One Good Deal After Another (continued)
A Different Kind of War
I don’t know about the other ships but the USS Okinawa, a helicopter aircraft carrier required the Marines coming on board to strip off their utility uniforms on the hangar deck before going below for showers. Sailors with push brooms swept them overboard.
The ships steamed slowly southward toward Danang. The troops rested, got jungle rot and other injuries treated, cleaned weapons and gear, wrote letters home, ate hot meals and went to classes to learn something about the different kind of war that existed in the First Marine Division’s Area of Responsibility.
It was a war involving civilian villages, mines and booby traps, and Viet Cong as well as the NVA. The former were hard to find because despite what the American news media reported, the fact was that the famed “Tet Offensive” had resulted in the near extinction of the Viet Cong. The latter were normally found in small units and they were not well liked by most civilians. They could, however, assemble into larger units on occasion.
A week after the Marines of BLT 2/26 stripped off their filthy utility uniforms on the USS Okinawa's flight deck, H-34 helicopters again line up for another mission. Photo by Alan Green.
We landed south of Danang on 25 October and came under the control of the 1st Marine Regiment. In time, after many operations, we were moved even further south and came under the operational control of the US Army’s Americal Division.
None of the things we did after leaving the 3d Marine Division ever quite matched our experiences in and around the DMZ.