Operation End Sweep (part 2)

3-1-2010 11-51-59 PM

A map of North Vietnam with the shaded areas representing mined areas.

Part 1.

It was never the intention of the Nixon Administration to make sweeping mines in the South China Sea a political issue. Nevertheless, on 16 May 1972, the Washington Evening Star quoted Nixon as saying “the mines will go when the POWs (Prisoners of War) are free.” SECSTATE Kissinger saw that eventually minesweeping could be used to help bring our POWs home because the DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) were the one that initially raised the mine sweeping issue in connection with handing over the POWs. By 15 December, 1972 the White House told SECDEF (Secretary of Defense) that the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) should review it’s minesweeping plans for North Vietnam. On 20 December, the JCS responded to the Whitehouse and SECDEF by saying clearing the mines posed an “undue risk to Naval personnel.” However, by that time the peace processes was faltering and Operation Linebacker II commenced, resulting in an increased mining of the waters off North Vietnam. Eventually the DRV did return to the peace table and on 27 January DRV signed a “Mine Clearing Protocol” as part of the so-called Paris Peace Deal.

The most important issues directly related to OES (Operation End Sweep) in the protocol were:

Article 3: consult immediately on relevant factors and agree upon the earliest possible target date for the completion of work.

Article 4: set a meeting between Naval representative from the US and DRV “At a later date. (these meeting actually began before the protocol was signed).” During this time the US Navy gave some rudimentary technical details on how the Destructor mines worked.

Article 5: Specified that DRV should actively participate in clearing/sweeping inland waterways using equipment and training that was given to them by the US.

By 5 February a “Haiphong Clearing Committee” had met to discuss the technical details of minesweeping the Haiphong area. These meetings took place on TF-78 Task Force 78) ships.

On February 6th, MSOs entered and swept the anchorage where the larger ships of TF-78 would stay. USS Impervious swept the area and marked with the path with buoys. Sweeping in the vicinity of the anchorage continued south of Grand Norway Island on the 7th.

Sweeping the northern ports over the southern ports and inland waterways but the problem was the large between in the minefields the DRV had charted and the minefields that the US Navy charted. The sweep plan stated only areas where known mines were and/or had self-destructed or sterilized would be swept. By 7 February the LPH and LPDs arrived at the anchorage while other airborne units continued training at Subic Bay. Another DRV point of contention was the insistence on the Navy giving the DRV towing gear and earth moving equipment to dig-up and move buried mines. However, at the time, the US was unwilling to allow this.

The first merchant ship departed Haiphong around the 7th, before sweeping of area had even begun. These shallow draft ships were empty (having already unloaded military equipment before the mining began) and used US supplied minefield charts to make the run into the South China Sea at high tide. Even before US Navy sweeping operations began, the NVN (North Vietnamese Navy) used Soviet supplied “closed loop” mine sweeping gear to sweep portions of the port of Haiphong.

On 21 February, airborne mine seeping assets arrived on-scene. The first airborne sweep by an HM-12 CH-53D (with a UH-1E in the lead) occurred on  27 February. Meanwhile on 23-25 February, Raydist equipment was installed ashore at Do Son, Cat Bai and Dinh Vu. These were transported ashore by CH-46s from HMM-165. A fourth Raydist was installed on board the fleet tug, USS Tawasa (ATF-92).

Early in the morning on the 28th, sweeping operations stopped because the POWs were not being returned per agreement. OES was being used as the “carrot” to get the DRV to return the POWs but the DRV wanted mine sweeping equipment for sweeping the inland waterways on their own. Agreement to this was reached on 5th March and operations resumed on the 6th.

Magnetic Orange Pipe 1

Magnetic Orange Pipe

3-1-2010 11-51-38 PM Northern ports and villages were swept for the next 6 weeks. Airborne unit Alfa swept the Haiphong area using the MK-105 sweeping gear. Unit Bravo, using the MOP swept the Cua Cam area. On a side note, airborne units, Charlie and Delta never trained with the MK-105 gear.

3-1-2010 11-53-25 PM On 9 March at 1240 local, the first and only mine swept, a MK-52, detonated behind in the vicinity of a MK-105 being towed behind a CH-53D.  Most of the deployed mines by the time of OES had already self-sterilized.

WAMUS_Mines_mk52_pic

MK-52 mine.

On the 13th, the Soviet merchantman, Zayson transited the Haiphong channel inbound.

On the 17th, the USS Enhance, had an engine room fire. Enhance was anchored in the outer approach to Passe Henriette. USS Safeguard assisted and brought the Enhance under tow. That same day an HM-12 CH-53D lost it’s tail rotor and crashed. All the crew were recovered.  After this all CH-53s (throughout the US Navy and USMC) were grounded and inspected. On March 25 a MK-105 undertow collided with a “civilian” 12ft wooden skiff. There were no injures but there was some minor damage to the –105.

id_ch53_super_stallion_04_700

An HM-12 CH-53D Super Stallion.

Another CH-53S was lost on 2 April due to a tail rotor failure. It splashed down in Haiphong harbor and the crew was recovered. As a result, a more extensive inspection of all OES CH-53s occurred. Pitch change rod end assemblies were replaced and gearbox inspections were increased to every 10 flight hours. Flights resumed on 6 April.

300px-Washtenaw_County_MSS-2

The USS Washtenaw County seen transiting the main channel in Haiphong harbor.

By 14 April the USS Washentaw County transited Haiphong’s main shipping channel to demonstrate is navigability but by the 17, this was cut short again because the DRV failed to meet the agreed to cease-fire in Laos and Cambodia. On the 24th, elements of TF-78 departed the area for Subic Bay.

On 24, April the USS Force had and engine fire and sunk about 770 miles east of Guam, on it’s way to OES. The crew was recovered by a Norwegian merchant ship.

Taking TF-78 off the line allowed for TF-78 to undertake a reassessment of OES.  The Navy estimated that most of the mines had self sterilized by the first week of May. As of the 16 April, in the Haiphong area 3 days each of sweeping at Cua Cam and Lach Tray channels and 2 additional transits by Washtenaw County in the main shipping channel were all that remained to be done. In the Hon Gai and Cam Pha, 6 and 2 days, respectively, of airborne screening remained. Remaining operations would be conducted as a check sweep because all mines completed their self-sterilization period of 6 months. There was also an assessment of equipment that the Navy had given to the DRV.

Operations resumed on 20 June and an agreement was also in place to give the DRV more equipment for sweeping the inland waterways, which, by now, they were going to do on their own. Most of the check sweeping was done around Lach Huyen and on the  26 mine sweeping in the north by Haiphong was finished. On 28 June operations shifted to Vinh. Alfa swept near Hon La and Bravo swept Quang Khe.

On 4 July the fatality of OES occurred when a flight deck crewman on the USS Ogden caught in the closing stern door of a CH-53 that was taking off.

Finally, Operation End Sweep, wound down by 20 July 1973. The closing dispute between the Navy and the DRV was over bulldozers. The DRV wouldn’t accept the condition of the TD-6 bulldozers. The TD-6s were thought, by the DRV, to be in poor material condition. There was a final meeting on 18 July 1973 to resolve this issue but nothing ever came of it.

Elements of TF-78 left the DRV for Subic Bay and on 27 July 1973 TF-78 was dissolved 6 months to the day it was formed.

In total, the Haiphong area accounted for 70% of the tow hours. The 3 northern port areas required 87% of the tow hours. Generally the sweeping was carried out to a 95% certainty that no live mines remained.

Here’s a summary of End Sweep units:

CH-53Ds: 37 aircraft

13 USN HM-12

24 USMC HMM-463 and HMM-165

Ocean Minesweepers (MSOs): 10

Mine Flotilla 1 Western Pacific

  Engage (MSO-433)

  Force (MSO-445

  Fortify (MSO-446)

  Impervious (MSO-449)

  Inflict (MSO-456)

West Coast

  Enhance (MSO-437)

  Leader (MSO-490)

  Illusive (MSO-448)

Naval Reserve Training Force ships, based in Hawaii

  Conquest (MSO-480)

  Esteem (MSO-438)

  Washtenaw County (MSS-2)

p.s.

I was trying to find out exactly who the only fatality was. I was unable to find out. If anyone does know, please let me know.  I’d like to dedicate these posts to his sacrifice.

For more information on the different elements of OES see the following:

The Naval Historical Society’s page on OES.

Wikipedia’s page.

Navsource.org has a few more pics of the vessel involved.

102 Minesweepers has some good stuff.

Eagle One has some good info on the history of airborne minesweeping.

Finally, some more history of airborne mine countermeasures here.

2 books provide context and further information:

Hartman’s “Weapons That Wait: Mine Warfare in the US Navy” and the Naval Historical Society’s “Operation End Sweep: A History of Minesweeping Operations in North Vietnam.”

78 Comments

Filed under History, Naval Aviation, Navy, Ships and the Sea

78 responses to “Operation End Sweep (part 2)

  1. Bill Brandt

    I’ve learned more about this that I knew for 40 years – thanks!

    • David

      I remember helping to prepare the captain’s letter to his parents. It was kind of a weird feeling. His name is on the last panel of the Vietnam Memorial.

    • USS New Orleans LPH 11 was there , I still have pictures of all the san pans in the waters all around us watching , we had two seal teams that turned the mines off once they were floated , we were the flag ship . This was in Haiphong Harbor

  2. John Blackshoe

    Airman James Timothy O’Neill, an unmarried 20 year old from Baltimore, MD, is listed as the only American casualty for July 4, 1973. He is listed as being assigned to USS Tripoli (LPH-10), part of TF 76. His cause of death is listed as a non-combat accident in the Gulf of Tonkin. (Although the accident may have occurred aboard USS Ogden (LPD-5) it appears that this is the individual in question.)

    A photo of AN O’Neill is shown at http://navy.togetherweserved.com/usn/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=AssignmentExt&ID=1554546

    He looks just like so many other American sailors of the period. All gave some, some gave all.

    Coincidentally, USS Tripoli was the last U.S. warship damaged by a mine, at 0437 on February 18, 1991 when it struck an Iraqi laid mine. Ironically, she was being used as a minesweeping ship with MH-53 helicopters. The mine blew a 5 foot by 20 foot hole in the hull, and the fuel tanks for helo fuel were damaged, and the HM-14 helos had to be transferred to other ships to continue their minesweeping.

    • Don Behrens

      AN James Timothy O’Neill was a member of the crew of the USS Ogden, and the accident did indeed occur on the flight deck of the Ogden.

    • Hi John: James T. O’Neill was a close friend to my brother and me growing up in Baltimore. We called him Tim. We have heard different accounts of his passing. One account involves the accidental detonation of a mine during mine clearing operations; the other involves an explosion of a damaged helicopter returning to the ship. Is there anything you could share with us? Tim was a great guy and good friend; his passing was quite a blow to his friends & family. Any information you could share would be appreciated. We are also uncertain if Tim was aboard the Tripoli or the Ogden at the time of his passing. Thank You. Dave Lari.

  3. jeff puritz

    after more than 40 years the time is right to finally award some kind of recognition to the units involved in task force 78 operation endsweep no expiditionary medal, no unit citatation, no humanitarian award, no sea service medal, or even a bus pass across town was ever awarded. why?

    • spill

      I couldn’t agree more. Not being familiar with how the USN awards citations, I can’t speculate.

      Thank you for your service.

    • jeff puritz

      thank you my friend for your comments and a blessed 2014 belatedly to you and your family! the usn or the us government is extremely reluctant to admit an oversight or in this case an embarassing omission. only political pressure or public insistance will usually bring action but in this case there has hhh

    • Don Behrens

      Jeff, You may want to do some checking, I received a Navy Unit
      Citation and the whole crew on the Ogden received them as well
      as most of the Amphibs that were involved in TF 78. Check to see
      if your ship issued them.

    • jeff puritz

      don thanx for your interesting reply. it could be that the ogden participated in endsweep prior to the march 28th cutoff date of the vietnam service medal. this could have some bearing on the unit citation. those of us that participated in endsweep after march 28th did not receive the vsm or any credi

    • mike odonnell

      absolutely wrong that no awards medals ribbons nothing for carrying out this mission which brought home the pow’s and ended the war. i served on the uss inchon lph-12 command ship for tf-78 would like to know how to go about petitionong the navy to get equal recognition. my e-mail is m22odonnell@yahoo.com

    • David C Woolery RMSN

      I was aboard the USS Tripoli LPH 10. TAD to CTF 78. We all received a letter of commodation in 1973 for excellent service in Operation End Sweep. Is this letter available? I am suffering effects of Agent Orange Exposure. The VA wants me to prove I was there. This will help my cause and could help others as well. I am proud of the service we all gave. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice. They are not forgotten.

  4. jeff puritz

    one more thing has been bothering me you never mention the destroyers and frigates that protected and supported the minesweepers my ship was theuss stein de1065 our helo flew a truce team into north vietnam we were harrassed by their gunboats but sent them running we aalso weaweathered a tsunami ttt

  5. jeff puritz

    credit for vietnam service on our dd214’s. at the least an AFEM could have been issued to the entire task force 78. my unit the stein and our sister ship agerholm received no credits for this op.

    • Don Behrens

      Jeff, The Ogden was in TF 78 from beginning to end. Our Captain had the ship extended several times. Our 6 month WEST PAC ended up being a 1 year. I didn’t even know about the award until Jan 1980. A LT. made me go over and update my ribbons before she would allow me to be discharged. It was on my DD-214, so when I showed up for discharge in dress blues, she even checked my awards.

    • jeff puritz

      don god bless you brother and fellow gulf of tonkin yacht club sailor.any medals you recieved were from the period your ship was in the area before march 28 you were also a part of what was considered the ceasefire campaign and so qualify for the vietnam service medal i checked the master list m

  6. jeff puritz

    of awards and decorations and the ogden did receive the vsm ididnt see any info on the unit citation maybe that was also for the ceasefire campaign what i feel like don is that all units that served in endsweep from mar 28 to july 15 when it ended should also qualify for something

  7. Don Behrens

    I agree with you Jeff. there should have been something signifying those that were there during the operation.

  8. jeff puritz

    don now that i strained my brain a bit i remember when we heard about the casulty that occured on your ship the ogden i remember speculating that you never know when fate comes calling for you hopefully even though they classified his death as non cobatant which is bullshit because hes just as

    • jeff puritz

      dead i pray that his name is on the wall

    • Steve Koehler

      I also served in operation endsweep. Got there in May 73 received combat pay and tax free money without anything to show for it. Just dropped information off at Senator Ron Johnson’s office. republican Wisconsin. I no him personally if that will help. we’ll see.

  9. jeff puritz

    rip AN James timothy O’Neill died July 4 1973 on the U.S.S. Ogden LPD 5 Task Force 78 Gulf of Tonkin

  10. John Calkins

    Thank you for writing about Operation End Sweep. I was a pilot that participated in the Operation and was surprised that it did not get more attention. I think because of the political climate and actually having to sit down with the North Vietnamese the attitude that the less said the better was the MO.

    One thing that many were not aware including the North Vietnamese was that by the time that the Operation commenced almost all of the mines had self-sterilized. Only those that needed to know were made aware of that fact which excluded the pilots. The pilots were led to believe that at anytime if their helicopter dropped below a certain altitude that the magnetic signature of the helicopter could set off the mines. Only one mine was ever set off and I strongly suspect that was a fake to make the North Vietnamese believe we were actually doing something meaningful to secure the release of our POW’s that they held. We flew the entire time thinking we were at risk of a mine explosion.

    There was one award granted that I believe extended to anyone within Task Force 78. The award was the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation.The dates listed for my squadron are from February 26, 1973 through July 18, 1973.

    Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.

    John

    • Don Behrens

      John, you are correct. We knew on the Ogden that all the mines were already defunct. The mine that was pictured in the Stars & stripes and in National news and newspapers was in fact towed there at night and a skid set it off that morning for the stages event.

    • john

      I was on the USS INCHON attached to HMH-463 during Endsweep came out of Hawaii with them

  11. jeff puritz

    john-your unit, which i assume was marine medium helicopter squadron 165, was the only unit to receive a meritorious unit commendation for operation endsweep. consider yourself special.

    • John Calkins

      Actually my unit was Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 and I am pretty sure that anyone within Task Force 78 during the required time frame qualified for the award. It would be highly unlikely that just a few USMC units got the award and everyone else was excluded. You need to get someone in the Navy to actually locate the original citation. I am not sure who you should contact.

    • john

      My Unit was HMH-463 53’s never checked on citations when I got out.Im confused on the sailors death I was on the Inchon in weight area when they brought him through in body bag.Also it was one of our crew chiefs 53

  12. John Tonsick

    This reply is in response to the post by David Lari. I was stationed aboard the USS Dubuque (LPD-8) during OES. The Dubuque served as the OES Flagship. I was the LPO of OI Division and spent the entire operation controlling helicopters during minesweeping. I remember the day James Oneill died very well. At this writing, it’s a memory that’s 4 decades old. We never met, but I think of him every July 4th.

    As I recall, James was working on the flight deck of the Ogden. In preparation for a helicopter take-off, James picked up the wheel chocks and placed them in the rear, hydraulic door, leaning inside to do so. The pilot, who did not see James, closed the door. James died almost immediately. His body was brought to the USS Dubuque for transfer and burial.

    I apologize for the graphic account. I hate tearing open old wounds, but I thought you’d like some closure.

    • Don

      John, I had been to the helo with a work party getting the mail bags that had been brought in and was just getting to the Post Office when the accident happened.
      Ironically, just before the accident happened wh had several crewmen that had gone on strike due to unsafe flight deck procedures and were deemed as mutineers and taken off the ship for court martial proceedings.

    • ALto Adams

      I just found this site and I was there when James died. He and I were sent to the Ogden from the Tripoli due to the strike the Air Dept. went on. I had to pack his gear to be sent to his family after his death. James was assigned to V-3 Division (Hanger Deck) Air Department and I was at AIMD. James worked the flight deck on the Ogden while I was in the hot suit for launches. James was a very kind person and one I have not forgotten. There was a huge lack of respect for the people working the flight deck from the officers assigned to the Air Dept. I know the enlisted were pushed hard to complete the operation even to the point of exhaustion. This was a trying time for all who were from other ships.

    • Peggy O'Neill Zulkowski

      I am Timmy’s sister and have wondered for years what really happened. I was only 13 at the time and remember my parents getting multiple telegrams stating different ways that he died. My parents chose not to tell us this story, although it is painful to hear it is good to know the truth.

      Thank you

    • It happened on the Ogden, a friend of mine the Crew Chief was closing the aft ramp on a HMH-463 ch53d when James the sailor reached in with some wheel chocks and got caught in the closing. My friend recently died but never got over that.

  13. jeff puritz

    helo pilot john caulkins has laid down more interesting info on endsweep than all the research I have done and first hand info that I have. A pilots perspective is second to none and there powers of accute memory and keen observation makes them a wellsping of knowledge. thank you john for your insights and just out of curiousity where did the rest of your naval career take you? Thanks Jeff

    • John Calkins

      My Marine career ended in 1976 when my obligated service ended. The Vietnam War was over and I didn’t want to hang around waiting for the next war to start. I did get to participate a few years after End Sweep in Operations Eagle Pull and Frequent Wind, the evacuations of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Saigon in April 1975.

  14. Michael Cosgrove

    I was exec on the Conquest, one of the Charleston group that volunteered to man the Pearl Harbor NRF ships. It pisses me off to this day that Congress decided the war ended at the end of March and we got into the waters of Viet Nam on 3 April. What I don’t understand is that the VA considers that things ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. Many is the letter I sent to senators and representatives. All I get are canned replies, “don’t bother me, mister, we have more important things to deal with, like where to go on our recess vacation at your expense.” All I have from Ens Sweep is a Conquest plaque, a Haiphong Harbor Sweep Detail certificate, and sea stories.

  15. Jeff puritz

    Dear Mr Cosgrove I. Agree with you completely I was there also but according to the government I have no Vietnam service please contact me to compare notes at 732 453 4362 thanks, Jeff.

    • hi i was there also in tacron 11 controlling the helo on the sweeping lines from a minesweeper. i am trying to get va health benefets but dont have viet nam service on my dd 214. any new info on us getting credit for being in there/

  16. gary jeffres

    I was on the USS Enhance during the fire and remember it very well.
    I also remember taking a lot of smoke that night due to the low number of OBAs we had .
    I just filed for service connection for exposure to dioxin from the burning electrical cables in the engine room.
    Electrical wiring on navy ships built before 1979 had PBCs in the insulation.
    when burned PBCs put off Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) along with PCB fumes.

  17. jeff puritz

    I am so happy that airman James t. Oneills sister Peggy zulkowski found out the true story of her brothers passing and that his name is on the wall! All of us sailors that took part in endsweep were there voluntarily, not knowing how the north Vietnamese were going to react. We have the satisfaction of knowing that our actions, and especially Timmy O Neill’s total sacrifice of his young life, helped to secure the release of the POW’s. God bless you Peggy, and the memory of your brother.

  18. Jim Moran

    The VFW has a resolution No. 305 from the 114th National Convention (2013) to award the Vietnam Service medal for Operation
    End Sweep. However, I have no idea what happens to these resolutions.
    It is available on the internet if you want to get a copy. Just Google it.
    Can this Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin do something. I am in Illinois so I have no influence with him.

    • spill

      Jim I’m also in Illinois (Chicago specifically). I may have some influence in Wisconsin. What do we need to do to get the ball rolling on this?

  19. Jim Moran

    Spill, Senator Ron Johnson’s office. Have they done anything about Operation End Sweep? Also, do you have any influence with Illinois Senator Mark Kirk who is a veteran.
    Thanks,
    Jim Moran

  20. Jim Moran

    Thank you. Also of note is that Operation Frequent Wind during the fall of Saigon in April 1975 was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal well after the supposed official end of the war in early 1973,
    Also as some of the Vets above have noted, Navy and Marines who served during Operation End Sweep were given combat pay.
    Ask Google when the Vietnam war ended and you will get some surprising answers.

    • jeff puritz

      I discovered I had received hostile fire pay or HFP in my leave record.the frequent wind vsm was given in exchange for their expeditionary medal, which operation endsweep did not receive.apparently that helo squadrons got unit citations but it wasn’t a task force wide award. The fact that there is a gap in the awarding of the vsm between Feb 28 73 and the frequent wind op is an anamoly the the dod has not been willing to correct. Personally I believe that the powers that be believe this would create too many extra Vietnam vets that would be qualified for agent orange benefits if the blue water navy legislation is ever passed. Just follow the money.

  21. Bob ruppert

    Just found this sight. I had to go thru my congressman to get new 214. But first you need to get a copy of your combat history-expeditions-awards record form from St. Louis navmc118(9)-pd(rev.6-65 then Vietnam service is listed.

  22. Gidge

    I am also Tim’s sister. We were on the front porch of my parents house when a chaplain and another officer came to tell us that my brother had been killed in Vietnam. It was the fourth of July, 1973. It was during a gas crisis here in Baltimore and my father siphoned off gas from each of our cars to get these men back to Annapolis. Although my father had a cousin who was a Lieutenant Colonel at the pentagon, we could not find out the specifics of how he died before we buried him. My brother’s body was accompanied back to the states by this wonderful young man from Texas named Andy. He was my brother’s best friend. They each had their own drummer. We spent the first day trying to find him cowboy boots so he would feel more comfortable here. They liked to build model airplanes and fly them when off the carrier. I cannot remember how we pieced the story of his death together. My parents are both gone now and they did not like to talk about it. My brother was assigned to the USS Tripoli. My understanding is that there were problems aboard the sister ship the “Ogden” and Tim along with others volunteered to help man the ship and keep it working. These were young men with good intentions but were doing jobs they had not necessarily been trained for. He was stuck by the door while putting chock blocks under the wheels of a helicopter. My understanding is that he never regained consciousness. It was an accident. My brother was very proud to be in the Navy. He was doing things he loved. He got to go places and see things. Although it is sad to lose someone so young, he died serving his country and we were very proud of him. He was happy. He called me Gigi-rats. Only the Gidge part has remained as a nickname. Thank goodness. Thank you all for your service.

  23. annonymous

    As long as I’m around and anyone mentions operation endsweep on the internet I will remind them of your brothers sacrifice. Especially if anyone says we suffered 0 casualties in this operation they will be informed of their error.also I would like to see Timmy receive a posthumous decoration for his dedication to his duty. My deepest respects to you and your family gidge, and I am sorry for dredging up these painful memories. God bless you

  24. spill

    First of all I’d like to thank everyone commenting.
    Second, I would like everyone to know that I have contacted a friend of mine on Senator Mark Kirk’s staff. I’m working with Senator Kirk’s staff to get everyone some kind of well deserved recogniton

    If you’ve commented above please contact me ASAP at my email: themavf14d@gmail.com or my phone: 224-627-4316 . I need everyone’s contact info (name, address, phone and email). Same goes for anyone else that was there and deserves recognition.

    Senator Kirk is a Navy vet and I think we can get this done.

    Thank you everyone.

  25. annonymous

    When he commended the Navy for outstanding performance during End Sweep, Admiral T.H. Moored, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated: The efforts of the Navy in Operation End Sweep contributed significantly to the timely release of U.S. prisoners of war, and that is to the attainment of the nation’s objectives in Southeast Asia.”

  26. annonymous

    Sorry, that should have been Admiral T.H. Moorer!

  27. annonymous

    The following article appeared in the “Navy Times” weekly newspaper on April 18th 1973. “There is a possibility that servicemen still involved in Southeast Asia operations will get armed forces expeditionary medals now that the Vietnam Service Medal has been terminated. In a related decision the 7th Fleet no longer is accepting combat-oriented recommendations for personal decorations, though it appears The Marine Corps is still accepting such awards. Defense is now studying the possibility that men in Thailand and those in ships in operations such as End Sweep later will get Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, a spokesman said. The 7th Fleet directive affects the type of awards directly related to combat, such as Strike-Flight Air Medals, Silver Stars,etc.Recommendations for them no longer are accepted except on a case-by-case basis for contingency operations. No Washington record could be found of a similar order from Fleet Marine Force, which controls Marine operations in southeast Asia.”

  28. john

    I believe a young man died on the USS INCHON during operation endsweep,semper-fi I was on the ship

    • Elizabeth Smith

      Do you or anyone on here have any information on a Helicopter crash that happened in LATE 1972? My father is LCPL Alton Ray Smith..he was apart of this…My mother and myself is trying to find out any information on this. My father can’t tell us any details.

      Thank you,
      Elizabeth Smith
      elizabethvictoriasmith82@gmail.com
      228-216-1635

    • Roy D. Sanderson

      John,
      I was a Corpsman with HMH 463 aboard the Inchon. I remember a young Marine dying on the flight deck.
      HM2 Roy Sanderson

  29. hammond

    I was TAD with operation end sweep from March to June 1973. I was on the USS New Orleans, USS Tripoli and the USS Vancouver. If you contact – MILITARY PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER, 9700 PAGE AVENUE,ST. LOUIS, MO. 63132-5100. They will send you all military medals and ribbons you have earned. Send them your name service # or social security # and a brief list of where you were stationed. I contacted them a few years ago. they sent me the navy meritorious commendation ribbon. I was not aware that I had received it.

    • john

      Roy, You were attached to HMH-463 i Remember leaving Hawaii and you I believe were passing out sea sickness pills

  30. Rick Farrell

    I was on a rescue boat along side the Ogden when the airman was killed. I remember this happening but cannot recall his name. I believe he was a new crew member. I was also involved with the rescue of the chopper that crashed. All crew members were fine

    • John L Tonsick

      James “Timmy” O’Neill. I was aboard the USS Dubuque, where they brought his body. It’s been 45 years and I still think about this kid every July 4th and Memorial Day.

  31. Rick Farrell

    I was on a rescue boat along side the Ogden when the airman was killed. I remember this happening but cannot recall his name. I believe he was a new crew member. I was also involved with the rescue of the chopper that crashed. All crew members were fine

    • Kurt Beinschroth

      Hello Rick,
      I too was onboard the Ogden at the time of the loss of the young airman. This “accident” was so unfortunate and could have been prevented with proper safety procedures. I have never forgotten.
      I was also on the rescue boat for the chopper crash. I was with ACU-1 and TAD to the Ogden at thee time. I served as leading petty officer.
      We received a commendation from the commanding officer for the rescue. I have been trying to find more info on thee rescue ie. date and any other description of what we did that day. Including the guard that night of the crash and subsequent salvage.
      Any info you may have would be greatly appreciated.
      I hope life has been good to you these many years since that time.
      Kurt

    • John L Tonsick

      The airman’s name was James Timothy ONeill. He died on July 4th. http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/38747/JAMES-T-ONEILL

      I remember the helicopter crash and the rescue, but I’m a little fuzzy on details; 45 years is a very long time. I was LPO of OI Division on the USS Dubuque.

    • Kurt Beinschroth

      Thanks for the response John…I know ii am filing a claim with the VA they expect you to know the date and time of it all….LOL But I am doing my best. lol 45 years later I am a little fuzzy too.

    • John L Tonsick

      This reply is for Kurt Beinschroth. Kurt, I was able to locate the 1973 deck logs for the Dubuque and the Ogen. The Ogden’s log shows the rescue of the downed CH-53 occurred on July 2nd; returned to the well deck of the Ogden on July 4 with assistance from the USS Grasp (ARS 24). If you’ll give me a contact email, I’d be happy to send you a pdf copy. Hope this helps.

  32. john

    Im somewhat confused I was connected to HMH-463 on USS iNCHON during endsweep I was in weight room with another Marine when they bought a man thru in a body bag who they said had died on deck.That was 45 years ago maybe memory not as good anymore.

    • John L Tonsick

      I know with certainty that O’Neill died aboard the Ogden. His body came to the Dubuque, I saw the body bag. It remained on board for some period. Dubuque was the flagship. I’m sure your memory is correct, John; you don’t forget a body bag. O’Neill’s body may have gone from the Dubuque to the Inchon for subsequent transfer to the US. I really don’t know for certain.

    • Kurt Beinschroth

      Afternoon John, thank you for the response here. I would love to have any info you have found ! I have spent a number of hours trying getting all I can. We must have crossed paths back then. I can not remember where I was on the ship or boats when the unfortunate accident happened and that young sailor lost his life. It did occur on the Ogden but not sure what transpired after. I do know that every aspect of mine sweeping was dangerous and the pace of operations I am sure played a large part in James O’Neill’s loss. It sent a shock wave through the ships crew.
      As I said mentioned I was part of the crew that assisted in the helicopter rescue just days earlier. we were tied up along side the Ogden that day in a mic eight boat. Were you part of ACU 1 ? I watched the helicopter crash that day then responded with the mic boat arriving at the site and watched the crew escape through the hatch in the bottom of the helicopter, all were safe. that night we guarded the site with north Viet Nam’s gun boats around us then went on to assist in the salvage operations. The helicopter was loaded into our well deck.
      It seems strange to be writing about this after so many years. God Bless James Oneill.
      Again thanks for the info. I would love to have copies of those logs and anything else you might run across.
      my email kbeinschroth@gmail.com
      thanks again, Kurt

    • Kurt Beinschroth

      Morning John, I was wondering if you would send that info on the Ogden , Thanks Kurt

    • Kurt Beinschroth

      Hi John not sure you are receiving my emails. Do you still have the info copies of logs. Thanks hope all is well.

  33. Pingback: Operation End Sweep (part 1) | The Lexicans

  34. Roy D. Sanderson

    I remember a young marine getting crushed in the door of a 53 helicopter aboard the Inchon
    I was the Corpman on the flight deck that day
    He was caught in the stern door. The crew chief stopped the door. The Msrine walked to the front of the bird and died. Roy Sanderson
    HM2 with HMH 463.

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  36. My name is Orzie Hebert Jr. I served aboard the Uss Tripoli lph 10, during operation end sweep task force 78. 1973.Aviation boatswains mate. If any one serve aboard the Tripoli at that time, reach out 2 me

  37. Mike Hammond

    I was TAD on the USS Tripoli, USS New Orleans and the USS Vancouver during end sweep. Would like to contact Bartlett, Valentine and Dan Cheatwood off the Kitty Hawk. All radiomen I served with.

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