349. Telegram From the Commander in Chief, Strike Command, and Commander in Chief, Middle East/South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara to the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Congo1

STRIKE 1089/64. Subject is: Sequence of events on order to execute Dragon Rouge (S).

[Page 506]

1. (TS) The following gives you a time sequence of execution of Dragon Rouge in order that there be no misunderstanding during this crucial phase. This discussion is based on the fact that you are considered to be on a [less than 1 line not declassified] with a 2 hour ready to launch alert time, and that the tentative launch hour from Kamina is 0100Z.

2. (TS) The decision time in Washington to order execution should be no later than 2200Z. Safe transmission time of the execute message to you is considered to be one hour. Therefore, the order to execute should be in your hands at Kamina at 2300Z.

3. (TS) In spite of the optimum conditions stated above, the decision to execute may run up to the last minute and perhaps beyond the 2200Z deadline. Therefore, you should be prepared to react in the minimum possible time after receipt of order to execute.

4. (TS) You will be directed to increase your readiness posture using the STRIKE MEAFSA emergency action file (SMEAF) by flash STRIKEOPS 2A message by teletype. These messages will include instructions as follows:

A. [less than 1 line not declassified] (to be effective 2300Z). Load all equipment on C–130 aircraft. Prepare personnel for loading. Ready B–26 and T–28 support aircraft for launch. Tentative D-Day H-Hour will be announced in blanks 6 and 7 of STRIKEOPS msg. Blank 6 will be D-Day; blank 7 will be H-Hour.

B. [less than 1 line not declassified] (to be effective 0030Z). Load personnel on aircraft, taxi and prepare to launch troop carrier and tactical aircraft. Launch hour will be confirmed as 0100Z. You will not launch until told to execute.

C. Order to execute will be by unclassified words Big Punch, transmitted in the clear. The word Punch, in accordance with a US/Belgian agreement, indicates that the order to execute is a combined US/Belgian decision.

5. (TS) After order to execute has been given, there may be reason to rescind the order and call off the assault. The unclassified words for this will be Dragon Rouge Blue Fish, and will be given you by voice in the clear. Upon receipt of Blue Fish, you will return all aircraft to Kamina and await further instructions.

6. (TS) Prior to launch from Kamina and prior to receipt of the order to execute, the decision may be made to either cancel or delay the planned assault. The unclassified words Blue Fish will be used for this event also. You will then return to a [less than 1 line not declassified] readiness posture with a 2 hour alert time and await further orders.

7. (U) Acknowledge.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Congo, Vol. VIII, Cables, Memos & Miscellaneous, 11/64. Top Secret; Limdis; Noforn Except to Belgian Nationals on a Need to Know Basis. Received at the DOD Message Center at 2239Z. Repeated to COMUSJTF Leo Main Leopoldville, and JCS.