Monday, April 15, 2019

TheList 4972



The List 4972 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all had a great weekend.

Regards,

Skip


This day in Naval History April 12, 2019





1912 The scout cruisers USS Chester and USS Salem sail from Massachusetts to assist RMS Titanic survivors, and escort RMS Carpathia, which carried the survivors of the Titanic, to New York.


1918 The First Marine Aviation Force, under the command of Capt. Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, is formed at Marine Flying Field, Miami, Fla.


1945 USS Frost (DE 144) and USS Stanton (DE 247) join to attack German submarine U 880 north-northwest of the Azores, which sinks at 01:14.


1961 The first nuclear-powered frigate, USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25), is launched at Quincy, Mass.


1962 USS Princeton (LPH 5) brings the first advisory unit to Vietnam and the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 362 SocTrang, Mekong Delta, South Vietnam.


1986 Operation El Dorado Canyon. Aircraft of USS America (CV 66) & USS Coral Sea (CV 43) attack Libya.





Thanks to CHINFO





Executive Summary:


Today's national headlines include American Airlines cancelling all 737 Max flights through August 2019, a large flightless bird killing its owner in Florida, and Tiger Woods wining his 15th major championship with a win at the Masters tournament on Sunday. Navy leadership triads from Hawaii-based units gathered together with Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet to discuss readiness and winning a high-end fight. "I need your help to execute three objectives - win the high-end fight, win without fighting, and build and sustain fleet readiness," Aquilino said. The Wall Street Journal traveled aboard USS Milius in the East China Sea as the Milius and its crew worked to deter ships attempting to circumvent sanctions against North Korea. Additionally, USNI News reported on the Navy and Marines efforts exercise how to utilize information warfare in future conflicts at ANTX 2019.








This day in World History
1755 English lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language.


1784 The first balloon is flown in Ireland.


1813 U.S. troops under James Wilkinson lay siege to the Spanish-held city of Mobile in future state of Alabama.


1858 At the Battle of Azimghur, the Mexicans defeat Spanish loyalists.


1861 President Lincoln mobilizes Federal army.


1865 Abraham Lincoln dies from John Wilkes Booth's assassination bullet.


1871 'Wild Bill' Hickok becomes the marshal of Abilene, Kansas.


1912 With her band playing on the deck, the ocean liner Titanic sinks at 2:27 a.m. in the North Atlantic.


1917 British forces defeat the Germans at the Battle of Arras.


1923 The first sound films shown to a paying audience are exhibited at the Rialto Theater in New York City.


1923 Insulin becomes generally available for people suffering with diabetes.


1940 French and British troops land at Narvik, Norway.


1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt is buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home.


1948 Arab forces are defeated in battle with Israeli forces.


1952 President Harry Truman signs the official Japanese peace treaty.


1955 Ray Kroc starts the McDonald's chain of fast food restaurants.


1959 Cuban leader Fidel Castro begins a U.S. goodwill tour.


1960 The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizes at Shaw University.


1971 North Vietnamese troops ambush a company of Delta Raiders from the 101st Airborne Division near Fire Support Base Bastogne in Vietnam. The American troops are on a rescue mission.


1986 U.S. warplanes attack Libya.








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Thansk to THE Bear -
COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 20-26 JANUARY 1969… WEEK ELEVEN of the HUNT…


April 14, 2019Bear Taylor




COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… 20-26 JANUARY 1969… WEEK ELEVEN of the HUNT…


COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR… IN THE WEEK ENDING 18 JANUARY 1969, 196 AMERICANS WERE KILLED ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF SOUTH VIETNAM BRINGING THE NUMBER OF U.S. WARRIORS KIA SINCE 1961 TO 31,143– WITH MORE THAN THREE YEARS OF WAR TO GO… "War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope some good may come of it." (B.H. Liddell Hart, 1950)… LEST WE FORGET…


Good Morning. It's Monday, 15 April 2019. Humble Host remembers WEEK ELEVEN of OPERATION COMMANDO HUNT I– 20-26 JANUARY 1969…


HEADLINES from The NEW YORK TIMES (20-26 January 1969)…


THE WAR IN VIETNAM… (20 Jan) ENEMY IS ACTIVE IN SMALL GROUPS–Five U.S. Bases Attacked… "Enemy troops launched a series of small attacks in South Vietnam yesterday and today. Little damage was reported… the latest wave of enemy action has been coordinated with the start of expanded talks in Paris…most American officers discounted this theory… A South Vietnamese spokesman said that the enemy shelled about 20 Government outposts and district towns last night. There were few casualties… Four Killed In Theater…Two grenades that exploded in a movie theater 264 miles northeast of Saigon at Phucat killed four and wounded 52. An explosive charge in a restaurant in the Mekong Delta, 40 miles from Saigon killed one and wounded six. Enemy riflemen charged a hamlet 100 miles northeast of Saigon. They killed two civilians, wounded two others and killed 10 Government troops. They left behind 43 of their own dead… Enemy forces bombarded five united States bases in the Saigon area yesterday and today and attacked two of them with infantry. Five Americans were killed and 11 wounded…(21 Jan) FOUR DIVISIONS IN NORTH VIETNAM SAID TO MOVE FORWARD TOWARD DMZ–Southward Shifting of Units Previously Withdrawn By Hanoi Puzzles U.S. Aides… "Senior American analysts report that four North Vietnamese Army divisions that were withdrawn well out of South Vietnam late last year appear to be moving southward again."…G.I.'s AT CAMP TAKE FOND FAREWELL–Highlands Post Given Over To The South Vietnamese... TWO AMERICAN SAILORS KILLED AS ROCKETS STRIKE VIETNAM CITY–Tank Landing Vessel Hit At Vangtau–Small Allied Positions Are Attacked… VIETCONG CACHES SAID TO YIELD TWO YEARS' SUPPLIES FOR 1,000… "Allied forces have uncovered unusually large caches of enemy food and munitions in the last month. Most of the caches were found in the provinces north of Saigon."… (23 Jan) U.S. SINKS 45 SMALL WICKER BOATS NEAR DANANG–Shelling Reported… (24 Jan) U.S. ATTACK FAILS TO DISLODGE FOE–Force Still Dug-In At Village–Total Of War Dead Is Up… "United States planes, tanks and infantrymen tried unsuccessfully again today to dislodge an enemy force dug in for the last four days in an abandoned village near Quangngai on the northern coast of South Vietnam…. The enemy is surrounded and a captive enemy soldier said the enemy soldiers trapped in the village had no food."… Thus far 19 enemy bodies have been found…Elsewhere in South Vietnam there were several other sharp engagements in which at least 20 Americans died in the last 24 hours."… Fighting Grows Intense…"The intensity of fighting throughout the country is slowly increasing again…Last week the number of allied and enemy soldiers rose for the second consecutive week. The South Vietnamese lost 2,192 men from January 12 through January 18 and American losses for the week were 196 men. Enemy losses were put at 2,420 men."… (25 Jan) FOE DOWNS TWO COPTERS KILLING NEW YORK COLONEL… "Enemy gunners shot down two United States helicopters, one of them a Marine regimental command craft and the other a medical helicopter on separate incidents that killed 15 American servicemen. One of them was the commander of the Third Marine Regiment, Col. Michael M. Spark."… Enemy Position at Quangngai Finally Taken... (26 Jan) VIETNAM BUFFER: EMBATTLED ZONE–Scars Of War Mark Face Of Demilitarized Strip… G.I.s ENDING A SIX-DAY BATTLE–Seize Enemy Village In South Vietnam…





THE PEACE TALKS: (20 Jan) HARRIMAN HAILED BY TOP DEMOCRATS AS HE COMES HOME–200 Welcome Retiring Envoy At Airport Outside of Capital–He Talks With Lodge… WEDNESDAY START FOR PARIS PEACE TALKS HINTED–Four Parties To Meet Today To Set The Date for Opening–Lodge To Arrive In Paris Tonight… (21 Jan) LODGE ARRIVING IN PARIS–Pledges To Do All Possible For Peace Talks Success… (22 Jan) VIETNAM DELEGATES TO HOLD PLENARY SESSION SATURDAY… (23 Jan) POPE PAUL SENDS MESSAGE TO NEGOTIATORS… "…expressing hope they can arrive soon at 'a just, true and honorable peace.'"… "…identical messages were sent to all three nations last Thursday, when it was announced in Paris that agreement had been reached on the expanded negotiations."… (25 Jan) KY ARRIVES IN PARIS FOR 4-PARTY TALKS ON VIETNAM… NIXON ON VIETNAM: No Strategy Yet Decided For Talks–A Flexible Approach Is Desired… (26 Jan) FIRM BUFFER ZONE IS URGED BY LODGE AT VIETNAM TALKS–He Terms A Demilitarized Area the First Practical Move Toward Peace–Foe Cool Toward Proposal–Session Lasts 6 1/2 Hours–U.S. Calls For Goodwill Of All…





OTHER NYT HEADLINES, 20-26 January 1969… (20 Jan) NIXON TO BECOME PRESIDENT TODAY–The Nation's 37th–Plans 15-Minute Inaugural Address–Warren Will Adminsiter The Oath–An Even Chance of Rain–Johnson Works Quietly On In Last Ful;l Day In Office–Vietnam War Protest Is Staged… THOUSANDS OF WAR FOES STAGE DOWN PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE–Protest Marred By Rock Throwing–3 Policemen Hurt–Young Militants Stick Mostly To Banners and Chants…TWO AIRLINERS HIJACKED TO CUBA–One From New York Carried 171… BUCHER EXPECTED TO TESTIFY TODAY–Pueblo Skipper Slated To Be Inquiry's First Witness… (21 Jan) NIXON SWORN–DEDICATES OFFICE TO PEACE– Offers A Role To Young And Disaffected And A Chance To Black As Well As White… HAILED BY PARADE–CHEERED BY 250,000 ON ROUTE– Vice President Spiro Agnew Takes The Oath… SOVIET TELLS U.S. THAT IT IS READY FOR MISSILE TALKS–Terms Curb On Arms Race Realistic But Not Easy–9-Point Plan Pressed… (22 Jan) NIXON AND AIDES TAKE UP VIETNAM ON FIRST FULL DAY–National Security Council Is Called in For Review Of Ways To Obtain Peace–O.A.S. Chief Consulted–President Also Reported To Be Weighing Soviet Call For Arms Control Study… BUCHER DEFENDS FAILURE TO FIGHT–Pueblo's Skipper Calls Ship Hopelessly Outgunned…SPORTS: STAN MUSIAL AND ROY CAMPANELLA GAIN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME–Lou Boudreau, Ralph Kiner and Enos Slaughter Miss Cut… (23 Jan) NAVY COURT PUTS BUCHER UNDER SUSPICION–Warns Skipper He May Face Court Martial For Surrendering Pueblo… NINE SENATORS PROPOSE BILL TO ABOLISH DRAFT… (24 Jan) BUCHER ASSERTS HE SIGNED CONFESSION TO SAVE CREW… (25 Jan) NEW STUDY BY PENTAGON ON ENDING DRAFT URGED… COURT OF INQUIRY ON THE PUEBLO HEARS BUCHER IN CLOSED SESSION–Skipper Appears Drawn As He Enters Heavily Guarded Room–2 More Secred Meetings Slated–Senator Assails Navy… (26 Jan) SECRETARY OF HUD, GEORGE ROMNEY, APPOINTS TWO NEGROES TO FILL MAJOR POSITIONS– Three Other Aides Named– President's Cabinet Member Declares The New HUD Officials 'Should Make A Strong Team'… MOON LANDING CRAFT UNVEILED BY ASTRONAUTS… U.S. WEIGHING PLAN TO REDUCE NONCOMBAT TROOPS IN EUROPE… GALLOP POLL: Volunteer Army Opposed–62% Would Continue Draft After War Is Over… OpEd: YOUTH IN REVOLT: They Didn't Advance Their Cause At The Inaugural…





OPERATION COMMANDO HUNT I…The following is clipped from Lewis Solberg's VIETNAM CHONICLES: The Abrams Tapes, 1968-1972, pages 103-5. This conversation takes place in General Creighton Abrams' COMUSMACV Headquarters in Saigon on 16 January 1969 at a briefing for visiting Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Alexis Johnson. Participants included: ABRAMS; JOHNSON; GENERAL GEORGE BROWN, USAF, Deputy MACV for Air Ops and Commander Seventh Air Force; MAJOR GENERAL PHILLIP DAVIDSON, USA, MACV J-2; VICE ADMIRAL ELMO ZUMWALT, Commander, Naval Forces, Vietnam; and AMBASSADOR WILLIAM COLBY, Deputy to COMUSMACV for CORDS. This portion of the conversation covers "the air effort in Laos," i.e. COMMANDO HUNT…


BROWN: "It's a frustrating story. In September and October when we were (bombing) in North Vietnam, we had it pretty well sealed off, between ourselves and the Navy. Right now we're concentrated on the areas of Ban Karai and Mu Gia, but they still get through. They're going around us at Ban Karai. I think there's another pass, and they're not using Ban Karai." (refers to B-52s against this) "We've stepped that up to about 50 percent of the total. So far this month."… "We're flying 1,800 Arc Light sorties a month, 60 a day, and about 50 per cent of the total so far this month is being applied in Laos. It's most effective, dramatic."… "We're averaging about 450 to 500 strike (Tac Air) sorties a day in Laos, between ourselves and the Navy. And he's still pushing trucks through. He's got quite a stockpile now down as far as Tchepone."


ABRAMS: "When the bombing halt came, George (Brown) and the Navy and so on, they went to work on these points here to try to stop this flow from coming in here. And for a while, it was going pretty good. It looked like we had the stopper in. But then they started going around it, going around somehow in here and so on, and then it began to build up. And in the first part of January it was really hot. Well, what it looks like is the principal effort was to get it into a massive storage down here around Tchepone."


BROWN: "Amabassador Sullivan (in Laos) feels that we haven't really got a handle on assessing the effectiveness of our efforts. He feels that we really ought to concentrate on many things that we can't measure. One, we can count trucks destroyed and damaged. We can get visual and some photo evidence of truck kills. That's not too accurate. Some crews working at night will claim kills that may not in fact be kills. On the other hand that, I feel, is balanced because the Arc Lights, B-52 strikes against the truck parks through the foilage, we get reactions but we don't claim trucks. We don't see it, or rarely do we see it. So there are probably trucks destroyed there that'll balance the overclaims, or erroneous claims, out on the roads. But there're only two things moving through there that'll burn and explode–that's ammunition and POL, and we're getting a lot of secondary effects."


BROWN: "It's the most frustrating experience I've ever had–chasing these things (trucks)."


ABRAMS: "He's (the enemy) making a fantazstic effort to push stuff down in there. He's not interested in costs. So as far as intent is concerned, he hasn't decided to back away from the problem. That part I think, is unmistakably clear."


JOHNSON: "What happened to the McNamara Line?" (OPERATION IGLOO WHITE)…


ABRAMS: "Well, uh–basically what we're doing is playing that a little looser. We've backed away from the strong point obstacle system, and we're handling that thing with small forces and sensors and this type of thing."


BROWN: "At least on the air side, and I think probably the ground side too, we've found that the hardware that was a derivative of this program is useful, and there've been certain innovations to further exploit this, and the munitions that went with it, but the concepts that were held by the Jason Group initially–you know, that wrote the report that led to all of this–haven't in all cases panned out."


ABRAMS: "It's given us a degree of intelligence on this that we never had."


ZUMWALT: "And we've used sensors for our river interdiction, so the hardware really has paid off."


ABRAMS: "Since the bombing halt, and we've had this understanding about the DMZ. The truth of the matter is that we've put little stock in that (understanding). We've got relatively light forces in here. Moved the 1st Cavalry Division to III Corps. Part of being able to do that was taking a little stock in understanding about the DMZ. Now it's true that we have reacted, and have insisted with Washington that we allow no monkey business in the southern half of the DMZ. Well, see–they'll creep up on you if you let them."… (Using B-52s in or near the DMZ) "It's an awful mass of power. Nothing can stand up to it."…


Conversation shifts to subject of Cambodia as a sanctuary…


DAVIDSON: "A very high powered group from CIA, State Department, DIA at the Washington level came out, and they now agree with us specifically as to this, that there is high ranking Cambodian complicity in the movement of arms and ammunition through Cambodia. They're inclined to take a discalimer that Sihanouk himself is involved, although whether he knows about it or not they–I think they're inclined to believe he does, as we are."… "There is high level complicity. It may go as high as Lon Nol, the acting prime minister."


JOHNSON: "Is this stuff coming through Sihanoukville?"


DAVIDSON: "Yes, sir…Arms and Ammunition."… End clip from "The Abrams Tapes"….


Humble Host notes… SANCTUARIES… In January 1969 the "limited" Vietnam war was about to spread to Cambodia. Cambodia was to our war in South Vietnam what Pakistan and Iran are for our war in Afghanistan. Iran is also a sanctuary for our enemies for our fights in Iraq and Syria. Sanctuaries are why limited wars become regional wars, and why regional wars become general wars.





AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 20-26 JANUARY 1969… References include Chris Hobson's mammoth study: VIETNAM AIR LOSSES: United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973… (There are on this day three used copies of the Hobson Study available at abebooks.com at $40, $125 and $207. If you did combat flying duty in Vietnam you can't go wrong by obtaining and giving a copy of this one-of-a-kind history book, at any price, to your oldest grandkid…)… The NINTH Week of COMMANDO HUNT I included the loss of 14 aircraft, including eight F-100s, and four aviators…


(1) On 20 January an F-100D of the 615th TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang, piloted by 1LT J.D. JAMES, was lost while dropping napalm on a target in the Mekong Delta. Gound fire set his Super Sabre afire on his pullout and he was forced to eject in the target area. The rescue helicopter guys got there ahead of the bad guys and he was saved to fly and fight again…


(2) On 21 January a second F-100, this one from the 352nd TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang and piloted by Captain F.E. DAVIS, was heavily damaged by ground fire while providing close air support for troops in South Vietnam. He was forced to eject off the coast 10 miles south of Phan Thiet where he was rescued by a U.S. navy vessel…


(3) On 21 January a third F-100, this one from the 612th TFS and 37th TFW out of Phu Cat, piloted by 1LT J.R. NICHOLS, was downed on a COMMANDO HUNT mission south of the Ban Karai Pass. Hit at the pass, 1LT NICHOLS was able to fly the failing Super Sabre southeast and over the Gulf to eject at a point just east of the Mairne airfield at Chu Lai where he was rescued…


(4) A third F-100D was lost on the 21st, this one from the 615th TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang. CAPTAIN MILO GEORGE MAAHS was killed in action dropping napalm on a close air support mission southeast of Katum near the Cambodian border. CAPTAIN MAAHS made a game effort to fly the damaged aircraft to a landing at Bien Hoa. Tragically, the aircraft failed on the approach to the airport, CAPTAIN MAAHS ejected from the aircraft but too low and too late to survive the ejection.. He rests in peace at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Hennepin County, Minnesota. A grandson has left a remembrance with the VVMF Wall of Faces on behalf of the family. CAPTAIN MAAHS left a wife and three small children behind, but Michael Milo Maahs carries on with great spirit and courage…


(5) On 22 January an F-4B of the VFMA-115 Silver Eagles of MAG-13 out of Chu Lai crewed by 1LT W.E. COLLINS, USMC, and 1LT DANIEL JOSEPH MINAHAN, USMC, was downed while executing napalm attacks in close support of troops 17 miles south of Hue. The enemy fire included the cockpit area injuring both aviators. 1LT COLLINS was aable to fly the doomed F-4 over the sea and both of the crew were able to eject and were rescued by helicopter. Unfortunately, 1LT MINIHAN was dead and 1LT COLLINS was seriously injured. 1LT MINAHAN is buried at New Cavalry Cemetery, Matipan, Massachusetts, where he has rested in peace to be remembered on this 50th anniversary of his last flight…


(6) On 22 January another Misty FAC F-100D of the 355th TFS and 37th TFW out of Phu Cat was lost on a COMMANDO HUNT mission over southern Laos. MAJOR J.M. GRATHWOL and CAPTAIN COLIN ARNIE CLARKE were on a visual reconnaissance flight when hit by small arms fire. MAJOR GRATHWOL was able to fly the Super Sabre to a point 40 miles west of Chu Lai before having to eject. Both were rescued by a USAF SAR helicopter…. Chris Hobson wrote that CAPTAIN CLARKE had been shot down earlier in the war in August 1964 and would be recognized for distinguished flying on a 1972 RESCAP mission in an A-7D… oohrah…


(7) On 24 January an F-4C of the 555th TFS and 12th TFW out of Cam Ranh Bay, crewed by MAJOR R.D. RUSS and 1LT R.J. RYBAK, was downed by .50 calibre ground fire near the A Shau Valley while making a series of close air support bomb runs. MAJOR RUSS and 1LT RYBAK were forced to eject close to the South Vietnam and Laos border where a USAF helicopter made the rescue of both aviators.


(8) On 24 January and A-4E of the VMA-223 Bulldogs and MAG-12 out of Chu Lai piloted by CAPTAIN MICHAEL P. GREEN, USMC, was hit by ground fire on a fourth close air support bomb run 20 miles southeast of Danang. He headed the Skyhawk out to sea and ejected to be rescued by a Navy ship. VMA-223 logged 32,068 combat sorties and 38,375 hours while delivering 34,260 tons of ordnance on enemy targets starting in 1965 and ending with their final departure from Southeast Asia in January 1970. The Bulldogs lost 14 Skyhawks in the process… CAPTAIN GREEN's A-4 was the last loss…


(9) On 24 January an F-4D of the 433rd TFS and 8th TFW Wolfpack out of Ubon, crewed by LCOL R.W. CLEMENT and CAPTAIN J.A. NASH, was lost on a COMMANDOI HUNT mission in southern Laos when hit by 37mm AAA ten miles east of Ban Talan. When hit the Phantom burst into flames and the crew was forced to eject a few miles from the area covered by the 37mm site. The crew was rescued by an Air Force HH-53B piloted by Coast Guard LT LANCE A. EGAN on exchange duty with the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. LT EGAN was awarded two Silver Stars and the DFC during his extended tour with the lifesavers of the 37th… oohrah…


(10) Also on the 24th of January a two-seater F-100F Super Sabre of the 614th TFS and 35th TFW out of Phan Rang piloted by 1LT J.D. MULLER and CAPTAIN G.G. POTTER was lost conducting close air support attacks in the Mekong Delta 40 miles southwest of Saigon. Hit by ground fire at the target, 1LT MULLER was able to maneuver the crippled aircraft a few miles south of the target area before both aviators ejected to be rescued by an Air Force HH-43…


(11) On 25 January an F-4C of the 557th TFS and 12th TFW out of Cam Ranh Bay, crewed by MAJOR P.E. GUSHWA and 1LT W.J. ARLAND, was part of a flight of F-4s attacking an enemy gun position 25 miles southwest of Hue when hit by ground fire. The aircraft burst into flames and both aviators were able to safely eject from the Phantom about 15 miles from Hue. The crew was rescued by friendly ground troops….


(12) On 25/26 January and F-4E of the 469th TFS and 388th TFW out of Korat, crewed by MAJOR RUSSELL KEITH UTLEY and 1LT DANIEL EVERETT SINGLETON, was downed by ground fire on a night COMMANDO HUNT mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail near the Ban Karai Pass. The aircraft was observed to crash but no beepers or radio transmissions were heard and no parachutes seen. Both men were presumed killed in the crash placed at 5 miles southwest of the town of Tchepone. COLONEL UTLEY and MAJOR SINGLETON, promoted while listed as missing, are currently carried in a status of "presumed killed in action."… Left behind… Captured?… Surely a crash site 5 miles from Tchepone warrants active pursuit by our Defense POW/MIA Accounting folks… Humble Host is surprised there is not more available on this loss of two gallant warriors who perished a little more than 50 years ago in a very hostile area.


(13) and (14) On the same night of 25/26 January an F-100C and F-100D were destroyed on the ground at Phan Rang by North Vietnamese Sappers. A total of 74 rounds of 82mm mortars and 107mm rockets were fired at the base and 11 other aircraft were damaged. Fifteen troops were wounded. Fourteen enemy troops were captured.








RIPPLE SALVO… ON 20 JANUARY 1969 THE UNITED STATES INAUGURATED THE 37th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. On 21 January President Richard Nixon hosted his first meeting with his new NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL. The following is clipped from the State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States, Vietnam, 1969-1976, Volume VI, page 10-12, An Editorial Note is quoted in full…


"On January 21, 1969, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., President Nixon met in the Cabinet Room of the White House with the National Security Council… At this inaugural meeting, President Nixon asked Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms to prepare for the second National Security Council meeting (which was held on 25 January) 'a good job on the situation in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam,' adding that he also wanted an overview from State and CIA on the views of other nations on the situation and stating that much of what we will do depends on the effect these actions will have on the peoples of the area, not only on the leaders but on the people themselves. The council then discussed events in East Asia, Nigeria, Peru and procedural and administrative issues.


"Toward the end of the meeting, the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, stated that the Council would address at the next meeting the situation in Vietnam and 'alternative courses of action open to us.' At this point the following discussion occurred.


"…'the President emphasized that while he did not believe in changing policy for change sake alone that he felt with respect to Vietnam that we must rethink all of our policy tracks by reviewing all past instructions and determining whether of not we are proceeding down the correct tracks. He stated we do not want the enemy to assume that we are locked on the same old tracks as the previous Administration, emphasizing that we will change if the situation dictates.


"Secretary of State (Rogers) emphasized that the U.S. has not really made any commitments in this regard, pointing out that Ambassador Harriman informed him that we really had no policy with respect to negotiating objectives.


"General Wheeler said that both Harriman and Vance had only been provided preliminary instructions to get the talks started in Paris but that they had not been provided any finite objectives from Washington.


"The President stated, 'I was very disturbed about this since it was obvious from the conduct of the negotiations.' He stated that he had discusssed the problem with Lodge and Walsh (the two new top negotiators for the U.S. in Paris), emphasizing that he did not want any coercive action with respecct to South Vietnamese, pointing out that while they (Thieu and Ky)may be difficult to deal with, they are on our allies and this was the basis for the selection of Lodge and one of his principal missions is to rebuild South Vietnam's confidence and trust in the U.S.


"Dr. Kissinger stated that they had been operating in Paris with a laundry list of objectives which served as probing vehicles with the other side.


"Secretary Rogers stated that this was the Administration's effort to get something started before the election.


"The President said he was very much aware of the domestic issues but that he would rather take the heat now and achieve a sound settlement subsequently. He emphasized that he does not want a lot of promising press pizazz which we may not be able to deliver on later. He told Lodge to avoid the type of over optimism which had characterized past press treatment. He stated that while it looks fairly rosy now, we may not be able to achieve acceptable agreements. The President added that he instructed Lodge not to be quite so friendly with the North Vietnamese and assured him that if he made the President took a little tougher, that was just fine. The President stated that we cannot panic by moving the wrong way.


"Dr. Kissinger stated that the most difficult problem on Vietnam can be traced to fundemental disagreements on facts and that is why we are inventorying the facts to insure that we have them in hand before considering our basic objectives, referring to the questions on Vietnam which are to be developed interdepartmentally with a short deadline."


"The inaugural meeting of the National Security Council then turned to procedural matters."….


(On 21 January Dr. Kissinger delivered to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA, a set of 28 "Vietnam Questions" in National Security Memorandum 1, as directed by President Nixon to address "the situation in Vietnam." Humble Host will summarize questions pertinent to COMMANDO HUNT in the next Ripple Salvo (Week 12 of CH)


END NOTE: Clipped from THE MEMOIRS OF RICHARD NIXON, Volume One, Page 456… Nixon wrote about his first night in the White House (20 January)…"I slept only about four hours my first night in the White House, and was up at 6:45 A.M. While I was shaving I remembered the hidden safe that Johnson had shown me during our visit in November. When I opened it, the safe looked empty. Then I saw a thin folder on the top shelf. It contained the daily Vietnam Situation Report from the intelligence services for the previous day, Johnson's last day in office. I quickly read through it. The last page contained the latest casualty figures. During the week ending January 18, 185 (196) Americans had been killed and 1,237 wounded. From January 1, 1968 to January 18, 1969, 14,958 men had been killed and 95,798 had been wounded. I closed the folder and put it back in the safe and left it there until the war was over, a constant reminder of its tragic cost."…


Lest we forget… There are more than 52,200 names of fallen warriors on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on the Mall in Washington… Bear





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This Week in Aviation Heritage





April 14, 1918


Lt. Douglas Campbell, 94th Aero Squadron, flying a Nieuport 28, scores the first victory of an American-trained pilot, shooting down an Albatros. Campbell was Daedalian Founder Member #1825.





April 15, 1986


The U.S. launched Operation El Dorado Canyon. Eighteen F-111 bombers based in England and 14 A-6E attack jets based in the Mediterranean struck Libyan targets in retaliation for that country's terrorist activities. Numerous other support aircraft were also involved.





April 16, 1915


Lt.j.g. Patrick N. L. Bellinger successfully catapulted from a coal barge in flying boat AB-2 at Pensacola, Florida. Assistant Naval Constructor Lt. Holden C. Richardson, CC, had designed and fabricated the device at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., in 1913. The success of this and subsequent launches by Lt. Kenneth Whiting, Lt. j.g. Richard C. Saufley, and Ens. Clarence K. Bronson led to the installation of catapults on board ships. Bellinger was Daedalian Founder Member #2101; Richardson, #13115; Whiting, #13986; Saufley, #13307; and Bronson, #4461.





April 17, 1956


Lockheed Aircraft Corporation rolled out the first production F-104A Starfighter, 55-2956, at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California. This airplane, one of the original 17 pre-production YF-104As, incorporated many improvements over the XF-104 prototype, the most visible being a longer fuselage.





April 18, 1942


Four months after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, 16 B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in a spectacular low-level attack against Tokyo and other Japanese targets. The Doolittle Raid was named after its legendary leader, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, who led 80 volunteers on this dangerous mission. The Doolittle Raid provided a much-needed morale boost to the nation and proved to the Japanese that their country was vulnerable to American attacks.





April 19, 1967


For his actions on April 19, 1967, Maj. Leo K. Thorsness earned the Medal of Honor for protecting a mission to rescue downed airmen in North Vietnamese territory. Flying an F–105 Thunderchief critically low on fuel, Major Thorsness shot down one MiG–17, damaged another, and drove off three more. Despite his urgent need for fuel, Major Thorsness elected to recover at a forward operating base, allowing another aircraft in emergency condition to refuel from an aerial tanker. Shortly after this incident, Thorsness was shot down, captured, and held prisoner until his release on March 4, 1973. He passed away on May 2, 2017, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.





April 20, 1915


First Lt. Byron Q. Jones (pilot) and Lt. Thomas D. Milling (observer) became the first U.S. Army aviators to come under enemy fire during a flight when Mexican forces open fire on them with small arms and at least one machine gun while they were over the Rio Grande at Brownsville, Texas. Their plane is hit, but they are uninjured. It is considered the first combat air sortie in U.S. Army history. Jones was Daedalian Founder Member #1398; Milling was #133.





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Neat Information


thanks to Donna and Dutch


Glass takes one million year to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!


Gold is the only metal that doesn't rust, even if it's buried in the ground for thousands of years.


Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.


If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts .off


Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.


Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.


The song Auld Lang Syne is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.


Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent. Drinking a glass of water before you eat may help digestion and curb appetite.


Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn't smoke unless it's heated above 450F.


The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.


Nine out of every 10 living things live in the ocean.


The banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.


Airports at higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.


The University of Alaska spans four time zones.


The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.


In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.


Warner Communications paid 28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday, which was written in 1935!


Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.


A comet's tail always points away from the sun.


The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.


Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.


The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.


If you get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even in the middle of the day.


When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.


In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.


Strawberries and cashews are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.


Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.


The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.


The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.


Due to earth's gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.


Mickey Mouse is known as "Topolino" in Italy.


Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down


Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.


For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.


The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.








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USA—ICC Will Not Investigate Alleged U.S. Crimes In Afghanistan Defense One | 04/15/2019 The International Criminal Court will not investigate alleged war crimes committed by the U.S. in Afghanistan, reports Defense One. On Friday, a three-judge panel declined a request by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to examine crimes committed by U.S. troops and intelligence officers, as well as the Afghan security forces, Taliban and Haqqani Network. The court said it was declining to investigate due to limited prospects for a successful probe and prosecution. Bensouda did adequately establish the court's jurisdiction and admissibility of evidence, the court said. Bensouda had alleged that the U.S. military and CIA may have committed torture and sexual violence against suspected terrorists and insurgents. National Security Adviser John Bolton welcomed the decision and noted that Bensouda's visa would not be reinstated. In March, the U.S. State Dept. said it would not issue visas to ICC personnel investigating the U.S.





USA—ASQUID System To Enable Helicopters To Deploy Minehunting Vehicles Naval Sea Systems Command | 04/15/2019 The U.S. Navy has certified a new device that will eliminate the need for sailors to enter minefields during minehunting and clearing operations, reports the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). The Airborne Surface Quad Thruster Interface Device (ASQUID) is designed to deploy remotely operated minehunting vehicles from helicopters. Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 (HX-21) recently completed flight testing to certify the design, NAVSEA announced last week. The ASQUID attaches to the side of a MH-60 Seahawk helicopter, allowing sailors to lower a Mk 18 underwater drone into the water to search for mines. Once the sweep is complete, the helicopter can fly over the area and the ASQUID can retrieve the Mk 18, said Tim Currie, the program manager. The Mk 18 is currently delivered to minefields using rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB), which are slow, cannot be used in rough waters and put sailors in close proximity to minefields. The new delivery method prevents sailors from entering the water; increases the time and speed of the Mk 18 delivery; and increases the amount of time the drone can spend in the operational area, Currie said.





France—Paris Joins NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems Program Nato Press Release | 04/15/2019 France has joined a NATO initiative to cooperate in the development of maritime unmanned systems, reports the alliance. A signing ceremony was held on April 11 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The initiative, which was launched in October, calls for allies to pool resources to develop more flexible and interoperable unmanned maritime vehicles and systems. Such technology would assist forces with detecting and clearing mines, as well as finding and tracking submarines, said a NATO release at the time. In the future, integrated autonomous systems will increasingly be used with crewed platforms, said Assistant Secretary-General for Defense Investment Camille Grand. France joins 13 allies in the effort, including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.





Germany—Government Approves Sale Of Weapon Components To Members Of Saudi-Led Coalition In Yemen Deutsche Welle | 04/15/2019 The German National Security Council has approved the shipment of weapon components to members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, reports Deutsche Welle. The council, comprising Chancellor Angela Merkel and her chief ministers, approved several shipments to members of the coalition including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to local media. The approved arms exports include, "technology for low-bed semi-trailer production" to France, which will then ship the assembled product to Saudi Arabia, and German-French produced components and software updates for Cobra artillery tracking radar systems to the U.A.E. Germany has also approved the sale of three Dingo armored vehicles and 168 unspecified warheads to Qatar. The move has received criticism from opposition lawmakers, who argue that the approvals are in violation of European law. Earlier this month, Berlin extended a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which was originally imposed in October following the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security agents in Istanbul. The extension made a conditional exception for systems developed jointly with other countries in response to French and British opposition to the ban.





Romania—U.S. Deploys THAAD System While Aegis Ashore System Gets Upgrades Nato Press Release | 04/15/2019 The NATO Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site in Deveselu, Romania, is scheduled to undergo a long-planned update this summer, reports the Stars and Stripes. The several week modernization is part of the U.S. phased adaptive approach to ballistic missile defense, which was first announced in September 2009, said a NATO release on April 11. The U.S. Army will temporarily deploy its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to provide missile defense capabilities while Aegis Ashore is being upgraded at the alliance's request. The THAAD system will be under the operational control of NATO's Allied Air Command until the Aegis Ashore site is back online, the release said. The THAAD system will come from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Hood, Texas, noted Defense News. The system will solely provide a defensive capability "to deter future conflict, and to defend ourselves, and our NATO allies, should deterrence fail," said the U.S. European Command.





Romania—NATO Task Group Joins Romanian-Led Sea Shield Drills Nato Press Release | 04/15/2019 Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) has just taken part in a Romanian-led naval exercise in the Black Sea, reports the alliance. Exercise Sea Shield began on April 5 and concluded on Saturday. Five SNMG2 ships were among 20 that took part in the drills, which were designed to practice joint warfare tactics and techniques against underwater, surface and air threats. Participating nations included Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Turkey and the U.S. The Romanian air force provided support from the shore, including MiG-21 Lancer and F-16 fighter jets; explosive ordnance disposal divers; the 243 Radioelectronics and Observation Brigade; the Marine Hydrographic Directorate; the Center 110 Communications and Information Technology; and the Center for Information Technology and Cybernetics. SNMG2 is currently conducting a routine patrol in the Black Sea as part of its annual schedule of operations. The NATO group currently consists of the flagship, the Dutch frigate Evertsen; the Bulgarian frigate Drazki; Canadian frigate Toronto; Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand; and the Turkish frigate Yildirim.





Russia—Production Underway For S-350 Vityaz Air Defense Systems Tass | 04/15/2019 Russia has begun production of its newest air defense system, reports the Tass news agency (Russia). The S-350 Vityaz surface-to-air missile system successfully completed certification tests late last month and production of the first batch began soon after, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said on April 12. The systems are scheduled for delivery later this year, Krivoruchko said. The S-350 has a range of 37 miles (60 km), can engage targets at altitudes of 18 miles (30 km) and is armed with 12 air defense missiles. The system is designed to hit aerodynamic and ballistic targets and will replace aging S-300PS systems. Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on April 11 that the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile had begun its last testing phase. The Sarmat is expected to enter service in the early 2020s.





Taiwan—Air Force, Navy Monitor Chinese Aircraft In Bashi Channel Central News Agency (Taiwan) | 04/15/2019 The Taiwanese military has been monitoring a large formation of Chinese aircraft that passed near Taiwan, reports Taiwan's Central News Agency. A group of Chinese aircraft flew through the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said on Monday. The aircraft included KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, at least one Xian H-6 bomber, Shaanxi Y-8 transports and multiple Sukhoi Su-30 and Shenyang J-11 fighters, said the ministry. Taiwan dispatched ships and jets to monitor the Chinese force. The Chinese aircraft headed to the western Pacific Ocean, apparently as part of a long-range exercise, the ministry said. All but one H-6 bomber returned along the same route. The bomber flew back via the Miyako Strait, which separates the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has vowed to use any means necessary to reunify it with the rest of China.





Philippines—Leader Of ISIS-Affiliated Group Killed In Gun Battle, According To DNA Test Philippines News Agency | 04/15/2019 DNA tests have confirmed the death of a leading Philippine terrorist, reports the official Philippine News Agency. Owayda Benito Marohomsar, also known as Abu Dar, was killed in a military operation last month, a spokesman for the army's 103rd Infantry Brigade said on Sunday. The ISIS-Maute Group leader was the last surviving suspect behind the five-month siege of Marawi that began in May 2017. He was killed during an encounter with Philippine troops in Lanao del Sur. Officials waited to confirm his death until the DNA test results came in. The U.S. helped test the remains, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told ABS-CBN News. The group is believed to rely heavily on charismatic leaders. The military is monitoring the group to see who will replace Abu Dar, said Lorenzana.





Afghanistan—U.N. Temporarily Lifts Sanctions On Taliban Leaders In Support Of Peace Talks With U.S. Voice Of America News | 04/15/2019 The Taliban says that the U.N. has temporarily removed sanctions against its senior leaders involved in peace talks with the U.S., reports the Voice of America News. The names of all 14 members of the Taliban's negotiating team and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the group's office in Doha, have been removed from the U.N. blacklist, a Taliban spokesman told the news site. The nine-month exemption period, which began on April 1, is intended to enable the leaders to participate in peace talks in a number of countries, said the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee. A limited asset freeze exemption will only support financing exempted travel, the committee said. The Taliban has long considered U.N. sanctions on its leaders as an obstacle to peace efforts. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, promised to temporarily remove the sanctions during discussions in March. The next round of peace talks is scheduled to take place at the end of the month in Qatar.





Kazakhstan—Parliament Approves Plan To Transfer Military Equipment To Tajikistan Eurasianet | 04/15/2019 Kazakh lawmakers have approved a measure to provide military aid to Tajikistan as part of efforts to strengthen its border with Afghanistan, reports Eurasianet.org. On April 11, the upper house of Parliament passed a bill allowing for the transfer of military equipment, ammunition, air weapons, artillery and chemical and radiological protective gear to Tajikistan. The bill, which was first introduced in December, must still receive final approval from President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Under the plan, Kazakhstan would cover the cost of delivering the military equipment to Dushanbe by rail, while Tajikistan would be responsible for customs clearance, said Deputy Defense Minister Talgat Mukhtarov. The move comes amid a deteriorating security situation on the Tajik border with Afghanistan. Officials have expressed concern that the unrest in Afghanistan will migrate into Tajikistan and Central Asia, similar to the situation in Syria and Iraq. Tajikistan is considered to have one of the least prepared military forces in the region, according to analysts.





Syria—Suspected Israeli Strike Hits Alleged Missile Factory Arutz Sheva | 04/15/2019 At least two people have been killed and 17 injured in a suspected Israeli strike in western Syria, reports Arutz Sheva (Israel). On Saturday, jets struck a suspected missile factory operated by Iran in Masyaf in western Hama province, reported the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Israeli intelligence company ImageSatInternational (ISI) released satellite photos showing that a large hangar and three adjacent structures had been destroyed. Images showed what appear to be S-300 and S-400 air defense batteries near the site of the strike. It was unclear if they were damaged. The site is located alongside of a military base but is separated by a barrier from the rest of the facility, reported Ynet News (Israel). Two "Iranian elements" were killed and 17 injured in the strike, referring to Iranian troops and loyalist militias, reported the observatory. Syrian opposition sources said the sites were used by Iranian and Hezbollah forces, reported the Times of Israel. Israel does not usually confirm its involvement in such strikes. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obliquely referenced the attack, confirming activity on Israel's northern front.





Libya—Tripoli Government Forces Claim Shoot Down Of LNA MiG-23 Libya Observer | 04/15/2019 Forces loyal to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli say they have downed a fighter jet operated by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), reports the Libya Observer. On Sunday, militias in Tripoli said they shot down a MiG-23 in southern Tripoli. An LNA source confirmed the loss but attributed it to a technical failure, reported the New Arab (London). The pilot ejected and was safe, the source said, denying reports that he had been captured by forces loyal to Tripoli. On Saturday, a spokesman for the forces backing the Tripoli government said that they would begin offensive operations to push Haftar back. At least nine civilians have been killed, 22 wounded and 16,000 displaced since Haftar announced a campaign to take the capital on April, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Sunday, as reported by the Libya Herald. A total of 121 people have been killed and 561 injured since fighting began on April 4, said the World Health Organization.







Sudan—Army Attempts To Disperse Sit-In As Protesters Call For Civilian Government Reuters | 04/15/2019 Demonstrators have resisted an attempt to disperse a sit-in outside the Sudanese Defense Ministry, reports Reuters. On Monday, soldiers surrounded the protest on three sides and tried to push the 5,000 demonstrators out, said a witness. The protesters joined hands and refused to move, appearing to win a reprieve. Protests that began in December succeeded in ousting longtime dictator Omar Bashir on April 11 after the army stepped in. Demonstrators have continued a sit-in, with the main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, calling on supporters to keep up pressure until the army hands over control to a civilian government. Under continued pressure, intelligence chief Salah Ghosh stepped down on Saturday, reported the Sudan Tribune (Paris). The interim military council met on Monday with political leaders, urging them to select an independent figure as the country's next prime minister, reported Agence France-Presse.





Chad—7 Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Assault In Lake Chad Region Agence France-Presse | 04/15/2019 At least seven Chadian soldiers and 63 suspected terrorists have been killed in fighting in the Lake Chad region, reports Agence France-Presse. On Monday, Boko Haram launched a midnight assault on a forward position in Bohama, said an army spokesman. At least 15 troops were wounded in the battle. The attack occurred in Mbohama, part of Province du Lac, reported TchadInfos. Troops are still conducting clearance operations in the area, the spokesman said. On Monday, the Nigerian military said that a joint operation with Chad on Saturday killed 27 suspected militants in Wulgo, part of northeastern Nigeria's Borno state.





Venezuela—Maduro Seeks Another Million Militia Members, Integrate It With Military British Broadcasting Corp. | 04/15/2019 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he wants his civilian militia to expand by one million members by the end of the year, reports the BBC News. During a rally on Saturday, Maduro said that expanding the national militia was necessary to defend the homeland. Maduro also said that he submitted a proposal to integrate the militia into the regular armed forces, reported the Tass news agency (Moscow). The president also called on existing militia members to engage in agriculture to alleviate the ongoing food crisis. Since January, most European states, the U.S. and several regional leaders have recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president. Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russia and Turkey have continued to support Maduro

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