The Death of "Boats"

On December 6, 1967, almost five months after the Sa Ky River incident, PCF-79 was on station in the Two Delta November patrol area, just south of Cape Batangan. The swift boat had been directed to conduct a psychological operations mission, and the crew was at general quarters. Loudspeakers were blaring a pre-recorded message requesting VC to drop their weapons and surrender under the auspices of the Chieu Hoi program.

As the tiny boat made its way north along the beach from the river mouth entrance to Quang Ngai, three enemy bunkers let loose a fusillade of fire on the unsuspecting swift. The vessel immediately returned fire, and as PCF-79 was attempting to maneuver itself out of danger, she stalled. The engines had taken in more fuel than they could handle and had shut down.

As the engineman tried to get the twin twin diesels started again, bullets ripped into the small craft. Fifty and thirty caliber rounds from PCF-79 that hit the beach sent sprays of white sand skyward, forming clouds that obscured everyone's vision. As the firefight continued, the engines kicked in and the swift boat quickly began to maneuver itself out of harm's way. Suddenly Bobby Don "Boats" Carver fell with a bullet in his head. Raul Herrera recall the tragedy: " He died instantly. The skipper, LTJG Edward J. Bergin, ordered me to send a flash traffic message requesting a medevac and a rendezvous with the destroyer on station. Carver was hoisted up to the destroyer by basket and then put aboard a medevac chopper. Things just weren't the same after that. Patrolling around Cape Batangan became more difficult."

As told by: Raul "Bean" Herrera to Al Hemingway, Vietnam Magazine, February 1996

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This page was last updated on:  August 26, 2013 at 10:58