07 October IP: 188.8.131.52 Posted on October 7, 2016 at 01:56:06 PM by Terry
1966…NMCB-5’s second increment of it’s Advance Party arrived at Camp Adenir. (MCB-5 DCR ’66-‘67)
…Dr. (LT.) Michael H. Josephson, DC, USNR, died of accidental drowning in the South China Sea just a few days short of his rotation back home
1967…NMCB-9 deployed 17 men to Hill 65 (L7014, SH6640 IV; AT880578) in support of 5/11 Marines, sisteen miles southwest of Da Nang to construct a 250-man messhall and living quarters. The Detail re-joined the Battalion on 08 November 1967
…SS Vantage Progress arrived carrying CBMU-302’s building materials, equipment, and tools
…NMCB-133’s well drilling detail, led by LTJG Williams, rejoined the Battalion at Camp Faulkner
1968… An NMCB-11 truck driver received a sniper round in the cab of his vehilcle but was not injured.
…NMCB-1’s project to restore the Vietnamese National Railway System bridges in many ways was the most interesting and challenging undertaken by the Battalion during the 1968-1969 deployment. It was unique presented unusual logistic and engineering problems and involved a small detail working in an isolated area known to have enemy units operating close by. Initially, NMCB-1’s Detail Foxtrot was tasked with the reconstruction of three railroad bridges near Lang Co on Lap An Bay by the end of September 1968. On 1 December 1968, another bridge near Phu Loc was added to the task following its destruction by the enemy of 17 November. The total project had a high priority as it had tremendous psychological value to get the railroad back into operation after having been out of service since 1965. This narrative will be divided into five sections, each covering construction methods and problems involved with Logistics, Hoi Dua Bridge, Hoi Can Bridge, Hoi Mit Bridge, and Thong Trung An Bridge.
The three bridge sites along Lap An Bay posed serious logistic challenges because the only feasible means of transportation to the bridges located 1½, 2¼, and 3¼ miles respectively from QL 1 at Lang Co was via the railroad rails or roadbed. All attempts at driving equipment down the roadbed met with failure of the roadbed and stranding of the equipment on the rails. Flat cars were available at Lang Co Station, but since the railrod restoration from Da Nang was still a month and a half away from reaching this area a means of motive power was the prime concern. Fortunately, Seabee ingenuity discovered that the all-purpse vehicle, the “Mule”, would fit on the one meter width track and they were in business.
Transportation of personnel was accomplished by the mule, with or without a rail car (depending on the number of personnel), the train when it became available, and a four passenger self-propelled rail car provided by VNRS and nicknamed the “Orange Blossom.”
Transporting heavy equipment and supplies (a 25 ton mobile crane, prefabricated steel bridge spans, etc.) was accomplished by placing them on a large 25 ton capacity flat car trucked in from Da Nang pushing them to the bridge with the “Mule” until the work train arrived in the area and provided motive power. Moving the mobile crane was an extremely ticklish maneuver but successfully performedonce for each bridge site. Material handling was managed by putting a Multilift on a flatcar to move it between the bridge sites and Lang Co as needed. This developed into a well run operation with xperience, but it took a great deal of time, effort and innovation to get it working smoothly. Seabees Can Do anything.
The Phu Loc bridge site had much easier accessibility since it is located only 100 meters off QL 1. The railroad came within 10 meters of the highway 300 meters of the bridge, and a more stable roadbed, trucks and the mobile crane were driven down the tracks to the bridge site.
Transportation of equipment and excess material back to base camp in Da Nang from Lap An Bay was much easier than the move-in because of the availability of the train. Equipment was either driven back over Hai van Pass or transported by tractor-trailer from Lang Co Station while personnel camp equipment and excess material went back via train, a unique and interesting experience.
The main camp at Lap An Bay was set up 200 meters south of Hoi Dua Bridge. Personnel lived in tents and a field galley provided very good messing. Security bunkers were built as was a perimeter fence. Security responsibilities were originally shared with the Marines and later the Army. Despite its isolated location, the camp only came under mortar attack once on 8 December 1968 with no casualties or equipment damage suffered. Food and other support services were provided by convoy from Da Nang.
Due to the short duration of work at Phu Loc’s Throng Trung An Bridge, a base camp was not set up. The men lived at Phu Loc Quarry and were transported back and forth daily. They arrived on site by 0800 following the road sweep team from the quarry to the village of Phu Loc. They worked until 1800 which had them arriving at the quarry just before dusk. No major support problems were encountered with this setup.
1969… NMCB-62 Detail Barracuda rejoined the Battalion at Camp Barnes.
…NMCB-58 Detail Mike, consisting of 25 men, rejoined the Battalion at Camp Shields upon completion of the POW Detention Center at Tam Ky.
…The Industrial relations Development Training Facility in Da Nang was dedicated. The facility was constructed by NMCB-4.
1970… All military payment certificates (MPC) were exchanged for the new 692 series MPC.
…RADM A.R. Marschall, COM3NCB, visited NMCB-5’s Detail Golf at Nam Can.
…CBMU-302 completed construction on the NAF, CRB Chapel
1971… NMCB-5’s Detail Stallion’s Advance Party of 14 men departed for CBC Port Hueneme