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Copyright © 2001 Enrique del Rosario

The South China Sea

arch 10, 1965: Cruising for Okinawa. Very rough seas. [mckee]

3/11/65: Now we are told we are enroute to Cubi Point, Philippines. [mckee]

3/13/65: Now we are told we are enroute to Hong Kong. Stood by for launch all day. Smoker (boxing tournament) in the afternoon. Fleming against a squid (sailor). [mckee]

3/14/65: Slept late today (0700 hours). Flight quarters in the afternoon. Had an eight-plane launch. We can see sailing junks around us. [mckee]

3/15/65: Arrived in Hong Kong at 0900 hours. Had a flight deck parade as we steamed into the harbor. [mckee]

3/22/65: Left Hong Kong at 0800 hours. Word is that we are enroute to the Philippines. [mckee]

legion of merit 3/24/65: Predawn strike on one of the small islands here. Unloaded the grunts and their equipment. Docked at Subic Bay. [mckee]

3/25/65: Have to be fast to get a shower on board the USS Princeton. The water goes on and off. Even the scuttlebutt fluctuates. Lousy chow and no milk. [mckee]

3/26/65: Held formation for Colonel Koler who was awarded the Legion of Merit. General Krulak pinned it on him. Better chow today but still no milk. [mckee]

PRIL 13, 1965: Jungle survival course. [mckee]

4/14/65: [mckee]

From now on I'm going to write when there is something worth writing about. Today we are getting ready to pull out of port. No one seems to know where we will be going. Hong Kong? Okinawa? Vietnam? [winkel]

uss canberra
HMM-365 provided a helicopter and crew for the USS Canberra (CAG-2), guided missile armed cruiser, during its assignment as the helicopter unit for the Special Landing Force.

4/15/65: We pulled out of Subic Bay last night about 1800 hours. We are on our way to the coast of Vietnam. No one knows what our mission will be. We are supposed to stay out of sight of land. We'll be near Hue (north of DaNang) but we don't know what we'll do when we get there. We might give support to the battalion that hit the beach there yesterday or we might put our battalion aboard the ships on to the shore. [winkel]

Carrier landings - photo by John Jacobs

    HMM-365 became part of the U.S. Seventh Fleet Special Landing Force. Special landing forces are ship-based commands consisting of a Marine battalion landing team (BLT), a helicopter squadron, and attached sub-units such as air-naval gunfire liaison (ANGLICO), medical, reconnaissance, and armor detachments. These forces were designed to have the capability of fighting anywhere against any adversary as an independent combat unit or as part of a larger combat effort. These forces, because they were afloat and were not physically based on South Vietnamese soil, did not count in the total number of U.S. military personnel administratively committed to the U.S. war effort in that country.

Folded blades - photo by John Jacobs

4/19/65: We passed the USS Yorktown(?) today and a destroyer escort and another big ship. Rumors are we are leaving Nha Trang coast and heading for DaNang. Presently we are heading into a storm. We rode out a typhoon, pretty rough conditions. A few people got seasick but I was okay. [winkel]

4/20/65: Nothing new today. We saw a lot of Vietnamese fishing boats around this morning. We are about 25 miles off the coast of Vietnam and it seems funny for these little boats to be out here. [winkel]

Our lives fell into a routine of shipboard monotony. The bells announcing the time of tedious day......the announcements calling for "All sweepers, man your brooms. Make a clean sweep, fore and aft......"The fantail is now open.......The fantail is now closed". The days were spent checking the aircraft, cleaning our weapons, watching dolphins and gulls chase our ship, writing letters, thinking of "Mary Jane" and the carnal festival we would have on return to the Land of the Big PX, playing cards, listening to the North Vietnamese propagandist Hanoi Hannah, listening to the Shirelles, thinking of home, thinking of home, thinking of home. [delrosario]

Aboard the U.S.S. Princeton off the coast of Vietnam

by Enrique B. del Rosario 1965

there is no war here. only a gentle breeze
lifts the flying fish above the azure waves.
there is something that needs no repeating.
it's the unspoken subject in the galley,
in the ready room, in every ship's hold.
it is what the heart refuses to feel.
it's what the mind's eye refuses to see.

unseen, beyond the horizon, it waits.

4/22/65: We flew two planes into Danang Air Base to pick up gear and mail. No mail - it was sent to Subic Bay. [winkel]

    April 28, 1965: 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 of the 6th Marine Expeditionary Unit land in the Dominican Republic to protect U.S. citizens and to prevent the already destablized government from slipping into anarchy.

AY 7, 1965: Held a formation for the awarding of Air Medals. [mckee]


Pre-Vietnam 1964 OCT 64 NOV 64 DEC 64 JAN 65 FEB 65 MAR 65 APR 65 MAY 65 JUN 65 JUL 65 AUG 65 and After

Copyright © 2001
Enrique B. del Rosario, author and webmaster