Well it was time for me to head back over seas and so I flew back to San Diego to catch the ship. We loaded on three fighter jets with the onboard cranes then set sail. It took us a while to get to Hawaii but after we arrived I went on liberty with some friends we rented a car and was driving around the island sightseeing I lost track of time plus we got a little lost I was supposed to call Charlotte it took me a while to get to a phone, It was quit late in Amarillo when I called and I could tell Charlotte was not talking as sweet as I thought she should have been so I thought she was mad at me for calling so late, come to find out later like the next morning after the ship had left going back over seas I received the message through the Red Cross that I was the farther of a baby girl. That is when I found that Charlotte was in labor when I talked with her and she did not want me to worry.
The ship pulled into Subic Bay Philippines and we off loaded the three jets. Then we were assigned to load on a tug but I do not
remember where we took it. If you are wondering how we do that the LSD could take on water which would lower the back of the ship way down in the water at the back of the ship there was a gate that would lower which opened into what we would call the well deck.
We loaded some Marines and all of their equipment
then and we played what I call war games where we practice disembarking the
troops and take them to the beach to drop them off. Then load them back on
ship. Then we set sail for Viet Nam again, after dropping off the troops we
sailed in to Da Nang harbor. I don’t know why but we had to anchor out in the harbor all night, I also remember as we were pulling into the harbor there was two radar disk on top of a little mountain to are left side “Port Side” there was an explosion and one of the disk came rolling down the toward the water. We lowered the Mark 11 which is one of our small boats in to the water and since I was an engineman I had to go with it in case we had engine trouble, our job was to circle the ship all night throwing percussion grenades over the side ever 15 minutes to detour swimmers from reaching the ship. The funny thing about this is we were given M-1 rifles and 45 pistols but we had no bullets so I guess if we did see a swimmer we were to hit them with the gun, I rely did not think this was funny but the whole Viet Nam war was not funny.
The way we would get our mail when we were in combat was by helicopter or ship had what is call a hello pad, so when a helicopter would land we set what was called the hello detail and certin men had certin duties mine was to man the sound powered phones on the starboard deck “right side” so I could help if something happened to the chopper. We were awaken one night by the alarm set the hello detail had no idea what was going on at that time of night, come to find out one of the marines we had on board accidentally shot himself while climbing into is rack, never did hear how he was.
I remember when we were refueling out at sea, that is where the two ships are running side by side with some rope lines and fuel lines running from the tanker to the Monticello. We had this manikin dressed well I guess you could call it dressed, she was supposed to watch over us and bring us good success in refueling. This one particular time our two ships came together, the gun torrent on the tanker ripped us open on the 02 level like a can opener. My collision alarm station was on the 02 level and every compartment that I was assigned to close all water tight doors I could see day light where there was not supposed to be day light. Thank goodness it only caved us in below the water line so we did not take on any water; we had to sail to Subic Bay for repairs.
I also remember one time we were pulling in to Pearl Harbor and the movie Tora, Tora, Tora was being filmed I guess we did not get the word and or ship went to General Quarters when we saw the Jap Zeros flying overhead. You do realize this was filmed in the late 60’s
The ship was on its way to Singapore and it was time for me to get out of the Navy, the Captain said I could be promoted to E-5 if I would re-up but since I was a family man, had a daughter that I have not seen I declined. The Ship headed for Guam to get supplies and drop me off so I could go home. On the way to Guam we got this distress call from a foreign freighter it had run aground out in what looked like the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There were some reefs that they came upon, the ocean was pretty rough for small boats but we lowered them down and went to the ship that ran aground so we could get the men off. I was an engineman on one of them and when we pulled up to their gangplank one of the men was carrying down what looked like a case of Budweiser beer, I heard the captain of that ship yell something I could not understand but that sailor thru the beer overboard and came on down to get in or boat.
We made it to Guam and I got ready to leave the ship for the last time I was excited and sad at the same time after all I had made several friends on board. I do remember that I heard over the ship’s intercom for a working party E-6 and below to help bring on stores, I got out of this because I was getting off and did not have to help plus the working party was usually E-5 and below and the E-5’s did not have to do any manual labor but this time they would.
- Film review: Tora Tora Tora (excellenceasylum.wordpress.com)
- Time in the Navy (harbin77.wordpress.com)
- Growing Up Time for Me (harbin77.wordpress.com)
- 5 Pearl Harbor movies (rep-am.com)