Eyewitness to the Gulf of Tonkin attack says country unjustified in resolution

To the editor:

The 50-year anniversary of the Tonkin Gulf incident whizzed by largely unnoticed. Since 1964, the incident has been the subject of much soul searching and scholarly analysis. There are some who flatly deny that any attacks happened in August 1964.

I was an eyewitness to the Aug. 2, 1964, attack.Aug. 20 letters to the editor

On that afternoon, I was just below the bridge of the USS Maddox, painting the forward hedgehog mounts, under cloud-free skies. Thus, I had a 180-degree unobstructed view — between port and starboard bow — of the ocean. I witnessed three North Vietnamese PT boats rapidly approaching off our starboard bow. Immediately thereafter the bosun piped GQ (general quarters), i.e. report to battle stations.

My GQ station was the sonar shack. When I reported to the shack pandemonium reigned, with officers and senior sonarmen crammed into the tiny space.

Did the PT boats fire torpedoes? I cannot say. As the most junior and inexperienced sonarman, I wasn’t allowed access to the sonar equipment. However, it’s possible that as the Maddox careened around the ocean taking evasive action, its many wakes could have easily masked the much smaller wake of a torpedo.

The PT boats did fire upon the Maddox and its anti-aircraft gun mount did sustain a hole from a PT boat’s bullet. Everyone saw that hole.

On Aug. 4, GQ was piped early, yet before that the horizon was completely devoid of any craft. That’s why I’ll never believe there was an attack that day.

I believe the North Vietnamese attack was justified. Imagine the scenario if, tomorrow, a Syrian, Iranian or North Korean naval ship began snooping around within sight of either U.S. coast without announcing its intentions. Why, every NRA nut in the nation would storm the coast, guns blazing. We, the USS Maddox, snooped around the North Vietnamese coast for almost two weeks before Aug. 2, 1964.

Given the single bullet hole the Maddox sustained, it’s impossible for me to conclude that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was justified.

Geoff Godfrey, Newberg

TV news did good job of covering tragic event

To the editor:

In regard to the Aug. 6 editorial in the Newberg Graphic (“Is the circus really necessary to telling the news?”), when someone’s loved one disappears it is imperative that the word get out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

If I were living in Estacada, yes I definitely would want to know. It would not matter if the person was in Newberg or New York.

The point being you never know where that one clue will come from that will help find that loved one. Sadly, in Jennifer Huston’s case, it ended tragically.

The television news media did a very good job of getting the word out and keeping it in the public’s eye. As a grandfather and father, if one of my children disappeared I would want all the help I could get in getting the word out to the public.

Peter Henry, Newberg

Bad bicyclists should be ticketed

To the editor:

I had rather an unnerving experience the other day while standing on the curb by city hall, waiting to cross the street to get to the post office. After looking both ways, I was concentrating on the crossing walk sign (as you only have about nine seconds to speed-walk across the intersection). It changed and I was ready to step off the curb, when suddenly this man’s face was in my face and he said “sorry” and whizzed on by on his bicycle. He was going quite fast.

In my opinion two laws possibly were broken. He went through a stop signal and was headed against the traffic on the left side. One more step from me and he would have been guilty of causing a bad accident.

This is not the first person I’ve seen riding against the traffic. At the very least I feel they deserve a ticket for being a hazard. Maybe they should have license plates so people could report them.

Virginia Jungwirth, Newberg

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