (WA) - Negative SAR contact

Jensen, George W. USAF (WA) - Remains returned December, 1999

Madison, William L, USAF (KY) - Remains returned December,1999

McKenney, Kenneth D., USAF (MA) - Remains returned December, 1999

Preston, James A., USAF (GA) - Remains returned - disputed - December, 1999

Reilly, Lavern G., USAF (MN) - Remains returned December, 1999

Tapp, Marshall L. USAF (CA) - Remains returned December, 1999

Thompson, George W., USAF (WV) - Remains returned December, 1999

Williams, James E., USAF (MS) - Remains returned December, 1999

Heiliger, Donald L., USAF (WI), Released by DRV February, 1973, alive and well 1998

Hill, Charles Dale, USN (MO)

Pollard, Ben M., USAF (KY) - Released by DRV March, 1973, alvie and well 1998

Benedett, Daniel A., USMC (WA) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Blessing, Lynn, USMC (PA) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident; Remains ID'd May, 2000

Boyd, Walter, USMC (VA) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident; Remains ID'd May, 2000

Copenhaver, Gregory S., USMC (MD) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident; Remains ID'd May, 2000

Gause, Bernard, Jr., USN (AL) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd June, 2000

Garcia, Andres, USMC (NM), - May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd May, 2000

Hall, Gary L., USMC (KY) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Hargrove, Joseph N., USMC (NC), May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Jacques, James J., USMC (CO), May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Loney, Ashton N., USMC (NY), May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Marshall, Danny G., USMC (WV), May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Manning, Ronald J., USN (OH), May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd June, 2000

Maxwell, James R., USMC (AR) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Rivenburgh, Richard W., USMC (CA) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Rumbaugh, Elwood E., USAF (PA) - May 1975 Mayaguez incident

Sandoval, Antonio R., USMC (TX), May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd May 2000

Turner, Kelton R., USMC (CA), May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd May, 2000
Van De Geer, Richard, USAF (OH), May 1975 Mayaguez incident, Remains ID'd June, 2000

Rapp, Jeff - Released July 1979

Smith, Karen - Released July 1979