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Naval Historical Center Needs Your Help

Dear Joe and Oklahoma City crewmembers,

My name is Commander John Robinson, USN (ret.), and I am writing an analysis of the attack on the Do Son Peninsula and Haiphong on the morning of 10 May 1972 for the Naval Historical Foundation in Washington, DC. and the Naval Institute Press for future publication. Your ship was in company with Hanson, MC Fox, Newport News, Providence and Buchanan on the morning of 10 May 1972 when you attacked targets south of Haiphong (Cat Bi military air field) and various targets on the Do Son peninsula.

I have also talked with the GQ OOD in Hanson, GQ OOD in Fox (Admiral Doran who was just relieved as CINCPACFLT), plus I have the logs of the other ships including your deck logs for 8-10 May and your Command History for 1972.

I do know that most of the ships went to GQ around 0200 on 10 May. They secured around 0430. I understand that initially, the three cruisers were headed more or less on 000T from 0100 that morning with the three destroyers on a line of bearing from Newport News. In other words the three cruisers were in column headed north, the three destroyers on a line of 057T from Newport News, 2000 yards between each ship on this line of bearing. Then the cruisers turned to approximately 240T at the five fathom line--in other words, not much water under the keel and Newport News commenced firing at 0347 at max range to reach the airfield at Cat Bi.

The lead ship Hanson GQ OOD said their orders (the DDs) were just counter battery, so did not fire that many rounds, maybe 40 shells. He does not remember too many enemy rounds hitting near his ship, but other ship said there were. Admiral Haynes, then CO of Providence, said just a few hit near Providence.

I believe Buchanan was the last in line, but not sure at this point about her exact position, the order being Hanson, Newport News, Oklahoma City, Providence then Buchanan. Buchanan fired 146 rounds of counter battery.

By the way, this battle was maybe more important than you think. It was the first strike of what ended the war. Your attack on Haiphong discouraged the N. Vietnamese leadership and that, with the B-52 attacks, ended the war. Your battle was the first action that brought the N. Viets to sign the peace accord in Paris. So this was more than just a shore bomb, it had major strategic implications as it turns out. The war was really ended between May 9 and Dec 25 1972 due to the two attacks by the Navy on Haiphong, the mining, and the B-52 attacks. All these were ordered by Nixon. People think he caused the war, actually, he ended it, by letting the Navy and Air Force attack Haiphong and Hanoi in those few months. Remember we only had 6000 trigger pullers in S. Vietnam at the time, another 50,000 technical types trying to turn over gear to the S. Viets. This did not scare the North. They sent several divisions south to destroy the US Army troops there. Your attack was the first message to the North to stop the invasion or else.

Again, any recollections of crewmembers aboard on 10 May would be great for this project. It does not matter what position in the ship you held, I am interested in what you remember and your feelings at the moment.

I do hope to hear from your crewmembers,

Regards, John Robinson

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