The next four pages contain lots of photos taken while aboard Alpha 111-3 or while riding along with other boats of RivDiv 111.
The crew of A-111-3 as we started out in country, from left to right standing, GMG2 Walt Wickizer, 20 mm gunner; SN John King, radioman and aft 50 cal. gunner; BM2 George Sanchez, Boat Captain and M60 gunner; sitting in back, FN Dennis Bacon, forward twin-50 cal. gunner; and, EN3 Jerry "Mac" McIntosh, engineman and aft 50 cal. gunner. And yours truly taking the photo, GMG3 Don Blankenship, the best Alpha boat coxswain on the river.
That's me with a large scotch & water. A bottle of Johnnie Walker Red was the equivalent of two cases of C-Rations. Great trade if you ask me. The next few pictures are of boats under way. The group shot is George Sanchez, our boat captain enjoying a Carling's Black label I believe, me with a swig of scotch, a guy off another boat (sorry I don't remember his name, and our radioman John King, probably with a can of juice.
This is a monitor firing at the shore line off the bow of the LST Washtenaw County.
Anchor dropping on one of the MRB ships. Note the razor wire which extended into the water between the ship and the pontoon or barge to give an unwanted welcome to any sappers trying to drift into the bow with the current to place a mine on the ship.
There's plenty of these John Wayne photos, pardon the self-indulgence.
Boat Captain BM2 George Sanchez
Me in the forward mount.
This is the forward mount after its conversion from a twin 50 caliber mount (we wore those barrels out) to a single 20 mm mount.
Below, our engineman Jerry McIntosh tops the boat off with fuel. Note the difference in width or the two Alpha boats. The one on the left is a new Program V model that was built wider. Our boat, A-111-3 on the right was narrower in original width and then an extra foot of styrofoam and metal was added to protect the main structure from sinking damage. Another improvement was the filling in of the well deck. The early models contained a sunken well deck with an 81mm mortar. This model proved to be a horrible design as it would overflow with water and sink easily by the stern. However, the new Program V model was much improved with a higher chine and the wider deck was much more sea worthy and made walking along the side much easier.
This is GMG2 Walt Wickizer in the top 20mm mount
Thanks to Jerry "Mac" McIntosh for the above two photos.