A Walk Through the Past
Portions of My Memorabilia
Many veterans did not think about saving "every day" items while stationed in Vietnam. Others did, but lost them in the years following their tour. I was a "Pack Rat" as well as a "River Rat". Through the years I have guarded my photo slides and box of Memorabilia as if it were gold. To us it is a treasure. My hope has been to share my booty with all of my former Navy combat sailors as well as the public. Electronic technology has not only allowed me to reach my goal through this website, it has also allowed me to archive and preserve these historical items. Much of this mini-museum will be meaningless to many, but I know that all of you former River Rats will appreciate what you see here.
This grouping of Memorabilia documents a sort of chronological journey to Vietnam and back from July 1968 to July 1969. We were a group of sailors who had just completed Small Boat Training, Gunnery Training and Survival School. I believe that we were part of Class MRF 5-6 at the "Naval Inshore Operations Training Center" (NIOTC) in Vallejo, California. The training was held at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Camp Roberts Army Base and Whidbey Island, Washington. Here is my NIOTC graduation certificate.
We left Travis AFB in California on July 20 to form up a new division of riverine craft in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Our first stop was at a military airbase in Hawaii. Can anyone help with the name of that base? Below is a postcard that I sent home to my parents. It is dated July 20, 1968. As with many young sailors headed into harms way, we partied before departing the continental United States. By the time we reached Hawaii we were extremely unruly. At one point the captain of the plane told us that if we didn't settle down that our take-off from Hawaii would be delayed. A horrendous roar of laughter and cheer cascaded through the planes fuselage. What could they do? Send us to Vietnam?
Here is a postcard that I sent to my parents on our stopover in Hawaii.
Our next stop would be Clark AFB in the Philippines. By the time we reached Clark we were beginning to wear down due to the partying, anxiety and jetlag. Then reality hit when we started our decent into Tan Son Nhut Airbase, Saigon Vietnam. The "MAC" on the baggage claim stubs stand for "Military Airlift Command".