PIRAZ is a United States Navy acronym for Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone. The zone is defined by the air search radar coverage of a ship patrolling a designated PIRAZ station. The concept was similar to radar picket stations established in World War II. The PIRAZ ship requires a Naval Tactical Data System radio-linked computer installation to effectively identify and track all aircraft anticipated to enter the airspace of the zone during combat.
The concept originated in the summer of 1966 as Yankee station was established for United States Task Force 77 aircraft carriers launching strikes against North Vietnam. A fixed patrol station within range of land-based aircraft made the stationed aircraft carriers vulnerable to attack. A PIRAZ station was established in the westernmost portion of the Gulf of Tonkin where air search radar coverage might extend over North Vietnam and the air-strike routes from Yankee station. This PIRAZ station radio call sign was "Red Crown." The first PIRAZ ships were USS Chicago, King, Mahan, and Long Beach. Belknap class frigates began rotating into PIRAZ station assignments in 1967; and USS Wainwright, assisted in the Son Tay Raid on 21 November 1970.
PIRAZ ships carried long-range RIM-2 Terrier or RIM-8 Talos surface-to-air missiles to defend their stations. Chicago fired RIM-8H Talos-ARM anti-radar homing missiles against North Vietnamese shore-based radar stations. Each PIRAZ ship was accompanied on station by a "shotgun" torpedo boat destroyer with quick-firing guns to defend the PIRAZ ships from torpedo boat attack. PIRAZ ships provided protective radar surveillance of the remotely piloted vehicles performing aerial photo reconnaissance of North Vietnam.
As the Gulf of Tonkin PIRAZ station routine developed, a PIRAZ ship would typically remain on station for approximately 30 days before being relieved by another ship. During the 30-day relief period, the ship would usually travel to a liberty port in Hong Kong or Japan and then to the U. S. Naval Base Subic Bay for minor repairs and missile firing exercises before returning to the PIRAZ station. The ship would typically return to a United States home port for approximately six months after three PIRAZ station assignments with two intervening relief periods.
The PIRAZ ship Combat Information Center (or CIC) was continuously manned by 35 to 40 officers and men watching radar displays, updating position and identification information for NTDS computers, and maintaining radio communication with aircraft and other ships. Some CIC personnel acted as air traffic controllers providing either advisory control or close control. Close (or positive) control occurred when the controller provided specific altitudes, courses, and speeds to the pilot. Personnel providing positive control are called Air Intercept Controllers (AIC). Advisory control simply offered advice concerning proximity to operating area boundaries, nearby air traffic, or known Surface-to-air missile (SAM) or Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) sites.
Chicago's CIC included a secret signals intelligence (Sigint) team using modern electronics to evaluate very weak electromagnetic radiations from North Vietnamese aircraft or SAM sites. The team could transfer real time Sigint information to PIRAZ air controllers. Chicago AICs monitored up to 50 North Vietnamese MiGs simultaneously. On the Tonkin Gulf PIRAZ station, successful AICs concentrated on providing threat information, collecting and sorting tactical information as it developed, and informing the Combat Air Patrols (or CAP) about the threat location and activities while letting aircrews deal with bearing drift and controlling their headings.
Ships on PIRAZ station mounted the air search radar closest to enemy airfields and were best positioned to offer radar information to Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps fighters. Combat Air Patrols (CAP) were typically under advisory control, and would come under positive control when being vectored to hostile aircraft detected by the PIRAZ ship. PIRAZ shipboard air controllers would also provide positive control for aircraft requiring in-flight refueling. Gulf of Tonkin barrier CAP (BARCAP) routinely refueled; and CAP involved in an engagement usually returned with a low fuel state requiring emergency refueling. Three Chicago AICs assisted 52 declared emergency refueling situations for Air Force aircraft in a single day. Preferred procedure turns the tanker aircraft in front of the low fuel state aircraft to minimize search and maneuvering fuel consumption while allowing the fighter to continue away from hostile territory. In some cases, damaged aircraft with leaking fuel tanks can be saved by continuous refueling from rendezvous to landing.
Chief Operations Specialist Larry Nowell, controlled more than 1500 intercepts aboard Mahan and Chicago, and became one of the best known PIRAZ air controllers of the Vietnam War. Chief Nowell provided air control information for more than 100 live engagements with enemy aircraft including 25 percent of intercepts leading to destruction of North Vietnamese fighters in 1972. In August 1972, Chief Nowell became the second enlisted man in Navy history to be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
One PIRAZ shipboard air controller was designated as "flight follower" for each Navy or Air Force formation of strike aircraft to track the strike's progress and offer information required to complete the mission. Flight followers worked with as many as 24 aircraft on a single frequency. PIRAZ ships had the most recent position information for downed aircraft, and were often the closest surface force to a crash site. All PIRAZ ships were equipped with landing platforms for SH-3 Sea King "Big Mother" or SH-2 Seasprite "Clementine" armored helicopters for Search and Rescue (SAR) work. The weapons arrangement of Belknap class frigates was more favorable for helicopter operation, because helicopters on the fantail landing platform would be damaged during missile firing from the stern launcher of Leahy and Coontz class frigates. PIRAZ shipboard air controllers could provide positive control for SAR aircraft; and PIRAZ ships could provide on-deck refueling service for Navy and Air Force helicopters.
Fiori di polvere is the first album from Italian pop band E.V.A. produced by Andrea Piraz. It was released on 5 May 2006.Operation Apache Snow
Operation Apache Snow was a joint U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) military operation during the Vietnam War designed to keep pressure on the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) units in the A Sầu Valley and prevent them from mounting any attacks on the neighboring coastal provinces.Operation Burlington Trail
Operation Burlington Trail was a security operation conducted during the Vietnam War by the U.S. 198th Infantry Brigade in Quảng Nam Province, South Vietnam from 8 April to 11 November 1968.Operation Custom Tailor
Operation Custom Tailor was an American cruiser and destroyer strike force that conducted a daring raid on Haiphong, North Vietnam, in May 1972. It was a history-making strike that involved the most formidable cruiser/destroyer fleet in the Western Pacific since World War II. During the strike, military targets within four miles of Haiphong were hit and enemy opposition was heavy.Operation Essex
Operation Essex was an operation by the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in "Antenna Valley", Hiệp Đức District south of An Hoa Combat Base from 6 to 17 November 1967.Operation Fillmore
Operation Fillmore was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Phú Yên Province, lasting from 26 March to 21 July 1966.Operation Flaming Dart
Operation Flaming Dart was a U.S. and South Vietnamese military operation, conducted in two parts, during the Vietnam War.Operation Manhattan
Operation Manhattan was an operation conducted by the 1st and 2nd Brigades, 25th Infantry Division and the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in the Ho Bo Woods/Bến Củi area, lasting from 23 April to 7 June 1967.Operation Market Time
Operation Market Time was the United States Navy and South Vietnam's successful effort begun in 1965 to stop the flow of troops, war material, and supplies by sea, coast, and rivers, from North Vietnam into parts of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Also participating in Operation Market Time were United States Coast Guard Squadron One and Squadron Three. The Coast Guard provided heavily armed 82-foot (25 m) patrol boats and large cutters that included 5" cannon used in battle and gunfire support.
Radar picket escort ships, based in Pearl Harbor, provided long-term presence at sea offshore to guard against trawler infiltration. Originally built for WWII convoy duty, and then modified for distant early warning ("DEW") duty in the North Atlantic, their sea keeping capability made them ideal for long-term presence offshore where they provided support for SWIFT boats, pilot rescue and sampan inspection. There were two or three on station at all times. Deployments were seven-months duration, with a four- or five-month turn-around in Pearl. When off station, they alternated duty as Taiwan Defense Patrol, with stops in Subic and Sasebo for refit mid-deployment.
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Operation Pocket Money was the title of a U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial mining campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 9 May 1972 (Vietnamese time), during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to halt or slow the transportation of supplies and materials for the Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive), an invasion of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), by forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), that had been launched on 30 March. Pocket Money was the first use of naval mines against North Vietnam.Operation Seward
Operation Seward was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Phú Yên Province, lasting from 5 to 25 September 1966.Right Now (Futurasound song)
"Right Now" is a song by Futurasound with vocals by Shara Nelson released as a single in 2003.USS Agerholm
USS Agerholm (DD-826) was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was the only ship named for Harold Crist Agerholm (29 January 1925 – 7 July 1944), a Private First Class (Pfc.) in the 2nd Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps. He was killed during the assault on Saipan, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.USS Biddle (CG-34)
USS Biddle (DLG-34/CG-34) was a Belknap-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy. She saw action in Vietnam, where she is believed to be the last ship to down an enemy aircraft with hand-loaded guns. She was involved in the Gulf of Sidra incident in 1981. The cruiser was decommissioned on 30 November 1993 and sold for scrap on 4 December 2000.USS Chicago (CA-136)
USS Chicago (CA-136) was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser laid down on 28 July 1943 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, by the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Launched on 20 August 1944, she was sponsored by Mrs. Edward J. Kelly, wife of the Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 10 January 1945, Captain Richard R. Hartung, USN, in command.USS Sterett (CG-31)
USS Sterett (DLG/CG-31) was a Belknap-class destroyer leader / cruiser. She was the third ship to be named for Master Commandant Andrew Sterett (1778–1807), who served during the Quasi-War with France and the Barbary Wars. She was launched as DLG-31, a frigate, and reclassified a cruiser (CG) on 30 June 1975.
The contract to construct Sterett was awarded on 20 September 1961. Her keel was laid down at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 25 September 1962. Sponsored by Mrs. Phyllis Nitze, wife of Secretary of the Navy, Paul H. Nitze, she was launched on 30 June 1964, delivered to the navy on 16 June 1967 and commissioned on 8 April 1967.
Sterett earned nine battle stars for her service along the coast of Vietnam.USS Truxtun (CGN-35)
The fifth USS Truxtun (DLGN-35/CGN-35) was a nuclear powered cruiser in the U.S. Navy. She was launched as a destroyer leader (called a "frigate" at the time) and later reclassified as a cruiser. She was named after Commodore Thomas Truxtun (1755–1822). She was in service from May 1967 to September 1995.USS Wainwright (CG-28)
USS Wainwright (DLG/CG-28), a Belknap-class destroyer leader, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for members of the Wainwright family; specifically, Commander Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, his son, Master Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, Jr., and his cousin, Commander Richard Wainwright, as well as Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright, the son of Commander Richard Wainwright, and Commander Richard Wainwright, the son of Admiral Wainwright. Her keel was laid down on 2 July 1962 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works Corporation. She was launched on 25 April 1965 sponsored by Mrs. Richard W. Wainwright; and commissioned on 8 January 1966 at the Boston Naval Shipyard with Captain Robert P. Foreman in command.USS Whipple (FF-1062)
USS Whipple (DE-1062/FF-1062) was a Knox-class frigate commissioned in the United States Navy from 1970 to 1995. In 2002, Whipple was donated to the Mexican Navy and renamed ARM Mina (F-214).
Easter Offensive (1972)
Post-Paris Peace Accords (1973–1974)
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