|Rusk, Johnson and McNamara|
Do I hold these guys responsible for the deaths of over 58,000 Americans in Vietnam?
Yes, partially. The generals of that era have to shoulder a lot of that debt as well.
It's tough reading this book. Vietnam dominated my teen years on the television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Many of my generation grew up with that dark cloud, out there on the horizon. It felt like we'd all go there, someday, in some capacity. The war seemed never ending.
It's also a tough read because the topic is the Wild Weasel program (Juvat wrote about Col Thorsness, a Wild Weasel pilot, recently), some of the first aircraft I worked on in the Air Force were the F-4C versions of the Wild Weasel. Much of the equipment Lt Col Hampton writes about rings a lot of bells. While my shop didn't maintain that equipment, we knew how the stuff worked and guys from that shop would show us what it could do.
So there's two personal reasons why this book has an effect on me. There's another.
One of the projects I've been associated with in a professional capacity over the past decade is the Zumwalt-class destroyer project. There are three ships planned.
The names of the first two hulls I don't have a big problem with - USS ZUMWALT and USS MICHAEL MONSOOR.
The first hull (DDG-1000) is named for an admiral, Elmo Russell "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr. who had a stellar naval career. Kind of a political move naming a ship after him, but there are many names that could have been much worse. (Stand by for heavy rolls!)
|Admiral Zumwalt, namesake of DDG-1000|
|DDG-1000 at Bath Iron Works, still a work in progress. (Source)|
The name of the second hull (DDG-1001) follows all the traditions of the Naval Service. The USS MICHAEL MONSOOR is named for MAA2 Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action in Iraq and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions there.
|MAA2 Monsoor, namesake of DDG-1001|
|MAA2 Monsoor's Medal of Honor and SEAL trident|
"The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
MASTER AT ARMS SECOND CLASS, SEA, AIR and LANDMICHAEL A. MONSOORUNITED STATES NAVYFor service as set forth in the following CITATION:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
|At left, DDG-1001 under construction at Bath Iron Works|
(To the right is DDG-115 under construction, to be named for Sgt Rafael Peralta, USMC. Posthumous Navy Cross)
(Source, there are a number of good Zumwalt pics at that link)
Now what really sticks in my craw is the name of the third ship in this class. The name of DDG-1002 bugs the Hell out of me, even more so based on things I'm reading in Lt Col Hampton's book.
The third hull will be named for the guy who was President after JFK and before Nixon. This was a very political naming and is right up there with Murtha, Chavez and Giffords. While all three of those ship names make me want to projectile vomit, naming a ship after Johnson is, in my opinion, a travesty.
The clown was a consummate politician. Rigged things to get himself a commission in the Navy (Lieutenant Commander no less), went on to fix it so he could be awarded a Silver Star from another consummate politician (Douglas MacArthur, at least he was qualified for his position) for a mission where he was essentially a passenger.
His piss poor decisions in the Vietnam War cost a lot of lives. Domestically his policies were not all that hot either. The man was a disgrace.
Naming a ship after him?
Good Lord. What's next?
I shudder to think.
If this post seems a tad incoherent and somewhat disjoint, my apologies. Nothing quite sets off the old temper like that cad Johnson and his idiot SecDef McNamara. I am quite beside myself with rage at the moment.