COMMANDER COASTAL DIVISION FIFTEEN
FPO SAN FRANCISCO 96641

 

COSDIV 15/pt             
8 December 1967   

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

From: Commander Coastal Division FIFTEEN
To:     Distribution List

Subj:   Newsletter for the Month of November 1967

1.    This month started off with a real blast for Coastal Division FIFTEEN in the wee small hours of November 8th when "Charlie" planted three satchel charges on the base. The first one blew up the water tank and everyone manned G.Q. stations, anticipating a mortar attack. The boats were ordered  underway to clear the pier area and then the second explosion occurred, ripping a gapping hole in a fuel tank, which was fortunately empty at the time. Personnel outside the SWIFT office, feeling the concussion, immediately "hit the deck" then raced for cover in the bunkers. The SWIFT office was well shaken up with the fluorescent lights dangling from the overhead and numerous fixtures becoming toppled or re-arranged. Our EOD team, led by LTJG Jim BOHAR located a third charge adjacent to another fuel tank; it being removed and detonated a safe distance away. For a while, many of us feared more charges would explode, but a through search of the entire vicinity yielded negative results. Bob Brown was cut slightly by a fragment when the tank blew, but no other injuries resulted, luckily. FANG who was the first to seek refuge in the Officers' bunker whereas Lee FRY had previously obtained "deep shelter" for the night at a friend's house in Qui Nhon.

2.    November was another ORI month, with Bob Brown being the inspecting officer selected from Coastal Division FIFTEEN. Lieutenant Fred GREEN (Cat Lo) and LTJG Jim COLVIN (An Thoi) conducted ORI's here and seemed to be completely satisfied with the crew's performance and material condition of the boats. BRAVO ZULU for the fine work and let's keep it up in the future.

3.    Tom SNELL has recuperated from a fractured finger and the splint has been removed; finally. While having scramble boat duty, Tom was puttering around the office and sustained the injury in attempting to field strip the pencil sharpener.

4.    We recently acquired the parts of a discarded machine which Ed CURTISS and Millard WERTZ are assiduously refurbishing in their spare time. From its initial deteriorated appearance, it resembled an abandoned war relic deposited during one of the Ming Dynasty's southern exploits. However, the "jeep" as it hopefully will turn out to be, with the addition of genuine parts, should eventually prove a worthy conveyance for liberty trips to Qui Nhon.

5.    Bob BROWN and Jerry LYALL became fathers this month, and I heartily congratulate the proud parents. Bob's son has already been enrolled in the swift school class of '89, but Jerry's daughter, being a born procrastinator, hasn't made up her mind yet as to the future.

6.    Congratulations also to the First and Second Class for the outstanding appearance of their club area. The dedication party featuring barbecued Vietnamese deer was a tremendous success and enjoyed by all officers in attendance. How about a second "Grand Opening" in the future?

7.    CSC, our operational boss, has the responsibility of directing our patrols and pointing out any mistakes or imprudent actions taken by the SWIFTIES. Our on-the-spot communications is of course, via radio-telephone and during the course of daily patrols, we are continuously enlightened, ignored or castigated over this circuit. In order to create a more favorable and understanding relationship between the "all-knowing" and the "ignorant", a splendid program of daily visits to CSC was ordained. This ostensibly was to clear up any misunderstandings between SWIFTIES and the Watch Officers, and to create an atmosphere of workable knowledge in regard to each other's functions. Consequently, each SWIFT driver has been incarcerated within the adobe walls of CSC for two separate Market Time watches. In addition to drinking their delicious coffee for four hours and enjoying the panoramic view of a Vietnamese seascape, one officer has noted three significant facts:

         a.    NILO's intelligence status board contains 86 red pins and 112 green pins (42 of the green ones having black X's and only 17 of the red ones having X's).

        b.    While receiving four messages (informal or otherwise) from the unit anchored 600 yards away, the watch transmitted "Request you say again" three times. This corroborated our previously established norm of 75 percent.

        c.    The Watch Officers do note hate SWIFTIES; they are merely jealous of our intellect, reasoning powers and overall good sense.

8.    Rob Hager departed the Division for CIVLANT after finishing his tour in Vietnam. Both he and Willard WERTZ had previously applied for extra hazardous duty pay due to the aggressive girls they met while on R & R in Australia. Dennis Carroll meanwhile, took R & R in Hong Kong while Jim HOWSER returned from 30 days leave in London.

9.    THE GREAT EGG ROBBERY - For some occult and sinister reason, 30 Grade A large eggs were purloined from the Officer's Club on or about 2145, 25 November. Master sleuth Bill VEST was commissioned on the spot to investigate the treacherous deed and is now waiting for reports from ONI on fingerprints detected on empty shell casings found in Hut O-2. Bill stated that the transgressor was not a SWIFTIE, but that a furtive character wearing combat greens or black pajamas was observed near the scene and answers to Co-Van-My.

10.    The end of November saw considerable activity in SWIFT gunfire support missions:

        21 NOV - Pete JACOBSEN (53A) fired H&I at Song Cau, mortar and .50 cal.

        23 NOV - Dave SPINA (105A) and Jerry LYALL (13B) fired 110 H.E. plus .50 cal. on a FOXTROT E&I mission.

        26 NOV - Bill RONSAVILLE (119A) and Bill AVERA (0010C) on an urgent mission fired 30 H.E., 10 VT and 3000 rounds .50 caliber at Song Cau. This was in response to a coordinated Coastal Group 23/ROK plan to clear the peninsula of VC. One village was practically destroyed and the SWIFT boats contributed much to the operation.

        26 NOV - Tom SNELL (89A), Jim HOWSER (15A), and Keith ARNDT (101A) fired H&I in a continuos support of the Song Cau operation.

        28 NOV - Jeff FERRIS (80A), Gary OAKLEY (55A), Paul MADIGAN (47A), Dave SPINA (105A) and Jerry LYALL (13B) put out a total of 245 HE, 74 WP and 7300 .50 caliber in a massive coverage of the Qui Nhon peninsula during an Army operation ridding the area of VC. A report will be forthcoming on the total effect of the mission.

11.    COASTAL DIVISION 15 performed a mission of profound importance and morale value in preparation for the ARMY-NAVY game. Names cannot be mentioned at this time because of possible pending charges, but the individuals concerned acted in the highest Naval standards. Militarily, it could be classified as a combination amphibious/motorized/PSYWAR operation, with highly detailed personnel responsibilities and pre-planned radio coordination.

        Our 2 1/2 ton trunk loaded with a dozen stalwart SWIFTIES, cold beer, paint brushes, and paint first assaulted the MACV compound. The painters covered the white bulkheads, the Generals gate and fence and the PX in bold letters: BEAT ARMY. Having quickly and silently completed Phase ONE, we corpened out to the main road in front of the club and were suddenly apprehended! It looked like failure at that point, but the on-scene Commander somehow wheedled his way out of it. Our spirits rejuvenated, we then struck the 85th with another display of haze gray and black. With the candlestine mission accomplished, the deuce and a half roared back through the streets of Qui Nhon, all hands overjoyed with triumph and certain that the Middies would handle their end of it.

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IN MEMORIAM -- LTJG William H. MURPHY III was killed in action 19 November 1967. Bill was on his second voluntary liaison visit to the First Air Cavalry, a unit with whom COSDIV 15 SWIFTS enjoy a close working relationship. Bill MURPHY and Jim CAROLAN were serving as door gunners on a flight in the An Lao valley. The flight detected and engaged a group of 8 to 10 North Vietnamese Army. While making a rocket run on the target, Bill's helicopter was hit by ground fire and crashed into the side of a mountain, killing all crewmembers. The Officers and men of Coastal Division FIFTEEN are deeply grieved by this loss. The First Air Cavalry has nominated LTJG MURPHY for the distinguished Flying Cross for his intrepidity in aerial action against the enemy.

F.  J.  Boyle
F. J. BOYLE

 

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