October 19, 2016
Fred Ptucha, USN
Fred Ptucha will make a presentation about being a Forward Air Observer during the Vietnam War, and tell about how the message traffic that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident came to his attention as it happened.
Fred Ptucha served in the US Navy aboard his ship which used the call sign Fleet Boss and was responsible for coordinating air/sea rescue of downed airmen in the Gulf of Tonkin off the North Vietnam coast in the early days of the air war. Assigned to the ship’s Operations Department, Fred was privy to historic message traffic that led to the incidents that would be labeled the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Those events resulted in Congress’ authorizing President Lyndon Johnson to initiate airstrikes against North Vietnam. Following his shipboard tour, Fred volunteered for duty as a Forward Air Observer flying with US Army observation aircraft providing fire direction for US Navy ships off shore. Fred will share his experiences that included ending up on the ground after his aircraft was downed by enemy fire.
About Fred Ptucha
Fred is an outspoken Santa Rosa peace-justice advocate and retired stockbroker. He lives here in Sonoma County and works as a socially responsible financial adviser. He is a proud husband, father, and grandfather. He is a president of Sister City-Santa Rosa-Chekasy, co-founder of Climbers for Peace, and active member of Veterans for Peace. When away from his community efforts he enjoys spending time with his family and participating in most outdoor activities, including running, cycling, kayaking, skiing, hiking, and backpacking.
3200 N. Laughlin Road. Santa Rosa, CA, 95403
Directions: From Santa Rosa, take Highway 101 North and exit at Airport Blvd. Turn left on Laughlin Road toward the museum. The Columbia Distributing building is located on the left (east) side of the street a couple hundred yards past the museum.