previous post next post  

Today in History... a mixed bag.

In 1943, the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse came to a successful conclusion on Guadalcanal, causing the Japanese to initiate Operation Ke, to evacuate the remaining troops of the Japanese 17th Army.  Hard fighting continued, and there were several sharp naval engagements, but to all intents and purposes, Guadalcanal was a done deal.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, the joint Australian - United States Papua Campaign also came to a successful conclusion.  Combined with Guadalcanal, and the earlier naval battles at Midway and Coral Sea, the Japanese tide is starting to ebb.

Okay, that's it for the good news.

In 1968, the NorKs captured the USS Pueblo, which remains on the active rolls of the US Navy, and is one of the longest serving vessels in the Navy.  She is the only commissioned Navy vessel held by hostile hands.  The crew of Pueblo, under the leadership of Commander Lloyd Bucher, gave us a good example of passive resistance.  One wonders, in this day of brutal media competition, the internet and blogs, if we bloggers could keep our typing fingers stilled, so as not to give it away to the captors?  And would the tame retired generals in the cable stable be able to keep their yaps shut?  I rather doubt it.

To wrap up the bad news, on this day in 1973, President Nixon announced peace was at hand in Vietnam.  Two years later I watched the Auld Soldier as he watched the Saigon Embassy evacuation on television.  Not a good day.



I've been reading John Costello's "The Pacifc War, 1941-1945" recently and would recommend it  as a really good overview of the conflict.

Lately, I've been watching a bit of the Japanese NHK television channel and have been surprised about how the Japanese media seems to continue to whine about the results World War II. Besides the usual annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki atomic bombing sob stories, I caught one about the "art" of the Japanese Americans interned in America during the war.  Basically, the "art" was just an excuse to go on about how America mistreated them. Apparently, for all their math skills, the Japanese failed to keep a very good box score on how many people they mistreated or worse.
 John, 1968, many years ago.  There were many things about the Pueblo, that we didn't know. It reminds me of the old proverb, “A foolish man speaks much about that which he knows little.” In 1973, when Nixon announced that the Vietnam War was over, I wonder what the “After Action Report” would read. What  would it say to us today in 2011? I do believe there is much to be learned from that time. John, thanks for suggesting it would take a moment and look back at that time. Hopefully, we will learn, what to do and what not to do.

As I look at that time, and I look at the comment from 11B40, I hope that we would take everything we learn and understand, but give it in contexts. It may be even more important to discover the context of everything that was going on during Vietnam or  “The Pacific War, 1941–1945”.We have often said, “DETAILS MATTER!”, even more so here. Now, how do we apply those lessons to today, in our present wars? 
Details matter, but especially so does bravery by our fighting men and women.

Thanks for remembering Capt. Bucher and the <i>U.S.S. Pueblo</i>.  It's not even in some of the history texts.
I have a friend who finished his Army enlistment in '67, (I think.)

According to Beetle, not wanting to stay in the Army and end up sleeping on the ground in Viet Nam, he enlisted in the Navy whereupon he was promptly assigned to the Pueblo. 

It's always a pleasure to enjoy beers with him and hear the stories of their ordeal.
 Greetings:   especially  "Grumpy"

At the risk of appearing contentious, or worse, grumpy, I would just add that John Costello does a good job of providing 100+ pages of background/context about the Pacific War and America's involvement in Asia and with the Japanese.  
I remember one famous attempt by the Pueblo captives to try and subvert the narrative imposed upon them by the Norks in the video: One guy said, "Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the act." That was a straight quote from the UCMJ. M'self, If I'm ever captured and held for ransom, and paraded onto the TV, I'll tell the world that my name is Lewis Washington. Look it up.