[This is a copy of an actual newsletter that I brought home from my tour]
River Assault Squadron
Transfer orders are finally coming in for some of our RIVRON 15 personnel for transfer in June or July, and pure happiness seems to surround the lucky ones as they prepare to leave this Godforsaken place. "Just think", they say, "in just 20 more days I'll be back in the World - round-eyed women, home cooking, round-eyed women, fresh milk, round-eyed women, family, round-eyed women......" And they go on. But of course everyone departing has certainly earned his right to happiness, so those of us stuck here for a while longer can only stare in envy as the lucky bastards head out to catch that Big Silver Dustoff. But right now, it is the departing personnel whose attention is needed here -
Before you get too carried away with your happiness, consider the following. Are you aware that your processing out of country can be delayed if:
1. You forgot to check out with ye old storekeeper. Sure you signed for those controlled equippage items on your boat, but someone else has them now, you say. T'aint the case. If equippage items were signed for by YOU, and have never been transferred to a new custodian, THE ITEMS REMAIN YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
2. You forgot to get those shots necessary for entry back into the World. Our friendly Corpsmen wait anxiously to put the Hurtin' on you, but What the Hell? After a year in this place, you can surely endure a few more little shots. Remember that you require a PPD shot ONE MONTH PRIOR to transfer. Other shots can wait up to the day before you leave - that is, if you want to go home in pain, but DON'T FORGET that PPD shot - ONE MONTH BEFORE. You can be held, you know.
OTHER ITEMS TO CHECK PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FROM THE MEKONG
1. Transfer Evaluation - Absence of a transfer evaluation form from your records at your next command could result in your not being recommended for advancement. Check with your Boat Captain and/or Division Officer to ensure submission.
2. Recommendation for Advancement - If it is close to examination time when you leave, ensure that a recommendation for advancement is entered in your service record prior to departure. If you have been aboard your new command for too short a time to be evaluated come test time, and you have no recommendation for advancement in your record from COMRIVRON 15 - PITY!!!!!
3. Mail - Unless you give the Mail PO your forwarding address before you leave, he has but one alternative when it comes to your mail - to send it to your next command. This could be particularly frustrating if you are forced to wait until after your leave in CONUS to get your mail - important and otherwise.
4. Check out Procedures - Once your orders have arrived, they are forwarded to Dong Tam as soon as possible for processing. Once a month Dong Tam will pass "information sheets" to the Squadron YN for distribution to those personnel who actually have orders. On this form you will be asked for such information as: (1) Your desired flight date, (2) Your leave address, (3) Traveling uniform desired, (4) Amount of advance pay desired, etc. RIVRON 15 Chief Staff Officer will require that you check out with the following prior to departure from this command: Medical, Post Office, Division Commander, Squadron SK, Chief Staff Officer and Squadron YN. It will only take a few minutes to check out and complete all these little, yet important things, before you leave. REMEMBER - IT IS FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT.
PURPLE HEART AWARDS
It may interest you to know that personnel of RIVRON FIFTEEN have received a total of 222 Purple Hearts since the squadron was commissioned and activated. Of these, 37 men have received two awards each, 9 have received three each and on e man has received four. March has been the hottest month for action, when a total of 62 Purple Hearts were awarded for wounds received due to hostile fire. Further breakdown by month shows 5 awards given in September, 6 in October, 10 in November, 30 in December, 61 in January, 38 in February and 10 to date in April. Unfortunately, four of these awards were presented posthumously to the four men from our squadron who have been killed in action. Other wounds have resulted in the medical evacuation and permanent transfer of 28 RIVRON FIFTEEN personnel.
The 222 Purple Hearts awarded to date have gone to 164 individual men. The original squadron had a total of 408 personnel, so 39% of those personnel have been wounded at least once. TIME magazine articles say that the normal casualty rate in the Mobile Riverine Force runs 70% for a year tour. May RIVRON FIFTEEN NEVER make the norm!!!!!
Out of Country R&R
The latest booking cut-off dates to participate in the out-of-country R&R program are as follows:
Sydney 10 months in country
Bangkok 03 months in country
Tokyo 06 1/2 months in country
Hong Kong 03 months in country
Manila 03 months in country
Hawaii 06 months in country
Singapore 03 months in country
Taipei 03 months in country
Penang Closed until 1 July 1969
Kuala Lampur 06 months in country - Will close 1 July 1969
Boat Captains and Division Officers are asked to keep the following dates in mind for submission of Enlisted Performance Evaluations:
Upon transfer of personnel and:
E-4 ----- 16 April E-5 ---- 16 May
E-6 ---- 16 June E-7 ---- 16 July
In the past personnel have been putting in chits to reenlist, about 90% of which are not eligible. Reasons - it takes ninety days for BUPERS to receive and approve these requests. Those personnel wanting to reenlist under STAR and other special programs should put their chits in at least four (04) months prior to date desired to reenlist. Further, personnel who want lump sum VRB payment upon reenlistment should also have chits in about four (04) months prior. Any chit received by personnel with less than ninety (90) days left in country cannot be guaranteed. If you wish to take advantage of tax-free reenlistment, chits should be submitted at least (06) months prior to reenlistment date to ensure completion.
EXTENSIONS IN COUNTRY
The following deadlines have been established for submission of requests for an extension in Vietnam:
TCD DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION
June 69 January 69
July 69 February 69
August 69 March 69
September 69 April 69
October 69 May 69
November 69 June 69
December 69 July 69
DEADLINE - the date when the request must be received by EPDOPAC. Chits must be received in Squadron Office prior to deadline in order to have time to prepare letters of request.
Stand By R&R
It is most desirable that personnel plan ahead and request "scheduled" R&R. There are situations; however, where this may not be possible and "Standby" R&R is requested. Standby R&R flight seats are granted on a space available basis only so there is no guarantee that you will get either the location or date that you desire. There are certain procedures which will enhance your chances at Standby R&R. If possible see the R&R Yeoman in Dong Tam to determine when flights are leaving Saigon for the location you desire. If for example there will be Hawaii flights of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, it would be best that you arrive in Saigon about Tuesday, rather than Saturday or Sunday. After three days of waiting in Saigon, you are automatically returned to your parent command if you have been unable to obtain a flight that you desire. Once you have determined the best day to depart, submit your R&R request with that approximate date and indicate on the chit STANDBY. Once approved through the Squadron CSO, the chit is used to make up travel orders, which are hand carried by you along with the approved chit to Dong Tam on the approved date, two days prior to your anticipate flight date.
The annual Equippage Inventory of controlled equippage on all boats must be completed prior to 20 April 1969. Only a few boats remain to be inventoried. Boat Captains - If your boat is one of those which has not been inventoried, get in touch with the Squadron SK immediately. This inventory MUST be completed prior to 20 April.
OUT OF COUNTRY R&R
The Out of Country R&R list for May, as received to date is listed below. All messages and changes received to date are included. Additions will be added as received.
NAME RATE FLT # TO FLT TIME/DATE DEPART
KNAPP, T.R. FN P208 HAWAII 1300, 02 MAY 69 28 APR 69
WOOTEN, J.A. BMC P208 HAWAII 1300, 02 MAY 69 28 APR 69
PALMER, R.A. GMG1 P208 HAWAII 1300, 04 MAY 69 01 MAY 69
ASHER, M.J. BM3 P208 HAWAII 1300, 06 MAY 69 02 MAY 69
DODDS, J.D. BM3 P208 HAWAII 1300, 20 MAY 69 16 MAY 69
LORMAN, R.E. EN3 P208 HAWAII 1300, 15 MAY 69 11 MAY 69
BLACK, S.C. RM3 P208 HAWAII 1300, 21 MAY 69 17 MAY 69
ALLEN, L.R. GMG2 226 TAIPEI 1200, 14 MAY 69 10 MAY 69
MILLHOUSE, L. BT3 226 TAIPEI 1130, 17 MAY 69 13 MAY 69
CHEETSOS, D.G. FN 226 TAIPEI 1130, 17 MAY 69 13 MAY 69
LUTZ, M.C. RM3 226 TAIPEI 1200, 21 MAY 69 17 MAY 69
HARRIS, L.A. EN3 202 TOKYO 1730, 03 MAY 69 30 APR 69
DONNERY, E.T. GMG3 202 TOKYO 1730, 15 MAY 69 11 MAY 69
WELCH, T., JR. BM3 220 HONG KONG 1300, 04 MAY 69 01 MAY 69
BURT, J.L. GMG3 220 HONG KONG 1300, 04 MAY 69 01 MAY 69
ADAMS, S.D. ENS P232 BANGKOK 0800, 19 MAY 69 15 MAY 69
MIMIETZ, G.E. SN 556 MANILA 0800, 04 MAY 69 01 MAY 69
FORD, J.C. GMG2 214 SYDNEY 1430, 19 MAY 69 15 MAY 69
SYDNEY 1630, 24 MAY
69 20 MAY 69
Note: Gaudet was killed in action on 21 May 69 (3) days before our scheduled departure.
WILLIAMS, M.J. SN 214 SYDNEY 1630, 24 MAY 69 20 MAY 69
ERICKSON, R.N. EN3 214 SYDNEY 1630, 24 MAY 69 20 MAY 69
HARRIS, M.A. RM3 214 SYDNEY 1630, 24 MAY 69 20 MAY 69
MILLER, R.L. EN3 214 SYDNEY 1430, 09 MAY 69 05 MAY 69
HILLIGOSS, C.D. EN3 214 SYDNEY 1430, 09 MAY 69 05 MAY 69
FIELDS, C. G. SN 214 SYDNEY 1430, 11 MAY 69 07 MAY 69
DONOGHUE, E.F. GMG3 214 SYDNEY 1430, 11 MAY 69 07 MAY 69
SCHLUETER, M.D. BM3 214 SYDNEY 1430, 12 MAY 69 08 MAY 69
NOTE: To personnel who plan to meet wife or parents in Hawaii, if you have not received orders for them, check in the Squadron Office as soon as possible.