The Gulf of Tonkin Investigation
John White
60 Pound Ridge Road
Cheshire, Connecticut
April 17, 1984

This interview was conducted by telephone, using a telephone recording device attached to a cassette tape recorder. JW is the interviewer, John White. JS is the interviewee, Chief Petty Officer Joseph E. Schaperjahn [pron: Shap’-er-jon]. Brackets are used to identify words which are inaudible or to supply missing text.

JW: Let me start the thing as if I was just at the beginning of the tape just by identifying you. You’re Chief Joseph Schaperjahn, living in Richmond, Virginia. And this is April 17, 1987. [Note by JW: Chief Schaperjahn died in 2007.]

Chief, as I said, the reason I called you is because Vice Admiral Jim Stockdale directed me to you through references in [Eugene] Windchy’s book [Tonkin Gulf]…

JS: Right.

JW: Now, are you aware of my name and my role in the Gulf of Tonkin investigation? John White.

JS: John White.

JW: Right. I was Lieutenant JG at the time that you guys—you were chief sonarman on board the Turner Joy, is that correct?

JS: Right.

JW: Involved in the August 4th 1964 events in the Gulf of Tonkin. I think, Chief, that I spoke with you in the shipyard in Long Beach, California some…

JS: [inaudible] Did we ride in San Diego to Long Beach together?

JW: Not that far, but I am trying to identify someone, with whom I crossed the Long Beach Naval Shipyard one day—sort of fell in step by accident as we were heading to the main gate. We took a bus together and not all the way to San Diego, as I recall, but…

JS: [inaudible] I got a lot of phone calls about the time I was going to retire—a bunch of admirals out of Washington…you know, with all kinds of threats.

JW: Oh, most interesting.

JS: Yeah, because I was actually the only person to call the bridge and tell them there was nothing out there.

JW: Chief, before you say anything more, let me tell you why I’m calling, and then you can confirm or deny or modify or clarify.

JS: Okay.

JW: But to put it in a nutshell: I was the Nuclear Weapons Officer on board the U.S.S Pine Island (AV-12).

JS: That uh…

JW: Seaplane tender.

JS: Yeah, with communications.

JW: Correct. Well, I was Nuclear Weapons Officer, but we had full standard naval communications capability.

JS: [Inaudible] The guy I did talk to [inaudible]

JW: Well, I’m really delighted to hear you say that

JS: I think you are, because I was the guy who served. You were involved with the Washington thing in ’68, correct?

JW: Yes, I was. Yes, I was.

JS: All right, now, you’re not by any chance—now this is all a rumor. The guy they said was a little off the rocker. They sent you to a psychiatrist and all this stuff because you denied the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Were you the one?

JW: Oh, no, I never denied it. In fact, I brought it to Senator Fulbright’s attention and… [ I garbled this reply to Schaperjahn. I meant to say “Yes, I did deny it happened as President Johnson reported it to Congress. But no one sent me to a psychiatrist. However, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist, offered to help me try to remember the details of the meeting you and I had.” I note that in my memoir The Gulf of Tonkin — Fifty Years Later. ]

JS: Now this is all a rumor, you know. When you say White I kept thinking it was Whitehead or Whitmore.

JW: No…

JS: You’re probably the one I talked to. I know I talked to an officer right after we got back to the States.

JW: Boy, Chief, you’re doing my heart good here because for twenty years…

JS: Yeah, you and me both.

JW: [Laughs] I don’t know the extent to which you might have been harassed or ridiculed or threatened. In my own case it was mostly public scorn and ridicule from various people in the media. And it was only because Jim Stockdale gave me this Windchy book quote that I was able to see that my mistake back in ’67, when I first went public, was to Identify you as chief sonarman on the Maddox, when it turns out you were on the Turner Joy.

JS: That’s right.

JW: Because I made that mistake, the Navy was able to stonewall it and make me look like the world’s biggest fool.

JS: They called me from Washington at Portsmouth Naval Hospital…

JW: Oh, wow!

JS: That’s right. And they wanted to know if I knew a Lieutenant “something”. [To someone in the background: Yeah, come on in. Is that Henry?] Anyhow. At the time, I couldn’t recollect. You know, that was four years later, I had transferred to another ship and I said, “No, I don’t recall,” and they gave me no other information except to say, “Do you know this lieutenant?” and right now I keep thinking they said Whitmore, Whitehead, but now you’re saying White.

JW: Chief, I wrote to a naval hospital. Now, I thought it was in San Diego. I have the actual letter because William E. Bader, who was Chief of Staff for Senator Fulbright and the one who actually wrote the “Bader Report” on the Gulf of Tonkin events, told me that in the course of his investigation he had identified a chief petty officer who was in a bed in a naval hospital who was next to another chief petty officer who claimed that he was chief sonarman on board one of the two ships

JS: The only chief on the two ships was me.

JW: Okay, but I’m saying that Bader’s information came from a chief petty officer who claimed to have been hospitalized and in a bed next to another chief petty officer who, in turn, identified himself as being a sonarman on board one of those two ships. And it looked to Bader, Senator Fulbright’s Chief of Staff, as if that person who claimed he was sonarman on board one of the two ships might have been the person I had talked to but wasn’t able to Identify. So, I wrote to the hospital and never got an answer. Which makes sense, they wouldn’t…

JS: That was San Diego Hospital. Now, what year was that?

JW: 1968.

JS: Right. Now that would be possible because I was in San Diego Hospital right after the time.

JW: Well, I’ll have to get out my records and see what’s going on there. Perhaps this is a different person altogether. But it’s curiously coincidental.

JS: Another chief was a bunkmate of mine in Portsmouth.

JW: Maybe Bader got the wrong hospital and that’s why I never got an answer. But, Chief, the thing is, while I was in ‘Nam, I felt that we, our government, was right to be there and [was] doing the right thing. Making the world safer for democracy, et cetera, et cetera. After I got out of the Navy I began to see things differently because I was exposed to information that simply never made its way into the military, while I was there.

JS: Nobody was listening.

JW: And, in my own case, I really struggled with my conscience to find out what I should do when it was clear on the basis of the information that I had, not only from your conversation which confirmed something, but from the original knowledge I had got which was reading the secret classified reports from the Maddox to Commander in Chief-Pacific with copies to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were listed as Op Immediate. They were not Flash, they were Op Immediate, I remember that. But the first one said something like, “Taking evasive action. 26 torpedoes in the water coming at me,” and about six minutes later according to the date-time group, in effect it said, “Belay my last, my sonar gear is malfunctioning.”

And I thought, “Son of a gun, that’s really curious—indeed, it’s amazing.” I read this radio traffic some weeks after we got back from Tonkin.

Actually, we went into Danang Harbor and set up a seaplane base to load nuclear depth bombs on board the P5Ms. And so I read the radio traffic some weeks later after we left Vietnam, and when we got back to the States I just happened to meet someone, and I guess it was you.

JS: I’m sure it was! In the Long Beach shipyard.

JW: And you confirmed what I had read. You said, “Son of a gun, I kept telling the bridge that there were no torpedoes coming at us, that it was sonar gear malfunctioning or picking up a knuckle.”

JS: It wasn’t malfunctioning. There was nothing there.

JW: Yeah, yeah. But I mis-remembered you as having been on the Maddox rather than the Turner Joy, and that just left me totally exposed to, you know, well, the things I’ve gone through and I guess you’ve gone through. I’d sure like to know more about your own experiences. But the point in this call is to find out, as you’ve just confirmed, that you are the person I’d talked with. It was not a hallucination on my part 20-some years ago.

JS: ‘Cause I thought we’d ridden together from San Diego up to Long Beach. See, at the time I was living in Pedro.

JW: That’s not the way I remember it. My ship was actually berthed at Long Beach. We were going to have some repair work done, and I was going ashore one day to visit my parents who lived in Santa Ana. I was going to catch a bus from Long Beach to Santa Ana, and as I was crossing the shipyard, I fell in step with a person I recall as being dressed in a CPO uniform, and then we walked side-by-side to the main gate where I caught my bus, and that person, you, went your own way, and it may have been to San Diego. I vaguely recall that. But…

JS: Yeah, yeah, I had it wrong. I thought for many years after they called and I read newspaper articles saying this lieutenant was being chastised and all this bit and I always wondered what… You know, it took me four years to realize when newspaper articles started to come out and then Windchy’s book came out, and then I started to think “Gee, that guy, I said I didn’t know him over the phone” but it didn’t dawn on me at the moment. That’s the only reason your name didn’t hit me. I wonder what would’ve happened if we could’ve got together. Instead…

JW: [Laughs] Well, you know, looking back I can say I’m a bit tougher and wiser for having stood to the slings and arrows of an outraged military-political outfit.

JS: I was so happy to see the Admiral’s book because it brought many—I don’t know if you want to discuss it—but it brought so many things to life that I remembered and it explained so many things.

JW: What is the name of that book? Is it the same title as the movie?

JS: Yeah, In Love and War. You mean Windchy’s book or the Admiral’s?

JW: No, no. Stockdale’s.

JS: Stockdale’s, yeah. In Love and War. You know, there’s another book of the same title.

JW: Oh really? Well, I have not read the book and now I’m definitely going to.

JS: Oh yeah, you have to. You know, I was in San Diego a year ago and I thought, “I’m going to call him and tell him he’s got some mistakes in the book,” then I thought, “Ah, Chief, don’t tell him that.”

JW: Yeah, but you and he and I share an experience that’s nearly unique.

JS: I have a daughter in San Diego, so I go there, you know…

JW: Uh huh. Well, he’s not in San Diego, he’s…

JS: He’s not, he’s in Coronado.

JW: Well, when I called him he was at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

JS: Right, yeah, but he still maintains a home in Coronado, I think.

JW: Oh, I see. Well, Palo Alto is up near San Francisco.

JS: Right, yeah. Unless he moved locations by now. I mean, that was his address in the book. But I knew he was at Stanford.

JW: Yeah, In any case, you could write to him there and be sure it would get to him. I mean, you could even call him. I just wrote to him there, but I could give you his number if you’re interested.

JS: Yeah, I’d like to have it.

JW: Okay, it’s…

JS: I got to get a pencil or a pen. It’s funny. You didn’t call before, did you?

JW: I’ve been trying to get you for about two weeks.

JS: Well, I just got here last night. I was in Florida all winter.

JW: Ahh, okay. Chief, it turns out I’m away from my office and I don’t have that phone number…oh, yes I do, too. I just found it. So when you’re ready to copy, I’ll give it to you.

JS: Okay, I got it.

JW: All right, it’s 415-723-0254. That’s his office number.

JS: That’s up in…?

JW: Palo Alto. At Stanford University. Chief, I have your address as 8706 Trivilian Road, Richmond, Virginia.

JS: Right.

JW: And what’s your zip code?

JS: 23235.

JW: Okay, the reason I ask for that is, I’d like to send you an account that I’m writing of this. I’m just really delighted that I’m finally getting confirmation of what for many years was considered a bizarre hallucination on my part by other people. There were times when I doubted my own stability of mind because so many people denied it. And then said I was a communist or all the rest of this stuff.

JS: Yeah, you’re the guy because I remember that in the newspaper.

JW: Yeah, I mean I was nearly—it nearly cost me my job. Actually, it certainly contributed to it…but the thing that I’d feared, namely the FBI knocking on my door at midnight, with charges of treason or something like that, never came to pass. But I’ll tell you, I was more than a bit uptight about that when I decided to go public.

JS: You know, hearing you talk, I sure am sorry that I screwed up when they asked me. They called me from Washington and then they put me in the admiral’s stateroom in the hospital. In complete privacy.

JW: Whoa! Well, if you had admitted it, you might not have gotten out of there. I mean, it’s good for you. Certainly I’m not blaming you in any way, that’s not the point of this call. I’m calling only to verify my perceptions there. [inaudible] Yeah, but I tell you, I had a really rough time for quite a while. There was a newspaper editorial blasting me and a half-hour program from one of the local stations that made me look like the world’s biggest fool, too.

JS: See, that’s what I was saying. They had you up for psycho and all this bit.

JW: And chief, the thing that you may now know about—stop me if you do—is that US News and World Report did a fourteen-page spread on Gulf of Tonkin events in 1984, twenty years afterward.

JS: I didn’t see that.

JW: Okay, well, get to a library. In fact, I’ll xerox it and send it to you.

JS: All right, I appreciate it.

JW: The reason is that they did it is, twenty years afterward some of the [radio] traffic was declassified. You know, there’s a ten- or twenty-year downgrading of classification under the Freedom of Information Act, and US news and World Report got the previously classified radio messages and published them as part of a long analysis about what happened in Tonkin in August ’64 and, boy, I tell you it did my heart good to see that twenty years after I’d been portrayed as the flying fool of the year that, son of a gun, those radio messages were exactly as I had said. But, you were not mentioned in there as far as I know, I’ll have to check that again. But thanks to Jim Stockdale, I’ve now identified you. It does my heart good. Is there anything I can do for you?

JS: No, except I’d appreciate any information you’re doing on this thing. Are you writing an article or a book or something?

JW: Just an article, Chief. I earn my living as a writer now and feel that I have enough information together, thanks to Jim Stockdale and you now, to really nail down what really is a personal account. I mean, there’s no great revelations I have to make except possibly the fact that the US has indeed had nuclear weapons in Vietnam. I know because I was in charge of them. It was not a long stay, of course, but the official government position is that there have never been nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Well, that just ain’t true.

JS: Was there anything you wanted cleared up?

JW: At this point, I think not. You’ve really just…

JS: Yeah, because I was saying to [inaudible], I made one report—that was the Maddox. CIC confirmed that it was the Maddox. And then after that I called the bridge and told them there was nothing there. “There’s nothing there.” The bridge called me and said, “We don’t want negative reports. We want positive reports.” So, I didn’t give them anything. And then I went to the Maddox. The Maddox’s gear was down. I talked to the sonarman, he was a second-class. He was senior sonarman.

JW: Is that Mallow?

JS: I don’t remember his name.

JW: Mallow Sharba?

JS: His name wouldn’t ring a bell at all. He was a second-class and he said his gear was completely down through the whole incident. Yet all of the reports were coming from The Maddox. I never could figure that out.

JW: Boy… Well, Chief, there was an awful lot of lives lost because of that and that really was what was weighing heavily on my heart and mind.

JS: That’s why I love the Admiral’s book. He got released when? ’72? or ’74? Something like that.

See, the thing that bothered me was the search light. And one of my torpedomen up on deck had spotted this search light. This was the only thing that bothered me for twenty years. The question, “what was that search light?” It was the only reason that gave me some doubts. The torpedoes that they kept saying were running alongside—all that was, was inexperienced people on deck seeing phosphorescence along the side the ship when you’re cutting through the water. And at high speeds that phosphorescence moves way out. They’re shrimp, or whatever it is.

JW: It’s a kind of plankton, I think.

JS: That’s right, plankton. That’s it, you got the word. And being aboard ship I know you’ve seen it.

JW: Oh, yes, many times.

JS: And even my ASW officer who wasn’t an ASW at the time, he was up on the bridge. He was up on the torpedo deck. He said he saw a torpedo running up the side, and I said, “Baloney, if there was a torpedo running along side I would’ve picked it up.” Well, they immediately sent a crew over when we pulled into the Philippines, checked my gear completely, and I got a 4.0. The gear was in top shape. You know what excuse they gave me?

JW: No.

JS: They said their torpedoes are designed so that we can’t pick them up.

JW: [Laughs] Yeah, little old backward North Vietnam is able to outclass the US technology. No way. But that search light must’ve been from the plane, Stockdale’s plane.

JS: It was Stockdale’s plane and he had it in the book. It was in the book that they came from behind us when PT boat was on our stern and this is another thing, while we were going in, I requested permission to arm the depth charges and pull the safety bars. They turned down my request. All of a sudden they hollered, “Drop depth charges!” So I had to show the guy, you know how the safety bars were back then… He screamed he was on fire…

JW: Holy cow!

JS: So I had to shove a guy—you know how the safety bars are back there, over the stern, five inch gun firing like mad over his head, he’s screaming that he’s on fire, so I send another torpedoman in back to pull the safety bars and set the depth charges and we dropped one. The first one didn’t go off and the second one did.

Anyhow, they turned down my request to arm the depth charges, pull the safety bars and all of the sudden, bingo: “Drop depth charges!”
Stockdale said he was coming in on our stern and they were hollering “PT boat behind us.” Well, I couldn’t confirm anything there because directly astern, you know, sonar’s kind of useless.

JS: But anyhow he said he did not use anything. He flew right over us and turned on his searchlight into the water, … searchlight and I believed the kid now, because he told me he saw this searchlight. In the movie, Stockdale said he is talking to the ships. At the time, he said it was radio silence. I didn’t know we had air cover until his book came out.

JW: Uh huh.

JS: At the time, I was under the information. In fact he said in a book that it was radio silence. He never said a word, so we didn’t even know we had air cover until his book came out. So, that was the searchlight. He cleared that up. And then, of course, he mentioned that he accidentally fired a Zuni rocket at us, in his book. But anyhow he said it in the book and in the movie, and then he said “overzealous sonarman.”

I wanted to write and say, “Hey, buddy, I kept saying there was nothing there.” In fact, when they gave us the Navy commendation or some damn thing, when the skipper handed it to me, he said, “I know you don’t believe in this, but I’ve been ordered to give it to you.”

JW: Boy.

JS Because I made it clear… All the while I was on Turner Joy that there was nothing out there.

JW: That’s one of the things that I said to Senator Fulbright, when he asked me to testify… I said that this chief not only kept reporting to the bridge that there were no torpedoes, but that his professional competence was questioned or at least he felt that it was questioned because the bridge kept giving him commands to the contrary and disregarding all his advice. I said, it’s clear to me as an ASW officer that nobody, nobody, has a better understanding of the situation than the chief sonarman looking at the scope.

JS: Not only that, I had a radar scope.

JW: Uh huh.

JS: I had radar and sonar, both. We had a repeater down there and I could see the shells hitting the water. There were multiple targets out there, but the multiple targets were seagulls over the fishing nets. And immediately when the 5-inch shell hit the water, it showed up on the sonar screen. As you can see when a shell hits the water and all the targets disappeared.

I said, Hey, it’s either a bunch of fish or a bunch of seagulls. Well, when we returned to the area, here are all these seagulls sitting out there. I said, “Well, there they are.”

And then after we pulled in, of course, I went up to CIC and all they had was a bunch of hen-scratching on the charts on the DRT and they took the radarmen over somewhere and made the cleanest bunch of tracks you ever saw.

JW: [Laughs]

And they called everybody that had any information to come up and see the XO – and when I went up to see the XO, I told him there was nothing out there. He said, “We don’t want any of your negative input.” So I said, okay – good bye.

JW: That is just plain criminal.

When I say that, I mean in the broadest sense, because you know what happened the next day. President Johnson went to Congress, and as I said in my letter to the editor, which touched off my part of this, Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff gave false information to Congress. I said “Why?”

The only answer that I can get is that Johnson had the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in his back pocket. It had been drafted some weeks before by one of his aides. I think it was Bundy, McGeorge Bundy. He was looking for an excuse to get a legal document that would allow him to wage war in Vietnam. And you guys gave him the occasion for that.

JS: I’m not even going to say what I’ve had in my mind for years. You’re taping it and I don’t know if I would like to say it.

JW: I’ll turn off the tape if you like, but I’d sure like to know what the heck is on your mind because, boy, it’s been something I’ve lived with for 23 years and have a lot of statements doubting my sanity and my integrity.

JS: I can tell you, you know. Of course now, it’s a proven thing. Everybody knows it now, there was nothing there. Like you say—20 years and nobody knew it.

JW: That’s right, but when I say criminal, I really mean that, in the most fundamental sense.

Our presence in Vietnam, which resulted in the death of more than 50,000 American boys, was predicated on something that I consider to be just a trumped-up situation.

JS: [Inaudible]

JW: And, I don’t mean that your personal role was trumped up in any way. I mean that…

JS: Fabricated…

JW: Uh huh. You mean when the XO and the CO kept saying “I don’t want your negatives,” they were actually sort of working in accordance with a predetermined script?

JS: Yes.

JW: That is heavy. That is heavy. I always assumed that it was an accidental encounter that…

JS: I was hoping in my own heart that it was a thing that was just a spur of the moment thing and that the skipper and XO screwed up.

JW: But if it was planned…

JS: It was too dark out there.

JW: Hold on a second. You said there were too many people in the higher echelon aboard ship who kept telling you that what you saw…

JS: They are saying what they saw… PT boats, shadows of PT boats. I said. “No way, no way.”

JW: But what I saw in the radio traffic directly contradicted that. A later message, about 6-8 minutes later. In effect it said,”Belay my last—false images on the scope.”

JS: Yeah, see, I haven’t seen any of that traffic. I don’t know what came out of the messages.

JW: I’m not saying that you’re wrong. You could be right. It’s not in accordance with my own impression from having tried to study the situation over the years. Lord knows I don’t have all the answers, all the evidence, all the documents, but that’s heavy stuff to live with all those years, Chief.

JS: Oh, yeah. The movie was kind of a disappointment to me. It didn’t mention the Tonkin Gulf too much. The book gave detail of his flight over us and it rang so many bells. I said, “Now I know I am absolutely right.”

JW: And yet, you think that the commodore and the skippers might have actually been briefed to…

JS: I hope not.

JW: Well I do too. I mean…

JS: It’s a gut feeling. It’s kind of impossible for this stuff to escalate as fast as it did, when reports came out saying, “Hey, there’s nothing there.” It was on my mind for a long time. I might have even stayed in the Navy 30 years if it that thing hadn’t come up.

JW: How many did you get out on?

JS: Twenty.

JW: Chief, how do you pronounce your last name?

JS: Schaperjahn [Shap’-er-jon]

JW: Well, it sure has been enlightening talking with you and I am most grateful for the time and information and…

JS: I’d appreciate anything you’ve got on it.

JW: I will send you not only what I write, but the US News and World Report article. And for your information, I was also able to obtain from North Vietnam their official statement of what it was all about. The reason I did that was because when I wrote the letter to the editor, and that’s the only thing I’ve ever written on the Tonkin thing, back in December of ‘67. Oh no, I said that’s the only thing I’ve ever written. That’s not true. Then when there was this editorial blasting me I wrote a letter to the editor, replying to the editorial. The editorial had said, “What proof does White require that these things actually happened if our own government says one thing and he says another?” Well, I said the best proof would be the statement from North Vietnam. If they admitted it happened, okay, then I am absolutely wrong. But, if they say it didn’t happen, then at least you haven’t proven that I’m wrong. So I wrote to just the public information office in Hanoi and got back this document.

Their official statement says that the whole thing was trumped up by the US. That they never had any torpedo boats out at that time and it pretty well tracks what you and Stockdale have to say.

JS: You did a lot of suffering over that thing too.

JW: Boy. Well, how do you prefer to be addressed? Chief, Joe, Joseph?

JS: Just Joseph.

JW: Okay, Joseph, and please call me John. I’m really appreciative of your time and your information here.

JS: You live in Connecticut?

JW: Correct– Just north of New Haven. The town is Cheshire.

JS: If you send me any of that stuff.. Well, I got a brother in Connecticut.

JW: Oh, where does he live?

JS: He lives right near New London

JW: Oh, is he in the Navy?

JS: No he worked in the shipyard for a number of years,m the submarine base. He’s quite a bit older than I am. He was in the Army. World War II. In fact, I have two brothers in Connecticut.

JW: Where did you say?

JS: Ledyard.

JW: Okay – that’s just up the Thames River from New London. Both of them are in Ledyard?

JS: No – the other is in Enfield. That’s it.

JW: Oh, yeah – that’s almost up to the Massachusetts border. Well, if you find yourself getting up this way to visit your brothers, I would sure welcome to get a chance to meet you face to face.

JS: Yeah.

JW: And I will send you these things, Joseph, with my sincere appreciation of what you just shared with me and an understanding of what you have gone through for the last 20 some years, because I’ve been there with you.

JS: Yeah. I wish we could have gotten together years ago.

JW: Oh, well…

JS: I thought about it, like I said, for so long. That guy that they asked me about. He is the one I talked too.

JW: Uh huh. [Laughs]

JS: I don’t know whether it was fear or what at the time, when I got called into the stateroom. Some admiral calling me out of Washington. And they said, “Do you know this lieutenant?” That’s all they said.

JW: My letter put a hash mark in their skivvies. I’m absolutely sure of that. You know. I mean, if you had said yes, I’m sure there would have followed a very stern dressing down, not to say anything more.

JS: I wouldn’t be surprised. We heard a lot of that right then. They said the skipper of the Turner Joy… The admiral said the skipper of the Turner Joy was standing right next to him at the time.

JW: You say the admiral said that but he wasn’t present, or…

JS: No, the admiral talked… The skipper of the Turner Joy was standing right next to the officer.

JW: You were a hot potato for them, my friend.

JS: I definitely said. That’s all they asked me: Did I know this lieutenant? At the time, it just didn’t hit me. It’s weird to hear from you after all this time.

JW: I hope I don’t give you nightmares, Chief.

JS: Several of my friends… When Windchy wrote his book, he came right to my house here.

JW: Well, that was a good bit of investigating on his part. I’m sorry I didn’t…

JS: I saw him right before I retired. I gave him some information, but I told him I didn’t want it written down. But the sucker wrote it down anyhow.

JW: But you haven’t made any public statements since he interviewed you?

JS: No.

JW: Well, Chief, I’m telling you, you gave me… I won’t say peace of mind, because I haven’t really been disturbed in my life since then, but it’s sure has been rankling my curiosity about who it was that I talked with. As I said, there were times when I doubted myself because it was so strongly denied that there was any such person. Even the ship’s roster of the Maddox showed no such person. And since I didn’t… I made my statement in public that it was the chief sonarman of the Maddox.

JS: Windchy’s book came out in ’69, ’70, somewhere around there. My name is right in it.

JW: Well, he called me during the Tonkin investigation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so I knew he was writing something, but I didn’t know when the book was published. I just got busy with other things in my life and never really followed through until I saw Jim Stockdale’s movie.

JS: I got the book because my daughter was stationed in Washington and that’s where Windchy was. When my daughter found out that the book was being written, she went over and got a copy from him and he autographed it for me.

JW: Hey, that’s nice. Chief, it’s getting near your supper time, I’m sure. Joseph, I should say. Joe, I thank you so much for the time. [Inaudible] You will, I promise.

– End –