Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last Days of Vietnam War

WARTIME AUDIO with PHOTOS -- Some of my shipmates taped the news broadcast off Armed Forces Radio as we carried out various war related tasks at the end of the Vietnam War. The broadcast preserved here is like a microcosm of 20th Century history.  Plus Christmas music. And then - Gunfire. I sneaked a microphone in my jacket in the pilothouse and surreptitiously taped the voices on the bridge and from over the radio and sound powered phones.  It is a bit haunting now - 40 years later. I remember talking to WWII veterans 40 years after that war and thinking -- man ... these guys are really OLD! (Into the gunfire missions - note: there are numerous little blip sounds -- these are when I turned off the tape recorder to preserve battery or to avoid discovery - ) ( I am sure it was illegal with the secret radio voice traffic). Most of our missions at this time were gunfire support off the DMZ region - and mainly supporting South Vietnamese Marines -as nearly all US troops were out of this area by then. We had a week or so North around Haiphong Harbor to assist with B-52 bombers that were shot down in those Christmas bombing raids. (the news segment fills in some blanks there ). None of those bombers made it to "feet wet" so they could be rescued.

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