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P.J. (Rick) Burke

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Burke, P.J. (Rick), YN-3 - OI Div - 1964-1966 - - Submitted 5/18/07

I am reminded of my Navy time on board the Estes every year when the 4th of July rolls around. It was July 4, 1965 and I was standing the mid watch on board the Estes while anchored in DaNang harbor. Probably the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Suddenly the sky lit up over the Marine Air Base on shore with one explosion after the other. Shortly thereafter planes were airborne and dropping parachute flares to light up the night in an attempt to locate the Viet Cong infiltrators. This fireworks display continued for at least an hour or more. I felt like I was having my own 4th of July fireworks display.

I later found out that the Viet Cong had indeed infiltrated the perimeter of the base and exploded several planes. This was considered a major blow at the time and was one of the more significant events of the war up to that point. I recall reading about it on various occasions after that. In fact, it was even mentioned in the Milwaukee Sentinel in the "25 years ago" segment in 1990.

Any fireworks display since then pales in comparison.


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