51st anniversary of the first B52 aircraft bombing of Vietnam

Next month, June 18th to be exacted, is the 51st anniversary of the first B52 aircraft bombing of Vietnam. A Squadron of B52’s took off from Anderson Air Force base in Guam and headed for the Ben Cat District of South Vietnam not far from Saigon (now Ho Chi Mihn City).  Each of the 30 B52’s carried 24, 750 pound bombs.

I was a month or so into my second tour at Ton Son Knut Airbase in Saigon.  We pretty much worked everyday a minimum of 8 hours.  On my second tour I processed film and photos taken by Tactical Air Command planes, and there was a lot of it. I had to operate 8 film processors and there were two rooms the same as the one I manned. I calculated that during that second year I processed about 5 million feet of film and prints. That was just me on my one shift in one room. We ran 24 hours a day.

Anyway, on the morning of June 18 1965, while I was processing my film I heard a low rumble that quickly got louder and louder. I know almost immediately what was causing the rumble. Prior to going to Vietnam I had worked at a Strategic Air Command base (March Airbase, CA) for two years. I had heard that rumble many times before. It was the distinct sound of a squadron of B52s.

I ran over to my co-workers processing room and asked if he heard the noise. I told him what it was and he said, “Oh Crap (I am using a cleaner word here) The VC are in for it now.”  I agreed. I had seen photos of test bombings back in the states and it was devastating.

We had no Idea where they were going. We just knew wherever it was the landscape was about to change. A day or so later we saw the results. The jungle has trees that can grow as high as 150 feet and an average of 100 feet. When we saw the film our planes brought back we were even more surprised. The craters were enormous with trees collapsed all around on in them. The trees were only half the diameter of the craters. We guessed the craters then were at least 200 feet wide, and there were a lot of them

As I remember they flew in a wedge formation. So imagine being on the ground while each plane dropped there twenty-four 750 pound bombs.

As for the Vietnamese Communists they had left the area before the bombers got there. So the Tigers, Monkeys, Snakes and such were the ones that suffered.  Some people said they were warned by people in the South Vietnamese Army. I had heard that there was a Russian fishing boat stations off of Guam and whenever the B52 took off they radioed the Communists and they just hightailed it.

My first tour in Vietnam was with the Strategic Air Command. Our job was to process film from U@ Spy Planes that flew over North Vietnam and Sothern China. We also processed film from unmanned drones. I didn’t know it then, but the B52 was later modifies to carry two drones.

See the pictures.

Remember what George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

This memorial day we please remember the two B52 crews who lost their lives that day when they collided.



An excellent read. The story-line is very fast paced

Just saw this great review on my first novel Mercy Row. So happy people are still gtting a glimps of the history of Philadelphia through the fast paced crime thriller. Here is the review:
“By Tim on May 2, 2016- Five Stars
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read. The story-line is very fast paced, never lingering on boring filler details so often found in novels.
The author does a great job of portraying an era long gone, while still introducing and developing characters with modern appeal.
This is definitely one for the collection.”

Religion! What Religion? It’s complicated.

Religion! What Religion? It’s complicated.

I have a spot in my office where I display a few items from my youth. I have a statue of Buddha that was blessed by a monk and a set of Catholic rosary beads that belonged to my mother. There is also a baby book my mother kept about me that says I was Christened at St. Simon Episcopal Church on August 20, 1944. I also have a “chop” with my name in Chinese that I bought in China and there is a New Testament I was given on April 12 1953 when I would have been nine years old.

That book is now 63 years old. The inscription on the inside says “Harry Hallman accepted Christ in his heart on this day- April 12th 1953.” In the back of the book there are various prayers and something I wasn’t expecting: The lyrics to the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and My Country “Tis Thee. I also have my Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Air Force Commendation medal in that display.

I really had not thought about it much but that little display is a snapshot not only of my life, but also my religious activity and early beliefs. I was baptized Episcopalian, but I never remember going to that denomination church. I got that New Testament from going to Sunday school at some protestant church nearby. Not sure the denomination, but I remember the teacher. She was a very nice lady and she gave out candy as a reward for learning the bible. That was enough incentive for me to read the bible so I could answer the questions.

When I was about 12 I took catechism lessons and became Roman Catholic. I was baptized and confirmed. All my friends were Catholic so I wanted to fit in. It was cool and I liked the traditions. When I joined the Air Force my dog tags said I was Catholic. By the time I was one year into my almost two years in Vietnam I was starting to like the Buddhist philosophy. It was based on the same principles as Christianity for the most part. My wife gave me the Buddha I have in my display.

If you asked me now what my spiritual beliefs are I would have to say they are a combination of science, and some of the doctrines I learned from Sunday school, catechism lessons, and what I have read about Eastern religions. I would say it is very complicated. Way too complicated to discuss in a post.

I have received blessings from Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims as well as well wishes from Atheists and Agnostics in my life time. While they may not have reflected my overall belief system I received them happily. I accept all people’s beliefs as long as those beliefs are not to harm, but rather to help. I guess you might say I am a Tolerant, and that is something the world and our country needs right now.

Dancing on Air

I’m dancing on air over this review for Mercy Row Retribution I just received from Bradley Knox of Hogwash Thirteen Blog. Well as much as an elderly overweight man can dance.

“In this third in the Mercy Row Trilogy, Harry Hallman has really hit his stride as a world class writer!

This book follows the legacy of a north Philadelphia crime family into the 60s, specifically Gerry’s exploits during a tour as a pilot in Vietnam, and his impact back home in his Philadelphia
neighborhood. Mr. Hallman’s vivid and descriptive prose keeps you burning through the pages of this book, and his ability to tell a tale is beyond compare! Action packed, epic, and a number of surprises. I believe that this third book is his strongest yet, and I am anxiously awaiting the next! Very much worth the time it took to get this one, Harry! Knocked it out of the park. Highly recommended!”

Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution

Interview with Harry Hallman Author of Mercy Row Retribution


Another great review of my newest novel Mercy Row Retribution

Another great review of my newest novel Mercy Row Retribution by the blog Book Are Love. Take a look:

https://hello-booklover.tumblr.com/ scroll down to see review.

“This is a enthralling look at the dichotomy of a family of crime-their feelings, emotions, beliefs and their look at right and wrong and where they draw the line, and actions. A fast paced book where we see crime plus humanity done by the men and women in this book. 
We begin with looking at a reckless but caring pilot named Gerry Amota in the Vietnam war. While there we see a dichotomy in his actions and feelings- he helps orphans and visits them even loving them, he helps a cab driver and yet finds a way to make money in the racquet of selling marijuana. This becomes a family venture-mom launders the money with her charitable foundation of Mercy Row. So we have a crime family with a charitable foundation and members of this family showing us their softer side via running orphanages, feeling the homeless etc.-giving us the dichotomy on their emotions as well as their motives and behavior.

Make no mistake though this book shows both sides of the coin for these men-the violence and goodness. Showing where they draw the line and blur it. What they find to be right and wrong and their justification. You get a addictive look at the good, the bad and the ugly of these men and how they feel and motives. A truly fascinating book looking at the dichotomies of this crime family and their ways.”

Mercy Row Retribution Review

Another review of Mercy Row Retribution:

“Mr. Hallman’s writing is distraction-free, meaning that I could find no faults that might have detracted from my enjoyment of the story. Mercy Row Retribution is one very thought-provoking and well-written read.”


Two New Reviews for Mercy Row Retribution

“Review by Frankie Brazelton
7 Muddy Crowns

Mercy Row Retribution is an enthralling peek at the dynamics of a mob family and their operations. From smuggling drugs and dealing out recompense to supporting an orphanage and giving to charitable causes, the Byrne family walks their own defined line of ethics. Hallman’s fast-paced crime novel is an interesting perspective on what is right and what is legal.”

Another review of Mercy Row Retribution

“A fast paced addictive read with facts we who were not in the Vietnam War should know about. Crime plus humanity in Philadelphia.”


Author Interview

I did an interview for Freda Hansburg’s blog. She is a book reviewer. Take a look.


Audio Version of Mercy Row Retribution

I just approved the final audio for the audio book version of Mercy Row Retribution. It takes about 10 days to 2 weeks for Audible to post it for sale. Excited. This is my forth Audio Book on Audible.