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Operation End Sweep

On 27 January 1973, American and North Vietnamese officials signed a protocol to the Paris agreement that called for the United States to neutralize the mines that the Navy had dropped in North Vietnam's coastal and inland waterways.

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Started by Bradley Gordon Matthews. Last reply by Mike Ayars Feb 21. 9 Replies

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Comment by Jeff Puritz on August 14, 2017 at 5:33pm
Apparently from what I've pieced together this is the current state of affairs of the endsweep ammendmant to the 2018 Ndaa. The senate and congress have decided on 277 ammendments. I don't know if they included the endsweep ammendment or not. If they don't include it I wouldn't be surprised but that is still no reason to give up. When things start up again in Sept maybe well find out whats up Thanx and God bless all vets!.
Comment by Michael Austin on July 28, 2017 at 9:09pm
Mike Ayer, I just learned that your guy (Congressman LoBiondo) recently payed a call on my guy (Congressman Graves) in support of VSM for Op. End Sweep. Looks like your email prompted an active response. Once again, THANKS!
Comment by Michael Austin on July 21, 2017 at 10:52pm

Mike Ayars, thanks for writing to your congressman.  It truly helps.  

Comment by Michael Austin on July 21, 2017 at 10:46pm

Mark Chambers, the Vietnam Campaign Medal (green and white) was granted by the Republic of Vietnam but was considered an authorized foreign medal by the USN.  Might be difficult for the Republic of Vietnam to retroactively award the medal to those folks who might have missed out.

Comment by Michael Austin on July 21, 2017 at 10:43pm

Mark Chambers, the NDAA amendment  is meant to allow sailors who hadn't been awarded VSM but participated in Operation End Sweep the opportunity to apply for the medal.  DoD ended eligibility for VSM on 28 March 1973, but of course all the fun and games in Vietnam didn't end immediately, as Operation End Sweep demonstrates.   Actually the minesweeping operation began a bit earlier than the official cut-off date and carried on until mid-July.  The NDAA amendment is aimed at those folks who kinda got swept aside in the hurry put any mention of the Vietnam War out of the public consciousness.

I have copies of some correspondence showing that Admiral McCauley did indeed asked for an award that would be specific to Operation End Sweep, but he was turned down, ultimately by SecNav.  In my earlier comment I mentioned the Navy Expeditionary Medal or a Meritorious Unit Commendation because that was some feedback I got from the Congressman's office about possible awards for Op. End Sweep.  As it stands, the current amendment addresses only the extended eligibility for VSM.

Comment by Mike Ayars on July 21, 2017 at 8:21pm

I wrote my congressman:

Representative LoBiondo:
I urge you to support section 566 of HR2810. I am a veteran of Operation End Sweep. This operation cleared the mines the US laid in a number of North Vietnamese ports. It has come to my attention that members of the ships that participated in the operation did not receive this award. I was part of the command group and I was awarded the VSM, but many others were not and should have been. It was a difficult task involving long hours of dangerous work from February 1973 through July 30, 1973.  
SEC. 566. ELIGIBILITY OF VETERANS OF OPERATION END SWEEP FOR VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL.

The Secretary of the military department concerned shall, upon the application of an individual who is a veteran who participated in Operation End Sweep, award that individual the Vietnam Service Medal, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable requirements for the award of that medal.

I would be happy to discuss this if needed. That you for your strong support of us veterans. 
Comment by Mike Ayars on July 21, 2017 at 8:08pm

Mark, you beat me to the punch. I pulled out my DD214 and sure enough, I have the VSM listed. It did not list the additional bronze star, but the medal I have has it. I agree those who participated in End Sweep should have it. It may be related to the end of our tax-free combat zone status (July 1, 1973). I do remember that the tax-free status was reinstated after I got out, and I got a small tax credit for it. 

Comment by Mark Chambers on July 21, 2017 at 7:49pm

Okay...I'm confused.  Those of us attached to Commander, Task Force 78 were given the Vietnam Service Medal (1 Bronze Star)...the yellow, green and red one...when we left Hai Phong.  The bronze star was for Tet.  I didn't think it was limited to just us, but anyone there with Operation End Sweep.  I was under the impression that the legislation you cited, Michael Austin, was for award of the Vietnam Campaign Medal (the green and white one).  I did not know that the Vietnam Service Medal wasn't awarded to everyone there.  That is truly a shame.

Comment by Mark Chambers on May 26, 2017 at 5:25pm

FYI to End Sweep veterans:  I recently made a claim through the Compensation and Pension section of the Veteran's Health Administration.  The claim is that the lung cancer I had was due to exposure to Agent Orange.  The claim was recently recognized and i am listed as Service Connected - Agent Orange.  I mention this because I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to prove that I had been in-country and, once I connected the dots for them, they recognized that I was indeed in-country as part of End Sweep.

I would encourage any of you with health problems to check the Agent Orange registry.  There is a whole list of illnesses that, if you have any one or more, are considered "presumptive Agent Orange."  There are a lot of veterans who fought the legal battle over the years for us and I would urge you to honor those who came before us.

It is noteworthy that Hai Phong, Hon Gai and Cam Pha where we all worked are Agent Orange spray areas and, for blue water sailors, the New Orleans and Tripoli both are listed as having docked in Vietnamese harbors as late as December 1975.  Do the research.  It's all there.  If I can help, don't hesitate to contact me through this website.

Comment by Michael Austin on April 21, 2017 at 12:46am
Mike Ayer,
Thanks for the support. I'm not well versed in the legislative process, but as I understand, Op. End Sweep medals could become a part of the next National Defense Authorization Act, just as the problem with Ops. Frequent Wind and Eagle Pull was resolved a few years ago.
The man most familiar is Congressman Graves' Legislative Correspondent, Mr Kevin O'Keefe. I've spoken to Kevin several times. He's a fine gentleman and very supportive of veterans' issues. Contact as follows:
Kevin O’Keefe | Legislative Correspondent
Office of Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06)
202-225-3901 (office) | garretgraves.house.gov
 

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