Archive for the ‘History’ Category

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Sergeant Paul Yauwiga WW2

Sunday, May 1st, 2022

New Guinean Police Sergeant Paul Yauwiga spent 1943 leading native guerilla bands on jungle reconnaissance missions and local psyops in Northern Bougainville. Recognizing his potential, he was re-deployed to Australia to train troops in Jungle Warfare in 1944. He had been advised in Bougainville not to engage with superior Japanese forces due to the value of the intel he provided, and his mission had always been “observe and report.” Yauwiga wasn’t a big fan of this and remarked, “Why do we run away the same as women do?”

The Australia gig quickly ended, as Allied forces needed Yauwiga to flush out the stubborn Japanese resistance still fighting in Bougainville in 1945. His first major contract was with a mixed band of 80 Japanese troops and tribal collaborations. He annihilated 25 of the enemy with two other guerillas after only 15 minutes.

He made sure to add some salt to the injury he caused to Japanese forces. Yauwiga killed a known tribal collaborator and spread false rumors that the now dead man had been an Allied agent. The Japanese responded with heavy-handed paranoia, executing 10 of their best spies. He followed this bit of genius psyops by arresting 30 other tribal collaborators and destroying the Japanese spy network in the process.

By June 1945, his small team had accounted for 57 confirmed kills over only 17 months in the jungle. Barefoot, bare-chested, and armed with a mixture of Allied provided rifles, and they punched well above their weight. Unfortunately, a white phosphorous grenade accidentally exploded in Yauwiga’s face in a freak accident as he attempted to signal Allied aircraft. He was evacuated to Australia, where his left arm was amputated and his left eye removed. A corneal transplant saved his right eye from the blue-eyed Australian donor, one of the earliest surgeries.

The first-ever blue-eyed Melanesian returned to New Guinea after only three months in hospital – too harsh for a long stint in bed. At his award ceremony, the local legend received a Distinguished Conduct Medal with 80,000 people. He remained a well-respected community leader until he died in 1982.

Chinese American Military Exhibition Debuts

Sunday, May 1st, 2022

[San Francisco, CA, April 25, 2022] – To celebrate Chinese American military service from the Civil War to Afghanistan, the American Legion Cathay Post 384 and the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), are sponsoring the national debut of the exhibition “Chinatown To Battleground”. The exhibition is designed and deployed by Montgomery Hom and Ron Chan, Co-Founders of the “Chinese American GI Project”.  There will be over 200 personal military artifacts from Hom’s collection. Custom designed banners and multimedia elements will showcase how Chinese Americans fought in every theatre of war and proudly served in every branch of the armed forces.

The exhibition will debut in San Francisco at the Veterans Building, Veterans Gallery Room 102, at 401 Van Ness Avenue from May 4 – June 12, 2022.

Concurrently, the USS Hornet, Sea and Space Museum in Alameda, CA, features elements of the exhibition for AAPI month.  This Chinese American Veterans exhibit joins programs from the Japanese and Filipino American Veterans community from May 1 – May 9, 2022.

This unique exhibition, will be deployed later in a nationwide roadshow as a source of pride for the Chinese American community and its veterans.

Commander Helen Wong, (LTC, USAR, Ret.) said, “the American Legion Cathay Post 384 is proud to be the first sponsor to initiate, fund and support this recognition for our Veterans. Our post has served Chinese American Veterans for over a century. This comprehensive exhibition is a long time coming to recognize that Chinese American history is American history!

Melanie Chan, President of Chinese American Citizens Alliance said, “As the organization who successfully advocated for the Congressional Gold Medal for the Chinese American veterans of WWII, we are proud to support this exhibition which highlights the accomplishments and contributions of the Chinese Americans who proudly answer the call to duty and served with distinction and honor in the U.S. Armed Services from the Civil War to Afghanistan.

Justin Hoover, CHSA’s Executive Director, notes, “The Chinese American GI Project since its inception has been affiliated with CHSA, representing our acknowledgement and support of Chinese American men and women who served bravely, often in the face of discrimination.”

The “Chinatown to Battleground” exhibition will then make its Silicon Valley/ South Bay debut during summer 2022. The exhibit is sponsored by the Chinese Historical Cultural Project (CHCP) / Chinese American Historical Museum (CAHM). CHCP’s film and oral history project, “War and Remembrance” will also be a part of the exhibition. David Yick, board president says “We want to recognize Chinese Americans as part of the fabric of America and highlight our military service accomplishments and patriotism. This exhibition integrates well with our film project and provides great synergies in building a better museum experience for our members and visitors. It is a great addition to CHCP’s recognition of Chinese American contributions to medicine, science, engineering and business.”  

Exhibition Open Hours

Veterans Building

401 Van Ness Avenue, Ste 102

San Francisco, CA

May 4 – June 12, 2022

Galley is open Wednesdays through Sunday, 1PM – 6PM

(Monday and Tue Closed)

For Gallery Contact: Janice Tong, [email protected] ,San Francisco Veterans Building Gallery Manager

For Latest Event Information:

USS Hornet, Sea and Space Museum

707 West Hornet Ave

Alameda, CA  

May 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9

(Tue, Wed, Thursday Closed)

Monday 10AM – 5PM

For Additional Information:  or Russell Moore at [email protected]

About the Chinese American GI Project

The Chinese American G.I. Project was created in 2019 by Montgomery Hom and Ron Chan to promote this unique portion of America’s untold history. Their mission is to ensure that Chinese American military service is not forgotten, ignored or silent.



Cold War Capabilities – Special Atomic Demolition Munitions

Saturday, April 30th, 2022

Special Atomic Demolition Munitions, or SADM were a class of man portable nuclear weapons developed during the Cold War. They were intended to be hand emplaced and used to deny, block, and canalize the enemy. Deployed primarily in Western Europe, the thinking was that they could be used to cut off high speed avenues of approach for Warsaw Pact forces. The US Army created a Military Occupational Specialty, 12E (SADM Specialist) that’s sole function was to employ those devices along with an associated MOS 55G to maintain them. They were expected to hand emplace the XM129 and XM159 Atomic Demolition Charges with yields ranging from 10 to 1,000 tons of TNT. Although the devices could be left unattended after it was set via a timer, there was also a Field Wire Remote Control System (FWRCS) to send safe/arm and firing signals to the weapon via a wire for safe remote detonation of the weapon. But as you can imagine, thats an awful lot of wire.

12E which was an Engineer MOS was eliminated in 1986 and the Soldiers reclassified into new MOSs as the devices were removed from service. I attended DLI with quite a few of these NCOs.

Additionally, both Navy SEAL and Army Special Forces teams were trained in their emplacement in denied areas although particulars of these mission sets remain sensitive. For example, the SFOD-As were known as Green Light Teams with many of the members having the so-called “dual cool” qualification of MFF and SCUBA. Interestingly this declassified film featuring NSW personnel features Para-SCUBA operations.

Honoring the Men of Operation Eagle Claw

Monday, April 25th, 2022

In the early morning hours of 25 April, 1980 President Carter announced to a stunned world that the United States had undertaken an ambitious raid into Iran to liberate 52 American hostages held illegally at our Embassy compound in Tehran. The assault force of what was known as “Operation Eagle Claw” can be seen here, loading C141s.

Unfortunately, the task force was unsuccessful and we lost eight American servicemen in a horrible aircraft ground collision.

However, their deaths were not in vain. The hostages were eventually repatriated and the accident was the watershed event that created, over the next several decades, the world’s preeminent Special Operations capability; USSOCOM and its components. Forty years later, we wouldn’t be where are without the determination of that fledgling task force. Join me in remembering those that had the guts to try.


Sunday, April 24th, 2022

This week on the 25th of April, Australian and New Zealand observe ANZAC day. It is their Memorial Day to remember their falling, it starts with a sunrise service, followed by ANZAC biscuits, and beer with brothers and family.  ANZAC day started as a remembrance of the invasion of Gallipoli, now it is used as a Remembrance Day for all who have been lost to war. Gallipoli was a plan hatched by Winston Churchill the first lord of the admiralty in WWI. I had the privilege of spending an ANZAC day in Perth a couple of years back, and it was amazing to see how close we are to our allies in the pacific. So, on the 25th April raise a glass to all of our brothers that have helped support us in everything we have done and helped promote freedom in the world. The ANZACs are the only countries that have been with the U.S. in every war we have fought since WW1, to include Vietnam and the Global War on Terror.

ANZAC is the acronym formed from the initial letters of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. This was the formation in which Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Egypt were grouped before the landing on Gallipoli in April 1915.

The acronym was first written as “A & NZ Army Corps.” However, clerks in the corps headquarters soon shortened it to ANZAC as a convenient telegraphic code name for addressing telegram messages.

I can never do justice telling the story of Gallipoli. Like most of WW1 and other battles, a lot of mistakes were made in the planning, but they were followed up by a lot of brave man doing whatever they had to do so their brothers would live another day. Long Live the Brotherhood.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – HMS Conqueror

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

HMS Conqueror was a nuclear-powered attack submarine and one of the Royal Navy’s most powerful ships in the 1980s. As part of the Falkland Islands Re-taken operation, she sank the Argentine Navy light cruiser ARA General Belgrano. It was only the second submarine torpedo sinking since WWII.

After returning to the U.K., the Conqueror would be tasked to steal a secret sonar array from a Soviet Navy ship. It was code-named Operation Barmaid, and the nuclear-powered sub would be fitted with a special pair of remote-controlled heavy steel cutting blades and television cameras, so they could sneak up on a Russian spy trawler towing a sonar array and just cut it off and then float away.

During the Cold war, the U.S. and the U.K. had a significant advantage over the Soviets regarding submarine warfare. We had two different types of SONAR, Active and passive. Active sonar sends out pings, which travel through the ocean before returning to the ship that sent them. Active sonar pings and machinery noise are detected by passive sonar. Passive sonar is challenging to use effectively due to the ship’s noise, particularly the propeller noise. A mile or more behind a boat, passive sonars are used. The easiest way to put it active SONAR is to put pings out and wait to hear if it bounces off anything. Passive is when you drag a cable behind you that has a bunch of microphones(hydrophones) on it, and you listen.

They noticed that Russian submarines were becoming quieter and faster in the late 1970s and feared that they were not making enough progress in naval technology. Because the array itself made no noise, learning about it required sitting in front of one and dismantling it. So, the U.S. and U.K. decided to steal one to see if the one the Soviets had was anything like the one they used. The plan was to sneak up behind the towed ship, a Polish intelligence vessel, and use the pincers to free the array.

It was a complicated plan. First, the Conqueror, led by Captain Christopher Wreford-Brown, had to intercept a Soviet intelligence ship in international waters. Detected would have meant immediate, lethal retribution to cut through a three-inch-thick steel cable.

Second, the sub had to operate while both ships were moving. Third, the submarine had to avoid the passive SONAR array and remove it from the trawler without being seen.

The submarine was ordered to steal a two-mile string of hydrophones from a Polish-flagged spy trawler near Russian waters. Known as AGIs (Auxiliary General Intelligence), these trawlers were common during the Cold War, often disguised as fishing trawlers. But most had no fishing nets.

They used American-made pincers to make it look like it had snagged and been torn off accidentally; it would make a lot of small compression-type cuts and not just one straight throw cut again so it would look like it was ripped off and not cut. The Conqueror had to enter the ship’s blind spot and cut the cable just yards from the vessel and its propeller.

It was on station for a while during the cutting phase, all nonessential equipment was turned off, and all hands were not allowed to move from their assigned stations. Once the cable was cut, the sub started to sink from the extra weight of the cable, and the crew had to allow this to happen until they could get away from the trawler. Once they were far enough away, the Conqueror crew sent out divers to retrieve the cable after being sent to the U.S. for analysis.

According to Stuart Prebble’s book Secrets of the Conqueror, one minor miscalculation could have spelled disaster for the entire operation.

‘The control room was tense,’ said one crew member. We expected to be discovered at any time and were prepared to flee.’

The Conqueror had twice attempted to cut the cable from the boat before succeeding in August 1982. It did not take the U.S. long to realize that the cable was made to the specification as the ones used by the U.S. and U.K. It is believed that John Walker, who spied on the U.S. for the Russians from 1967-1985, was the person that gave them the information.

Special Operations Assoc Museum Committee Raising Funds for 5th SFG(A) Hall of Heroes Display Project

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

The Special Operations Assoc Museum Committee wants to raise $15,000.00 in the next sixty days. This will allow sufficient time to purchase and assemble items needed.

This project will consist of four mannequins of Special Operations men kitted out in mission ready gear, to include weapons. The goal is to have the display ready in time for the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Reunion in September 2022 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After a period in the 5th SFG(A) Hall of Heroes the display will be moved to the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Please donate today.

Read the CONOPS for more more information.

Thank you.

Bruce Christensen – Chair, Special Operations Museum Association (SOAM)

Thai Cave Rescue Mission – MSgt Ken O’Brien at NMUSAF

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Featured guest speaker, Master Sgt. Ken O’Brien, shared his experience in the Thai Cave Rescue during the Humanitarian Exhibit opening at the National Museum of the USAF. O’Brien played an instrumental role in the Thailand Cave rescue mission. He was essential in creating the rescue plan, which placed himself as the furthest American inside the cave. During the mission, he also led the effort to retrieve and successfully resuscitate a Thai Navy SEAL. His team’s heroic efforts led to the rescue of 13 Thai civilians.