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Die Amerikaanse vragskip Mayaguez is in beslag geneem deur die Kambodjaanse vloot

Die Amerikaanse vragskip Mayaguez is in beslag geneem deur die Kambodjaanse vloot

Die Amerikaanse vragskip Mayaguez word gevang deur kommunistiese regeringsmagte in Kambodja, wat 'n internasionale voorval op die been gebring het. reaksie op die saak dui daarop dat die wonde van die Viëtnam -oorlog nog diep loop.

Op 12 Mei 1975 het die Amerikaanse vragskip Mayaguez en die bemanning van 39 mans is gevang deur geweerbote van die Kambodjaanse vloot. Kambodja het in April 1975 die kommunistiese opstandelinge, die Rooi Khmer, te beurt geval. Die Kambodjaanse owerhede het die Amerikaanse bemanning in die tronk laat sit, in afwagting van 'n ondersoek na die skip en waarom dit die waters ingevaar het wat deur Kambodja geëis is. Die reaksie van die Amerikaanse regering was vinnig. President Gerald Ford het die Kambodjaanse beslaglegging op die Mayaguez 'n "daad van seerowery" en beloof om vinnig op te tree om die gevange Amerikaners te red.

Deels was Ford se aggressiewe houding teenoor die voorval 'n byproduk van die Amerikaanse mislukking in Viëtnam. In Januarie 1973 het die Amerikaanse troepe hulle uit Suid -Viëtnam onttrek en die jare van 'n bloedige en onoortuigende poging om die kommunistiese heerskappy van die land te voorkom, beëindig. In die tyd sedert die Amerikaanse onttrekking, het 'n aantal konserwatiewe politici en intellektuele in die Verenigde State Amerika se 'geloofwaardigheid' op internasionale gebied begin bevraagteken, wat daarop dui dat die verlies van wil in die land in Viëtnam vyande regoor die wêreld aangemoedig het om Amerika uit te daag met skynbare straffeloosheid. Die Kambodjaanse beslaglegging op die Mayaguez blykbaar net so 'n uitdaging te wees.

Op 14 Mei beveel president Ford die bombardement van die Kambodjaanse hawe waar die geweerbote vandaan kom, en stuur mariniers om die eiland Koh Tang, waar die gevangenes aangehou word, aan te val. Ongelukkig was die militêre optrede waarskynlik onnodig. Die Kambodjaanse regering was reeds besig om die bemanning van die Mayaguez en die skip. Een-en-veertig Amerikaners is dood, die meeste van hulle in 'n toevallige ontploffing tydens die aanval. Die meeste Amerikaners het die optrede egter aangemoedig as 'n bewys dat die Verenigde State weer bereid was om militêre mag te gebruik om potensiële vyande te verslaan.

LEES MEER: Hoe Nixon se inval in Kambodja 'n toets op die presidensiële mag veroorsaak het


Mayaguez -voorval

'N Oorblyfsel van Amerikaanse militêre magte het in April 1975 uit Suid -Viëtnam vertrek in wat president Gerald Ford 'n vernederende onttrekking genoem het. " Amerikaanse militêre betrokkenheid in Suidoos -Asië het amptelik geëindig. Maar dit was nog nie verby nie. In wat volgens baie die laaste stryd van die Viëtnam -oorlog is, is die Mayaguez Die voorval bly in geskil. Op 12 Mei 1975 het kanonbote van die Kambodjaanse vloot beslag gelê op die Amerikaanse handelsskip, SS Mayaguez, in internasionale waters aan die kus van Kambodja. Die skip is na Kompong Som op die Kambodjaanse vasteland gesleep toe die woord die Withuis bereik. President Ford was vasbeslote dat die situasie nie tot 'n ander uitgerekte Pueblo-voorval mag versleg nie. Daarbenewens is dit belangrik geag om 'n groeiende opvatting onder Amerikaanse vriende en teëstanders teë te werk dat Amerika 'n hulpelose reus is en 'n onwrikbare bondgenoot sonder vasberadenheid. Die Amerikaanse reaksie op die beslaglegging sou 'n militêre operasie wees wat uitgevoer is deur 'n ad hoc -mag van vlieëniers, mariniers en matrose. Die VSA het geen diplomatieke betrekkinge gehad met die Khmer Rouge, wat die vorige weke beheer oor Kambodja oorgeneem het nie. Amerikaanse troepe wat in die naburige Thailand gestasioneer was, was numeries onvoldoende vir grondaksie teen Kambodja, en geen Amerikaanse oorlogskepe was in die distrik nie.

Tyd was 'n oortuigende faktor. Die groot bekommernis was dat die Kambodjane die bemanning na die vasteland sou verplaas, wat die reddingsoperasie moeiliker sou maak. Vir die bevoegdes om 'n verligte besluit te neem, was dit nodig dat meer as een plan oorweeg word. Volgens die destydse stafhoof, generaal David C. Jones, is vyf planne voorberei. Opsie vier, 'n tweeledige maritieme aanslag tesame met die bombardering van geselekteerde teikens, was die keuse van Ford. In situasies soos pogings om gyselaars te red, is beplanning gewoonlik gebaseer op aannames of bespiegelinge, veral gedurende die eerste ure of dae van die krisis. Intelligensiedata was voldoende vir 'n operasie met al sy moontlikhede.

Binne 'n paar minute na ontvangs van die mayday -boodskap wat deur die Mayaguez, Jim Larkins en sy Ready Alert Bird is in die lug. Teen 22:30, by die Cubi Point Naval Air Station, het Jim Messegee sy eerste verslag oor die Mayaguez. Dit was te donker vir Larkins en sy bemanning om op die skip te kyk, maar hulle kon 'n gevange handelsvaartuig op hul radarskerms sien terwyl 'n groot prentjie omring deur twee klein beelde.

Opsie vier was 'n uitspattige skema wat twee vernietigers gebruik het, een vliegdekskip, twee mariene eenhede met 12 helikopters, 'n ruim aanvulling van lugmagvegters, bomwerpers en verkenningsvliegtuie. President Ford het sterk geglo dat dit beter is om te veel geweld te gebruik as te min. Ford het die vliegdekskip bestel Koraalsee en ander vlootskepe om voluit na die Golf van Thailand te gaan, sowel as vliegtuie in die Filippyne om die Mayaguez en hou dit in die oog. 'N Navy P-3 het die skip vasgelê wat aan die eiland Kho-Tang, 40 myl van Kambodja, geleë was. Verskeie waarnemingsvliegtuie is beskadig deur geweerskote van die eiland.

'N Mariene reddingspan van 'n bataljon is per vliegtuig van Okinawa na die U-Tapao-lugmagbasis in die Golf van Thailand, ongeveer 300 kilometer van Kho-Tang, afgehaal. Die vernietiger USS Holt is aangesê om beslag te lê op die Mayaguezterwyl mariniers, wat deur die lugmag opgehef en ondersteun is, die bemanning sou red, waarvan ten minste sommige op Kho-Tang aangehou word. Terselfdertyd het die Koraalsee sou vier bomaanvalle op militêre teikens naby Kompong Som begin om die Rooi Khmer te oortuig dat die VSA ernstig is.

Weereens tot die oortreding*

Die Amerikaanse troepe het slegs ligte weerstand verwag deur 'n mag van 150 tot 200 swaar gewapende Khmer Rouge -soldate wat drie van die eerste agt helikopters neergeskiet en twee ander beskadig het. Ongeveer 100 mariniers is aan wal gelê, maar dit het gou duidelik geword dat aansienlike versterkings nodig sou wees. Die aanvalsmag is ondersteun deur lugmagvliegtuie, maar die aanval het nie goed gegaan nie.

Terwyl die brandgeveg op Kho-Tang op sy intensste was, het bombardemente op die vasteland die leiers van die Rooi Khmer blykbaar oortuig dat hulle die vasbeslotenheid van die VS onderskat het. Daar is gesien hoe 'n vissersboot die vernietiger Wilson nader met wit vlae. Aan boord was die 39 bemanningslede van die Mayaguez.

Die mariniers op Kho-Tang is beveel om los te kom en terug te trek. Rou Khmer -troepe, moontlik onder leiding van 'n plaaslike bevelvoerder, het die geveg egter voortgesit en van verdediging na aanval gegaan terwyl lugmaghelikopters deur swaar vuur beweeg om Amerikaanse troepe terug te trek. Die laaste van 230 mariniers is eers na donker in die nag van 15 Mei ontruim, net soos tydens die Viëtnam -oorlog, het helikopterbemanning met 'n onoortreflike heldhaftigheid opgetree.

Agtien mariniers en vlieëniers is dood of vermis tydens die aanval en onttrekking uit Kho-Tang. Drie en twintig ander is dood in 'n helikopterongeluk onderweg van Hakhon Phanom na U-Tapao, maar die doelwitte van die operasie is bereik. Die Mayaguez en sy bemanning is gered, al was dit teen hoë koste.

Die Mayaguez insident is in die meeste geskiedenis van die tydperk nie meer as 'n voetnoot nie. Die skip, bemanning en manne wat die redding uitgevoer het, verdien beter as dit. In 'n tyd toe die besluit daarvan twyfelagtig was, het die VSA aan die wêreld gewys dat hulle alles sou betaal wat nodig was om sy burgers te beskerm en sy nasionale eer te behou.

*Shakespeare's Koning Henry V., Wet III, toneel een:


Amerikaanse vragskip Mayaguez in beslag geneem deur die Kambodjaanse vloot - GESKIEDENIS

Inligtingsboeke | Die Mayaguez -voorval

Die Mayaguez die voorval was 'n spanningsvolle episode aan die einde van die Viëtnam -oorlog waarin die Kambodjaanse vloot beslag gelê het op die SS Mayaguez, 'n Amerikaanse handelsskip, en die VSA het gereageer met 'n militêre operasie om die bemanning te red en die skip te herstel.

Die voorval is voorafgegaan deur 'n verslegtende situasie in Kambodja. Op 28 Maart 1975 bespreek die National Security Council (NSC) die komende ontruiming van die Kambodjaanse premier na Indonesië op 1 April en die dreigende ondergang van die Kambodjaanse regering wat deur die VS gesteun word. Die NSS het vasgestel dat sodra die kommunistiese Khmer Rouge die bewind oorgeneem het, Kambodja onveilig sou wees en dat hulle Amerikaners moes ontruim. Teen 9 April het die VSA intelligensie onderskep dat die Rooi Khmer beplan om Phnom Penh, die hoofstad van Kambodja, aan te val. Die NSS het weereens 'n ontruiming bespreek. Die ontruiming van Amerikaners het drie dae later plaasgevind, en die kommunistiese Khmer Rouge het Phnom Penh minder as 'n week later in beslag geneem.

Op 12 Mei 1975 het die Kambodjane die bemanning van die SS Mayaguez gyselaar. Na 'n inligtingsessie oor die voorval, het Bill Clements, adjunkminister van verdediging, en die NSS onmiddellik begin beraadslaag oor hoe die Verenigde State moet reageer. In 'n opsieblad van die Departement van Verdediging het die beslaglegging op die Mayaguez op die vroegste moontlike datum, beslaglegging op die eiland Koh Tang waar die bemanning gehou word, of 'n aanval koördineer om die skip en die eiland te gryp. President Ford het die derde opsie goedgekeur, aangesien dit die opsie was wat die waarskynlikste na die veilige terugkeer van die bemanning en die skip sou lei, met slegs 'n klein kans dat die Rooi Khmer tyd sou hê om terug te keer deur die bemanning uit te voer.

Op 13 Mei het Amerikaanse verkenningsmissies vuur ontvang van 'n Kambodjaanse geweerboot. Die VSA het 'n groot deel van die dag probeer om te keer dat Kambodjaanse bote by Koh Tang na die vasteland gaan, aangesien die NSS -beplanners bang was dat die Kambodjane die bemanning na die vasteland sou verplaas. Ondanks die geweervuur, het die Amerikaanse beleidmakers tydens die eerste van twee NSS -vergaderings op 13 Mei tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die Kambodjane waarskynlik slegs beperkte reaksiemiddele sou hê. Ontleders beraam dat daar slegs 60 Kambodjaanse troepe op Koh Tang was, en Amerikaanse beleidmakers verwag om 1 000 Amerikaanse troepe in te stuur vir die reddingsmissie. Tydens die vergaderings werk die NSS onder die veronderstelling dat die Kambodjane reeds 'n paar gyselaars doodgemaak het.

Tydens die vergadering van 14 Mei het die NSS die ontwikkelende situasie hersien, waarby nou 24 gewapende Khmer Rouge -skepe en meer as 200 troepe rondom Koh Tang betrokke was. Volgens die 14 -oggend -inligtingsessie vir DoD het Amerikaanse vlootvaartuie 3 van die 5 Kambodjaanse geweerbote laat sink en nog 4 bote beskadig. 1 boot het egter die vasteland bereik. Ford was kwaad omdat die vloot nie daarin kon slaag dat die boot die bemanning na die vasteland verhuis nie. Hy het toe 'n definitiewe bevel gegee om die reddingsoperasie uit te voer.

Intussen het die VSA ook 'n diplomatieke oplossing gevolg, wat die Kambodjane die kans gegee het om die krisis vreedsaam op te los. Op 14 Mei het die staatsdepartement 'n ultimatum ontwikkel om die Mayaguez en die bemanning, wat via Amerikaanse ambassades aan die Kambodjaanse regering gestuur is. Kissinger het die diplomate aangesê om die ultimatum oor te dra dat as die bemanning nie om die 14de om 22:00 vrygelaat word nie, die VSA optree teen Kambodjaanse "seerowery".

Daarbenewens het Kissinger die Sowjette verwyt omdat hulle beweer het dat die Mayaguez 'n spioenasieskip was toe hy van mening was dat dit baie onwaarskynlik was dat die Sowjets werklik geglo het dat die skip toegewy was aan spioenasie. Laastens het die staatsdepartement briewe aan die sekretaris -generaal van die Verenigde Nasies en die president van die Verenigde Nasies se Veiligheidsraad briewe gestuur om hulle van die krisis in kennis te stel en te verduidelik dat die VSA die beslaglegging beskou as 'n daad van geweld deur Kambodja waarop die VSA die reg gehad het ingevolge artikel 51 van die VN -handves te reageer.

Die militêre operasie het die oggend van 15 Mei plaasgevind, wat laat in die aand van 14 Mei in DC was. Marines het op Koh Tang geland, die eiland was die Mayaguez gehou word, op dieselfde tydstip dat Amerikaanse vliegtuie aanvalle op militêre installasies uitgevoer het in Kampong Song, die kusdorpie waarvandaan die Khmer Rouge operasies gelei het. Ontploffingsdeskundiges het aan boord van die Mayaguez, saam met bykomende troepe, net om te ontdek dat die skip onlangs verlaat is. Binnekort is 'n skip opgemerk wat na Koh Tang seil met 'n wit vlag wat die USS Wilson aan boord van die passasiers geneem het en ontdek dat dit die hele bemanning van die Mayaguez. Die Amerikaanse bevelvoerders het daarna die bedrywighede gestaak. Teen die tyd dat die laaste Amerikaanse magte die gebied verlaat het, het die bemanning van die Mayaguez was terug op hul skip en het die gebied verlaat.

Tydens die laaste NSS -vergadering oor die voorval het beleidmakers die wêreld se reaksie op Amerika se gebruik van geweld bespreek. Een van die opmerklike antwoorde was uit Thailand. Thaise leiers het besluit om 'n lid van die Amerikaanse missie te skors en die Thaise ambassadeur in Washington terug te roep vir konsultasies. Thaise militêre leiers ondersteun die operasie egter privaat. Ander reaksies was voorspelbaar, soos die Chinese beskuldigings dat die reddingsoperasie 'n daad van seerowery was.

Nadat die reddingsmissie voltooi is, beveel Ford op 18 Mei 'n hersiening van die NSS se reaksie op die voorval om die sterk punte en tekortkominge van die NSS beter te verstaan. Ford het tydens die NSS -vergaderings 'n reeks voorskrifte uitgereik oor die Mayaguez redding. Tydens ten minste een NSS -vergadering, op 13 Mei, het Ford egter woede uitgespreek dat een van sy voorskrifte vir die militêre reaksie nie uitgevoer is nie. Die verslae oor die NSS se reaksie op die Mayaguez Die voorval is in Oktober 1975 voltooi en het getoon dat hoewel die reaksie van die NSS oor die algemeen suksesvol was, die inter -agentskapstelsel soms nie daarin geslaag het om instruksies in werking te stel nie. Die hersiening het ook gebreke in intelligensie opgemerk.


Die Mayaguez -voorval: finale slag van die Viëtnam -oorlog

1975 was 'n onstuimige jaar vir Suidoos -Asië. Die Viëtnam -oorlog het tot 'n einde gekom en 'n einde gemaak aan meer as 8 jaar van die mees ongewildste oorlog in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis. En ten spyte van die duisende lewens en miljoene dollars wat opgeoffer is, het die ding wat Amerikaanse beplanners die meeste gevrees het, gebeur wat hulle in die eerste plek in die oorlog gebring het. Kommunistiese rewolusies het oor die hele gebied gegaan. In April het die Noord -Viëtnamese kommuniste die strate van Saigon opgeruk en hulle in volle beheer oor die land gelaat.

En in Kambodja vorder die Rooi Khmer op die hoofstad toe die regeringsmagte vinnig opraak. Teen die einde van die maand het die Rooi Khmer aan bewind gekom. Wat daarna gevolg het, was een van die ergste periodes van massamoord in die menslike geskiedenis. Die Rooi Khmer wou Kambodja verander in 'n samelewing sonder klas. Boere is uit hul grond gedwing en op kollektiewe velde. Daar is hulle gedwing om 12-uur dae met min kos te werk. Enigiemand wat probeer het om kos bymekaar te maak om te oorleef, is geskiet omdat hy beoefen en gekwalifiseer het. Selfs 'n bril word gesien as 'n teken dat hy 'n intellektueel is en was 'n rede vir teregstelling.

Die Mayaguez. Nasionale Museum van die USAF.

Maar terwyl die SS Mayaguez deur die Golf van Thailand stoom, sou die bemanning min idee gehad het van wat in Kambodja aan die gang was. Tog gee hulle die land 'n wye koers. Die Mayaguez was 'n vragskip wat by 'n Amerikaanse onderneming geregistreer is. Dit sou hulle natuurlik onwelkom in die waters van Kambodja gemaak het. Maar die kaptein, Charles Miller, hoop om probleme te vermy deur by die internasionale waters aan die kus te bly. Ongelukkig, toe die skip die middag van 12 Mei 1975 deur die golwe stoom, het hy presies probleme gekry.

Die eerste teken dat iets verkeerd was, kom toe die bemanning verskeie klein bote sien wat die skip nader. Een van die skepe het langs die Mayaguez getrek en 'n waarskuwingsmasjiengeweer oor die boog afgevuur. Kaptein Miller het onmiddellik die skip beveel om stadiger te ry. Maar toe dit nie gou genoeg gebeur het vir die manne op die bote nie, het een nog 'n waarskuwingskoot afgevuur. Maar hierdie keer kom dit van 'n vuurpyl-aangedrewe granaat. Kaptein Miller stop toe die skip, en sewe mans van die bote klim met masjiengewere gereed by die Mayaguez.

Rooi Khmer -troepe wat die hoofstad binnekom. Manhai/Flickr.

Die mans was van die Rooi Khmer, en hulle het die kaptein meegedeel dat sy skip na hul gebied gekom het. Hulle bevelvoerder beveel die bevelvoerder van die Mayaguez om na die eiland Poulo Wai te gaan, wat deur die Rooi Khmer beheer word. Nadat die skip by die eiland geanker het, het 'n ander groep Rooi Khmer -soldate aan boord gegaan om die bemanning te beheer. Hul leier het aan kaptein Miller gesê om na die stad Ream op die Kambodjaanse vasteland te vaar. Miller moes nou 'n keuse maak. Moet hy as 'n goed bewaakte gevangenis na Ream vaar, of kon hy sy skip red?


Die Mayaguez is die eerste keer in April 1944 bekendgestel as SS Wit valk, 'n Amerikaanse maritieme kommissie C2-S-AJ1 vragskip gebou deur North Carolina Shipbuilding Company van Wilmington, Noord-Carolina.

Na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog is die skip aan Grace Line verkoop en die naam van die SS Santa Eliana. In 1960 wou Grace sy koffieboonverkeer uit Venezuela hou, Santa Eliana en haar susterskip Santa Leonor verleng en uitgebrei deur die Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Company en omskep in die eerste vaartuie met alle vaartuie wat met buitelandse handel toegewy is, met 'n kapasiteit van 382 houers onder dek plus 94 aan boord. Omdat die planne van Grace Line herhaaldelik gefrustreer is deur die opposisie van die langhorings in Venezuela en New York, is die skip in 1964 aan die Amerikaanse houerlyn Sea-Land Service verkoop en sy is hernoem tot SS See, en dan SS Mayaguez (vernoem na die stad Mayagüez aan die weskus van Puerto Rico) in 1965. Haar susterskip is hernoem Land en dan Ponce (na die stad Ponce aan die suidkus van Puerto Rico). [1] [2]

In 1967 begin Sea-Land met gereelde houerdiens onder kontrak aan die Militêre Seevervoeringsdiens (MSTS) ter ondersteuning van Amerikaanse magte in Suidoos-Asië, met die Mayaguez een van die vele Sea-Land-skepe wat gebruik word. In 1975 het die Mayaguez het 'n gewone roete gevoer: Hong Kong - Sattahip, Thailand - Singapoer. Op 7 Mei 1975, ongeveer 'n week na die val van Saigon, Mayaguez het Hong Kong verlaat op 'n roetine -reis. [3] [4]

Die "Mayaguez "het die voorval tussen 12 en 15 Mei 1975 tussen Kampuchea (voorheen Kambodja) en die Verenigde State plaasgevind, minder as 'n maand nadat die Rooi Khmer die hoofstad Phnom Penh oorgeneem het en die deur die Khmer Republiek gesteunde VS-regering verdwyn het. skip in 'n betwiste maritieme gebied, het die VSA 'n haastig voorbereide reddingsoperasie uitgevoer. [5] Amerikaanse mariniers het die skip herower en die eiland Koh Tang aangeval waar daar per ongeluk geglo word dat die bemanning as gyselaars aangehou word. sterker as verwagte verdediging op Koh Tang, is drie Amerikaanse lugmaghelikopters tydens die aanvanklike aanval vernietig en die mariniers het 'n desperate daglange stryd met die Khmer Rouge gevoer voordat hulle ontruim is. [6] [7] Mayaguez Die bemanning is ongedeerd deur die Rooi Khmer vrygelaat kort nadat die aanval op Koh Tang begin het. [8]

Behoorlik herwin uit die Khmer Rouge -magte, die Mayaguez is uit diens geneem en uiteindelik in 1979 geskrap. [9]

  1. ^"Vang en vrylating van die SS Mayaguez deur Khmer Rouge -magte in Mei 1975". American Merchant Marine at War.
  2. ^ Cudahy, 2006, pp. 70–72, 89–90
  3. ^ Cudahy, 2006, pp. 106–111
  4. ^ Levinson, 2006, pp. 179–183
  5. ^ Wetterhahn, pp. 43–46
  6. ^ Wetterhahn, bl. 167
  7. ^ Wetterhahn, pp 209–249
  8. ^ Wetterhahn, bl 201
  9. ^ Wetterhahn, bl. 314
  • Cudahy, Brian J. (2006). Boxbote: Hoe houerskepe die wêreld verander het . Fordham University Press. ISBN978-0-8232-2569-9.
  • Levinson, Mark (2006). Die boks: hoe die vraghouer die wêreld kleiner en die wêreldekonomie groter gemaak het . Princeton University Press. ISBN978-0-691-13640-0.
  • Wetterhahn, Ralph (2002). Die laaste slag: die Mayaguez -voorval en die einde van die Viëtnam -oorlog. Pluim. ISBN0-452-28333-7.

Hierdie handelsskipartikel is 'n stomp. U kan Wikipedia help deur dit uit te brei.


In 1905 is die Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, of "die Wobblies") gestig, wat hoofsaaklik ongeskoolde werkers verteenwoordig. "The Wobblies", slegs ongeveer 15 jaar lank 'n mag in Amerikaanse arbeid, is ná die Eerste Wêreldoorlog grootliks deur die Palmer Raids gelei. In 1908 word Andrew Furuseth president van die International Seamen's Union en dien tot 1938 in die amp. [1 ]

Op 25 Maart 1901 word Harry Lundeberg gebore. Op 1 Maart 1906 is Joseph Curran gebore.

RMS Titanic was die grootste stoomskip ter wêreld toe die vaartuig in 1912 sink. RMS is in 1938 gelanseer Koningin Elizabeth was die grootste stoomskip vir passasiers wat ooit gebou is. Gestig in 1969, RMS Koningin Elizabeth 2

In 1914 word Paul Hall (arbeidsleier) in Inglenook, Alabama, gebore.

Gedurende hierdie tydperk het Andrew Furuseth suksesvol gepoog vir wetgewende hervormings wat uiteindelik die Wet op Seemanne van 1915 geword het. [1]

Tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog was daar 'n oplewing en die lidmaatskap van ISU het meer as 115 000 lede ingesluit. [2] Toe die oplewing egter eindig, het die ISU se lidmaatskap tot 50 000 gekrimp. [2]

In 1915 word die Wet op Seemanne van 1915 wet. Die wet het die lewe van die Amerikaanse matroos fundamenteel verander. Dit het onder meer:

  1. het die praktyk van gevangenisstraf afgeskaf vir seemanne wat hul skip verlaat het
  2. verminder die boetes vir ongehoorsaamheid
  3. die werksure van 'n seeman gereguleer, sowel op see as in die hawe
  4. 'n minimum kwaliteit vir skeepsvoedsel vasgestel
  5. het die betaling van seelone se loon gereguleer
  6. spesifieke veiligheidsvlakke vereis, veral die voorsiening van reddingsbote
  7. 'n minimum persentasie van die seelui aan boord van 'n vaartuig vereis om gekwalifiseerde Able Seamen te wees
  8. 'n minimum van 75 persent van die seelui aan boord van 'n vaartuig benodig om die taal wat die offisiere praat, te verstaan

President Woodrow Wilson het die wet op die oprigting van die Amerikaanse kuswag op 28 Januarie 1915 onderteken. Hierdie wet kombineer effektief die inkomstediensdiens met die lewensreddingsdiens en vorm die nuwe Amerikaanse kuswag. Geleidelik sal die kuswag groei om die Amerikaanse vuurtoringdiens in 1939 en die navigasie- en stoombootinspeksiediens in 1942 op te neem.

In die Eerste Wêreldoorlog was Groot -Brittanje as 'n eilandnasie sterk afhanklik van buitelandse handel en ingevoerde hulpbronne. Duitsland het bevind dat hul duikbote, of U-bote, terwyl hulle van beperkte doeltreffendheid was teen oorlogskepe op hul hoede, baie effektief was teenoor handelskepe en dat hulle maklik die Atlantiese Oseaan kon patrolleer, selfs al het geallieerde skepe die oppervlak oorheers.

Teen 1915 het Duitsland probeer om duikbote te gebruik om 'n vlootblokkade van Brittanje te onderhou deur vragskepe, waaronder baie passasierskepe, te laat sink. Onderzeeërs het egter, afhangende van die stealth en nie in staat was om 'n direkte aanval deur 'n oppervlakteskip te weerstaan ​​nie (moontlik 'n Q-skip vermom as 'n handelsskip), dit moeilik gevind om waarskuwing te gee voor aanvalle of om oorlewendes te red, wat beteken dat burgerlike dodetal hoog was. Dit was 'n belangrike faktor in die versterking van die neutrale mening teen die sentrale moondhede, aangesien lande soos die Verenigde State verliese en verlies vir hul handel gely het, en een van die oorsake was van die uiteindelike toetrede van die VSA tot die oorlog.

Met verloop van tyd het die gebruik van verdedigde konvooie van handelskepe die Geallieerdes in staat gestel om ondanks groot verlies die vaart oor die Atlantiese Oseaan te handhaaf.

Die Royal Navy het konvooie in die Napoleontiese oorloë gevoer en dit is effektief gebruik om troepeskepe in die huidige oorlog te beskerm, maar die idee om dit te gebruik om handelsvaart te beskerm, is al etlike jare gedebatteer. Niemand was seker of konvooie Brittanje se redding of ondergang was nie.

Deur handelsskepe in konvooie te konsolideer, kan die Duitse U-bote dalk net 'n teikenryke omgewing bied, en om skepe saam te pak, kan tot botsings en ander ongelukke lei. Dit was moontlik ook 'n logistieke nagmerrie, en bondgenote het dit te veel beoordeel.

Met die vermoë om verliese te vervang, was die dilemma van die gebruik van konvooie nie so pynlik nie. Na eksperimente deur die vroeë maande van 1917 wat suksesvol was, is die eerste formele konvooie einde Mei gereël. Teen die herfs het die konvooi -stelsel baie goed georganiseer, en verliese vir skepe in konvooi het drasties gedaal, met 2% verliese vir skepe in konvooi in vergelyking met 10% verliese vir skepe wat alleen reis. Die konvooi -verlieskoers het in Oktober tot 1% gedaal. Konvooi was egter nie verpligtend nie, en maandelikse verlieskoerse het eers in Augustus 1918 onder hul vlakke van 1916 gedaal.

Tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog is die behoefte aan die toediening van die koopvaardier tydens oorlogstyd bewys. [3] Handelsoorlogvoering, wat deur duikbote en handelaars uitgevoer is, het 'n rampspoedige uitwerking op die Geallieerde handelsvloot gehad. [3] Met die hervatting van onbeperkte duikbootoorlogvoering in 1917, het U-bote skepe vinniger laat sink as wat vervangings gebou kon word. [3]

Nog 'n sukses van ISU was die staking van 1919, wat gelei het tot lone wat 'n all-time high for deep sea matrozen in vredestyd was '. [2]

ISU het egter ook sy tekortkominge en mislukkings. Na 'n ronde mislukte kontrakonderhandelinge het ISU op 1 Mei 1921 'n staking in alle hawens uitgevaardig. Die staking het slegs twee maande geduur en misluk, met gevolglike loonverlagings van 25 persent. [2] Die ISU, soos met alle AFL -vakbonde, is gekritiseer as te konserwatief. Byvoorbeeld, in 1923 die Industrial Workers of the World -publikasie Die mariene werker het na die ISU se "pie-cards" (betaalde amptenare) verwys as "grafters and pimps". [4]

Joseph Curren het in 1922 op skepe begin werk. In 1929 het die California Maritime Academy gestig. [5]

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 - Is 'n federale wet of statuut van die Verenigde State ingestel om alle maritieme werkers te beskerm, insluitend dié van rederye, oliemaatskappye, vissers en in wese almal wat in die maritieme bedryf werk. Die wet het die grondslag gelê vir die bedryf en belangrike reëls en regulasies daargestel wat vandag nog van krag is. Die wet bevat 'n lang lys regulasies, maar die belangrikste is die Jones -wet. Die wet bepaal die vervoer van alle handelsware oor kushawe in die Verenigde State. Alle goedere wat uit 'n ander hawe in die Verenigde State in 'n Amerikaanse hawe kom, moet deur goedgekeurde vaartuie deur Jones uitgevoer word. Hierdie vaartuie moet in Amerika gebou word, beman deur Amerikaanse matrose, besit en gemerk deur die Verenigde State van Amerika. "Die Merchant Marine Act van 1920 is 'n ernstige poging om die grondslag te lê van 'n beleid wat 'n voldoende Amerikaanse handelsvaart sal opbou en handhaaf in mededinging met die skeepvaart van die wêreld. Die eerste afdeling verklaar dat die Verenigde State nodig is vir nasionale verdediging en die behoorlike groei van sy handel 'n koopvaardier van die beste tipe skepe wat voldoende is om die grootste deel van sy handel te vervoer, waarvan die vaartuie uiteindelik besit en privaat deur hul burgers bedryf word. om alles te doen wat nodig is om so 'n koopvaardier te beveilig, en die skeepsraad is aangesê om hierdie doel en oogmerk altyd in die oog te hou as die primêre doel wat bereik moet word in die beskikking van ons skepe, by die opstel van reëls en regulasies en in die administrasie van die skeepswette. Dit gee uiting aan die gedagte, begeerte, doel en doel van die Amerikaanse bevolking. die skeepsraad en moet in gedagte gehou word by die konstruksie van elke bepaling van die wet en by elke besluit wat die raad mag neem. " [7]

Die Merchant Marine Act van 1920 word algemeen na verwys as die Jones Act na die belangrikste artikel (27), en skrywer/borg Senator Wesley L. Jones. Die Jones Act beskerm verskeie aspekte van die Verenigde State, insluitend werksekerheid, nasionale veiligheid en stimuleer die Amerikaanse ekonomie. Die Amerikaanse vloot lewer baie werk aan die binnelandse maritieme bedryf deur hulle in diens te neem om hul vloot reg te stel en te bou. Sonder die Jones -wet kan vervoer van goedere moontlik aan ander lande uitgekontrakteer word. Dit sal die buiteland in die Verenigde State laat waterloop en moontlik 'n ernstige bedreiging tydens oorlogstyd inhou. Die maritieme beleid van die Verenigde State, saam met die federale regulasies van die Amerikaanse kuswag, is een van die strengste ter wêreld. Die Jones -wet verseker dat vaartuie hierdie regulasies en standaarde nakom wat baie positiewe gevolge het, insluitend verminderde werkplekbeserings, maksimum beskerming vir seediere deur veilige emissie- en besoedelingsvlakke te bepaal. Amerikaanse seelui wat in Amerikaanse hawens werk, stroomlyn kommunikasie, verminder die sekuriteitsbreuk terwyl dit die Amerikaanse ekonomie stimuleer. [8]

In 1933 stig John L. Lewis die Committee for Industrial Organisations in die AFL. Die komitee het in 1938 van die AFL geskei as die Congress of Industrial Organisations (CIO).

In 1934 het Harry Lundeberg by die Sailor's Union of the Pacific in Seattle aangesluit.

Die ISU is verswak deur die verlies van die Sailors 'Union of the Pacific in 1934. Furuseth het aangekla dat die SUP deur' radikale 'van die IWW geïnfiltreer word, [2] en eis dat die SUP sy aktiwiteite met die Maritieme Federasie moet staak. Die SUP het geweier en die ISU het hul handves ingetrek. [9]

Die ISU was betrokke by die staking van die Weskus -langboere van 1934. [2] Die staking duur 83 dae en het gelei tot die vereniging van alle hawens van die Weskus in die Verenigde State. Die algemene staking in San Francisco, saam met die Toledo Auto-Lite Strike van 1934 onder leiding van die American Workers Party en die Minneapolis Teamsters Strike van 1934, was belangrike katalisators vir die opkoms van industriële vakbond in die 1930's.

Matrose van die Weskus het skepe verlaat ter ondersteuning van die International Longshoremen's Association longshoremen, wat meer as 50 skepe in die San Francisco -hawe ledig gelaat het. [2] ISU -amptenare het hierdie staking teësinnig ondersteun. In botsings met die polisie tussen 3 Julie en 5 Julie 1934 is drie pickers dood en 'tellings beseer'. [2] Tydens onderhandelinge om die staking te beëindig, het die matrose toegewings ontvang, waaronder 'n stelsel met drie horlosies, salarisverhogings en beter lewensomstandighede.

In April 1935 [10] tydens 'n konferensie van maritieme vakbonde in Seattle, is 'n sambreelunie gestig om die lidmaatskap van die ISU sowel as maritieme offisiere en langskepe te verteenwoordig. Harry Lundeberg, wat die Maritieme Federasie genoem word, is as sy eerste president aangewys. [10]

In 1935 word die Maritieme Federasie gestig en Harry Lundeberg word as president aangewys. Hy is ook aangewys as sekretaris-tesourier van SUP.

Die koopvaardier in die Verenigde State was in die middel van die dertigerjare besig om agteruit te gaan. [3] Destyds is daar min skepe gebou, bestaande skepe was oud en ondoeltreffend, maritieme vakbonde was in oorlog met mekaar, skeepseienaars was in stryd met die vakbonde en die doeltreffendheid en moraal van die bemanning was op 'n ebbe. [3] Die kongres het in 1936 aksie geneem om die probleme op te los. [3] Die Merchant Marine Act, wat op 29 Junie 1936 goedgekeur is, het die Amerikaanse maritieme kommissie tot stand gebring "om die ontwikkeling en instandhouding van 'n voldoende en gebalanseerde Amerikaanse handelsvaart te bevorder, om die handel in die Verenigde State te bevorder en om te help met die nasionale verdediging. " [3]

Die kommissie het besef dat 'n opgeleide handel in mariene arbeidsmag noodsaaklik is vir die nasionale belang. At the request of Congress, the chairman of the Maritime Commission, VADM Emory S. Land worked with ADM Russell R. Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, to formulate a training program for merchant-marine personnel. [3] Called the U.S. Maritime Service, the new training program was inaugurated in 1938. [3] It used a combination of civilian Maritime Commission and uniformed Coast Guard instructors to advance the professional training of merchant mariners. [3]

In 1936, Joseph Curren called the S.S. California strike.

On February 14, 1937, Michael Sacco was born in Brooklyn. Joseph P. Kennedy was named head of Maritime Commission. Merchant Marine Act in 1937. [5]

On January 22, 1938, Andrew Furuseth died in San Francisco. On 15 October 1938, the Seafarer's International Union was chartered.

Rise of the NMU Edit

In 1936, an ISU boatswain by the name of Joseph Curran was drawing attention. From March 1 to March 4, Curran led a strike aboard the S.S. California, then docked in San Pedro, California. [11] [12] [13] [14] Seamen along the East Coast struck to protest the treatment of the S.S. California's crew. Curran became a leader of the 10-week strike, eventually forming a supportive association known as the Seamen's Defense Committee. In October 1936, Curran called a second strike, in part to improve working conditions and in part to embarrass the ISU. The four-month strike idled 50,000 seamen and 300 ships along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. [12] [14] [15]

Believing it was time to abandon the conservative ISU, Curran began recruiting members for a new rival union. The level of organizing was so intense that hundreds of ships delayed sailing as seamen listened to organizers and signed union cards. [16] The ISU's official publication, The Seamen's Journal, suggested Curran's "sudden disenchantment" with the ISU was odd, since he'd only been a "member of the union for one year during his seafaring career." [2]

In May 1937, Curran and other leaders of his Seamen's Defense Committee reconstituted the group as the National Maritime Union. Holding its first convention in July, approximately 30,000 seamen switched their membership from the ISU to the NMU and Curran was elected president of the new organization. [11] [12] [14] Within a year, the NMU had more than 50,000 members and most American shippers were under contract. [14] [16]

Formation of Seafarer's International Union Edit

In August 1937, William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, assumed control of the ISU with the goal of rebuilding it under the AFL. Lundeberg, who was also head of the Sailor's Union of the Pacific. [17] On October 15, 1938, at an AFL convention in Houston, Texas, Green handed Lundeberg the Seafarer's International Union charter. The new union represented 7,000 members on the East and Gulf coasts. Seventy years later, SIU holds the charters to both NMU and SUP. [2]

Tweede Wêreldoorlog Wysig

As with the other military services, the entry of the United States into World War II necessitated the immediate growth of the merchant marine and the Coast Guard. [3] The Maritime Commission spawned the War Shipping Administration in early February 1942. This new agency received a number of functions considered vital to the war effort, including maritime training. Several weeks after the creation of the new agency, however, the Maritime Service was transferred again to the Coast Guard. [3] The transfer allowed the War Shipping Administration to concentrate on organizing American merchant shipping, building new ships, and carrying cargoes where they were needed most. [3]

The need for administering the merchant marine during wartime was demonstrated during World War I. [3] Commerce warfare, carried on by submarines and merchant raiders, had a disastrous effect on the Allied merchant fleet. [3] With the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, U-boats sank ships faster than replacements could be built. [3]

The United States intended to meet this crisis with large numbers of mass-produced freighters and transports. [3] When World War II loomed, the Maritime Commission began a crash shipbuilding program utilizing every available resource. [3] The experienced shipyards built complicated vessels, such as warships. [3] New shipyards, which opened almost overnight around the country, generally built less sophisticated ships such as the emergency construction Liberty ships. [3] By 1945, the shipyards had completed more than 2,700 "Liberty" ships and hundreds of "Victory" ships, tankers and transports. [3]

All of these new ships needed trained officers and crews to operate them. [3] The Coast Guard provided much of the advanced training for merchant marine personnel to augment the training of state merchant marine academies. [3] The Maritime Commission requested that the Coast Guard provide training in 1938 when the Maritime Service was created. [3] Merchant sailors from around the country trained at two large training stations. [3] On the East Coast, the men trained at Fort Trumbull in New London, Connecticut, and Government Island, California|Government Island in Alameda, California served the West Coast. [3] In 1940 Hoffman Island in New York Harbor became the third training station for the service. [3] After the start of the war, other training stations were added in Boston, Port Hueneme, California, and St. Petersburg, Florida. [3]

Training ships manned by the Coast Guard included the Maritime Commission steamships American Seaman, Amerikaanse Mariner, en American Sailor. [3] One of these ships, the 7,000-gross-ton American Seaman, carried 250 trainees in addition to the regular crew of 18 officers and 100 enlisted men. [3] Four complete machine shops, various lifeboats and up-to-date navigational equipment comprised the special educational equipment. [3] In addition the Coast Guard manned the full-rigged sail training ships Tusitala en Joseph Conrad, as well as the auxiliary schooner Vema. [3] The 261-foot Tusitala was built in Greenock, Scotland in 1883 and operated in merchant service before becoming a receiving ship in St. Petersburg in 1940. [3] The 165-foot Joseph Conrad sailed from Jacksonville, Florida to train apprentice seamen. The training ships were important commands. [3] These steamships were the largest ships manned by the service prior to the Coast Guard joining the Navy in World War II. [3] CDR Alfred C. Richmond, who commanded the American Sailor, the first Maritime Service training ship, later became Commandant of the Coast Guard. [3]

Licensed and unlicensed merchant marine personnel enrolled in the service. [3] The ranks, grades, and ratings for the Maritime Service were based on those of the Coast Guard. [3] Training for experienced personnel lasted three months while inexperienced personnel trained for six months. [3] Pay was based on the person's highest certified position in merchant service. [3] New students received cadet wages. [3] American citizens at least 19 years old, with one year of service on American merchant vessels of more than 500 gross tons, were eligible for enrollment. [3] Coast Guard training of merchant mariners was vital to winning the war. [3] Thousands of the sailors who manned the new American merchant fleet trained under the watchful eyes of the Coast Guard. [3]

The Coast Guard only continued the administration of the Maritime Service for ten months after the United States entered the war. [3] Merchant marine training and most aspects of merchant marine activity transferred to the newly created War Shipping Administration on September 1, 1942. [3] The transfer allowed the Coast Guard to take a more active role in the war and concentrated government administration of the merchant marine in one agency. [3] However, Just as the transfer removed the merchant marine training role from the Coast Guard, the service assumed the role of licensing seamen and inspecting merchant vessels. [3]

The Atlantic Ocean was a major strategic battle zone during World War II (the Battle of the Atlantic) and when Germany declared war on the US, the East Coast offered easy pickings for German U-boats (referred to as the Second happy time). After a highly successful foray by five Type IX long-range U-boats, the offensive was maximised by the use of short-range Type VII U-boats, with increased fuel stores, replenished from supply U-boats or "Milchkuh". In February to May, 1942, 348 ships were sunk, for the loss of 2 U-boats during April and May. U.S. naval commanders were reluctant to introduce the convoy system that had protected trans-Atlantic shipping and, without coastal blackouts, shipping was silhouetted against the bright lights of American towns and cities.

Several ships were torpedoed within sight of East Coast cities such as New York and Boston indeed, some civilians sat on beaches and watched battles between U.S. and German ships.

Once convoys and air cover were introduced, sinking numbers were reduced and the U-boats shifted to attack shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, with 121 losses in June. In one instance, the tanker Virginia was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German submarine U-507 on May 12, 1942, killing 26 crewmen. There were 14 survivors. Again, when defensive measures were introduced, ship sinkings decreased and U-boat sinkings increased.

The cumulative effect of this campaign was severe a quarter of all wartime sinkings—3.1 million tons. There were several reasons for this. The naval commander, Admiral Ernest King, was averse to taking British recommendations to introduce convoys, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy patrols were predictable and could be avoided by U-boats, poor inter-service co-operation, and the U.S. Navy did not possess enough suitable escort vessels (British and Canadian warships were transferred to the U.S. east coast).

Wartime controversy Edit

During World War II, the merchant service sailed and took orders from naval officers. Some were uniformed, and some were trained to use a gun. However, they were formally considered volunteers and not members of the military. Walter Winchell, the famous newspaper columnist and radio commentator, and another right-wing columnist, Westbrook Pegler, both described the National Maritime Union and the merchant seamen generally as draft dodgers, criminals, riffraff, Communists, and other derogatory names.

It came to a head in the middle of the war with the writing of a column in the New York World-Telegram by Pegler, who alleged that merchant seamen refused to work on Sundays per union rules, causing sick USMC servicemen to unload their own supplies in an incident off Guadalcanal. He went on to say that these seamen received "fabulous pay for sailors, including overtime bonuses, whereas the navy men draw only the modest pay for their ratings without extras." This was a specific allegation, and in February, 1943, the National Maritime Union, representing seven other unions, filed suit for libel against Hearst Newspapers, publisher of the newspaper, and the Associated Press for its wide dissemination of what was claimed to be an untrue story. As part of their suit, they pointed out that Government allotments for families, low-rate premiums on insurance, hospitalization, dental care, pension, and civil service rating consideration tend to balance the pay of ordinary seamen in civilian service. But they denied the incident ever took place, and were backed by a report of Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of United States forces in the South Pacific, to the Navy Department in which Halsey praised the "co-operation, efficiency and courage" of the merchant seamen and asserted that "In no instance have merchant marine seamen refused to discharge cargo from their vessels or in any other way failed to co-operate with the United States forces ashore in that (South Pacific) area." They won their suit, but the residual effect of the libels would last for decades.

What was ignored, say the Seafarers' International Union, was the fact that seamen are paid by the ship owner for their work, consequently they were paid only while the ships were in the water. A seaman torpedoed off his ship was off the payroll the minute he was injured, landed in a lifeboat or hit the water. Surviving seamen had to beg, borrow, plead or work their way back to the United States from places such as Murmansk, Russia, so they could be reassigned to another ship. Until that happened, they were not paid. And in addition, they would be drafted if they did not find another ship within 30 days.

Their wartime record reveals that their losses were among the highest of any group in the front lines. They died at a rate of 1 in 24. All told, 733 American cargo ships were lost [18] and 8,651 of the 215,000 who served perished on troubled waters and off enemy shores.

The biggest supporter of the merchant men was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was he who in 1936 urged Congress to pass the Merchant Marine Act, which established a 10-year program for building ships that would be used for commerce during peacetime and would be converted for use by the Navy during times of war or national emergency and a training program for seamen that linked them to the military in wartime, specifically the Navy. It was this legislation that enabled the country to take on the axis powers a few years later, but not before extensive losses on the East coast, which was crawling with German submarines by the end of 1941. That year the Germans sank 1,232 Allied and neutral ships worldwide, including those manned by the Merchant Marine, and the following year was even worse. The Allies would lose 1,323 ships, while Germany's submarine losses totaled just 87. More than 1,000 merchant seamen would die within sight of the East Coast, and it was not uncommon for inhabitants of the seashore to find their bodies washed up on the sand.

Roosevelt, while the war was under way, proclaimed

"Mariners have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant's fleet record during this war."

But it was not to be, for with Roosevelt's death in 1945, the Merchant Marine lost its staunchest supporter and any chance to share in the accolades afforded others who served. The War Department, the same government branch that recruited them, opposed the Seaman's Bill of Rights in 1947 (see below) and managed to kill the legislation in congressional committee, effectively ending any chance for seamen to reap the thanks of a nation. For 43 years, the U.S. government denied them benefits ranging from housing to health care until Congress awarded them veterans' status in 1988, too late for 125,000 mariners, roughly half of those who had served, who had already died.

"It's one of the injustices of American history," wrote Brian Herbert, author of "The Forgotten Heroes," a book about the Merchant Marine of World War II. "These men were torpedoed by their own government after the war."

It was, finally, in 2005 that Congress had before it the H.R. 23 bill, the "Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2005", still waiting to be signed into law by George W. Bush.

As a result, those mariners who served in World War II, or their survivors, will receive a benefit of $1,000 per month, and the right to be buried in a National Cemetery "which honors veterans with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service to our nation."


The Mayaguez Incident: Final Battle of the Vietnam War

President Ford discussing the incident in the Oval Office. Wikimedia Commons.

Captian Miller&rsquos situation was actually much worse than it looked on the surface. That&rsquos because the Mayaguez wasn&rsquot carrying normal cargo. The ship had put in at Saigon just days before the city fell and picked up sensitive military cargo for the US Government. If the Khmer Rouge found out that he was working for the military, the chance of his crew surviving would drop dramatically. Fortunately, the Khmer Rouge soldiers hadn&rsquot bothered to inspect his cargo&hellip yet. And Miller immediately destroyed a letter he was carrying from the military with his instructions.

Knowing that sailing to Ream would make any chance at rescue even more remote, Miller told the Khmer Rouge that his radar was broken. And with crude sign language, he made it clear that sailing to Ream would probably end up with the ship striking the rocks and sinking. The Cambodian commander radioed back to his superiors and told them about the broken radar. They ordered him to drop the anchor immediately and stay put. For the crew of the Mayaguez, Poulo Wai was going to be their prison for the time being. It was a huge stroke of luck. And though they didn&rsquot know it at the time, it might have saved their lives.

Back in the United States, President Gerald Ford was getting the first word that an American ship had been captured by the Khmer Rouge. After the humiliating fall of Saigon, the US was about to take another blow to its military reputation if they couldn&rsquot rescue the Mayaguez. The military leadership called for swift and decisive action. But Ford first tried diplomacy. The US made several attempts to pass a message through the Chinese to the Cambodians demanding the ship&rsquos release, but the Chinese refused to help. Diplomacy had failed. The time had come to use force.

This wasn&rsquot the first time an American ship had been seized by a rogue communist state. In 1968, the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel was sailing in international waters off the coast of North Korea when it was approached by several North Korean patrol ships. The North Koreans boarded the Pueblo and took it back to the city Wonson. The ship&rsquos crew was then blindfolded and taken to the capital. The US government decided it was too late to respond with force and 11 months of negotiation followed. Finally, the US was forced to make a humiliating admission that the ship had illegally entered North Korean waters, apologize, and promise not to do it again.

The USS Pueblo displayed in Pyongyang. Wikimedia Commons.

The situation shared some eerie parallels to the Mayaguez Incident. Both ships had claimed to be in international waters and been seized by a communist government with a different idea about where their maritime borders were. But so far, the Mayaguez crew had managed to avoid being taken back to the mainland, where they could be imprisoned. The US had one chance to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and President Ford decided that they would take it. This time, there would be no negotiations. The US was going in with overwhelming force.


Valor: The Mayaguez Incident

The last US military forces left South Vietnam in April 1975 in what President Gerald Ford termed “a humiliating withdrawal.” US military involvement in southeast Asia had ended. Of het dit gehad?

On May 12, 1975, the Cambodian Navy seized an American merchant ship, SS Mayaguez, in international waters off Cambodia’s coast. The ship was being towed to Kompong Som on the mainland when word reached the White House. President Ford insisted that this not become another Pueblo incident. Beyond that, it was important to counter a growing feeling among US allies and adversaries that this country was “a helpless giant,” an unreliable ally lacking resolve.

It was far from the simple military operation it might seem. The US had no diplomatic relations with the Khmer Rouge, which had taken over Cambodia a few weeks earlier. US forces in Thailand were inadequate for ground action against Cambodia. There were no US warships in the area.

The President ordered the carrier Koraalsee and other Navy ships to steam at full speed to the Gulf of Thailand and US military planes in the Philippines to find the Mayaguez and keep it in sight. A Navy P-3 located the ship anchored off Kho Tang Island, 40 miles from the Cambodian shore. Several monitoring aircraft were damaged by fire from the island. This would be no picnic.

A battalion-sized Marine landing team was airlifted from Okinawa to U Tapao AB in Thailand, some 300 miles from Kho Tang. The destroyer Holt was directed to seize the Mayaguez, while Marines, airlifted and supported by the Air Force, were to rescue the crew, at least some of whom were believed to be held on Kho Tang. Concurrently, the Koraalsee would launch four bombing strikes on military targets near Kompong Som to convince the Khmer Rouge the US was serious.

On the morning of May 15, 175 Marines of a planned 600-man force were flown by helicopters of the 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group and the 21st Special Operations Squadron from U Tapao to Kho Tang, expecting only light resistance. They were met by a force of 150-200 heavily armed Khmer Rouge troops, who shot down three of the first eight helicopters and damaged two others. About 100 Marines were put ashore, but it soon became evident that substantial reinforcements on the ground would be needed. The assault force was supported by Air Force A-7s, F-4s, OV-10s, and AC-130s, but the attack was not going well.

While the firefight on Kho Tang was at its height, carrier bombing of targets on the mainland apparently convinced the Khmer Rouge leaders that they had underestimated US resolve. A fishing boat was seen approaching the destroyer Wilson with white flags flying. Aboard were the 39 crewmen of the Mayaguez. The Marines on Kho Tang were ordered to disengage and withdraw. However, Khmer Rouge troops, perhaps directed by a local commander, continued the battle, turning from defense to attack as Air Force helicopters moved through heavy fire to withdraw US forces. The last of 230 Marines were not evacuated until after dark on the night of May 15. As they had throughout the Vietnam War, helicopter crews performed with unsurpassed heroism. Four CH-53 and HH-53 crewmen were awarded the Air Force Cross, the last to be accorded that honor in Southeast Asia: 1st Lt. Donald R. Backlund, 1st Lt. Richard C. Brims, SSgt. John D. Harston, and Capt. Rowland W. Purser.

Lieutenant Backlund began his day by putting a contingent of Marines on the destroyer Holt to assist in retaking the Mayaguez. He then landed the rest of his Marines on Kho Tang in the face of heavy fire. Early in the afternoon, Backlund escorted a damaged HH-53 to the Koraalsee. He returned to Kho Tang and.recovered several wounded Marines and downed airmen at dusk, despite continuous ground fire and a grenade attack. Backlund had been flying since before dawn.

Lieutenant Brim flew his helicopter through a curtain of small arms and automatic weapons fire to land a group of Marines on the island. He courageously held his position, while enemy fire perforated his aircraft, until four seriously wounded Marines were aboard. Later he evacuated an aircraft load of Marines who were under attack and about to be overrun.

Sergeant Harston was a flight mechanic on a CH-53 in the first landing wave. His aircraft was hit and crashed in flames. Although wounded, Harston rescued three survivors from the burning helicopter and gave them covering fire as they swam away from shore. He reentered the CH-53 to rescue another wounded Marine and kept two shot-up leathernecks afloat with his damaged life jacket until they were picked up by a destroyer three hours later.

Captain Purser landed 29 Marines on the island after being driven off in his first attempt. Returning to U Tapao, he picked up another group of Marines and flew them to Kho Tang. While evacuating wounded, his helicopter was severely damaged by enemy fire. He flew to the Coral Sea, helped make temporary repairs, then returned to the island, picked up 54 Marines, and carried them to the Coral Sea with one engine of his HH-53 shot out. Eighteen Marines and airmen were killed or missing in the assault and withdrawal from Kho Tang. Twenty-three others were killed in a helicopter crash en route from Hakhon Phanom to U Tapao, but the objectives of the operation were achieved. Die Mayaguez and its crew had been rescued, though at high cost.

Die Mayaguez incident is no more than a footnote in most histories of the period. It and the men who carried out the rescue deserve better than that. At a time when its resolve was in doubt, the US showed the world that it would pay whatever price was necessary to protect its citizens and preserve its national honor.

Published September 1991. For presentation on this web site, some Valor articles have been amended for accuracy.


Mayaguez Incident, The Last Battle of the Vietnam War, 3 Marines Were Left Behind And Executed

When a violent Khmer Rouge regime under the leadership of Pol Pot overthrew the Khmer Republic government, backed by the US, Cambodia was in the state of emergency. One month after the Khmer Rouge seized power, an incident occurred involving an American merchant ship, SS Mayaguez. The SS Mayaguez was a container ship, working for the US military.

The Mayaguez was carrying 107 containers of routine cargo, 77 containers of government and military cargo, and 90 empty containers, all insured for $5 million. The Khmer Rouge never inspected the containers, and the exact contents had not been disclosed, but the Mayaguez had loaded containers from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon nine days before the fall of Saigon. The captain had a U.S. government envelope only to be opened in special circumstances, which he destroyed.

On May 12, 1975, the ship was en route to Thailand, sailing within the 12 nautical miles of the coast of Cambodia. The newly declared regime claimed that they were in the Cambodian territorial waters, even though the US recognized only three nautical miles off the coast of Cambodia as water under Khmer Rouge sovereignty. The Khmer Rouge stormed the ship with Swift Boats. They fired several machine gun rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade which was considered as warning shots.

Captain Miller, who was in charge on the Mayaguez sent an SOS and halted the ship. The Khmer Rouge boarded and forced the captain to change his course and anchor at the Poulo Wai island, under Cambodian control.

The Cambodians insisted that the captain should proceed to Ream on the Cambodian mainland, but due to a radar malfunction on the ship, they were forced to stay at Poulo Wai. Meanwhile, the Americans were outraged, and President Ford’s administration was already preparing a rescue mission. The wounds from the Vietnam War were still raw, and the public demanded a swift reaction.

Aerial surveillance showing two Khmer Rough gunboats during the initial seizing of the SS Mayaguez.

On the early morning of May 13, the ship was located at the Poulo Wai island by P-3 Orion aircraft which were designated to find the missing vessel. Two F-4 Phantoms fired warning shots near the ship, adding tension to the already turbulent situation. General John J. Burns, who was the head of the rescue mission, assembled a task force of elements of the III Marine Amphibious Force stationed in the Philipines and the 3rd Marine Division from Okinawa. They were joined by nine MH-53 “Jolly Green” helicopters.

While the US Army was drafting rescue plans and pitching them to President Ford, awaiting approval, the Khmer Rouge evacuated the crew of the Mayaguez via fishing boats and headed for Kampong Som. This proved to be a bad idea, because, at that time, the US Air Force had established complete control over the area, with orders to shoot any approaching Cambodian vessels. After the US aircraft sunk one of the Khmer Rouge Swift Boats, they reported back, saying that a fishing boat was carrying approximately 40 Caucasians.

It was immediately determined that the Caucasians were, in fact, the Mayaguez crew. The fishing boat proceeded to Kampong Som, carrying the hostages, but upon their arrival, a Cambodian officer in Kampong Som refused to receive them out of fear of American retribution. The crew, guarded by a handful of Khmer Rouge soldiers under the leadership of Sa Mean continued to the isle of Koh Rong Sanloem.

The US was convinced that the prisoners must have been taken to Koh Tang, a large island off the coast of Cambodia. They planned to launch their main rescue assault there. General Burns wanted to simultaneously seize the ship and the prisoners. On the morning of 15 May, the ship was stormed by a group of marines, after its bombardment with tear gas. It was finally concluded that the ship was empty and that none of the crew were left aboard.

Meanwhile, the landing on Koh Tang commenced. Due to lack of intelligence data, the numbers of Khmer Rouge on the island were severely underestimated, which resulted in carnage. There were two designated drop zones on the island ― DLZ East and DLZ West. Resistance was fierce at both of them. The US Army expected a personnel of 20-30 Khmer Rouge soldiers, poorly equipped and poorly motivated to confront the Marines. Instead, their welcoming committee was more than a 100-strong, and the battalion was equipped with AA guns and RPGs.

The reason why the island was so heavily armed wasn’t because of the threat of US troops, but because of the Vietnamese, who were threatening to invade Cambodia and reclaim the Island of Koh Tang. Nevertheless, the entrenched Khmer Rouge responded with fire on the troop-carrying helicopters. The result was grim: of the eight helicopters assaulting Koh Tang, three had been destroyed and four others damaged too severely to continue operations. Thirteen men lost their lives before they even landed. Pockets of resistance formed around the two DLZs with 109 Marines joining the fight. They were denied reinforcements but had limited air support.

The battle raged on throughout the day, until the Khmer Rouge information and propaganda minister, Hu Nim, made a radio broadcast announcing that the Mayaguez and its crew would be released. He insisted that the incident had gone too far and that the initial intention was only the defense of the territorial waters of Cambodia. The prisoners were soon handed over to the crew of the SS Henry B. Wilson, stationed off the coast of the Koh Tang island.

After the prisoners were released, the command ordered the U.S. forces to “immediately cease all offensive operations against the Khmer Republic [and to] disengage and withdraw all forces from operating areas as soon as possible”. Even though the release of prisoners was announced, the hostilities continued.

Another 100 Marines reinforced the strike force on the island as they defended themselves from the Khmer Rouge. Aided by the firepower of the SS Henry B. Wilson which bombarded the island, the Marines were finally able to withdraw from Koh Tang.

These 23 U.S. airmen were killed when their helicopter crashed due to a mechanical failure.

In the aftermath, the 15 men who died in action on Koh Tang and three more were declared MIA. The Marines that went missing in action were captured and executed by the Khmer Rouge soon after the battle. On return a CH-53 helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure on the way to U-Tapao Airfield, killing eighteen USAF Security Police and five flight crew.


45 Years Later, U.S. Military Personnel Recall SS Mayaguez Rescue

Corporal (Ret.) Al Bailey vividly remembers the battle scenes at Cambodia’s Koh Tang island on May 15, 1975. The retired Marine veteran was on the first of several U.S. Air Force CH-53 heavy transport helicopters that deployed in an attempt to rescue the crew of the U.S. merchant container ship SS Mayaguez, which had been captured by Khmer Rouge naval forces three days prior.

Dubbed the “Last Battle of the Vietnam War,” May 15 marked the 45th anniversary of the U.S. rescue attempt and assault on Koh Tang island, which was foiled by heavier-than-expected Khmer Rouge resistance on the small islet off the Cambodian coast.

The Khmer Rouge had planned to release the crew of the SS Mayaguez, historians have documented, yet the U.S. proceeded with the assault, resulting in fierce fighting at Koh Tang and the loss of 41 U.S. lives and several Cambodian fighters.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember that day,” Cpl. Al Bailey told VOA Khmer in a phone interview. “It’s something that the mind would not let go.”

The incident -- which took place one month after Phnom Penh fell to the Cambodian communists and two weeks after Saigon fell to the Viet Cong -- was precipitated when Khmer Rouge speed boats intercepted the SS Mayaguez on May 12, 1975. The seized cargo ship was taken to Koh Tang island, which is around 60 kilometers southwest of Sihanoukville, then known as Kampong Som.

The ship was on its way to Sattahip, Thailand, and carried 274 containers, of which 77 contained materials of the U.S. government and military that were taken from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon nine days before the fall of the city on April 30, 1975, according to U.S. historians.

“The Khmer Rouge waited just before touchdown to open up with everything they had on each helicopter that approached – anti-aircraft artillery, rocket-propelled grenades, and a devastating amount of rifle fire,” recalled Cpl. Bailey, who now lives in eastern Maryland.

Kpl. Bailey was on the helicopter called Knife-21, which caught fire and crashed just off a Koh Tang beach, but not before 20 marines were dropped off. It was the first battle for Al Bailey and many other soldiers, who were still completing their training at the time.

Air Force Col. (Ret.) Ric Hunter, of the 34th Fighter Squadron, remembered flying his F-4 Phantom fighter bomber on May 14 over a Thai fishing trawler the Khmer Rouge was using to transport the captured SS Mayaguez crew. They were being taken to Koh Rong Sanloem island for questioning, historians say.

“I dropped over the boat to take a look since my gun would not work, my rocket wouldn’t fire,” Col. Ric Hunter told VOA Khmer in an interview, “and looked down and saw a bunch of people lining the bow of the boat with their heads down. we ultimately identified a good portion of the [SS Mayaguez] crew on that Thai fishing boat headed to the Cambodian mainland.”

Koh Tang is midway between the port city of Sihanoukville and Poulo Wai island, where the container ship was first intercepted before being instructed by the Khmer Rouge to move to Koh Tang.

The island was controlled by the Khmer Rouge's 410th Battalion, which was under naval commander Meas Muth’s 3rd division, researchers have documented. Mao Ran was one of the Khmer Rouge platoon commanders assigned to lead the battle at the time.

Speaking in Kampong Speu province with VOA Khmer in an April interview, Mao Ran said the U.S. bombed the shoreline at Koh Tang the night of 14 May, before launching a ground assault the next morning.

“On May 15, they started to unload combatants from helicopters to fight us,” Mao Ran said. “We were ready to fire back and shot down two helicopters.”

“We saw flames coming out of the [helicopter] tails and one of them crashed in the water and another one on the beach,” he said referring to two CH-53 transport helicopters shot down by the Khmer Rouge.

Mao Ran believed the U.S. used the container ship to provoke the ultra-communist regime into a battle. Only weeks before had the Khmer Rouge seized all of Cambodia and established Democratic Kampuchea.

“If the U.S. ship was in international waters, nobody would be able to capture it,” Mao Ran said. “I dare not conclude, but if it weren’t the U.S. intention to let us capture it, it would not have stopped the engine and let us board.”

In his book, 'The Last Battle: The Mayaguez and the End of the Vietnam War,'' Ralph Wetterhahn writes that among the first words a Khmer Rouge interrogator said to the captured cargo ship crew, was asking them if they worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Kpl. Al Bailey and Col. Ric Hunter told VOA Khmer that they, in recent years, have had to find closure with the events of May 15, 1975, including acknowledging the role played by Khmer Rouge fighters.

“I was sent to do a mission. They were sent to do a mission,” said Cpl. Al Bailey. “Yes, I would hug them [if I saw them now, 45 years later] and tell them that 'I’m glad that you’re here and I’m glad that I’m here' and I would treat [them] with the utmost respect.”

Col. Ric Hunter, referring to Khmer Rouge soldiers, said: “They took a beating from us and they kept on fighting so I have a warrior respect with them for their fighting ability. I don’t believe their reasons for fighting were valid.”

Despite alleging the U.S. provoked the violent and deadly episode, Mao Ran said he also wanted to move on from the incident, noting soldiers on both sides were fighting hard to defend their respective countries.

“We were Cambodian soldiers so we had to protect our territorial integrity,” Mao Ran said. “If they came to encroach our territory, we had to capture them. If they came to attack us, we had to fight them back. This is what a soldier is for.”

The battle did not take place in Vietnam, which means U.S. military personnel who participated in the SS Mayaguez mission were not eligible for a Vietnam Service Medal.

However, Cpl. Al Bailey and Col. Ric Hunter are now working to get Vietnam Service Medals for surviving veterans and the two are lobbying to get a Congressional medal for surviving combatant Staff Sergeant Fofo Tuitele, who, they said, saved many marines that day, including Al Bailey.

“I think it is time, 45 years later, to recognize the heroism of the people that were in this battle,” said Col. Ric Hunter, who lives now in the Raleigh area of North Carolina. “How hard they fought. How well they fought.”

At least ten Khmer Rouge soldiers were killed and 15 others wounded and the U.S. lost 18 soldiers, three of who were accidentally left on Koh Tang during the nighttime evacuation of U.S. troops on May 15, historians and book authors have documented.

One of them was killed on the island after being captured by Khmer Rouge soldiers and two others were taken to Sihanoukville, where they were beaten to death at a hilltop pagoda, according to information provided by former Khmer Rouge soldier Em Son to the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, which accounts for U.S. military personnel listed as “Missing in Action” or “Prisoners of War.”

Another 23 U.S. personnel were killed in a helicopter crash due to a mechanical failure in Thailand, and 50 others were reported wounded in the assault.

Peter Maguire, author of 'Facing Death in Cambodia' and founder of the Fainting Robin Foundation, said the controversial nature of the SS Mayaguez rescue mission meant that U.S. military personnel had not received the recognition they deserved.

“I believe President Ford and Henry Kissinger were much more interested in using it as a symbolic political event that showed that the United State was back, that we weren’t going to be pushed around anymore,” Maguire said.

A planned reunion in Las Vegas for all the veterans related to the SS Mayaguez mission was scheduled for last week, but has been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.


American ship Mayaguez seized - May 12, 1975 - HISTORY.com

TSgt Joe C.

The American freighter Mayaguez is captured by communist government forces in Cambodia, setting off an international incident. The U.S. response to the affair indicated that the wounds of the Vietnam War still ran deep.

On May 12, 1975, the U.S. freighter Mayaguez and its 39-man crew was captured by gunboats of the Cambodian navy. Cambodia had fallen to communist insurgents, the Khmer Rouge, in April 1973. The Cambodian authorities imprisoned the American crew, pending an investigation of the ship and why it had sailed into waters claimed by Cambodia. The response of the United States government was quick. President Gerald Ford called the Cambodian seizure of the Mayaguez an “act of piracy” and promised swift action to rescue the captured Americans.

In part, Ford’s aggressive attitude to the incident was a by-product of the American failure in Vietnam. In January 1973, U.S. forces had withdrawn from South Vietnam, ending years of a bloody and inconclusive attempt to forestall communist rule of that nation. In the time since the U.S. withdrawal, a number of conservative politicians and intellectuals in the United States had begun to question America’s “credibility” in the international field, suggesting that the country’s loss of will in Vietnam now encouraged enemies around the world to challenge America with seeming impunity. The Cambodian seizure of the Mayaguez appeared to be just such a challenge.

On May 14, President Ford ordered the bombing of the Cambodian port where the gunboats had come from and sent Marines to attack the island of Koh Tang, where the prisoners were being held. Unfortunately, the military action was probably unnecessary. The Cambodian government was already in the process of releasing the crew of the Mayaguez and the ship. Forty-one Americans died, most of them in an accidental explosion during the attack. Most Americans, however, cheered the action as evidence that the United States was once again willing to use military might to slap down potential enemies.


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