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“The days of the ancient grecian wash. It was known the quickest way to defeat defeat your enemy. Which to destroy its source of supply in february 1965. A chinese trawler manned by a north vietnamese crew ran aground at vung row bay.
The trotter was at to deliver arms ammo and supplies to the north vietnamese army and the vietcong in south vietnam. This was the first evidence of a dedicated effort to support and supply enemy operations by sea. This was the origin and formation of task force one one five and operation market time for more than eight years. The us navy employed its aviation assets to intercept and minimize the enemy s logistic support in south vietnam naval aviation patrol squadrons both sea planes and land planes comprised the heart of task force one one five and.
Market time and established a 12 mile coastal boundary along the 1200 mile eastern shores of vietnam. Initially the martin p5m. Marlins and later the lockheed p. 2.
Neptune s and p3 orion s were tasked to enforce the airborne elements of a naval blockade against the gun running trawler these trawlers would sail innocently in the south china sea. Waiting for the cover of darkness to make a high speed dash to the coastline with its cargo of arms and supplies. Here are some of the patrol squadrons that were involved and flying from south vietnam or philippine bases land planes of vp one two four six eight sixteen seventeen. 26.
And 28 and the seaplane out pitch where vp 40 42 46. 48. 49. And 50 initially the land planes deployed from their base in the philippines na s.
Kobe point later deploying from vietnam johnson it airbase fresh sea planes and crews rotated in and out between nao sangli point philippines and vietnam. She planed attachments were formed of five or six planes and were based at cameron bay vietnam supported by the rotating seaplane tenders of uss carita pine island and southbury sound in order to engage the travelers more effectively navy and coast guard surface vessels were added to task force one one five to enforce the surface blockade track intruders located by air surveillance board and inspect the intruders and engaging in surface combat..
If the enemy resisted or fired upon these vessel was operation market time effective undeniably yes in 1966 alone allied forces detected more than eight hundred seven thousand watercraft visually inspected 223000. Boarded a hundred and eighty one thousand vessels and engaged in 482 firefights only one in 20 trawlers reached the south vietnamese shores undetected air patrol typically 10 to 12 hours in duration and very demanding after a pre dawn launch and hours of staring at a radar screen. Or mark. 2.
Eyeballing. The vast ocean below getting to enjoy a hot meal created by a versatile crewman was a welcomed and well deserved reward. The mission was to track down a blip on the radar close to a visual range parallel. The ships course log its position and if at night touch off the 70 million candlepower searchlight.
Turning the darkness into overwhelming illumination. And rigged. The vessel. Rigging is a visual record of a ship s features from bow type to stern shape mast kingpost smokestacks deck levels visible deck cargo and take a photograph all in about 15 seconds with practice.
It becomes an art the intel staff on the tender will study this collection of data adding another piece to the puzzle that determines friend from foe. The crew soon learns knight is a friend to be embraced and a place to remain unseen. By an adversary night. Flying is usually smoother and without the thermal activity associated with the heat of a sunny day from a market time vet.
Here are some insights shared about life on camera and bay. Each seaplane was armed with four m60 machine guns. I was the ordinance man and one of my duties after dropping two empty jato bottles was to mount each of the m60 guns to in the bow doors and to in the afters. All hands also carried 38 revolvers in shoulder holsters in case.
We ever went down. We drew a lot of fire..
We normally flew about 500 feet to stay below the surface to air missiles easy targets. I remember one guy firing at us while tending his flock of ducks. The ordinance minh was usually manning one of the guns and on standby to take lots of pictures as the crew photographer. The bully.
We always had one m60 loaded and available for use in case. We had to repel boarders. Another vet shares. Our planes also carried five inch of our rockets on the day flights and changed to parachute flares for the night flight.
This was a standard procedure. The flares were used to light up the sky at night. So we could see the junks. We did not want to use the searchlight.
Because we then became an easy target. We were occasionally called to chase a sub spotted off the vietnam coastal waters the genders have just continued serving box lunches when we were at the buoy. The ship s small boats provided us with hot meals and for our flights. They provided us with food to cook this is a typical galley.
We ate well if we were ever hit by small arms fire. We diverted to the tender and they lifted the marlins onto the ship s fantail deck to inspect and make repairs after all damage was repaired. We were dropped back into the water and again tied up to the buoy. We normally had five or six crewmen on our plane buoy watch just in case.
We were attacked on the water. The tinder had boats patrolling the bay around us at all times..
Occasionally the ships would drop depth charges in if concerned about enemy divers approaching once we were attacked by a floating dead water buffalo. We opened fire with the m60 and the 38 before it floated up to the side of the plane it scared the crap out of us expecting it to explode for the first see days flying out of cam ron bay. Our crews flew lots of night flights just before dark. The scheduled flight would take off since the jato flames were very visible.
We occasionally do small arms fire from the beaches. We were glad when they finally secured the beaches and our planes ceased being targeted after being there for about two months. We were invited to take some r r on the beach. The ship s boat carried us to the beach.
Where the army had built a lean to serving as a bar. We had to wade onto the beach as there was no dock for the boats to tie up we had all the warm beer. We could drink for four hours then waited back to the boat for a return trip to our plane this is the only time i ever touched land during my two tours at cam ranh bay as the ordnance minh. I always stayed on the buoy when we were not flying the only time i went aboard the chinder ship was when my leg was injured.
I was in sickbay for three days then back to the plane a little note from a market time crewman. It was a standing order that when a flight left the philippine islands headed for cam ron bay san miguel beer was always loaded into certain confidential locations in the plane of course. This never showed up on the white sheet. But the pilots knew it was on board.
When the plane landed in cam ranh bay. A ship s boat would meet the plane and assisted with distributing beer to the other planes at their buoys and of course. His boat. Also we always had good food and good warm beer after a night flight.
When the sun rises and the flight ends back at cam ron bay part of the flight crew remains aboard the plane secured at a buoy while the remainder of the crew returns to the tender for a hot shower hot food and hot mail from home for the next. 24 hours..
The buoy watch crew remained aboard the plane until relieved by another team. The plane will be refueled receive inspection and minor maintenance to the hull engines electronics and arms rarely is the routine ever comfortable you re tired 24 7. Week. After week during the nine month.
Deployment learning to cope and maintain civility is foremost in your mind. It is a team effort and your crew comes before self every time. The crew is your family pro tim at the end of the squadron deployment every crew is challenged with the daunting 7000. Mile or deal known as transpac this is a week of long flights into black skies.
And an invisible ocean below. It is a constant battle between get home itis and staying focused on crew duties. Not until. Chuck s are in place.
The tie downs. Secured and the smiling tear streaked faces of loved ones are in your embrace you dare relax. Operation market time will forever be etched in your memory. Welcome home and well done.
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