Training 1 Photos

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In September 1968, I began training for the Mobile Riverine Force at the Naval Inshore Operations Training Center (NIOTC), on the Mare Island Naval Reservation near the bustling little metropolis of Vallejo, California.  The training center was ideally located at the mouth of the Sacramento River as it feeds into San Pablo Bay.  Training consisted of lots of classes, gunnery school at Camp Roberts, boat training in the sloughs of the Sacramento river delta, and tons of PT to try to get some pretty sloppy looking bodies into shape.  A marine Captain took particular delight in making us run in formation after a good workout.  We had to break in those new boots after all.  We'd run a mile each day, then skip the workout on Friday and run eight miles around the base.  We actually did start to shape up after a couple of months.   Training also included the completion of a one-week Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) course at Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound of the State of Washington.  Here's a link to my class graduation photo.  Please help me identify fellow class mates of Class 32R.

Click on the following thumbnails to enlarge.  The first is the NIOTC plaque.  The second is the same logo.  The third is the southern half of the base map.  The fourth is the north half of the base map. The NIOTC plaque was designed by SK3 Kenneth T. Kelly as a result of a design contest initiated by the command in its early days.  Ken received one week's leave for winning the contest.

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Pictures from Mare Island (sorry about the poor quality)

Checking out the strange boats:

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Learning to drive the boats was an experience.  I got really accomplished by the time I was in Vietnam, but while I was training, I thought this Boatswain's Mate 1st class instructor of ours was going to throw me overboard... kept complaining about me revving those engines too much.. "You're coming in too fast... BUMP!!!!  Bumper drills (docking) over and over:

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War games in the sloughs:

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Our first hero pictures (notice the 50 cal. blanks):

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That's me on the left.  That was GMG2 Jerry Brooks in the picture on the right.  I later heard that he accidentally wounded himself when his M16 went off inside his gun mount once we were in country.

Click here to go to the second page of Training pictures

Click here to see the training boats used at Mare Island and information about them

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Copyright 1999-2014 by Don Blankenship. You may use the images, descriptions, stories or text within this site, with proper credit,  for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes only. In the event you wish to use any material contained within this site for commercial, for-profit purposes, permission must be obtained from the author, Don Blankenship, in advance of such use. All rights reserved. Click email if you have comments. Thanks for your interest in learning about the Mobile Riverine Force.