ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — The 75 men who lost their lives flying bombing missions against communist Vietnamese forces during Operation Arc Light will be remembered Thursday during an observance at Arc Light Memorial Park.
According to spokeswoman Capt. Kim Melchor, the observance organized by Network 56 — the E-5/6 club on base — begins at 9 a.m. near the B-52 static display.
The names of the airmen killed during Operation Arc Light will be read aloud, as will a script of their historic missions, Melchor said Tuesday.
The observance also will include an invocation, raising and lowering of the flag, Taps and a keynote address by 36th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Joe Mudd.
The observance marks the 31st anniversary of the start of Linebacker II, the most intense 11 days of runs from Guam, Melchor said, noting that between Dec. 18, 1972, and Dec. 29, 1972, Andersen launched 729 missions against 34 targets in North Vietnam. During the “11-day war,” 15 aircraft and 31 airmen did not return, she said.
Linebacker II sparked a renewal of the Paris Peace Talks and on Jan. 28, 1973, a cease-fire agreement was signed.
Operation Arc Light began June 18, 1965, when 27 B-52 bombers launched from Andersen to strike Viet Cong operations and supply lines.
At the height of Arc Light, Andersen was home to 15,000 people and 155 B-52s, Melchor said.
In total, nearly 130,000 missions were flown and 9 million bombs dropped during the operation. In addition to Andersen, bombing missions were flown from U-Tapao, Thailand, and Kadena Air Base, Japan.