Air Force

June 27, 2014

This Week in History

1954: Operation WOUNDED WARRIOR

Different than today’s Wounded Warrior Project, 60years ago this week, the U.S. Air Force began execution of Operation WOUNDED WARRIOR. The French were still trying to keep control of their Southeast Asian colony Vietnam.

The Vietnamese independence fighters were a mix of nationalists and communists collectively known as the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh were experts at tunneling and using tropical growth as camouflage. The movement’s political leader was Ho Chi Minh, and its military leader was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap. Both were communists. The Viet Minh had fought the Japanese invaders during World War II. In 1946, when the French came back to reclaim their colony, the Viet Minh changed targets. The U.S. provided heavy aid to the French during the war.

Over the years, the two sides fought a number of battles. In November 1953, the French, including Foreign Legionnaires, took over the valley town of Dien Bien Phu. The town was near the Laotian border. The reason French Army Corps Gen. Henri Navarre ordered the offensive was to cut the Viet Minh’s supply line into Laos. Laos was an ally of the French. The Viet Minh quickly cut the roads to the town. With that the French went to resupplying their troops by air.

Giap surprised the French when he surrounded the camp with 40,000 troops. His men then hauled heavy artillery up the difficult reverse slopes of the surrounding hills. Having his men tunnel through the hills near the top, he placed the artillery overlooking the French positions. The tactic made Giap’s artillery almost impervious to counter-battery fire. Trench style warfare soon ensued. As the French perimeter shrank, aerial resupply became impossible.

On May 7, 1954, the Viet Minh overran the base. As a result, the French government of Prime Minister Joseph Laniel resigned. The new French government of Prime Minister Pierre Mendés-France wanted to end the war. Shortly after, the French negotiated an official settlement to the conflict. The settlement divided Vietnam into North and South Vietnam, and the French pulled out.

The U.S. Far East Air Forces and Military Air Transport Service took part in Operation WOUNDED WARRIOR beginning June 26, 1954. The Far East Air Forces later became Pacific Air Forces. The Military Air Transport Service was the joint forerunner of the Air Mobility Command. Over the next three weeks, the operation took home 509 French Foreign Legion soldiers.

For political reasons, the journey was a long one. From Saigon, South Vietnam, the legionnaires flew first to Tokyo, Japan, and then to Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts. They continued their journey to Paris, France, and then on to Oran, Algeria. Ten years later, the United States became heavily involved in military actions in Vietnam. The reason the United States became involved was to keep South Vietnam from falling to the communists.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

EOD called out for expertise

Courtesy photo The 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team recovers military ordnance July 4 from the rubble of a burnt down building at an auto repair facility in Phoenix. The Luke EOD team recovered nume...
 
 

Strong followers challenge authority

It’s not surprising that when I tell subordinates to challenge authority, I often get a look of confusion. Admittedly, this is a step used to provoke thought. Obviously, we don’t need subordinates undermining their leader’s authority. My intent is not to create insubordination — it is to underscore the importance of strong followership. Great leaders...
 
 

Travel access, opportunities not to be ignored

Possibly one of the greatest and overlooked gifts we have in the military is our ability to travel. More often than not, we are stationed at bases around the world where we have the access and opportunity to travel and see the local sites. However, it happens way too often that we ignore those opportunities....
 

 
Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann

Thunderbolt joins elite Thunderbirds

Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, took this photo March 15 during Luke Air Force Base’s Open House and Air Show. She had no idea at the time that just a few months later she would b...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Wanted: Airmen selfie videos The Air Force wants to hear from Airmen with unique stories about what led them to the Air Force, who are proud of their job and how it impacts the Air Force mission, or work in an exceptional unit. The 2014 American Airman Video Contest is open to all Airmen who...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Airman 1st Class Anna Valdez 56th Contracting Squadron Contracting specialist Hometown: Moscow Years in service: One Family: Husband, Phil; mother, Natalia; and father, Oleg Education: Russian State University of Trade and Economics bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics Inspirations: My parents demonstrated excellence and success in a loving environment, taught me to never give up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin