Yankee Station

Yankee Station is located in Vietnam
Yankee Station (1966-1973)
Yankee Station (1966-1973)
Yankee Station (1964-1966)
Yankee Station (1964-1966)
Dixie Station
Dixie Station
Positions of Yankee Station.

Coordinates: 17°30′00″N 108°30′00″E / 17.50000°N 108.50000°E Yankee Station (officially Point Yankee) was a fixed coordinate off the coast of Vietnam where U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and support ships loitered in open waters over a nine-year period during the Vietnam War. The location was used primarily by aircraft carriers of Task Force 77 to launch strikes over North Vietnam. While the coordinate's official designation was "Point Yankee", it was universally referred to as Yankee Station. Carriers conducting air operations at Yankee Station were said to be "on the line" (in combat) and statistical summaries were based on days on the line. Yankee Station was initially located at 16° 00′ N, 110° 00′ E[1], however with a massive increase in operations over North Vietnam in 1966 the station was moved about 145 miles (230 km) northwest to 17° 30′ N, 108° 30′ E[2], placing it about 90 miles (145 km) from the North Vietnamese shore.

Yankee Team beginnings

The name derived from it being the geographic reference point "Y", pronounced "Yankee" in the NATO phonetic alphabet. In turn the term Point Yankee derived from the launch point for "Yankee Team" aerial reconnaissance missions over Laos conducted in 1964. The first ship operations at Point Yankee took place in April 1964. Starting 13 April 1966 Yankee Station was moved further toward the Gulf of Tonkin at 17° 30' N and 108° 30' E[3][2], about 190 km due east of Đồng Hới.

Early missions were flown in the Kingdom of Laos during the Laotian Civil War. Begun 19 May 1964 as medium and low level U.S. Navy photo reconnaissance missions over the Plain of Jars, it was soon ramped up to "armed reconnaissance" covered by U.S. Air Force F-100 Super Sabre fighter escorts from Tan Son Nhut. The classified operation was dubbed Yankee Team on 25 May 1964. Notice of their non-emergency sorties was forwarded from CINCPAC to Washington 36 hours in advance for possible cancellation. A command post was set up in 2nd Air Division headquarters. A U.S. Air Force liaison officer was posted to USS Kitty Hawk to coordinate the naval aviators with Air Force operations; in turn, a party of five naval personnel were detailed to the command post.[4][5]

Committed to a mission in which half the planes drew ground fire, and lacking a formal Combat Search and Rescue backup, the mission suffered its first loss on 6 June 1964 when Lieutenant Charles F. Klusman was shot down while flying at 1,200 feet. Air America attempted rescue without success. Flak suppression protocols had not yet been figured out; use of napalm, the most successful counter to anti-aircraft batteries, was banned by the American ambassador to Laos, Leonard Unger. A second plane went down during the would-be CSAR.[4]

After settling into secretive run air strikes against communist infiltrators into Laos, Yankee Team morphed into Operation Barrel Roll.[5]

Yankee Station continues the fight

During the two periods of sustained air operations against North Vietnam (March 2, 1965, to October 31, 1968, and March 30, 1972, to December 29, 1972) there were normally three carriers on the line, each conducting air operations for twelve hours, then off for twelve hours. One of the carriers would operate in Vietnam territorial waters from noon to midnight, another from midnight to noon, and one during daylight hours, which gave 24-hour coverage plus additional effort during daylight hours, when sorties were most effective. However at the end of May, 1972, six carriers were for a short period of time on the line at Yankee Station conducting Linebacker strikes.

The first aircraft carrier at Yankee Station was Kitty Hawk, which was ordered there in April 1964 for the Yankee Team missions. Kitty Hawk was joined by Ticonderoga in May and Constellation in June, two months prior to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Ticonderoga and Constellation launched the first bombing missions from Yankee Station on August 5, 1964. Constellation was also the last carrier conducting operations at Yankee Station on August 15, 1973. USS Forrestal suffered a major accident while at Yankee Station when a series of fires and explosions on her deck killed 134 men and injured another 161.[6]

A corresponding Dixie Station in the South China Sea off the Mekong Delta was a single carrier point for conducting strikes within South Vietnam from May 15, 1965, to August 3, 1966.

Endnotes

  1. ^ History of Task Force 77, 2 September 1964 - 17 March 1965, Glenn Helm Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University.
  2. ^ a b Military Report, U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet - Command History for 1966, Sedgwick Tourison Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University.
  3. ^ Kelley, Michael P. (2002). Where We Were: A Comprehensive Guide to the Firebases, Military Installations and Naval Vessels of the Vietnam War, 1945-75. Central Point, Oregon: Hellgate Press. pp. 5–557. ISBN 1-55571-625-3.
  4. ^ a b Anthony, Victor; Richard Sexton (1993). The War in Northern Laos. Washington, D.C.: Command for Air Force History. pp. 107–118. OCLC 232549943.
  5. ^ a b Frankum, Ronald B. Jr. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam. Scarecrow Press. p. 497. ISBN 9780810879560.
  6. ^ Hermann, Jan K. (2008). Navy medicine in Vietnam: oral histories from Dien Bien Phu to the fall of Saigon. McFarland, p. 200. ISBN 0-7864-3999-8

References

  • Anthony, Victor B. and Richard R. Sexton (1993). The War in Northern Laos. Command for Air Force History. OCLC 232549943.
  • Frankum, Ronald B. Jr. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam. Scarecrow Press. ISBNs 0810879565, 9780810879560.

Recommended reading

  • Francillon, René. Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club US Carrier Operations off Vietnam, Naval Institute Press (1988) ISBN 0-87021-696-1
  • Nichols, John B. (CDR, USN ret.) and Tillman, Barrett. On Yankee Station, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 0-87021-559-0
  • Nordeen, Lon. Air Warfare in the Missile Age, Smithsonian Institution Press (1985), ISBN 0-87474-680-9
  • Reardon, Carol. Launch the Intruders University of Kansas Press (2005) ISBN 978-0-7006-1677-0
Barrett Tillman

Barrett Tillman (born 1948) is an American author who specializes in naval and aviation topics in addition to fiction and technical writing.

Tillman's most influential book to date is On Yankee Station (1987), written with John B. Nichols. It is a critical appraisal of naval aviation in the Vietnam War. According to Tillman, it was added to the US Air Force and Marine Corps professional reading lists, and at least one squadron took copies of the book with them to Operation Desert Storm as "a reality check on tactics".

Dixie Station

Dixie Station was a geographic position during the Vietnam War in the South China Sea off the Mekong Delta from which United States Navy aircraft carriers launched strikes providing close air support for American and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) ground troops in South Vietnam. It was located about 130 km due southeast of Cam Ranh Bay, at 11° N and 110° E in 600 m (2000 ft) of water.

Dixie Station was established on 15 May 1965 as a single-carrier counterpart to the multi-carrier Yankee Station, which was located further north near the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin and was responsible for strikes on North Vietnamese targets. Targets for Yankee Station strikes were personally selected (sometimes months in advance) by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, resulting in notoriously restrictive rules of engagement. In contrast, Dixie Station missions were carried out in response to requests for close air support by friendly ground forces engaging enemy guerrillas in South Vietnam. The strike forces were usually vectored on to their target in real time by a ground-based forward air controller.

The name "Dixie" was chosen to match that of the phonetic-alphabet-designated "Yankee," resulting in a pun relating to the traditional slang terms for the Northern United States and Southern United States, with Yankee bombing the North, and Dixie the South.

Aircraft carriers continued rotating on station at Dixie flying in support of friendly forces until 3 August 1966, when enough land-based aircraft had become available to support operations in the area that aircraft carrier support no longer was needed. Yankee Station, in contrast, remained in use until August 1973.

On the Yankee Station

On the Yankee Station is a short story collection by William Boyd. His first novel, A Good Man in Africa was published in 1981; this collection was published later that same year, and includes two stories featuring Morgan Leafy, the anti-hero of the novel. The title comes from one of the stories which is set at Yankee Station an operations centre for the US Navy during the Vietnam War. The collection has been a set text for English A-Level.

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.

Operation Market Time was one of six Navy duties begun after the Tonkin Gulf Incident, along with Operation Sea Dragon, Operation Sealords, Yankee Station, PIRAZ, and naval gunfire support.

The Destiny of Nathalie 'X'

The Destiny of Nathalie 'X' is the second short story collection by William Boyd, published in 1995, some fourteen years after his first collection, On the Yankee Station.

The Dream Lover (short stories)

The Dream Lover: Short Stories is a collection of short stories by the Scottish writer William Boyd that were written at the start of Boyd's career. It was published in 2008 by Bloomsbury. The Dream Lover combines two previous books of short stories: On the Yankee Station and The Destiny of Nathalie 'X'.

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 Carpenter (DD-825)

USS Carpenter (DD/DDK/DDE-825) was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Lieutenant Commander Donald M. Carpenter (1894–1940).

USS Evans (DE-1023)

USS Evans (DE-1023), a Dealey-class destroyer escort, was the third ship of the United States Navy to have the name Evans. However, it is the only ship to be named for Ernest E. Evans, a naval officer and recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The third Evans (DE-1023) was launched 14 September 1955 by Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company, Seattle, Washington; sponsored by Mrs. High Hendrickson, sister of Ernest E. Evans; and commissioned 14 June 1957, Lieutenant Commander H. F. Wiley in command.

USS Hoel (DDG-13)

USS Hoel (DDG-13), named for Lieutenant Commander William R. Hoel USN (1824–1879), was a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyer.

Hoel was laid down by Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan, on 3 August 1959, launched on 4 August 1960 by Mrs. Harry H. Long, granddaughter of Lieutenant Commander Hoel and commissioned on 16 June 1962, Commander Allen W. Slifer in command.Hoel served as plane guard for aircraft carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon operations, patrolled on Search and rescue duties and carried out Naval Gunfire Support missions during the Vietnam War.

USS John A. Bole

USS John A. Bole (DD-755), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Lieutenant Commander John Archibald Bole, Jr., who was the commanding officer of Amberjack which is thought to be lost on 16 February 1943.

A Gearing-class destroyer John A. Bole was renamed Gurke on 15 June 1944 prior to being launched 15 February 1945.

John A. Bole, was laid down on 20 May 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, New York and launched on 1 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. John A. Bole, Jr., widow of Lieutenant Commander Bole. The ship was commissioned on 3 March 1945, Commander E. B. Billingsley in command.

USS Mullinnix

USS Mullinnix (DD-944) was a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was named for Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix USN (1892–1943), who was killed in action during World War II, when the aircraft carrier USS Liscome Bay was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-175 and sank southwest of Butaritari Island on 24 November 1943.

Mullinnix was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, and launched by Mrs. Kathryn F. Mullinnix.

Mullinnix conducted patrol duty in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, participated in the Gemini program recovery operations in March 1966, and served as plane guard for aircraft carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon operations, patrolled on search and rescue duties, and carried out naval gunfire support missions during the Vietnam War.

Mullinix and her sister ship Edson appeared in The Twilight Zone episode "The Thirty-Fathom Grave."

USS Ozbourn (DD-846)

USS Ozbourn (DD-846) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. She was named for Marine Private Joseph W. Ozbourn (1919–1944), who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his "great personal valor" during the Battle of Tinian.

Ozbourn was laid down by Bath Iron Works on 16 June 1945. The destroyer was launched on 22 December 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Joseph W. Ozbourn. The vessel was commissioned on 5 March 1946 with Commander Bernard A. Smith in command.

USS Ranger (CV-61)

The seventh USS Ranger (CV/CVA-61) was the third of four Forrestal-class supercarriers built for the United States Navy in the 1950s. Although all four ships of the class were completed with angled decks, Ranger had the distinction of being the first US carrier built from the beginning as an angled-deck ship.

Commissioned in 1957, she served extensively in the Pacific, especially the Vietnam War, for which she earned 13 battle stars. Near the end of her career, she also served in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

Ranger appeared on television in The Six Million Dollar Man and Baa Baa Black Sheep, and in the films Top Gun, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (standing in for the carrier Enterprise), and Flight of the Intruder.

Ranger was decommissioned in 1993, and was stored at Bremerton, Washington until March 2015. She was then moved to Brownsville for scrapping, which was completed in November 2017.

USS Sproston (DD-577)

USS Sproston (DD-577) was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was the second ship named for US Naval Lieutenant John G. Sproston, who was killed in action while leading an attack on a Confederate ironclad during the American Civil War.

USS Walke (DD-723)

USS Walke (DD-723), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Henry A. Walke, a Rear Admiral during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. The third Walke (DD-723) was laid down on 7 June 1943 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works and launched on 27 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Douglas Dillon. The ship was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 21 January 1944, Comdr. John C. Zahm 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).

VFA-147

Strike Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147), also known as the "Argonauts", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California (USA). VFA-147 was established on 1 February 1967 and flies the F-35C Lightning II.

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