Miller, Thomas Paul, GMG3

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Third Class
Last Primary NEC
GM-0000-Gunner's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Gunner's Mate G (Guns)
Primary Unit
1964-1965, GMG-0000, USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
Service Years
1957 - 1965
GMG-Gunner's Mate G (Guns)
Two Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Washington
Washington
Year of Birth
1939
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Miller, Thomas Paul, PO3.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Burlington, WA
Last Address
Burlington (Skagit), WA

Casualty Date
Oct 26, 1965
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Misadventure
Location
Quang Tin (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
02E 135

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Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (62-65)/Gulf of Tonkin Incident
From Month/Year
August / 1964
To Month/Year
August / 1964

Description
On July 31, 1964 USS Maddox (DD-731) began a reconnaissance mission in the Gulf of Tonkin and was attacked by three North Vietnamese patrol boats in international waters on August 2, 1964.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
August / 1964
To Month/Year
August / 1964
 
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
   
Personal Memories

Memories
On 13 March 1964, Turner Joy departed Long Beach to embark upon her most celebrated tour of duty in the Far East. The third western Pacific deployment of her career began routinely enough. After calling at Pearl Harbor on her way west, the destroyer joined a task group built around Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) for operations in the Philippine Sea, followed by a cruise through the South China Sea to Japan. Further training operations and port visits ensued, as the deployment continued peacefully. During late July, Turner Joy, while attached to a carrier task group built around Ticonderoga (CVA-14), began making "watch dog" patrols off the coast of Vietnam where a vicious civil war had been raging at varying levels of intensity since the end of World War II. In the afternoon of 2 August, Maddox (DD-731), engaged in a similar patrol, called for assistance when three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats attacked her. As Maddox evaded the torpedo boats, aircraft from Ticonderoga joined her in knocking out two of the hostile craft. Meanwhile, Turner Joy raced to Maddox to provide additional surface strength. By the time she reached Maddox, the remaining boat had fled; but Turner Joy remained with Maddox, and the two destroyers continued their patrols of the gulf.

Less than 48 hours later, Turner Joy?s radar screens picked up a number of what appeared to be small, high-speed surface craft approaching, but at extreme range. As a precaution, the two destroyers called upon Ticonderoga to furnish air support. By nightfall, the unidentified radar echoes suggested that North Vietnamese small craft were converging upon the two American warships from the west and south. Turner Joy reported that she sighted one?maybe two?torpedo wakes, then rang up full speed, maneuvered radically to evade expected torpedoes, and began firing in the direction of the unidentified blips. Over the next two and one-half hours, Turner Joy and planes from Ticonderoga fired at the supposed hostile craft. Reports claimed that at least two of those were sunk by direct hits and another pair severely damaged, and that the remaining assailants retired rapidly to the north. Whether or not the North Vietnamese attacked the two ships on the 4th remains a mystery. Only they know for sure. It could well have been that bad weather and the freakish radar conditions?for which the Gulf of Tonkin is famous?caused radar echoes to appear on Turner Joy's screen and prompted her captain and crew to take defensive action in consideration of the events two days earlier.

In any event, the "Tonkin Gulf Incident" prompted American retaliation. Constellation (CVA-64) joined Ticonderoga off North Vietnam the following day; and, together, they launched 64 sorties against the bases from which the attacks had been launched and against an oil storage depot known to have been used to support those bases. Planes from Constellation hit the communist motor torpedo boat bases at Hongay and Loc Chao in the north while Ticonderoga aircraft went after three targets in the south: the motor torpedo boat bases at Quang Khe and Phuc Loi as well as the Vinh oil storage depot. At the last-named target, American planes set fire to 12 of the 14 oil storage tanks sending almost 10 percent of North Vietnam's oil reserves up in smoke. Of more lasting significance both to the warship and the country, however, the incident prompted the United States Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, the legal foundation for the direct involvement of the United States in a bloody and costly war in Indochina for the ensuing eight and one-half years. Throughout that period, Turner Joy served repeatedly in the conflict.

   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

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