Moments after this iconic photograph was snapped, 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez will be cut down by enemy fire and then use his body to absorb the blast from a grenade — posthumously earning the Medal of Honor. Read his citation here. 70 years ago this night, Lopez’s Marines spent the next several hours neutralizing the North Korean defenders, setting the stage for the drive to recapture Seoul.
Today’s post is in honor of Capt. Raymond P. Salzarulo, Jr. who was killed when his F-4C Phantom was shot down by an enemy surface-to-air missile over North Vietnam on this day in 1966. Although no parachutes were spotted, Salzarulo’s pilot, 1st Lt. John H. Nasmyth Jr., survived and spent the next 2,355 days as a prisoner of war. Salzarulo, a native of Hollansbee, W. Va. and a graduate of the Air Force Academy (Class of ’64), served with the famed 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. Originally listed as missing in action, his remains were identified in 1990 and he is buried next to the headstone for his father Ray Sr., a LB-30 Liberator pilot who was lost in an attack on the retreating Japanese fleet after the Battle of Midway, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Continue reading “4 September: Today in U.S. military history”
Just checking in, over 1700 miles in and at this stage I am roughly halfway to the Pacific.
Like the legendary explorers whose route I am recreating, I’ve had my share of equipment issues. My PROFORM Tour de France bike’s motor that tilts the bike frame up and down when ascending or descending hills broke ages ago, and they sent me a replacement. I haven’t installed the new part yet, because I prefer the bike not pitching up and down, and I don’t want to break into the guts if I don’t have to. Continue reading “Lewis and Clark Ride: more Montana”
Today we honor six men from the 2d Battalion, Fourth Marines who gave their lives on August 24, 1966 during Operation PRAIRIE. When helicopters began taking fire from an enemy machinegun on “Razorback Ridge,” just south of the Demilitarized Zone, elements of Company E went in to search for — and destroy — the position. The Marines began investigating a rocky, bowl-shaped position, which was surrounded by caves infested with North Vietnamese soldiers that sprung out and attacked the now-trapped Americans.
Once word reached headquarters, a rescue mission was organized. Company F’s 3rd Platoon, commanded by 2nd Lt. Stephen F. Snyder, marched through the enemy infested jungle at night to make contact with the enemy and reach their trapped comrades. While 3rd Platoon did rescue some of the wounded Marines, the rescue force was unable to break the siege; the enemy held the high ground and used the cave system to their full advantage.
The NVA attacked at dawn, but were defeated by the Marine relief force and “E” Company survivors were able to return to friendly lines. The engagement would ultimately claim the lives of six of the rescuers: Pfc. Billy Joe Harrison (19, of Knoxville, Tenn.), LCpl. Douglas S. Dubose (19, of Tampa, Fla.), Pfc. Jerry W. Nye (19, of Hummelstown, Pa.), Pfc. Wayne R. Baker (20, of Ovalo, Texas), LCpl. William R. Kelley (20, of Citronelle, Ala.) died four days later from multiple gunshot wounds after being evacuated to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, and Lt. Snyder, a 23-year-old native of Sunbury, Pa., was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.