Gulf of Tonkin Incident Reunion

Fist of the Fleet Association was proud to sponsor the reunion of three former VA-144 naval aviators who last flew together on August 4 & 5, 1964 from USS Constellation, CV-64 in the Gulf of Tonkin. The event took place at NAS Lemoore, CA on September 16 & 17, 2019 and was hosted by the Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific and NAS Lemoore. The reunion was very memorable for all who attended and especially for the three honorees Capt John “Nick” Nicholson, CDR Everett Alvarez, Jr. and CDR Ron Boch.

LT Ron Boch, LTJG Everett Alvarez, Jr. and LCDR John “Nick” Nicholson 8/4/1964

Everett, “Nick” and Ron 9/16/2019 NASL

Latest Edition: Spring 2021

Pet Peeve time! As most of you, if not that all of you have realized by now, I am an ardent student of military history and have been from about age 12. It has never stopped. Hell, I started my first research project at 14 as I was quite unsatisfied by accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most books only dealt with the capital ships and the more important ships of note. What of the rest? By the time I graduated in 1974 and was preparing for boot camp I had catalogued about 95 ships, vessels and boats in Pearl on Dec 7: class, name, hull number and eventual fate running the gamut from cruisers, destroyers, tenders and subs right down to tugs, fire boats and honey barges. Back then the “world wide web” was called a library and I hit every one I could get to as well as buying as many books as I could. Now you can find the entire list of 105 ships in the Naval History and Heritage Command website https://www.history.navy.mil/

I have been watching hundreds of hours of documentaries on Amazon Prime and to say that often I am disgusted would be an understatement. Some examples: When discussing the May ‘40 French campaign they claim 14,000 armored vehicles in the attack. That figure represents more than the entire output of the German arms industry between Sept ‘39 – May ‘45. The true number is about 2100, most of which were the little PzKw I and II tanks. How ‘bout this? When talking about the P-38’s sent to intercept and shoot down Admiral Yamamoto over Bougainville in Apr ‘43 they show F-9Fs over Korea. WHAT? Here: the Polish invasion of Sept ‘39 showing a company of Tiger II tanks, and then PzKw III and IV. Tiger II didn’t arrive until late ‘44. P III/IV? Yes, available in limited numbers but the clips show the side skirt armor which wasn’t added until late ‘43. These are just surface scratches. The more you watch, the worse it gets. Using the wrong data and visuals to illustrate a point is not just bad theater, it’s bad journalism. And speaking of bad theater these are the reasons that I believe the 1976 movie Midway is the worst piece of crap ever foisted on an unsuspecting American public. All the gun camera footage is post ‘43, and (inconsequentially) the sub- plots suck. Finally I was watching the dramatic series “Vikings” which takes place in the late 8th century. The Chieftain declares the summer raids would take place in the east, in Russia. “Russia” did not exist in the 8th century. The word was first recorded about 1540 to describe territory held by the descendants of Swedish Vikings who moved south from the Baltic Sea and down the river systems to establish settlements along those rivers and were formally known as the “Rus”. In a series that works so hard to be historically accurate and believable and gets so much right this was a glaring error. My points: A) Never believe everything you may see on television, B) Always get at least two sources of confirming information, and C) Do Your Research!

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