Today former AP photographer and old friend and colleague Dang Van Phuoc gave me this photo of me taken on the bridge of the heavy cruiser USS Newport News during a daylight raid into Thanh Hoa Harbor in North Vietnam, May, 1972. Phouc and I had been lowered by a rope onto the deck of the ship by helicopter. The previous night the Newport News along with two other cruisers, accompanied by several destroyers, attacked Haiphong Harbor. That was one of the most exciting events of my combat-covering life, (albeit without photos, unfortunately way too dark!). The flashes on the beach from North Vietnamese counter-battery fire were visible, however, and the water from nearby exploding shells hit our ship. The high speed assault on Haiphong was known as the “Three Cruiser Raid,” and was the last time in naval history a major shore bombardment would be undertaken by multiple cruisers. I’m still looking for some of my other photos from the mission, but this one showing the Newport News’ eight-inch guns and a destroyer escort gives you some sense of the drama about to take place in North Vietnam’s territorial waters.
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