Streamed live on June 3, 2024

We talk all things military with veterans for 90 minutes. We chat with newcomesr CW-4 Jon Malik, Army Intelligence Analysis and Clint Jordan, Air Force Fire Fighter veteran. Also, Beth Reuschel gives us an update on her military records research at the National Archives in St. Louis, including an OMPF file she found on our own WWII Navy WAVE Julia Parsons, Vietnam veteran Bob Flaige, and New Jersey radio personality Vietnam veteran Joe Griffies. We also discuss the case of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), a U.S. Navy destroyer, which involved in a tragic collision with the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne during a joint military exercise in the South China Sea.

The collision occurred during Exercise Sea Spirit, a joint naval exercise involving SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) forces, which included ships from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The incident took place at approximately 3:00 AM. The USS Frank E. Evans was maneuvering into position for a training exercise, while HMAS Melbourne was conducting night flying operations.

There was a breakdown in communication and coordination between the two vessels. The USS Frank E. Evans attempted to cross the bow of HMAS Melbourne, resulting in the collision.

The HMAS Melbourne’s bow sliced through the USS Frank E. Evans just forward of the bridge, effectively cutting the destroyer in half.

The collision resulted in the deaths of 74 U.S. sailors. The bow section of the Frank E. Evans sank quickly, while the stern section remained afloat and was later towed away.

Rescue Efforts: Immediate rescue efforts were launched by the crew of HMAS Melbourne and other nearby ships, saving many lives.

Both the U.S. and Australian navies conducted inquiries into the incident. The investigations highlighted errors in judgment, poor communication, and procedural failures. Several officers from both navies faced court-martial or disciplinary action as a result.

The collision prompted significant changes in operational procedures and safety protocols for naval exercises to prevent such incidents in the future.

We discuss why the names of those killed in the Frank E. Evans catastrophe are not on the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

Clint Jordan talks about being an Air Force firefighter. The Air Force Fire Protection Specialist MOS was established in response to the growing need for specialized fire and emergency services in military aviation. Historically, fire protection in the military has evolved alongside advancements in technology and the increasing complexity of military operations.

Air Force Fire Protection Specialists are trained to respond to various types of fires, including structural, aircraft, and wildland fires. They use a range of firefighting equipment and techniques to extinguish fires and prevent them from spreading.

In emergencies such as aircraft crashes or building collapses, specialists conduct rescue operations to save lives. This includes extracting individuals from hazardous environments and providing immediate medical assistance.Specialists are trained to handle incidents involving hazardous materials, ensuring the safety of personnel and minimizing environmental impact.

We’re grateful to UPMC for Life and Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!