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  #1  
Old 20th March 2009, 21:48
Brent Pyburn Brent Pyburn is offline  
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Tet Offensive

Does anyone recall being involved in the transport of aviation spirit to Guam during the Vietnam war. In 1968 on the British Oak we ran aviation spirit from Kwinana to the US Air Force in Guam. I remember discharging at a buoy in the natural harbour whilst B52's were taking off and landing during the Tet Offensive. We managed to get ashore to the US Servicemens club where we were made really welcome and never had to buy a drink! Quite interestingly we met a number of RAF lads who were helping out with aircraft maintenance. So much for UK not being involved in the war! Another thing which sticks out in my mind was the US forces radio (Hello Vietnam) which played non stop soul and rock music.
When we arrived back in UK at Stanlow we were warned that we could be subject to Anti Vietnam War demonstrations but it never happened. When I listen to anti US sentiment over Iraq and Afghanistan I recall those days and how well we were treated by the military. As in any conflict it's the politicians that are the problem not the grunts!!
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  #2  
Old 21st March 2009, 00:28
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Was in Guam in 73 .
But was is Okinawa in 66 on the Moss tanker Lucigen carrying Jet A 1 and Naptha for the Vietnam war .
A time I prefer to forget ; I was only 21 at the time but had a couple of deep sea trips under my belt ( so considered myself ; as young men do ; to be knowledgable )
I was shocked to see how young and immature the young soldiers were who were on a last stop for R&R before being flown to Vietnam .

Only later did I realise what the Naptha was for .

Derek
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  #3  
Old 21st March 2009, 10:54
Brent Pyburn Brent Pyburn is offline  
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You are absolutely right about the age of the soldiers, however I was so young I never really appreciated the horror of the war and funnily enough I guess because I was involved in the periphery I became really interested in the war and read many books. In later years I became involved in oil spill response and one piece of kit we had in our stockpile in Singapore was the ADDS Pack or Aerial Deployed Dispersant Spray kit. It was a tank with spray arms that was deployed from the rear end of a Hercules C-130 and would spray dispersant on an oiled sea. In 1993 I visited Vietnam to give a lecture on oil spill response and had a few PowerPoint slides of our kit which included the ADDS Pack. After the lecture a government official came over to me and explained that the ADDS Pack was originally developed to spray Agent Orange defoliant during the war. I felt really embarrassed but being typically Asian he had forgotten about the past and was really interested in its present role and in fact we became good friends.
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  #4  
Old 22nd March 2009, 05:01
Old Janner Old Janner is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Pyburn View Post
Does anyone recall being involved in the transport of aviation spirit to Guam during the Vietnam war. In 1968 on the British Oak we ran aviation spirit from Kwinana to the US Air Force in Guam. I remember discharging at a buoy in the natural harbour whilst B52's were taking off and landing during the Tet Offensive. We managed to get ashore to the US Servicemens club where we were made really welcome and never had to buy a drink! Quite interestingly we met a number of RAF lads who were helping out with aircraft maintenance. So much for UK not being involved in the war! Another thing which sticks out in my mind was the US forces radio (Hello Vietnam) which played non stop soul and rock music.
When we arrived back in UK at Stanlow we were warned that we could be subject to Anti Vietnam War demonstrations but it never happened. When I listen to anti US sentiment over Iraq and Afghanistan I recall those days and how well we were treated by the military. As in any conflict it's the politicians that are the problem not the grunts!!
Hi Brent, no not to Guam, on the British Loyalty we loaded aviation spirit in Aden for Sattahib, which was the refuelling station for the B52's to return back to Guam, we did two trips. Big military base no servicemens club, but some good bars, with bullet holes in the ceiling where drunken US service men would disharge their pistols.
Spence.
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  #5  
Old 22nd March 2009, 22:56
JohnBP JohnBP is offline  
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British Sergeant picked up a cargo from Singapore, we passed a Shell Tanker with a shell hole in its side.. anyway we ended up on a dock on an island somewhere. I was a JE and my pal and I walked the silver pipe across the island and lo and behold there was a US tanker (RFA equivelant) her name was Boston somthing, anyway on approaching the ship and was waved off by staff with guns.... my little contribution to the VW
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  #6  
Old 14th May 2009, 12:11
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British Sergeant picked up a cargo from Singapore, we passed a Shell Tanker with a shell hole in its side.. anyway we ended up on a dock on an island somewhere. I was a JE and my pal and I walked the silver pipe across the island and lo and behold there was a US tanker (RFA equivelant) her name was Boston somthing, anyway on approaching the ship and was waved off by staff with guns.... my little contribution to the VW
Had a similar experience re-Shell Tanker, Singapore. My first trip was on the Gannet and we were discharging a cargo at Pulau Bukum Island, it would be mid '68. I was eager to see something of Singapore, so as soon as I was off watch, myself and a couple of the other engs. caught the launch across to Jardine Steps. As we passed by the other jetties we noticed that there was a Shell Tanker which appeared to have a lot of small black marks on her bridge housing and funnel. We were debating what these could be, when another guy on the launch interupted us and explained that they were bullet holes. He was from that ship and told us that they were running up the Mekong Delta with supplies for the US Forces. It apparently was quite common for "Charlie" to loose off at them from the river bank. We were dumbfounded.
Then he says, "by the way lads the company is looking for more crew, is anybody interested, 'cause the pay is very good.
Needless to say ---- there were no takers.
Regards, James.
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  #7  
Old 14th May 2009, 15:35
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Did the Sattahib run on the Osprey in 69, if memory is correct loading in Aden.
Managed too make it up to the airbase at U-Tapao, most impressive with the long lineup of B52's and assorted other aircraft.
Remember also the Shell tanker at that time in Singapore, which was on the run up the Mekong, seem to recall sandbags round the bridge.
Happy days.
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  #8  
Old 14th May 2009, 16:34
trucker trucker is offline
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Wink not unusual

wasn,t unusual seeing the shell job,s as such.in 69, done two run,s aden to sattahip,one to guam.the kiwi.some of the shell lads i believe,even used to take their leave in singapore.what with their tax relieve and war bonus,they seemed happy enough.b 52s were some size.sailed with a couple of ex-shell lads who used to tell some hairy stories.

Last edited by trucker : 14th May 2009 at 20:06. Reason: addad
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  #9  
Old 14th May 2009, 22:39
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We had a couple of Moss tankers which took products to Vietnam .
Lads applied for Medals but were ignored by the Americans .
When in Vietnam dishcharging the US Soldiers aboard would throw precussion devices into the water around the ship to deter enemy divers .

Problem was that each time this happened the electrical starters for the various pumps running in the engine room would trip !
Sometimes causing a blackout if the Generator cooling pump tripped .
Then followed a "Pain in The **** " start up to get pumping again .

Happy Days Derek

My Experience was in Okinawa and Guam which I dont think were considered war Zone . So no Medals ( dont want one anyway ) .
The lads going to Vietnam should have been awarded a campaign medal .
30000 tons of Av Gas / Jet A1 and Naptha was not a pretty cargo to be sitting on top of .
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  #10  
Old 15th May 2009, 05:49
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#4 Sattahib, which was the refueling station for the B52's to return back to Guam, we did two trips. Big military base no servicemens club.

#6 It apparently was quite common for "Charlie" to loose off at them from the river bank

#7 U-Tapao, seem to recall sandbags round the bridge.

#9 Lads applied for Medals but were ignored by the Americans. When in Vietnam discharging the US Soldiers aboard would throw percussion devices into the water around the ship to deter enemy divers.

Sattahip had clubs but they were not obvious. I was told the Thaiís were against on base clubs, so they were hidden, but all the folks stationed there knew where they were. I rode over to a club with a sergeant in a US Army pick up truck. He went into an area where Thaiís who worked on the base lived in rude housing. Pulled into the yard of a house and up to white bed sheets drying on a clothesline. Honked his horn and one sheet slid back. Drove through and into a courtyard in front of a U shaped warehouse, within which was the club.

U-Tapao was not just a refueling base. We hauled 500 pound aerial bombs into Sattahip 16,000 tons at a time on C4ís. We unloaded at a pair of Delong piers isolated all the away around the harbor from Sattahip port. Two pictures attached.

Running the river from Vung Tau to Saigon the bridge as well as temporary machine gun emplacements on the forecastle head and stern were surrounded with sand bags. Charlie shot more than small arms at ships. They seemed to have an unending supply of Chinese made anti tank rockets. We knew this since some of them were duds and just fell on the deck. One ship between Vung Tau and Saigon we got 58 holes in the port hull above the water line from these rockets. Our cargo? Bagged cement. When discharging here and there they found a few broken bags from rockets exploding amidst our cargo.

Percussion grenades were a pain in the engine room, not unusual for the explosions to kill the plant. Down below it sounded like a GIANT hitting the hull with a HUGE sledge hammer, and all the accumulated dust would filter down. Do not feel bad that the USA did not acknowledge your service, the award wasnít anything to write home about. Attached.

Greg Hayden
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SattahipDelongPier-1.jpg (34.0 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg SattahipDelongPier-2.jpg (40.7 KB, 88 views)
File Type: jpg vietbar.jpg (7.7 KB, 128 views)
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  #11  
Old 15th May 2009, 13:55
trucker trucker is offline
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launch

if i remember correctly ,you went ashore by launch?.had to be carefull of the shore patrols ,they didn,t care who they hit.
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  #12  
Old 15th May 2009, 16:20
ChasD ChasD is offline
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Saigon Flyers

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
Had a similar experience re-Shell Tanker, Singapore. My first trip was on the Gannet and we were discharging a cargo at Pulau Bukum Island, it would be mid '68. I was eager to see something of Singapore, so as soon as I was off watch, myself and a couple of the other engs. caught the launch across to Jardine Steps. As we passed by the other jetties we noticed that there was a Shell Tanker which appeared to have a lot of small black marks on her bridge housing and funnel. We were debating what these could be, when another guy on the launch interupted us and explained that they were bullet holes. He was from that ship and told us that they were running up the Mekong Delta with supplies for the US Forces. It apparently was quite common for "Charlie" to loose off at them from the river bank. We were dumbfounded.
Then he says, "by the way lads the company is looking for more crew, is anybody interested, 'cause the pay is very good.
Needless to say ---- there were no takers.
Regards, James.
If you have a scratch around in the thread 'Shipping Lines' - 'Shell' - 'Shell Tankers 1967-1975' ; there are some interesting comments and pictures on the activity in that era. Several 'H' and 'A' class involved collectively known as the 'Saigon Flyers', though a lot of friendly competion as to who was the true 'Flyer'.
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  #13  
Old 15th May 2009, 19:07
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if i remember correctly ,you went ashore by launch?.had to be carefull of the shore patrols ,they didn,t care who they hit.
Can recall to this day being asked nicely to leave a "night club" by an american Snowball, as I believe the American MP's are called, because of their white steel helmets.
Well I am 6' 3" and I reckon he was about a foot taller and built like a brick outhouse and had a big stick..............I did not argue.
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  #14  
Old 15th May 2009, 19:11
trucker trucker is offline
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twogrumpy-remember being in a bar when a bit trouble broke out with some ,yanks.there was 6 of us minding our own business,m.p s. came in and battered everybody.

Last edited by trucker : 15th May 2009 at 19:14.
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Old 17th May 2009, 18:17
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Attached three page scans from a booklet provided by the US Army to each ship arriving at Vung Tau early on. Saigon River route with notes about things to watch out for. I added the red X's as guides to help me combine the three into one large image.

Greg Hayden
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File Type: jpg SaigonRiver1ms.jpg (92.1 KB, 82 views)
File Type: jpg SaigonRiver2ms.jpg (95.9 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg SaigonRiver3ms.jpg (101.4 KB, 52 views)

Last edited by K urgess : 17th May 2009 at 18:38. Reason: Picture rotation
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  #16  
Old 17th May 2009, 18:39
ChasD ChasD is offline
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Originally Posted by kewl dude View Post
Attached three page scans from a booklet provided by the US Army to each ship arriving at Vung Tau early on. Saigon River route with notes about things to watch out for. I added the red X's as guides to help me combine the three into one large image.

Greg Hayden
"Banc de Corail" - (Coral Bank) was the favourite target point for attacks as the ships needed to slow for the turn, stick to a constrained channel, and was well provided with natural local cover. It was, I believe, where Haustrum was forced aground when the quartermaster was killed, Hyria was also heavily hit at that location, though without casualties. Brings back a lot of memories, seeing the charts again - thanks for that KD !
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Old 17th May 2009, 18:39
K urgess K urgess is offline
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I've rotated your three images for you, Greg.
I was getting a crick in the neck.
Cheers
Kris
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  #18  
Old 18th May 2009, 04:46
Cranky Cranky is offline  
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This is a long read, but worth the effort.

http://walraven.org/vietnam/the_early_years.html

Cranky.
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  #19  
Old 3rd October 2009, 00:56
Mic Errington Mic Errington is offline  
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Hi, just found this thread, I was on one trip to Guam taking avter (aviation turbine spirit) I think we called it. I vividly remember a few things, going ashore for a jab of some sort the place was decked out with banners as president Nixon was visiting the next day - he just missed me the poor chap. I also remember the B52's taking off just over our heads, bloody noisy! Other stuff too much to type. I was also on the Hyria and spent 6 months plying between Singapore and Saigon, though we actually tied up at Nah Bay, probably not spelt like that. For anyone who is interested you can get a medal, I did this more for a laugh than anything but also to have something tangable to say I was there. It's the American Service in Vietnam medal which may or may not be Merchant Marine only. Thing is you can't actually mention this to anyone as they either think you are full of bullshit or a fantasist or just plain barking mad or, more recently, wouldn't know what the Vietnam war was anyway. Maybe someone out there was on the same ship same time? I well remember my first experience of the SVA dropping hand grenades in the water next to the hull, to ward off divers with limpet mines, scared the life out of me for several seconds, till I realised everyone else was laughing their heads off. Strange times, I was there the spring / summer of '71 by the way, would love to hear from anyone with similar memories.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 09:27
Magic Fingers Magic Fingers is offline  
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1st trip eng/app on the Aluco. Did two trips up the Mekong to Nah Bhe with Avtur, Avgas, Mogas, Diesel and Naptha late 67 early 68. Paid off Singapore just before Tet Offensive. Ashore in Nha Bhe took trip in US army huey and still have the pics I took. Very exciting for a 20yr old.
Richard (but known as Dick in those far off days.)
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  #21  
Old 25th October 2009, 13:03
R781128 R781128 is offline  
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I recall being in Saigon on Luminous and they would chuck detonators overside all night. Eventually we went "manned engine room" as the alarm system was going haywire. Carrying gasoline so fairly happy to get out of there.Can remember the river banks being defoliated as far as the eye could see. Bit ironic as now in 2009 I find myself working in Haiphong.
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  #22  
Old 25th October 2009, 13:52
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BlythSpirit BlythSpirit is offline  
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Re post #2 from Derek Roger:

You needn't be concerned about Naptha being used in the manufacture of Napalm. It is a feedstock for petrol (gasoline).

The first napalm was made from a mixture of naphthenic acid with aluminium and magnesium salts of palmitic acid.

I hope that makes you rest easier at nights!! (It would of course have blown you up if ignited on your tanker!!)
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  #23  
Old 25th October 2009, 14:44
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Re post #2 from Derek Roger:

You needn't be concerned about Naptha being used in the manufacture of Napalm. It is a feedstock for petrol (gasoline).

The first napalm was made from a mixture of naphthenic acid with aluminium and magnesium salts of palmitic acid.

I hope that makes you rest easier at nights!! (It would of course have blown you up if ignited on your tanker!!)
Thanks for your information . Derek
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  #24  
Old 25th October 2009, 15:06
Billieboy Billieboy is offline  
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Naptha gasses changed the colour of all the tools, gauges and pumproom ladders on the Llanishen one trip, bloody awful stuff, never did like it, carried it twice I think. The only good thing about a naptha cargo was the 280Redwood bunkers, cleanest, lightest, fuel I ever put in a marine boiler, the first three days you could see the boiler getting cleaner.
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  #25  
Old 25th October 2009, 15:27
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In 1969/70 I did a couple of trips to Guam while I was onboard the Norwegian tanker M/T Norsk Viking (later M/T Pet), we took aviation fuel (avgas) from Singapore. What I remember most is that we were not allowed on the oil pier while the American cargo ships were discharging bombs and munitions on the next pier, which was most days, sometimes you could be anchored in the bay for 5-6 days, we got ashore everyday using the ships lifeboat. One thing that I will never forget is those B52's taking off most days.
Cheers Frank
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