Arrival Photos


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A gung ho class of 37 sailors arrives in Vietnam on February 14, 1969.  Only 364 and wake up to go.  On the way over on the plane the class broke out in song to cut the ice of flying into the unknown.  The song was "Proud Mary" by Credence Clearwater Revival. The "rolling on the river" lyric made it an appropriate theme song.


The picture above (courtesy of Kent Hawley, see the links page for his great site) is of the Annapolis BOQ/BEQ, every sailor's first stop in Saigon after arrival at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.  

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The above photo and brochure cover are courtesy of Doug Lindsey, YRBM-17 (March 1967)

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Occasionally, while in Saigon there was the visit to the Cholon Exchange.  I think many a Sansui, Pioneer, or other brand music systems, cameras, etc., etc. were purchased here at great prices and forwarded home. (Photo courtesy of Doug Lindsey, YRBM 17)

On July 10, 1969 the Annapolis Hotel survived a bombing attempt.  Here are some pictures (courtesy of Joe Rosner) of that bombing.  If you recognize yourself in the pictures or remember the incident, please email me.

A night or so in Saigon and we're transported by helicopter to Dong Tam, about five miles west of My Tho along the north bank of the My Tho River.

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In the above photo of Dong Tam (courtesy of Howard Kramer, see the Links section for his great web site) the Navy portion of the base is near the bay and closest to the river.  The balance and larger portion of the base, the area to the right of the bay, was occupied by the Army's Ninth Infantry. Most of the ground on which the base was built was dredged from small bay adjacent to the river.   Several dredges were sunk in getting this base constructed.  Note the ships in the river.  That's the MRB (mobile riverine base), made up of a number of support ships (see MRF History for details about the support ships).  See the map of the Dong Tam area for our transit route up the Cho Gao Canal to the Vam Co river and to our rendezvous with our first boat (A-111-3) along side the LST Harnett County just south of the village of Ben Luc along the right arm of a fork of the Vam Co called the Song Vam Co Dong river.   This right fork along with the left fork, the Song Vam Co Tay river, formed the image of a slingshot, hence the name, Operation Giant Slingshot, our first in which we participated in Vietnam.

During the transit up the Cho Gao Canal, we were introduced to the war in short order.  Our first fire fight commenced as the convoy was ambushed while passing the village of Cho Gao.  As I recall, the site of the old church was where most of the fire was coming.  After returning fire for only a short time, we moved on.  It generally wasn't our policy to shoot up (mostly) friendly villages.  Five were wounded in the fire fight and dusted off (taken away by helicopter).  We became quickly indoctrinated into the war of No Fire and Free Fire Zones, only the enemy wasn't always playing with the same rules.  One thing we learned quickly was that someone was definitely trying to kill us.  When we obtained our Black Berets, we were now able adhere to the tradition of cutting the tale ribbon loop since we now had been involved in our first fire fight.


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