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Laying the wreath
Senior Master Sgt. (ret.) Gary “Boomer” Adams lays the ceremonial wreath with Col. Randy Kaufman, 36th Operations Group commander, during the Operation Linebacker II Remembrance Ceremony at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 14, 2012. The ceremony commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Linebacker II campaign that led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Wiseman/Released)
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Linebacker II Remembrance Ceremony

Posted 12/14/2012   Updated 12/17/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Benjamin Wiseman
36th Wing Public Affairs


12/14/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The annual Linebacker II Remembrance Ceremony was held at the Arc Light Memorial Park here Dec. 14. The ceremony honors the heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice in support of Operation Linebacker II.

Operation Linebacker II, also referred to as the "11-Day War," was conducted from Dec. 18, 1972 to Dec. 29, 1972. After peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam failed, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the bombing of North Vietnam to bring the North Vietnamese government back to the negotiating table.

"During Operation Linebacker II, more than 700 sorties were flown and 15,000 tons of ordnances were dropped on targets in North Vietnam," said Col. Randy Kaufman, 36th Operations Group commander. "For 11 days, Andersen became a very busy base."

Throughout the operation, Andersen was the staging area for the B-52 Stratofortress bombers. With an increase of Airmen and B-52s taking up nearly five miles of ramp space, Andersen was the site of the largest rapid buildup of airpower in history.

"Andersen grew to a population of more than 10,000 active duty members, and the number of B-52s increased from 34 to 155 by the time Operation Linebacker II kicked off," said Colonel Kaufman. "The population increased so much that Airmen started sleeping in the gym and 'tent cities' were constructed just to house the Airmen."

Even though the operation was considered a great success, like most conflicts or wars, there were casualties. During Operation Linebacker II, 33 B-52 crewmembers were killed or missing in action as a result of the massive bombing on North Vietnam. Many deaths were credited to SA-2 surface-to-air missiles launched by the North Vietnamese.

"Operation Linebacker II was a success, but it was not without loss," said Colonel Kaufman. "33 men and 15 aircrafts were lost during the operation," said Colonel Kaufman. "The names of those men are etched in bronze on this memorial."

It has been 40 years since Operation Linebacker II started, and Andersen continues to honor its fallen warriors every December.

"We come together to honor their gallantry and sacrifices to our nation," said Colonel Kaufman during the ceremony. "Your attendance today ensures that their sacrifices will never be forgotten."



tabComments
3/23/2013 2:30:36 AM ET
I was an electrical repairman working on B-52Ds on Guam in 1972-1973. During the 11 day war I was on the red ball truck. It was my duty to fix any electrical issues that came up prior to launch of the D models. I remember going into the cockpit of these aircraft and asking the pilot what his electrical problem was. I knew some of these men were not coming back to the base. I seen in their eyes they were all ready for the missions and just wanted their aircraft fixed so they could launch. I remember the first day of the war about 80 B52s were taking off one after another. I remember the smell of the JP4 fuel. It was so strong and lasted so long into the night. I knew then I was involved in a major combat campaign over North Vietnam. It was known as LINEBACKER II. This is a link to a PDF that goes into details of that campaign. www.afhso.af.milsharedmediadocumentAFD-101013-045.pdf
Ron Fisch, San Antonio
 
12/19/2012 4:16:42 PM ET
I was stationed at Udorn Air Base Thailand and like they say it seems like it was just yesterday may God bless the fallen and God bless America I know that our F4 Phantoms did all they could In support of that operation it was my honor to take ordinance out to Air force Ace Steve Richies F4 that year Strength and Honor and God speed
MSgt Javier Valencia, Lackland AFB TX
 
12/19/2012 11:44:12 AM ET
I WAS A CREW CHIEF ON B-52D'S AT UTAPAO AIR FIELDTHAILAND DURING LINEBACKER II BOMBING CAMPAIGN 18-29DEC72 I REMEMBER THE ENORMOUS INCREASE IN SORTIES AND THE LOSSES INCURRED..HERE AT EDWARDS AFB THERE IS A B52D.56-0585 IN THE MUSEUM THAT I LAUNCHED AND RECOVERED DURING THOSE 11 DAYSIN FACT I HAD RECENTLY REUNITED WITH ANOTHER CREW CHIEF THAT ALSO WORKED ON THAT VERY ACFT DURING THAT TIME..GOD BLESS THOSE THAT HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR THE US AND FREEDOM
HARRY J. KIIL, Edwards AFBCa
 
12/19/2012 10:41:30 AM ET
I remember those days too. I was a young Pararescueman pulling alert on both the C-130 and HH-43long range and local base rescueexhausted after it was all over. I remember my second tour on Guam when the memorial was finished and attending the ceremoniesI remember the fallenI remember the victoriousthey are not forgotten. Thank you for continuing to honor them.
Bryan Perdue, Scott
 
12/19/2012 9:41:59 AM ET
Being Stationed on Guam in 1978-81 and again 1990-92 I remember those ceremonies around the ARC Light Memorial and that lonely B-52D sitting there on display. I remember the inscription on the plate to this day and makes me think of all those great planes and personnel what a truly amazing task it was and so much hard work If you're ever on Guam stand next to the monument and listen for the wind it brings back those memories and the fallen every time...
SMSgt Jay Bodam, 161st ARW
 
12/18/2012 11:32:03 PM ET
40 years and it seems like just a few months ago...I was a KC135 Crewchief on alert on the Sugar ramp and remember it very well. Strip alert at NAS Agana. Launching to join up with Buffs all shot to hellChristmas Eve at Kadena then another all out mission the day after Christmas day. I still have my SAC Hanoi Bombing Competition December 1972 patch that lives next to a picture of the hooch tent in canvas court 2 that was our home away from home. God Bless all who served and did their duty. thank you for honoring the fallen. Fly safe and God Speed
Ross F. Demmel SMS USAF Ret, Milton WA.98354
 
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