INT: (Inaudible)

JS: Well, they went ...


INT: What happened in Washington?

JS: Meanwhile, back in Washington. At about that time that first... remember this all started because of that first intercept that we now know that there was a thirty four Alpha out there that night and that was undoubtedly a properly copied, that they were alerting two swat Taus and one PT boat if they could get it to intercept this thirty four Alpha that was trying to kidnap the crew of a North Vietnamese fishing boat, fairly far north and so they would be coming a little later, it was about four in the afternoon of Thursday, in daylight, that these PT boats left Darnang and the intelligence... there was... we're now learning that this boat action was being reported to the North Vietnamese by spies as the boats pulled out. So this was clearall started... by a routine matter of North Vietnam wanting to intercept a thirty four Alpha and the message traffic had it turned around to where it was against the Joy the Maddox. It was... I think ten minutes after nine, Alex Hayden wrote a book about three years ago, and he was in the White House at that time, not in the capacity as a Republican administration, but as an army general and the book contains the fact that McNamara called the President, at about ten after nine. Carl Alpert, the Speaker of the House, was seated there beside the President's desk when the President picked up and he reports the reply of McNamara. He said, I not only want - now this is before the battle that I've discussed, it was just in its incipient stage, but it was on the basis of this intercept, which was read to the President as a threat to the Maddox and the Joy. He said, I not only want reprisals, I want to make raids up into the support systems that support these boats and I want to get that programmed and we're going back and this is... and blah, blah, blah. And so, I mean, he declared war right there and then in so many words and Alex says later in the book, nobody in the White House from that point on had any doubt that we were going to bomb the mainland of Asia. As the battle messages, that first flush that were sent out by Captain Herrick, who I've come to know, he has a lot of integrity, he was getting information that he thought was an attack for maybe fifteen minutes. Now he does not think there was one or had been one and late in the evening, about the time I left, he sent a message to Washington that we have our data that I've been sending you is highly suspect, and we are finding out that the torpedoes are preposterously high. At one point they had twenty six torpedoes in the water. That's more torpedoes than North Vietnam had boats to carry. and he said, I don't have the quotation here, but the impact of the message was, let's not do anything until we sort this all out in the morning, that you got a lot of bad data back there, some of which I fed you and for goodness sake, let's have a look at this and don't do anything impulsive. This was coming in about two in the afternoon there in Washington, nobody paying any attention, as far as I could tell. So the first thing that went on was to decide... trying to find a time when we could get reprisal raids out. At first they wanted them to go out at eight in the morning off the ship. Now, I want to tell you what happened to me that night, because I have a very interesting slice of this action. After... we'd read this message from the commodore that I just talked about right in Washington, when he said forget... this has been a mixed up evening, let's not go off half cocked. everybody got giddy, I got giddy, you know, they were up there and I said, gee, what a night, what a night. I'm out there, nearly busted my arse and now it's all over and I went to bed. I remember we turned the clocks forward one hour, just as I was leaving the radio room, that was a formality, but that put the Taikon Terroga twelve ahead of Washington and they can figure out the time if you give them any other combination (unintelligible). I

INT: (Inaudible)

JS: Yes, yes, and then whether... I don't know the chemistry back there, but some others have said nobody wanted to go to LBJ and try and turn him round, he was as mad as (unintelligible). You see, he'd found a reprieve, he was in a funk because he hadn't taken action on the good data of Sunday and so this must have been just a gift from heaven to him, because now he's back on frequency, all of his enemies, that's all passed, no more... we're going to have the raid after all. The raid we should have had Sunday, now I've got justification, we're going to do it for sure this time.

INT: (Inaudible)

JS: Yes I was. I woke up that morning, I was awakened about three in the morning. The agent that woke me was, as would normally be the case, a person by... it was an officer, I could see the glint of his (unintelligible). I said, who are you, what are you doing down here? He said, I'm the assistant officer deck, the captain sent me down to wake you up, 'cos, he said, we just got a message that we're going to bomb the mainland of Asia and he wants you to lead the strike against the Bin oil storage, which is the number one priority target. Well, I, you know, I just sat there on the edge of the bed and I said, well, this is one of those moments I'll never forget in my life, I mean, this is the way the game is played on a big stage, I guess, because I of all people was totally sure that there was no provocation and here I went. People sometimes say, well, why didn't you become a martyr and throw in the towel and say my conscience won't allow me. I was a most experienced man, We were going to take seventeen people over the beach and I wanted to bring 'em all back and so I thought that was a cop out. I could get 'em back, I did get 'em all back and I think I can take credit for that and anyway, that's my take on that piece. I went down to... I called the captain, he said, Jim, we're breaking out the big heavy bombs, big two thousand pounders coming out of the storage magazines, some of 'em haven't seen the light of day for years. He said, Hab Chandler, my exec, is taking charge of this breakout of ammo and I want you to go down and give him what you want for armament on your F8s, we're going to send six of 'em. And I went and saw Hab, who's an old friend from (unintelligible) test pilot days and I said, Hab, captain told me to give you my ordnance load. I want four hundred rounds of ammo on every F8 and I want eight Zoonies on each one, that was every hard point was filled. And he said, don't you want Sidewinders? Now Sidewinders are defensive missiles that again, the heat seeker, that you use if you're going to have enemy air action. I said, no Sidewinders, we're going after big tanks and furthermore there'll be no... we're going to catch 'em flatfooted, there's not going to be any air action over North Vietnam today, take my word for it. So what I did there in that sentence was literally burnt my arse for the fact that there were no boats out there, that I went without any defensive armament so I could do a better job on those tanks - and I incidentally burnt the arse of five other pilots. But I was that sure. We don't need any defense. We'll need it the day after tomorrow, but not today. And so we got it and then we started waiting. We were supposed to have gone at eight and then the clock goes and then they start searching for debris, this is a Washington thing that came, so we fly... we didn't know, I was locked in for the strike plan, we wasted the morning looking for debris, nobody saw any debris, there was no debris out there and then there was nothing (unintelligible). And then back in Washington, because we were now logged down with that load, L. B. Johnson, who had big plans for a TV announcement that was supposed to break at seven news time, it's getting up toward eleven thirty and before he gets on and we're still bringing planes aboard, we got our stuff loaded but... And then he says, as I speak, he says, we are now completing the bombing of reprisal targets in North Vietnam. Nobody had left the ship. We had two hours work to do to get there. Oh my God, I said, now the only air... we got... whad these ADs, I launched 'em in the middle of a break in the morning and just told 'em to circle. They had all kinds of fuel, and we kiloed them, that's what we called it, we them toward the target to rendezvous with us at a certain predetermined location off-shore behind the mountain that we thought would prevent them having radar contact. They were chugging along…the big difference in the plane s