Politics & Government

U.S. to honor Navy unit whose work it kept secret for years

Not many men in the military are eager to join a brand-new unit, where they don't know people, don't know what they'll be doing and don't have a proud unit lineage. But the Navy assured the men it would be good for their careers.

So some men volunteered and a lot more were drafted to join Observation Squadron 67, so named because that was the year it was born. After a while the men took to calling themselves "the Ghost Squadron" because they felt forgotten, participants in a secret war that neither the U.S. nor the North Vietnamese wanted to acknowledge was being waged next door to Vietnam.

Forty years after the squadron's actions, VO-67 has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest decoration for combat valor a unit can receive. Some of the surviving 300 members of that squadron will be on hand Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for the ceremony in front of the U.S. Navy Memorial.

"It's special after all these years," said John Forsgren, a young sailor who served in the squadron and lives in Arlington. "But it's also bittersweet. How do you get proud of something that you did 40 years ago? There's a bit of a feeling of 'Why didn't they recognize the unit 30 years ago?'"

Read the full story at star-telegram.com.