USS Newport News   CA148
A Gallant Lady "You walked with me      
  And I with you
I saw you fall    
             And never rise again...
 ...from now on, forever more
West Pac 1972
Haiphong Harbor
A Memoir & A Prayer
USS NN Memorial
Pcture Album
The Book

The Virtual Wall
They Were Asked to Go

You Are My Brother
You Are My Brother

Into Haiphong Harbor
(Operation Lion's Den)

Patrol Boat action PT Boat Action
(Real action   Some profanity)
Captain Zartman    
One of our missions was to enter the mouth of Haiphong Harbor in the middle of the night and hit several strategic targets.  This was truly my first experience with war.  In my young twenty years of life, I had only imagined what war was like.  All of the preparation, from basic training to the at-sea exercises, cannot completely prepare you for war.  But in the early hours of that day, the meaning of war took on a real meaning.  War became a personal experience for me.

At about midnight, a task force made up of the Newport News, a light cruiser and two destroyers entered the mouth of the harbor.  And under the cover of darkness, both cruisers hit their assigned targets.  The idea was to then pull back and away from the area promptly and safely.  But something you learn in war is, the enemy always wants to settle the score.

As the cruisers maneuvered to pull back and away, three enemy torpedo boats quickly got under way in fast pursuit.  Much faster than our heavier ships, these boats could have easily overtaken us, had it not been for the careful planning of "Operation Lion's Den".

As our ships engaged the NVN torpedo boats, I sat at my general quarters station, attentive to the incoming reports over the 1MC (PA system), and it was then that I realized that this was what war is all about.
Thunder in the Night
A book by Ray Kopp

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Most recent revision May 10, 2005