Fifty years ago, today…
The Pentagon acknowledged for the first time that Bạch Mai Hospital and Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi had been accidentally damaged during December’s Operation Linebacker II bombing raids but, without clarifying if the damage was caused by bombing, falling debris or anti-aircraft weapons.
During Nixon’s Christmas bombing, Operation Linebacker II, on December 22, 1972, American bombs struck the hospital, obliterating the building, […] killing 28 hospital staff members and an unconfirmed number of patients.
On the 22nd, a wing of the Bach Mai Hospital, located in the southern suburbs of Hanoi, was struck by a stick of bombs from a B-52. The US military claimed that the hospital “frequently housed anti-aircraft positions.” The civilian deaths were criticized by the North Vietnamese and U.S. peace activists. The hospital sat one kilometer from the runway of [the] Bach Mai Airfield and a major fuel storage facility was only 180 metres (200 yds) away. While the patients of the hospital wing had been evacuated from the city, 28 doctors, nurses and pharmacists were killed.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed today for the first time reports of damage to the Bach Mai Hospital and Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi during heavy air raids last month over North Vietnam but, he denied that the damage was either massive or intentional. Jerry W. Friedheim, Pentagon spokesman, said at a morning news briefing:
“It appears that some limited accidental damage has occurred to some facilities at Gia Lam Airport and at a hospital the enemy calls Bach Mai. The exact extent of this damage is uncertain, as is its cause. Our information does not square with Hanoi’s propaganda claims of massive destruction at these sites.”
Report of Damage to Hanoi Hospital Confirmed By U.S.
New York Times
January 2, 1973
The True Story of the Christmas Bombing in North Vietnam 1972 (Americong/Roger Canfield/November 11, 2011)
Vietnam Christmas Bombings: 1972 Mutiny of B-52 Crews (The Veteran/VVAW/Summer 1977)
Forty-five years ago, today, President Richard Nixon signed The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act which created the National Maximum Speed Law, prohibiting speed limits higher than 55 miles per hour (90 km/h). If states wished to receive any federal funds for highway repair, they were forced to comply.
The legislation was created in an effort to conserve gasoline after the OPEC oil crisis embargo started the previous October. This oil shock had its roots in two issues:
(1) The US pull-out of the Bretton Woods Accord, detaching the dollar from the price of gold, depreciated the currency and oil producers lost money.
(2) Nations supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War were targeted.
The embargo ended in March of 1974 but, the price of oil had quadrupled by then. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve started in 1975 as a second response. The Department of Energy in 1977 and the National Energy Act of 1978 followed via President Jimmy Carter.
As Hurricane Michael, a Cat 4 monster, slams the Florida Panhandle (making history, today), the Great Hurricane of 1780 is still the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, with a death toll between 22,000 and 27,000+. Also referred to as the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, the 1780 Disaster and the Huracan San Calixto, it was one of four major hurricanes in the 1780 Atlantic hurricane season, the worst hurricane season in recorded history.
On October 10, the San Calixto Hurricane (official name) struck the island of Barbados with, possibly, 200+ mph wind gusts, making it an extreme Cat 5. The winds were so violent and so deafening that, reportedly, “people could not hear their own voices”. It felled most every tree, stripped the bark off the few left standing and nearly destroyed every house on the island. The specifics of the hurricane’s track and exact strength are unknown as the Atlantic hurricane database starts in 1851 but, historical records from Puerto Rico, Jose’ Carlos Milas (Cuban Meteorologist), NOAA and hurricane research from The University of Rhode Island indicate that the storm moved on to St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and struck Guadeloupe. It turned towards Puerto Rico, hitting Isla de Mona and, later, the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic. The beast finally reached the Atlantic Ocean on October 15 after passing the Grand Turk Island. It passed Bermuda on October 18 and was last seen two days later off the coast of Cape Race in Newfoundland.
From Hurricane Science at The University of Rhode Island:
Coming in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, the 1780 hurricanes caused heavy losses to European fleets fighting for control of the New World’s Atlantic coast. A fleet of 40 French ships capsized off Martinique during the Great Hurricane, drowning approximately 4,000 soldiers. On St. Lucia, rough waves and a strong storm surge destroyed the British fleet of Admiral Rodney at Port Castries. Much of the British fleet was decimated by the three storms, and the English presence in the western North Atlantic was greatly reduced thereafter.
Other interesting October 10 history:
1845…..The Naval School (U.S. Naval Academy) opens.
1967…..The Outer Space Treaty goes into effect (yes, this is a thing).
Busy, busy day… ~Victoria