An email chain making the rounds of my office:

 —–Original Message—–
From: X
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014
To: ALL
Subject: Trivia

This trivia question is tailor-made for W.  Not because his gray hair says he could have been there but because he reads military history at lunch – What was the Allied military offensive in World War II whimsically codenamed “Chattanooga Choo Choo?”  I have no idea.

—–Original Message—–
From: W
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014
To: X
Subject: RE: Trivia

Never heard of it so looked it up (but no spoilers).  Being the resident stuffy BOVV (Bitter Old Vietnam Vet), am reminded of Churchill’s remark that any combat op should be given an honorable (“Overlord”) not whimsical name because no family wants to receive a casualty letter saying “Your son was killed in Operation Chattanooga Choo Choo.”  That bothered me when I helped count the dead in “Operation Gronk” in the Central Highlands in ‘68.

—–Original Message—–
From: Y
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2014
To: W
Subject: RE: Trivia

What was GRONK?

—–Original Message—–
From: W
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2014
To: Y
Subject: RE: Trivia

Not an acronym.  Name of a character in a comic strip (“B.C.”) of that time, featuring a dinosaur whose only word was “Gronk.”  Have to say the major who named the op was the only field grade we ever saw actually come out into the, uh, field.

—–Original Message—–
From: X
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2014
To: Z

Subject: RE: Trivia

I knew that word sounded familiar…

—–Original Message—–
From: Y
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2014
To: W

Subject: RE: Trivia

I meant what was Operation GRONK?

—–Original Message—–
From: W
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2014
To: Y
Subject: RE: Trivia

Gronk was an op designed to clear the Viet Cong from that part of Highway 19 running through Walker AO in 1968.  A jet fuel pipeline ran along the road from the South China Sea to Pleiku.  The VC were blowing the pipeline and grounding our fighter planes.  They ambushed the road and blasted the pipe.  We ambushed them to stop it.  But that wasn’t enough.  So we staged Operation Gronk to clear them out for good.  Successful.  For about three days.  Then we all went back to ambushing one another and patching up the pipeline.

Footnote:  Operation Chattanooga Choo Choo destroyed the French rail system behind Normandy in preparation for the D-Day invasion.  Bad name, good work.

© 2014 Steven Hardesty

stevenhardestyOp-Edcampaigns,vietnam war,world war IIAn email chain making the rounds of my office:  -----Original Message----- From: X Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014 To: ALL Subject: Trivia This trivia question is tailor-made for W.  Not because his gray hair says he could have been there but because he reads military history at lunch – What was the Allied military offensive...Recovering forgotten and overlooked military history