for weather stuff….look at the bottom for the “weather bottom line.”
On This Date in History: President Richard Nixon was an avid sports fan, particularly football. On December 26,
1972 the Washington Redskins lost a playoff game to the San Francisco Forty-Niners 24-20. If I recall, the ‘skins were led by the tandem old fat guys Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer while the Niners were led by John Brodie. I think the Redskins had Larry Brown as the running back and the 49ers had Vic Washington with Gene Washington at receiver. In November, Nixon showed up at a Redskins’ practice to give the team a “pep-talk.” Anyway, The Redskins lost 13 yards on a play that Washington Head Coach George Allen said that the President had designed. Later, it is found that the statement was false; it is an effort on Allen’s part to inspire the team, which I don’t get because the game was already over, unless he told them at halftime. If that was the case, then it seems like it would be demoralizing to find that the coach is calling plays sent in by a fan at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Allen, however, told the team that Nixon designed the play only after getting the President’s approval. After the game, Nixon called Allen and tells him that the entire city is proud of the team since it was the first post-season appearance by the Redskins since 1945.
With all of this in mind…and perhaps football was on the mind of the President in 1972…one might consider what was going on in Vietnam at the time. Nixon had campaigned in 1968 that he would bring the war to a close with his “secret plan.” It was so secret that he never told anyone what it was. He won the 1972 election in a landslide but really wanted to end the war…”peace with honor” is what he called for. Well, peace talks were ongoing in Paris and had been for sometime when, on December 13, 1972 the representatives of North Vietnam walked out of the negotiations. Nixon warned them to return to the table within 72 hours, “or else.” They did not do so and on this date in 1972, President Nixon put into effect his “Operation Linebacker II” which was an all-out aerial bombardment of areas
around Hanoi. (Operation Linebacker was an aerial interdiction mission to disrupt supplies from May to Oct. 1972) Over 700 B-52 sorties and 1000 fighter bomber sorties were flown over an 11 day period in which 20,000 tons of bombs were dropped. The anti-war crowd called it the “Christmas Bombing” but, as is often the case, naysayers fail to look at things beyond the surface. Nixon’s plan seemed to be effective…more effective than the play he “called” for George Allen. He had told the North Vietnamese that the bombing would stop when they returned to the peace talks and released all prisoners of war. He got the first half of the demand, the bombing stopped and less than a month later, the Vietnam War was over for the Americans. Of course, what is often left out of the story is that after the Americans left, the South fell quickly and millions of people in Vietnam and Cambodia were slaughtered by the communist regimes. Over 1300 Vietnamese civilians were killed in the bombing with 15 B-52’s shot down along with 11 other US aircraft. Most were downed by surface to air missles but 3 B-52’s were shot down by MiG fighters. Nevertheless, “Linebacker II” is seen by most reasonable observers as a success.
It’s also interesting to note that two MiG fighters were shot down by B-52 bombers. Yes…B-52’s. The B-52 doesn’t
have a lot in the way of defenses, certainly not like the World War II bombers that bristled with guns. But, it did have a tailgunner. Two MiG’s were shot down during the Vietnam War by tailgunners in B-52’s and both occured during Operation Linebacker II. Staff Sgt. Samuel O. Turner and Airman First Class Albert E. Moore both knocked down MiG-21’s with a blast from their rear mounted .50 caliber machine guns. If Jurgenson and Kilmer had that kind of accuracy instead of the wounded ducks that they tended to throw, perhaps the Redskins would have been more successful.
Weather Bottom Line: Look for us to start a bit of a warm up for the next few days before the bottom falls out again. A warm front will approach late Thursday bringing a chance for showers by Thursday afternoon and then when the warm front passes, we jump to perhaps the upper 50’s on Friday…just in time for another cold front. That front will make us cool but not too terribly cold on Saturday after some rain with perhaps some rumbles of thunder late Friday. Then we get a low swinging by early Sunday. All indications are at this time that we get some rain prior to temperatures falling sharply by midday Sunday. We’ll probably be below freezing from at least midday Sunday through Tuesday with Monday night being pretty doggone cold. But, at this point it appears there may be some nuisance snow on Sunday at best and that’s probably a generous assessment, though the GFS is trying to be a little more bullish than that for the northern counties Sunday into Monday. Now, the GFS shows another system lifting up late Tuesday, warming us a bit on Christmas Eve providing rain before maybe a little snow Wednesday night but nothing overly significant. This makes sense. But, it should be noted that the Canadian model wants to keep the cold air in place and swing the low around without drawing up much warmer air; hence, it advertises snow Tuesday into Wednesday. I’m not buying it at this point and think the prospects for a White Christmas around here are minimal though it should be chilly. But, the Canadian is out there with its solution…again…doesn’t make much sense to me at this time.