Christmas 1972: 40th Anniversary of Linebacker II Celebrated
This article by guest authors Ray Sullivan and Barry Dycus was recommended by Linebacker II tail-gunner veteran USAF Cpt. Kim Morey of Rapid City. Morey will speak about the experience on February 7th at EAFB’s South Dakota Air and Space Museum at 6 pm.
Forty years ago today, December 18, 1972, Linebacker II began. We recall with respect and reverence the events of those 11 days. Our hearts, prayers and memories go out to all those who participated in this important moment in history, especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the operation. We shall never forget. We toast all those who were involved in any capacity, in all facets of one of the most intense, massive air campaigns in history. It is so often overlooked in the re-telling of the Vietnam Experience while being the single event that resolved the US involvement in Vietnam and most importantly resulted in the return of our POWs.
Our project continues and we hope stands as a continual remembrance of those who participated. This is an important anniversary for Linebacker II and has been noted by several events.
This year at the USAF Museum in Dayton, a new Linebacker/Linebacker II exhibit has opened in the newly re-done SouthEast Asia exhibit. The LB II exhibit is, very appropriately positioned under B-52D 56-0665 in the museum. Beside it there is also an excellent Vietnam POW exhibit, including a recreation of cells from the Hanoi Hilton. I heartily encourage anyone to visit the new exhibit in this most wonderful of museums.
On December 8, 2012 Rev Robert Certain and Lt. Col John Yuill unveiled a memorial to the veterans of Linebacker II at Barksdale AFB, La. There was a large group of Linebacker II participants in attendance.
On the newsstands now is Aviation History magazine. The January 2013 issue (for sale now) has an excellent article about Linebacker II written by Robert Harder author of “Flying From the Black Hole” listed on the links page of our website. It is a very nice synopsis of Linebacker II. The hard copy is best, and back issues will be available for purchase, but there is a link to the story.
Remembering the Whiteman AFB memorial from 2009, Dr. Margaret DePalma has an article of interest.
Also, my partner, Barry Dycus, has taken on the Linebacker II project from a totally new perspective. His project, is a telling of the Linebacker II story concentrating on the decisions made by General Sullivan and my own search for understanding and trying to synthesize all of the Linebacker II information and input from the past 10 or so years of trying to actually produce a documentary about the event. Barry conducted an interview with me several months ago concerning my thoughts about Linebacker II, the documentary project, and General Sullivan. Barry has taken the time to upconvert the original footage we shot to High Definition, a great enhancement to the original quality of the interviews. The debut of this project is on December 18 as a 40th anniversary Linebacker II tribute with the title “Sully…A General’s Decision … Linebacker II”.
It is a 12 minute sampling of what will become a film, posted in segments on the Peachtree Films youtube channel (viewable on the site in High Definition –click on the gear symbol on the toolbar at the bottom of the image). At this time, the project is open ended with segments being posted at random when completed. Posting on the web allows Barry the freedom from time constraints and editorial constraints that are constant aspects in the broadcast medium. I am aware but not involved in his vision of this project. To stay informed and in touch with this Linebacker II project, you are encouraged to subscribe to the Peachtree Films YouTube site to be automatically informed when a new segment appears. Barry also invites comments to be posted on any segement that you see and to offer suggestions and comments on the entire Linebacker II event. This will be a large and ongoing project to tell the story of Linebacker II and its importance in American history.
My personal vision of the story is more straight ahead and historical and it is still a viable project that I hope to produce, sifting through and including all the facets of Linebacker II that I have encountered over the years. There are so many aspects of this 11 day period of time that are so different and so fascinating that it has left me overwhelmed to an extent, confounded by what and how much to tell.
We have so much material and so many wonderful stories on tape. My own vision is to include as many facets of the operation as possible, because EVERYONE involved made the maximum effort– from the guys busting their ass on the flightlines of the USAF and Navy, to the round the clock air missions from all types of aircraft into the mouth of the dragon, the massive tanker task force, the rescue crews, the jamming and reconnaissance operations and more– which is why Linebacker II ultimately was a success. As most of you know, we have come very close over the years to getting this material to broadcast. Originally we hoped to get a broadcast partner and began producing and shooting on our own until, truth be told, we exhausted our resources.
In any event, the website continues to grow, largely in part to all the wonderful guestbook comments. We hope these comments continue. I also encourage everyone who visits to spend a moment on the “day by day” page and click on the links beside the names of those lost and visit their personal memorials. It can obviously be very moving and is another reason we shall never forget. Forty years past these men are still strongly in our hearts.
Our purpose with this project is to honor those who served, especially those who were involved in any capacity with Linebacker II. Those of you who were there at the time deserve the utmost respect and honor from those who weren’t. Like all Vietnam Vets, you are completely under appreciated for the sacrifice and loyalty to country which you provided so that the rest of us may lead the lives we do today. On this 40th anniversary of those 11 days we salute you and thank you for the complete dedication you provided to accomplish this most difficult of missions.