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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.

Veterans: 25
Latest Activity: Jul 29, 2018

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Comment by Greg E Allen on July 29, 2018 at 8:36pm

 Agree with Michael Austin  maybe 3rd time around will be a charm. Agree also with you Jeffrey b puritz   a piece of the pie is better than none at all. Yes if the Blue Water bill gets past the senate a lot of folks will get what is rightfully theirs.

Comment by Michael Austin on July 25, 2018 at 1:22pm

Unfortunate but not unexpected news.

The effort to have the NDAA include Operation End Sweep for VSM eligibility is done and without success this year.  I just got a call from Congressman Garret Graves informing me that the Senate killed it.  The amendment has strong support in the House, but a Senate committee is set against it and won't budge.  Congressman Graves and his team have worked very hard on the amendment for the past two years, but the House has only 1/3 of the power to pass it.

Last year the amendment was killed due to opposition from Senator John McCain.  Apparently Senator McCain still has influence on the committee, so the barrier remains.  Next year, however, Senator McCain won't be in office and the Senate committee will have a new crew.  Congressman Graves agrees to try it again, so maybe the third time (from my perspective)  will be the charm.

On a more positive note, HR299, which extends benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans, is on the right course towards become law.  Already passed by the House, the bill goes before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on 1 August.  The companion bill in the Senate, which was superceded when HR299 passed, already has over 50 cosponsors, so it's looking good!

Alas I may not benefit personally from HR299 as it seems my ship took careful measures to sail a mile or two just outside the territorial waters of Vietnam as defined in the bill.  Nevertheless, great news for lots of guys who have waited many years for the VA to pay proper attention to them. 

Comment by Greg E Allen on July 20, 2018 at 12:58am

 in the end none of this matters. We all are men, I know who I am, I am pretty sure the rest of you know who you are too. Personally I do not need a ribbon or a decal to define who I am . I am pretty sure the rest of you do not either. We all have our memories I hope, I HAVE A LOT OF BLANK SPOTS. I deal with PTSD anxiety and other issues, the Nav and life has had it's way with me , but I do seek and find a bright spot every now and then. I do know that I have never since 1976 experienced the intense comaraderie that I did during those four years.  I expect nothing less than this from the NAV or any segment of the good old boy club. This all in the end don't mean a thing, we had it made, we were young, we were no different than those 19 year olds who gave all, except we made it back home. I had a C.O. on Conquest who I would not follow to a chicken fight , I had an XO who I who I would have followed into the pits of hell. I have worked under many like them both during the course of my post Nav life. At this point I feel it's all just a bit too late as was Americas apology ten years later. They and all the S.O.B.S. that met us at LAX with spit and babykiller can kisss my a... I did what I did and they did what they did. as foe the Nav and the DoD .a big F.T.N.!!! in the end it was my bros that it was all about. I have kids and grandkids today and 4 failed marriges and I am also a widower. My work ethic was outstanding for nearly 27 years untill I retired and moved on to another life and that is what matters I am a digger and always will be. I have no regrets. We all made it, there will always be someone who has had a tougher time. I thank God everday and night for all the good and bad that has made me who I am. So now on a brighter moment as I listen to some fine music I remember sitting on the bridge of the Conquest in P.I. staring across the way at Coral Sea. My father and his AAF squadron was transported by her through the Panama canal back in forty six, I was listening to Armed Forces Radio and City Country City by War, because of that moment that tune has always had a special place with me. I remember Greasy Griseto , Mark Hansen , Dickeye Hensley Herbie Freeman Em1 Sloan and Bubba Boyette I was with he HT gang but spent alot my free time with those guys and Del Flemmer I believe Del told me a few years back Charlie Spriggs died. In the end It was all good I remeber the night Del and I had a bit too much MOJO and wound up wards of the S.P.s it was wild times, we were young.  So at this time Mike Cosgroves words about maybe getting a ribbon to pin on a uniform I get burried in echo in my head, to be honest I think his spirit will climb out of the box and tell them to shove it where the sun does not shine, I am not going to wait that long I am telling em right now .... shove it in the darkest orfice you can find!!!! Time to sail on!! God bless the men and women who serve today...multiple tours to hells half acre so those who do not can sit on a beach and b**** about not having enough meth. The draft should never have been discontinued... only better managed. I believe if it is not worth declaring war via an act of congress it is not worth one drop of AMERICAN BLOOD!!! I do not believe every one who does their job is a hero .. that word is used a little to freely these days. I love this country it is the best in the world... but we have become fat... so sad.

Comment by Michael Austin on July 19, 2018 at 10:48am

Greg E Allen, I agree with you about the conscientiousness of wearing the VSM emblem when you weren't awarded the official medal.  I wouldn't do it.  However, Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club isn't an "official" medal.  It's an earned honor suitable for anyone who served there, even after March 28, 1973, and certainly for those of us who showed up for Operation End Sweep.  Neither Congress nor DoD brassholes can deny you that honor, so you really shouldn't hesitate to wear TGYC letters and logos on your hat, shirt, jacket, bumper or wherever you wish.

My congressman's new Legislative Assistant for Veterans' Affairs is trying once again to get VSM for Op End Sweep included in the next NDAA, but it seems to me the issue isn't circulating as broadly and vigourously as last year.  Anyone who cares about this, please contact your senator or US representative and ask them to support us.  Every little bit of support helps, even a simple phone call.

Comment by Greg E Allen on July 18, 2018 at 11:47pm

after reading my post i see it's followed by a second that I thought was deleted .....sorry 'bout that.... my bad... show me to the penalty box.

Comment by Greg E Allen on July 18, 2018 at 11:43pm

 I'd like some answers. I served aboard Conquest M.S.O. 488 in this supposedly nonevent concerning the end of the Vietnam[ is it war or police action] I do not know. Why on more than one occasion did we sail in the area with our 4" foam rubber mattresses strapped to the overhead and the crew other than those necessary ordered to stay above deck. I want to know what was the big picture concerning the day that two Swatow class NVA gunboats sailed into the midst of us and two other sweeps [I had a kodak instamatic of this but I burned it and all of my Nav pics during a flashback moment in the 90's] BIGGEST FEAR OF MY LIFE being surrounded by canvas and they were steal more heavily armed than us, the one comfort was as a petty officer stated "the Hancock is just over the horizon. I was second loader on the starboard fifty with my 3 P.O. Del Flemmer. I want to know why I am not allowed other than as a guest in a VFW . I want to know why with good  conscience I cannot weara hat or a tee that states " Member Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club". I have written letters to the Florida politicos. I am working with a VA service rep and it's all B*******!!! I ask considering todays climate concerning Vets if this should not become a public issue. Books have been written concerning what we have done. Who reads them besides us or maybe other vets? What bout PBS ? Or even maybe a national network. Mike Cosgrove you were my XO I remember you well, sorry you did not command,considering who did. Maybe you could give some detailed answers to the questions I have posed, and maybe what exactly it was that we aboard Conquest contributed to this OP . Email me or PM me please. I need to know, I have read what you wrote years ago in 102 MSOs but I know there is more. 

I need a few answers concerning my time aboard Conquest in this area. I need to know why on more than one time we sailed with our b******* 4" foam rubber mattresses strapped to the overhead and the crew other than those neccesary below deck ordered above deck? I need to know the big picture concerning the day NVA gunboats sailed into the formation of us and I think two other sweeps?? I was second loader on the starboard 50 with my bud Del Flemmer who was first loader. BIGGEST FEAR OF MY LIFE [looking down at them surrounded by steel and us surounded by canvas wondering what the f*** am I doing here.No question we all would have done what was expected of us.. I have never been scared since only smart. I want to know why I am not a Viet Nam vet, I want to know why vI cannot proudly war a shirt or a hat that says Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club on it.

Comment by Mike Ayars on June 23, 2018 at 10:52am

Dave, I emailed my congressman this morning and asked him to support it. He has been helpful in the past and actively supports veterans.

Comment by Michael Austin on June 8, 2018 at 11:29am

Jeff, thanks for pointing out the incorrect date for the end of VSM eligibility.  You 're right about the date as 28 March instead of 23 March.  Well, hell, after 45 years of neglect, what's another five days, huh?

Also thanks for the website reference.  Should be interesting to look up.

Comment by Michael Austin on May 23, 2018 at 9:53pm

Thanks Greg.  Hope you find something useful or at least interesting in the files.

Comment by Greg E Allen on May 23, 2018 at 8:58pm

No problem Mike, I figured as much. The messages were in my email, so yes the system does work.


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