From Across the XO's Desk

Recently a shipmate inquired of Jake how we, who served in WestPac the winter of 1963, qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Ron Wandler, to be exact. He didn't think our action in the Gulf of Tonkin during this time warranted such an award, so I sent our Historian on TAD for some research and this is what Dennis came up with. Thanks AGAIN to our XO for his time and efforts!

Ron's original E-Mail is at the Bottom of this Page

Re: AFEM qualifications for service on the USS Hancock CVA-19 (1961-1963)

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who after 1 July 1958

A. Participate as members of U.S. military units in a U.S. military operation in which service members of any Military Department participate, in the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), in significant numbers and encounter during such participation foreign armed opposition, or are otherwise place in such a position that in the opinion of the JCS, hostile action by foreign armed forces was imminent even though it does not materialize.

B. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be authorized for three categories of operations:

1. U.S. military operations

2. U.S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations; and

3. U.S. operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations.

C. The medal shall be awarded only for operations for which no other U.S. campaign medal is approved.

April 15, 1962:
USS Hancock CVA 19, operated off the coast of South Vietnam during the arrival of the first USMC advisory unit in the Republic of Vietnam. Air Groups provide air cover for deployment of Helo units in-country.

May 16 through 20, 1962:
Following the continued successes of the Pathet Lao forces against Laotian government forces, particularly along the border with Thailand, the Thai government requested United States support. A unit of the United States Marines landed in Bangkok and moved by air to Udorn. VA-212, along with other units of CVG-21, embarked in Hancock, operated in the area and were available to provide air support for the Marines if required

September 1963:
USS Hancock CVA 19, operated off the coast of Taiwan due to increased tensions between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. (Quemoy and Matsu).

November 1963:
USS Hancock, operated off the coast of South Vietnam following the coup that overthrew President Diem. Possible Viet Cong take over of the government. Protection of US advisors and civilians. This was the sizable task force that was viewed from the bridge that was eluded to in the oral history section and first contact with Jake's"Yankee Station".

Although we were not aware of being placed in harms way during these times, potential adversaries of the time were the Red Chinese on Hainan Island and the North Vietnamese, lets not forget the hot Cold War and the Russians.

~ Dennis F. Milliken, XO and Chief Historian,
Jake's 'Yankee Station' - USS Hancock CV/CVA-19 Memorial

More on the subject of Awards and Medals can be found in the
'Hannah Awards' Information Center

Following is Ron Wandler's original Request E-Mail:

On Mon, 9 Jul 2001 11:00:08 -0500 "Wandler, Ron P." writes:

Hi Jake:

Since you were actively involved in paper work and such on board
the Hancock, maybe you can answer this for me.

When we were pulled out of Hong Kong in November and set sail for
Saigon, what specifically was it that entitled us to receive the Armed
Forces Expeditionary Medal. What occurred between the 4th and tenth of November that qualified us?

In the turmoil and hectic pace that was set, I did not feel that we
were involved in anything that was any different from what we ordinarily
doing other than being on a higher alert.

Following is Jake's return E-Mail to Ron Wandler...
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2001 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: question and info

Hi Ron, good email! Well, looking back 38 years or so, I seem to remember that the ship was armed to the teeth, and we worked around the clock weapons onloading. I worked a few of those work details. I think that it's good that they did think we worthy of a ribbon. We were on a high state of alert, and guns loaded. Pres. Diem of South Vietnam was assassinated close to when Pres. Kennedy was, in November of '63, which unrest caused the emergency orders into the Tonkin Gulf (We became "Charter Members of the
Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" that same time!,

Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club Charter Award
Jake's 'Yankee Station' - Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club Charter Award

and because of the world's state of affairs, and because we were really without our "Captain" who was 'fallen cold and dead" - I think that they just felt, we were due it. It's the "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal" which says we were in a War Zone, and was not Vietnam a war zone since 1945? Perhaps at least since 1959, when we sent in our Advisors. The right person to ask this question to, is our Website Historian, Dennis Milliken, and XO of Jake's Yankee Station - USS Hancock Memorial. Good luck..

Well, write Dennis, and keep in touch, Ron. Nice to hear from you!!!!!
Your shipmate and friend..


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