CHAPTER XXV

NINITH “WESTPAC” DEPLOYMENT AND

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA

OVERHAUL AT HUNTERS POINT, SAN FRANCISCO, CA. & LOCAL TRAINING OPERATIONS

(ReTra and air wing operations)

Iran History & Air Arm

 (17 April 1971 to 27 December 1972)

Part 1 – (17 April 1971 to 28 June 1972)

Part 2 – (29 June 1971 to 27 December 1972)

 

 

    “On 28 June 1972, USS Oriskany (CVA-34) and the USS Nitro (AE-23) are in a minor collision during an underway replenishment 150 nautical miles east of Da Nang, South Vietnam” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-60) continued Vietnam operations throughout the summer of 1972” (Ref. 1-Midway & 72).

 

    “USS Saratoga (CVA-60) had been reclassified as a "Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier" (CV-60) on 30 June 1972” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) returned to Subic Bay, Philippines once more before rounding out the cruise with another line period. Coral Sea concluded her combat operations on 30 June 1972, earning accolades for her performance. "It was more than just a ship," declared RADM James Ferris, ComCarDiv Three, "but a spirit of the men on Coral Sea that fought the war on the line at “Yankee Station.” Your remarkable ability to get the job done with a ship launched in 1946 and a wing equipped with aircraft slightly older than the average has been an object lesson in what determination can produce. Your determined and innovative tactics in the air have led the way for many and have dealt the enemy many heavy blows” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea).

 

    “Carriers involved in Linebacker I operations were:  USS Constellation (CVA-64) and USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) were on “Yankee Station” on 18 January 1972 and joined up with USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), following her tour in the Indian Ocean in December 1971. Both Carriers were on line periods with few rest stops a long the way from 18 January to 30 June 1972.  Actual deployment dates reflect 1 October to 30 June 1972 for USS Constellation (CVA-64) and departure from “Yankee Station” at the same time USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) departed “Yankee Station” on 30 June 1972, with Coral Sea arriving home on 7 July 1972. Other Carriers on “Yankee Station:”” (Ref. 34).

 

    “In July 1972, USS LA SALLE replaced USS VALCOUR, the first permanent flagship for the Middle East Force in 1961 after an extensive overhaul and redesignation as a miscellaneous command ship. When Bahrain gained independence from the British in 1971, ownership of HMS Juffair reverted to the Bahraini government. Through special agreement with the Bahrainis, the Navy leased part of the old British base and expanded U.S. operations there. USS VALCOUR became the first permanent flagship for the Middle East Force in 1961 after an extensive overhaul and redesignation as a miscellaneous command ship. The Persian Gulf Area Command was renamed the Middle East Force August 16, 1949. No permanent flagship was assigned, so duty rotated between three former seaplane tenders: USS DUXBURY BAY, USS GREENWICH BAY, and USS VALCOUR. The U.S. Navy established its first command in the Middle East January 1, 1949. Known as the Persian Gulf Area Command, its forces consisted of two destroyers and a small seaplane tender. Shore support was provided by buildings rented from the British Royal Navy at its installation HMS Juffair in the Gulf state of Bahrain. Bahrain, like many Gulf emirates, was a British protectorate at the time” (Ref. 359).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) commenced combat operations on 12 July 1972” (Ref. 1- America & 72).

 

    “USS Saratoga (CVA-60) second line period on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf (1 to 16 July 1972), she lost an F-4 to enemy fire northeast of Hanoi with the pilot and radar intercept officer missing in action. During this period, her aircraft flew 708 missions against the enemy” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

 

Darrell took this picture on 17 July 1970, while standing on the Golden Gate Bridge just as USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) was passing under the bridge. Coral Sea was returning from her fifth combat tour off Vietnam. NS024374 117k. Darell E. Baty 6th Vietnam Cruise, 12 November 1971 – 17 July 1972.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024374.jpg

 

    “On 17 July 1972, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with CVW-15 (tail code NL) embarked arrived Alameda Ca. with Captain William H. Harris, as Commanding Officer, ending her ninth “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her eighth South China Sea deployment, her sixth Vietnam Combat Cruise and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East (NHC Battle Order p 15), participating in Operation Freedom Porch and Operation Pocket Money during the Vietnam Conflict/War, with Captain Harris, William H. in command ended (248-day deployment, 148 line days on 6 line periods with 50 of those days spent in port), reaching Cubi Point, Subic Bay, Philippines on 9 December 1971, inport from 9 to 11 December 1971, Coral Sea proceeded to “Yankee Station,” arriving the 15th, joining USS Constellation  (CVA-64) on the line on 15 December 1971, and on the first day of her line period, Coral Sea launched interdiction strikes against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, in an attempt to interdict the flow of men and materiel from North Vietnam Into the South, supporting President Richard Nixon's developing "Vietnamization" program with its gradual withdrawal of remaining American forces from the Republic of Vietnam,  remaining on station into mid- January 1972, at which time she left the line and steamed to Subic Bay for upkeep, followed by her second and third line periods, punctuated by upkeep at Subic, as Coral Sea's planes flew interdiction sorties. Throughout January 1972, Constellation, Coral Sea and USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65) served intermittently on “Yankee Station,” with only light ground action, limited troop contacts and the withdrawal of U.S. ground troops continuing during the month, the level of air operations also remained low, a situation which continued generally throughout the first three months of the year, with a total of only eight Navy tactical air attack sorties flown in South Vietnam during January, while the following month, naval air attack sorties in South Vietnam had risen to 733 compared to the eight during January (the increase was due to the preemptive operations by allied forces in preparation for an expected large-scale enemy offensive during Tet, which did not materialize), during which time Coral Sea, Constellation, and USS Hancock (CVA-19) served overlapping tours on “Yankee Station,” assuring two to three carriers on station at a time during most of February 1972, while in late March, Coral Sea returned to “Yankee Station” for what would prove to be a 50-day period, as NVA forces launched a massive invasion of the south across the DMZ, at which time CVA-43 aircraft flew in support of units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and U.S. forces seeking to stop the onslaught, while in early April, with the resumption of bombing of the north (albeit on a limited scale). Coral Sea was among the first carriers to launch strikes in support of ground forces in the south, almost half of CVW-15's efforts went toward knocking out troop and logistics concentrations, as well as vehicular traffic supporting the movement of war materiel, while a great deal of emphasis was placed on the destruction of SAM Sites as the result of heavy enemy reaction and to dilute the threat to American aircraft, tragically resulting in the downing of the air wing commander, CDR Thomas E. Dunlop, near Quang Khe on 6 April 1972 by a SAM (SA-2), listed as killed in action, Coral Sea, departing “Yankee Station” for rest and upkeep at Subic Bay. Coral Sea along with Hancock, was back on “Yankee Station” by 30 March 1972 along with other carriers and flew tactical sorties during Operation Freedom Train, and was on “Yankee Station” when North Vietnam invaded on 30 March 1972, rotating with Constellation, along with Hancock and Kitty Hawk, and by 30 March 1972, Naval Air attack sorties in South Vietnam had dropped from 733 in February to 113 during March, during which time Coral Sea along with Hancock was on “Yankee Station” when the North Vietnamese spring offensive begun. Both carriers were joined in early April while at “Yankee Station” “ by Kitty Hawk and Constellation, at which time all four carriers took part in Operation Freedom Train which involved Navy tactical air from these carriers flew sorties against military and logistic targets in the southern part of North Vietnam that were involved in the invasion of South Vietnam (protecting the lives of diminishing U. S. forces, as the U. S. continued to withdraw additional forces from South Vietnam was made possible by U. S. Carriers), while on 14 April, the Navy averaged 191 sorties per day in South Vietnam, a 97 percent increase over the previous week, with sorties concentrated west and north of Quangtri City with interdiction and direct air support flown in the area, when on 16 April 1972, CVW-15 aircraft struck Haiphong in the first major strike above the 20th parallel since the resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam, now directing efforts at disrupting the flow of supplies southward, Coral Sea began pounding Haiphong, along with aircraft from those from Constellation and Kitty Hawk, flying 57 sorties in the Haiphong area in support of U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortess strikes on the Haiphong petroleum products storage area in an operation known as Freedom Porch, while Operations by United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aircraft in Vietnam expanded significantly throughout April 1972 with a total of 4,833 Navy sorties in the south and 1,250 in the north, operations. Prior to Operation Pocket Money commencing on 9 May 1972, Coral Sea had launched 2,800 sorties since her arrival on line and gives air defense for mining of Haiphong, No. Viet harbor on 9 May 1972, an operation timed to coincide precisely with the announcement of the mining by President Nixon known as Operation Pocket Money during which time Coral Sea launched three A-6A Intruders and six A-7E Corsair II aircraft loaded with naval mines and one EKA-3B Skywarrior in support of the mining operation directed against the outer approaches to Haiphong Harbor, departing the vicinity of Coral Sea at 090840H in order to execute the mining at precisely 090900H to coincide with the President Richard M. Nixon's public announcement in Washington that mines had been seeded, while a short time earlier, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) launched 17 ordnance-delivering sorties against the Nam Dinh railroad siding as a diversionary air tactic, while poor weather forced the planes to divert to secondary targets at Thanh and Phu Qui which were struck at 090840H and 090845H, Vietnam time, respectively, proceed by an EC-121taking off from Da Nang airfield to provide support for the mining operation, early that morning. Coral Sea’s A-6 flight led by the CAG, Cmdr. Roger E. Sheets, was composed of United States Marine Corps aircraft from VMA-224 and headed for the inner channel and the A-7Es, led by Cmdr. Leonard E. Giuliani, made up of aircraft from VA-94 and VA-22, were designated to mine the outer segment of the channel (each aircraft carried four MK 52-2 mines), while Capt. William R. Carr, USMC, the bombardier-navigator in the lead plane, established the critical attack azimuth and timed the mine releases, followed a day later by Operation Linebacker I beginning on 10 May 1972 and consisted of heavy strikes of targets in most of North Vietnam, which evolved and lasted until restrictions on operations above 20°N were imposed on 22 October, an outgrowth of Operation Freedom Train and President Richard M. Nixon's mining declaration, which also stated that the U.S. would make a maximum effort to interdict the flow of supplies in North Vietnam, causing the U. S. Navy to shift its attacks from targets in southern North Vietnam to the coastal region embracing Haiphong north to the Chinese border, flying 173 attack sorties in this region this day. Another 62 sorties were directed into South Vietnam in continuing support of allied forces there, becoming the most intensified air-to-air combat day of the entire war, with Navy flyers shooting down eight MiGs, one by VF-51 off Coral Sea, participating in the initial May-June operations from “Yankee Station” along with Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Hancock, USS Midway (CVA-41) and USS Saratoga (CVA 60), arriving 18 May 1972, while on 11 May 1972, Naval aircraft flying from Coral Sea, Constellation, Midway and Kitty Hawk, continued laying minefield in ports of significance to the North Vietnamese - Thanh Hoa, Dong Hoi, Vinh, Hon Gai, Quang Khe and Cam Pha as well as other approaches to Haiphong (ships that were in port in Haiphong had been advised that the mining would take place and that the mines would be armed 72 hours later. Early mining was not confined solely to the seven principal ports), seededing early in the campaign, other locations including the Cua Sot, Cap Mui Ron, and the river mouths, Cua Day and Cua Lac Giang, south of Don Son and the Haiphong port complex, while the following day, 12 May, the 72-hour delay arming time on the initial mines laid at Haiphong was up at 120900H Vietnam time, at which time Nine ships at Haiphong had taken advantage of the grace period to depart the port, with twenty-seven ships remaining, while both Soviet and Soviet-bloc ships headed for Haiphong at the time and had diverted to different destinations, thus avoiding a direct confrontation with the minefields, departing “Yankee Station” on 23 May 1972, Coral Sea headed for Subic Bay for upkeep at Subic and rest and recreation at Hong Kong, departing 23 May, she picked up the pace of operations, resuming her strikes against North Vietnamese targets, with air wings of Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Hancock, Midway, Saratoga, USS Oriskany (CVA-34) and USS America (CVA-66), beginning night operations regularly on 24 May 1972. During June and July night sorties constituted 30 percent of the total Navy attack effort in North Vietnam, relying primarily on the A-7 Corsair II and A-6 Intruder, during which time there was a dramatic change in North Vietnam's air defense effort during the summer months of 1972. During the earlier periods of April and May, the Navy air effort in North Vietnam involved intensive air-to-air combat and a large number of surface-to-air missile (SAM) firings, while during June and July there was an increase in Linebacker I Navy attack sorties, but there was a decrease in the number of air-to-air combat incidents and SAM firings, departing “Yankee Station”, Coral Sea returned to Subic Bay once more before rounding out the cruise with another line period, concluded her combat operations 30 June 1972, earning accolades for her performance ("It was more than just a ship," declared RADM James Ferris, ComCarDiv Three, "but a spirit of the men on Coral Sea, that fought the war on the line at Yankee Station. Your remarkable ability to get the job done with a ship launched in 1946 and a wing equipped with aircraft slightly older than the average has been an object lesson in what determination can produce. Your determined and innovative tactics in the air have led the way for many and have dealt the enemy many heavy blows."), while after mid-June 1972, almost all North Vietnamese aircraft sighted or engaged were MiG-21s, with about 45 percent of the Navy armed reconnaissance effort conducted at night during June and July, while the A-7 flew about as many night sorties as it did day sorties, with the A-6 flying more night than day armed reconnaissance sorties during the summer months, while the total number of Navy night sorties during June and Jul were 1.243 and 1,332 respectively, with three to four of the carriers mentioned above on “Yankee Station”, on a rotational basis, during the summer month. CVW-l5 planes destroying five MiGs in the air and a transport aircraft on the ground while 12 of Coral Sea's planes had been lost in combat (six A-7Es, two F-4Bs, and four A-6As), while 18 men who made up the crews of those planes, one was KIA, six (three A-6A and three A-7E) were recovered, four listed as MIA, and two were prisoners of war, with CVW-15 air strikes accounting for the destruction of 250 trucks and damage to 156; destroyed 55 antiaircraft guns and damaged 25; destroyed 61 bridges and damaged 44; destroyed six tanks and damaged several; destroyed better than 400 supply buildings, 175 damaged; sank 400 waterborne logistics craft, damaged 244; destroyed 200 railroad cars (one locomotive) and damaged 75; and destroyed 25 SA-2 SAMs, along with launchers, ground radar, and support equipment, as well as 17 bulldozers. Ports of call include: Pearl Harbor, Hi.; Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines, U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay, a bay forming part of Luzon Sea on the west coast of the island of Luzon in Zambales, Philippines, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila Bay and is a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in Olongapo, Zambales, Philippines and Hong Kong, situated on China's south coast and, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea. Squadrons: VF-51, F-4B; VF-111, F-4B; VA-22, A-7E; VA-94, A-7E; VMA(AW)-224, A6-A/B/KA-6D; VFP-63 Det.5, RF-8G; VAQ-135 Det. 3, EKA-3B; HC-1 Det. 6, SH-3G; VAW-111 Det. 4, E-1B and HC-7 Det. 110*, HH-3A. USS Waddell (DDG-24) joined USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) as part of her task force; completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd “Westpac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). Her ninth foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. Her 20th Foreign Water Fleet Deployment (FWFD) (17 July to 17 July 1972), since her commission on 1 October 1947 since her commission on 1 October 1947 (12 November 1971 to 17 July 1972)” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35, 43, 72 & 405).

 

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Air Wing: Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW)-15

 

DEPLOYMENT

 DATES

K

I

A

M

I

A

P

O

W

PLANES LOST

LINE DAYS

LINE PERIODS

WESTPAC

    & Combat

Mission

CVW-15 (NL)

12/11/71-17/07/72 (248-day deployment)

1

5

6

 12

 148

 6

 9th / 6th

 South China Sea

Reference 34, 35 & 43 reflect Chat info.

 

 12/11/71 – 17/07/71

 AWARD OR CITATION

 AWARD DATES

  “WESTPAC”

 Navy Unit Commendation

 14 December 1971

 9th & 6th

 Vietnam

 Combat

 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry

 Cross Unit Citation

 1 - 3, 5, 7 - 10, 14 - 19, 22, 24 &

 26 Jan, 9 - 20 Feb, 22 Feb - 3

 March, 19 - 31 March, 23

 September - 1 July 1972

 9th

 Vietnam Service Medal for Combat

 Operations

 31 December 1971 - 17 Jan 1972,

 26 Jan - 17 Feb, 1 April - 11 May,

 1 - 11 June & 21 June - 2 July

 1972

 9th

 Public Affairs Staff was awarded

 the Bonneville International

 Corporation’s Thomas Jefferson

 Award for professional

 Excellence in Armed Forces

 Communications Media

 1972

 9th

Reference 34 & 35 reflect Chat info.

 

Ninth “Westpac” deployment and Sixth Vietnam Combat Cruise

(12 November 1971 to 17 July 1972)

(1 Aviator KIA, 4 Aviator MIAs & two POWs)

NAME

RANK

SQUADRON

DATE of LOSS

LOSS-COUNTRY
HOW

COMMENT

Norris A. Charles

LT JG
U. S. Navy

VF-111
F-4B

30 Dec.
1971

North Vietnam
SAM

Status in 1973: POW/ Released

Thomas E. Dunlop

Comdr.
U. S. Navy

VA 22
A-7E

6 April 1972

North Vietnam
SAM

Status in 1973: 
Killed in Action

S. D. Ketchie

1st LT
Marines

VMA-224
A-6A

9 April 1972

Laos
AAA

Missing in Action

J. W. McDonald

1st LT
Marines

VMA-224
A-6A

3 May 1972

North Vietnam
Unknown

Missing in Action

Marvin B. Wiles

LT
U. S. Navy

VA 94
A-7E

6 May 1972

North Vietnam
SAM

Status in 1973: POW

R. E. Wilson

CAPT
Marines

VMA-224
A-6A

11 June 1972

North Vietnam
AAA

Missing in Action

G. R. Shumway

LT

VA-22
A-7E

25 June 1972

North Vietnam
Unknown

Missing in Action

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Association http://www.usscoralsea.org (Ref. 34)

Reference 43 reflects CVW-l5 planes destroying five MiGs in the air and a transport aircraft on the ground; 12 of Coral Sea's planes had been lost in combat: six A-7Es, two F-4Bs, and four A-6As. Of the 18 men who made up the crews of those planes, one was KIA, six (three A-6A and three A-7E) were recovered, five listed as MIA, and six were prisoners of war.

 

    “The Coral Sea (CVA-43), former CVB-43 & CV-42, the 43rd aircraft carrier of the United States Navy by Hull No. and in order of commission, the 45th, commissioning on 1 October 1947, with her 1st CO Captain A. P. Storrs, III, in command, commenced overhaul at Hunter's Point, San Francisco, Calif. commencing shortly after arrival from her last combat tour of duty on 17 July 1972” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72).

 

    “On 20 July 1972, USS Oriskany (CVA-34) loses a propeller and a section of the propeller's tail shaft while operating in the Pacific, thus limiting the carrier to three engines” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “A ruptured main feed pump on board USS America (CVA-66) prompted an early return to Subic Bay, Philippines on 25 July 1972 for repairs, the ship arriving in the Philippines during a time of natural devastation-floods and landslides” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “During June and July 1972, there was an increase in Linebacker I Navy attack sorties, but there was a decrease in the number of air-to-air combat incidents and SAM firings. After mid-June, almost all North Vietnamese aircraft sighted or engaged were MiG-21s” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “During June and July 1972, night sorties constituted 30 percent of the total Navy attack effort in North Vietnam, relying primarily on the A-7 Corsair II and A-6 Intruder.

 

     About 45 percent of the Navy armed reconnaissance effort was at night during June and July. The A-7 flew about as many night sorties as it did day sorties. The A-6 flew more night than day armed reconnaissance sorties during the summer months. The total number of Navy night sorties during June and Jul were 1.243 and 1,332 respectively. Three to four of the carriers mentioned above were maintained on “Yankee Station”, on a rotational basis, during the summer months” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “Captain Sylvester Robert Foley, Jr., USNA '50, assumed command during a change of command ceremony aboard USS Midway (CVA-41) on 31 July 1972, relieving Captain Leroy Eugene Harris, USNA ‘37, 26th Commanding Officer, serving from July 10, 1971 - July 31, 1972” (Ref. 1178-G).

 

    “On 7 August 1972, an HC-7 Det 110 helicopter, flying from USS Midway (CVA-41), and aided by planes from the carrier and from USS Saratoga (CV-60), conducted a search and rescue mission for a downed aviator in North Vietnam. The pilot of an A-7 aircraft from Saratoga had been downed by a surface-to-air missile about 20 miles inland, northwest of Vinh, on 6 August.

 

     The HC-7 helo flew over mountainous terran to rescue the pilot. The rescue helicopter used its search light to assist in locating the downed aviator and, despite receiving heavy ground fire, was successful in retrieving him and returning to an LPD off the coast. This was the deepest penetration of a rescue helicopter into North Vietnam since 1968. HC-7 Det 110 continued its rescue missions and by the end of 1972 had successfully accomplished 48 rescues, 35 of which were under combat conditions” (Ref. 1-Midway & 72).

 

    “The repair work on USS America (CVA-66) main feed pump was delayed for two weeks while needed parts were rushed to Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) stood out on 9 August 1972 to return to the line, and soon resumed carrying out strike operations against communist targets in North Vietnam” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 10 August 1972, one of the USS Saratoga (CVA-60) CAP jet fighters splashed a MiG at night using AIM-7 Sparrow missiles on her second line period while on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 14 August 1972, ending her fourth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin and or other operations” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines from 14 to 15 August 1972, departing to conduct combat missions on possibly her fifth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Hongkong B. C. C. on 17 August 1972, ending her fifth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin and or other operations” (Ref. 405).

 

    “On USS Saratoga (CVA-60) third line period on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf (28 July to 22 August 1972), Lieutenant Jim Lloyd, flying an A-7 Corsair on a bombing mission near Vinh, had his plane shot out from under him by a SAM on 6 August 1972.  He ejected into enemy territory at night. In a daring rescue by helicopters supported by CVW-3 aircraft on board Saratoga, he was lifted from the midst of enemy soldiers and returned to the Saratoga” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) made a port of call at Hongkong B. C. C. from 17 to 22 August 1972, departing to conduct combat missions on possibly her sixth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “During July and August, more than 45 percent of the Navy armed reconnaissance sorties were at night. However, in September 1972, only 31 percent of the armed reconnaissance sorties were flown at night. In South Vietnam, the Navy flew 1,708 tactical air attack sorties, a decrease from the level flown in August. About half of the Navy's tactical air sorties were close and direct air support sorties in South Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 12 September 1972, ending possibly her sixth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines from 12 to 17 September 1972, departing to conduct combat missions on possibly her seventh line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “On USS Saratoga (CVA-60) fourth line period on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf (2 September to 19 September 1972), her aircraft flew over 800 combat strike missions against targets in North Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “During September the number of Navy tactical air attack sorties decreased from the level flown in August. There were 3,934 Navy tactical air attack sorties flown into North Vietnam down by about 800 from the August total. During July and August, more than 45 percent of the Navy armed reconnaissance sorties were at night. However, in September, only 31 percent of the armed reconnaissance sorties were flown at night. In South Vietnam, the Navy flew 1,708 tactical air attack sorties, a decrease from the level flown in August. About half of the Navy's tactical air sorties were close and direct air support sorties in South Vietnam.

 

    “Carriers operating on “Yankee Station” during the month of September were USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-62), along with USS Hancock (CVA-19), USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Saratoga (CVA-60), USS Oriskany (CVA-34) and USS America (CVA-66)” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk. & Midway).

 

    “During the five and one-half month period of Linebacker I, the Navy contributed more than 60 percent of the total sorties in North Vietnam, with 60 percent of this effort in the "panhandle", the area between Hanoi and the DMZ. Tactical air operations were most intense during the July-September quarter with 12,865 naval sorties flown. Most attack sorties in NVN fell into two classes-armed reconnaissance and strike. The former was directed usually against targets of opportunity within three main areas — near Hanoi, Haiphong and the Chinese border. Strike operations were preplanned and usually directed at fixed targets.

 

    Most types of fixed targets, not associated with armed reconnaissance, required approval by the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, or by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, prior to attack. Principal Navy aircraft were the A-7 and A-6, which accounted for roughly 60 and 15 percent of the Navy's attack sorties, respectively. About 25 percent of the Navy's effort was at night” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk. & Midway).

 

    “On 6 October 1972, bombs from USS America (CVA-66) planes dropped the Thanh Hoa Bridge, a major objective since the bombing of the North had begun years before” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “In October 1972, during a port visit to Singapore, USS Saratoga (CVA-60) suffered a fire in the boiler-room. Three crewmen were killed, 12 were injured and the carrier was lightly damaged” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “While in the Pacific during October 1972, a plane crash landed onboard USS Midway (CVA-41). The aircraft run into a group of parked aircraft and destroyed eight of them, killed 5 crewmen and injured 23 others” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “On 12 October 1972 during the Vietnam War, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) was en route to her station in the Gulf of Tonkin when a racial brawl involving more than 100 sailors broke out. Nearly 50 sailors were injured in this widely-publicized incident” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 14 October 1972, ending possibly her seventh line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) completed her line period and stopping over briefly at Subic Bay, America steamed to Singapore, departing that port on 20 October 1972 to resume operations on "Yankee Station” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 20 October 1972, USS Saratoga (CVA-60) aircraft flew 83 close air support sorties in six hours in support of a force of 250 Territorials beleaguered by the North Vietnamese 48th Regiment (fifth line period on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf  (29 September to 21 October). Air support saved the small force, enabled ARVN troops to advance, and killed 102 North Vietnamese soldiers. During her last period on station, Saratoga's aircraft battered targets in the heart of North Vietnam for over a week” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines from 14 to 21 October 1972, departing to conduct combat missions on possibly her eight line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “On 23 October 1972, the U.S. ended all tactical air sorties into North Vietnam above the 20th parallel and brought to a close Linebacker I operations. This goodwill gesture of terminating the bombing in North Vietnam above the 20th parallel was designed to help promote the peace negotiations being held in Paris, France. Air operations in South Vietnam followed the general pattern of the ground war. North Vietnam increased their small-scale attacks throughout South Vietnam in an apparent effort to gain territory before a possible cease-fire, while the main objective of Navy and Marine Corps tactical air sorties were close and direct air sorties in support of allied ground troops, with a view toward frustrating the enemy's desire to acquire territory before a cease-fire agreement was signed” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “During May through October, the Navy flew a total of 23,652 tactical air attack sorties into North Vietnam. U.S. tactical air sorties during Linebacker I operations helped stem the flow of supplies into North Vietnam, thereby limiting the operating capabilities of North Vietnam's invading army” (Ref. 1-Kitty Hawk).

 

    “The Coral Sea (CVA-43), former CVB-43 & CV-42, the 43rd aircraft carrier of the United States Navy by Hull No. and in order of commission, the 45th, commissioning on 1 October 1947, with her 1st CO Captain A. P. Storrs, III, in command, conducted overhaul at Hunter's Point, San Francisco, Calif. from shortly after arrival from her last combat tour of duty on 17 July 1972 to late October 1972” (Ref.1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35 & 72)

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) conducted ReTra and air wing operations following overhaul” (Ref. 34).

 

    “While in the Pacific on 29 October 1972, a plane crash landed onboard USS Midway (CVA-41). The aircraft run into a group of parked aircraft and destroyed eight of them, killed 5 crewmen and injured 23 others” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “USS Hancock (CVA-19), USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Saratoga (CVA-60), USS Oriskany (CVA-34), and USS America (CVA-66), and USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), arriving in October 1972, having deployed 12 September 1972 from her home port” (Ref. 1-Enterprise).

 

     “Captain Paul A. Peck assumed command of USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), on 2 November 1972, relieving Captain William H. Harris, 25th Commanding Officer, serving from 7 September 1971 to 2 November 1972” (Ref. 34 & 35A). 

 

    “In November 1972, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) practiced for the recovery of Apollo 17” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “A fire broke out on board USS America (CVA-66), at 1410, 19 November 1972, in the number two catapult spaces. The ship went to general quarters as smoke began to fill the 03 level, and damage control parties soon had the blaze extinguished. Clean-up and repair work ensued, and despite not having the services of one of her catapults, America remained on the line and continued to meet her commitments” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines on 25 November 1972, ending possibly her eight line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines from 25 to 30 November 1972, departing to conduct combat missions on possibly her ninth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

    “Fire aboard USS Midway (CVA-41) while in port in November 1972 was reported. One crewman died (Long Beach, Calif. was reported as the port, so either the year or port is wrong)” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “After an extended line period of 43 days, USS America (CVA-66) reached Subic Bay, Philippines on 2 December 1972, where the number two catapult was repaired” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) departed Subic Bay, Philippines on 8 December 1972, to return to "Yankee Station” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Saratoga (CVA-60) was on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf on her sixth line period (5 November to 8 December 1972)” (Ref. 1-Saratoga & 72).

 

    “On 13 December 1972, USS Ranger (CVA-61) suffers a fire in the No. 1 main machinery room while the ship operates off Vietnam. The fire takes two hours to control” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “During the 23 October through 17 December 1972 bombing halt above the 20th parallel in North Vietnam, no MiG kills or U.S. losses were recorded. Three to four carriers alternated on "Yankee Station" during the bombing halt. These were: USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), USS Hancock (CVA-19), USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Saratoga (CVA-60), USS Oriskany (CVA-34), USS America (CVA-66) and USS Ranger (CVA-61)” (Ref. 1-Enterprise & 72).

 

    “A week before Christmas, USS America (CVA-66) learned that the breakdown of peace talks in Paris had led to a resumption of bombing of targets in North Vietnam. America swung into action, and the pace proved hectic until the Christmas cease-fire. "Christmas away from home is never good," America's historian wrote, "but the men of America made the best of it with homemade decorations." There were services to celebrate the season, "and carolers were noted strolling through the passageways” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 18 December 1972, Linebacker II operations were initiated when negotiations in the Paris peace talks stalemated. Participating carriers were USS Ranger (CVA-61), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS Saratoga (CV-60), USS Oriskany (CV-34), and USS America (CV-66)” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “Between 18 and 22 December the Navy conducted 119 Linebacker II strikes in North Vietnam. Bad weather was the main limiting factor on the number of tactical air strikes flown during this operation” (Ref. 1-Enterprise).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14) recovered her second set of space voyagers near American Samoa. The carrier then headed back to San Diego, Ca.” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “Navy tactical air attack sorties under Linebacker II were centered in the coastal areas around Hanoi and Haiphong. There were 705 Navy sorties in this area during Linebacker II. Between 18 and 22 December 1972, the Navy conducted 119 Linebacker II strikes in North Vietnam. Bad weather was the main limiting factor on the number of tactical air strikes flown during Linebacker II” (Ref. 1- Ranger & Enterprise).

 

    “USS Midway (CVA-41) arrived Singapore on 23 December 1972, ending her ninth line period in the South China Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin” (Ref. 405).

 

CHAPTER XXV

NINITH “WESTPAC” DEPLOYMENT AND

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA

OVERHAUL AT HUNTERS POINT, SAN FRANCISCO, CA. & LOCAL TRAINING OPERATIONS

(ReTra and air wing operations)

Iran History & Air Arm

 (17 April 1971 to 27 December 1972)

Part 1 – (17 April 1971 to 28 June 1972)

Part 2 – (29 June 1971 to 27 December 1972)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XXV

Part 2  - (29 June 1971 to 27 December 1972)

 USS CORAL SEA (CV 43)

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw, A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983)

 

A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy - Operation Evening Light And Eagle Claw -

 

Book - ISBN NO.

978-1-4276-0454-5

EBook - ISBN NO.

978-1-329-15473-5

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-19945-3

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA  Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54596-0

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54790-2

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-55111-4