As a Midshipman 1St Class I was deployed to Yokosuka Japan embarked in USS Oklahoma City (CLG – 5). We spent the summer onboard during combat operations in support of Combat Operations ashore. We provided gunfire support to troops in contact. I stood combat watches during these shore bombardments. At the completion of these operations we were helo’d off to Da Nang for further transport to Saigon for our return to the US via the Philippines.
We received the Vietnam service ribbon as a result or our deployment within the Combat zone. While positioned off shore at either the 12 mile or 3 mile limit, we got to observe the beginning of Arc Light strikes by B-52’s as the beginning of the end of the war started. It was most impressive to see the
massive explosions and then the succeeding sound and feeling of concussions 1-2 minutes after completion.
James Basil Godwin III graduated in 1973 with a BS Civil Engineering. His 1st Class Midshipman tour took him to Vietnam in 1972. After commissioning Godwin became a Naval Aviator. He retired from the Navy after 33 years service at the rank of Rear Admiral.
Editor’s Note: Arc Light Operations refer to the deployment of USAF B-52’s which delivered huge loads of conventional bombs on ground targets. Arc Light Operations began in 1965 and were praised by Marines during the Khe Sanh siege. For political reasons Arc Light paused as part of the negotiation process. Godwin’s reference to Arc Light refers to the reintroduction of B-52 raids in 1972 which were aimed as accelerating the Paris Peace Talks.