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While military forces in the united States worked on the larger plan, the U. military command in Europe came up with a less involved one, calling for the use of a small force of paratroopers begin airlifted to Africa for the rescue. Forman’s command had supported the UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo from 1960 until early 1964.That plan, formulated jointly by the United States and Belgium, was given the French code name Dragon Rouge (‘red dragon’). During those years, however, the 322nd had undergone some changes.
With his reputation already made from leading an earlier band during the Katangan secessionist revolt-in which Tshombe had been a participant-Hoare had no trouble training a 300-man unit of mostly South African ‘mercs’ that he dubbed 5 Commando.
Hoare, often called ‘Mad Mike’ by those who knew him, enforced only two rules among his men-that they shaved and refrained from drinking before battle.
6/12/2006 • John F Kennedy, Military History At exactly 0600 hours on the morning of November 24, 1964, as the sun was breaking over the former Belgian colony of Congo, five four-engine turboprop Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports appeared only 700 feet above the Sabena airport on the outskirts of the city of Stanleyville. Immediately, the co-pilot, Captain Robert Kitchen, reached down to the panel by his right armrest and flipped the paratrooper jump lights from red to green.
Air Force’ stenciled in large block letters along the fuselage, approached a narrow swath of grass alongside the airport’s main runway, navigator First Lieutenant John Coble called out ‘Green Light’ over the aircraft’s intercom.
In 1964, two TAC wings were supporting rotational squadrons at Evreux Fauville Airbase, France, the 317th and 464th Troop Carrier wings from Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, and Pope AFB, N. Rotational Squadron A, or ‘Rote Alpha,’ was made up of Pope personnel who flew the newest version of the already proven Hercules, the C-130E, while Rote Bravo was manned by Lockbourne crews and equipped with the older C-130A.
General Forman called Colonel Burgess Gradwell to Chteauroux to brief him on the upcoming mission.
As the Simbas saw the tide begin to turn against them, their radio station in Stanleyville began denouncing the United States, accusing it of sending combat troops to aid the government forces.
Rebel hostility caused fear for the safety of whites in rebel-held territory, especially after news of atrocities performed by the revels against their own people reached the outside world.
The rebels began making threats that the hostages would be killed if the United States did not withdraw its support for the Congolese government. Less than a year later, after having sent his wife and four children to safety in the Central African Republic, Carlson was seized by the Simbas because (1) he owned a radio, (2) he was an American and (3) the rebels wanted hostages. Paul Carlson’s name would be featured in the world’s headlines.