Photos From Raymond Shaw
1LT Ray Shaw 368th TC Camp Camelot And Newport
I'll start by saying, for me Vietnam was a picnic next to the nine to five routine at Fort Eustis. Thirty-five years is a long time to remember what seems like yesterday, so the following commentary may or may not be accurate.
1LT Raymond Shaw At Newport Terminal - Me Taking A Break On An APC
I was signed for all kinds of vehicles during my 2 years 9 months and 28 days in the service but never had a license or authorization to drive anything so, when the port was quiet and empty and the brass had left for Saigon for the
evening, we'd hop into a couple of APCs and drive around the port (race around the port would be more like it). Why no one ever said anything is a mystery. Maybe it only felt like we were racing! Newport was a great
experience because everyone had their mission and did the best they could to make the time pass quickly without many headaches. Port command was understandably demanding but always reasonable. They had been entrusted
to manage a gem of a port operation and I believe we understood their desire to make everything work perfectly, even though it seemed like just another job at the time. The battalion and company command were efficient and
well managed. Platoon sergeants and NCOs were first class, hard working and more capable than any group of civilians I have worked with since. The enlisted men were equally hard working and advanced quickly due to their
diligence and ability to get the most from their stevedore crews.
I arrived at the 368th company area in Long Binh around the first of June 1969 and was surprised to see an old friend welcoming me to the company. Charley Busacca and I had attended Engineer OCS together at Fort Belvoir
where he was one of my upperclassman. Now, all of a sudden we were roommates and equals. Photo Above - Charley preparing to board the bus to go to Newport or the massage parlor....was never really known for sure. LT
Busacca enjoyed life - he liked his wine and a fresh can of scungelli or squid (sent to him by his grandmother) that he topped with warm olive oil that he kept behind the refrigerator. I was never interested in the delicacy or the
Parodi cigars that he choked us with after the "meal". Many times I thought, he's eating that slimy, oily canned squid and smoking those nasty cigars because he figures no one will steal his cache. Later I realized, he really liked
The 368th moved more tonnage and freeze cargo than any military port in the pacific while I was in the RVN and I have to credit a great group of guys in two platoons who worked tirelessly to make it happen. Both operations
are still clear in my mind and happened around the holidays in 1969. I believe the tonnage record was broken with asphalt and the reason we were able to move so much cargo so fast was because we were offloading directly to
trailer trucks waiting under the hooks on DD1. The GIs, who had rigged the booms to handle multiple barrels at a time, were either running the winches or threatening papa san with bodily harm if he didn't run the winches
faster. The dock workers were moving trucks into place as quickly as others were loaded. Forklifts were stacking barrels to the gunwales on the pier if trucks weren't able to handle the volume. I remember the day shift arriving
and seeing DD1 stacked to the rafters with asphalt and the ship they had just opened on the previous day, rigging to sail.
Left Photo - As I recall, the civilian stevedore foreman was diligent, helpful, friendly and determined to please. He was always trying to convince me that everything was under control, or, did I want to go out to dinner? I imagine
our NCO's might have a different perspective on this gentleman, but he was always very pleasant around me. Right Photo - Pier coolie taking a break from freeze cargo on DD1. Moving freeze cargo was a 368th specialty on
DD1. Moving the stuff took great coordination between the ship teams, the shore teams, the depot and trucking company who allowed us to keep the cargo flowing. Even though every case had to be handled individually, the GI
supervisors and the stevedore teams broke their butts moving the chilly cargo at breakneck speed.
There were benefits to working reefer ships and everyone knew it; not only did the ship crews have to work under canvas, which was almost better than air conditioning, but the command enjoyed the spoils of their labors with the
best steak and lobster tail in the RVN. When I returned stateside, I was unable to eat lobster for a number of years. The freeze cargo record came on the heels of the asphalt record. Everyone wanted to impress the brass so we
could keep getting freeze ships and, sure enough, the teams and port operations, as well as the depot, made it possible for us to be the freeze cargo champions. When I left, we were still discharging freeze cargo and keeping the
freezers stocked with #3 and #4 steak. No more ribeyes for the boys of the 368th. We really never worried too much about security but knew from the people we replaced that the Tet Offensive had made a huge impact on their
lives. (Until I saw the story and pictures on Al's web site, I never realized how close the VC got or how violent the fighting was.)
As I recall, in the back end of the surrounding bunker was a permanent cooler that was useful on quiet nightshifts when there were no ships to work. Someone would send out for some local ice and through the convenient flap cut
in the side of the beer warehouse, someone would retrieve a few cases of beer to carry everyone through the night. On some occasions after a reefer shift had been offloaded, the dunnage yard would light up their grills and
everyone would move down in that direction to enjoy a steak or two and a few beers. I don't think the brass cared because they were either in Saigon or waiting for their steak!
Prior to earning our stripes offloading freeze cargo, we discharged a number of napalm ships on DD1. I remember one evening early in my year, during a discharge operation, we saw numerous tracer rounds flying over the port.
Some spoke of concerns of a rocket attack. We were discharging napalm from all four hooks. I quickly learned that, when one of our Trieu-Tiet forklift operators lanced a bomb while loading it on a truck, the oozing liquid was
high-octane Sterno and there was not much need to worry about it exploding on the pier. In spite of that, it always seemed like the NCOs, cargo handlers and the port made a concerted effort to move the napalm off the ship and
out of the port as quickly as possible.
I was standing on a ship and it appears that an LST is being on-loaded from the BD dock. This was to be a busy night at Newport. Judging from the junk on the pier, they were staging retrograde for a backload. As I recall, in the back end of the surrounding
bunker was a permanent cooler that was useful on quiet nightshifts when there were no ships to work. Someone would send out for some local ice and through the convenient flap cut in the side of the beer warehouse, someone
would retrieve a few cases of beer to carry everyone through the night. On some occasions after a reefer shift had been offloaded, the dunnage yard would light up their grills and everyone would move down in that direction to
enjoy a steak or two and a few beers. I don't think the brass cared because they were either in Saigon or waiting for their steak!
Captain Taylor was from upstate New York and was the antithesis of Captain Rettig. He was not your
typical Army officer with a shaved head, moustache and bracelet. He was a musician and told us stories
about his days playing with The Band and Bob Dylan. He made life pleasant and though he seemed to run a
tight ship, he gave the officers plenty of leeway.
Left Photo - A tug waits while a deep draft turns in the river as sampans appear from nowhere to pick up the loose dunnage left by the departing ship. There was enough lumber in the water on these occasions to build a small
addition on someone's "townhouse". - Center Photo - Many times during a critical retrograde backload, the GIs would man the winches or keep close supervision over the winch operators fearing that they'd overtax the booms
and rigging trying to backload the occasional 5-ton or heavier item. The local stevedores were pretty dependable on discharge but could have their lapses when on-loading heavy vehicles. On the occasion when a tank or recovery
vehicle had to be loaded into a victory ship, the BD (barge derrick) would be brought alongside to make the critical transfer. - Right Photo - The US beer was pretty weak and boring and even though we usually had a full
warehouse of the freshest in the RVN, we knew there was better beer roaming the countryside. The most sought after commodity at one point in time was Victoria Bitter, which we'd pay handsomely for (couple of cases for a case
of steaks or lobster tails was a typical trade). I remember the boys scored a case or two from an approaching Aussie barge one day and we all had a most pleasurable evening. I haven't tasted a Victoria since!
Left Photo - DD3 And DD4 AreaJudging from the appearance of the pier, a lot of cargo had passed through the port this day. Whenever the pier looked slippery and gooey, you could tell the port was working to capacity.
Generally, the goo was the result of ruptured beer cases or washed back-load, but the next monsoon that seemed to blow through in the afternoon would make the pier shipshape again. Center Photo - The Local Stevedores
Having Lunch At Newport - Looks Like Parts Of A Very Small Bird - Right Photo - More Of The Local Stevedores Working The Cargo
Left Photo - Another Stevedore Foreman - This fellow spent a lot of time trying to convince me that we had all the gangs we ordered. It was like a shell game sometimes and, frankly, I left it up to the NCO's to sort it out.
Sometimes on the night shift, even though we'd have four hatches running, we'd only have two or three gangs of stevedores in appearance (maybe less). On some occasions, I'd go to one end of a ship and there would be two
stevedores working in the aft hull and by the time I got to the front of the ship, the same two guys would be working the forward hatch. I wasn't very good with the shell game but, in the end when it was important, the Deck
Devils could sure move cargo! - Center Photo - Almost Like Home - The officer's quarters at Newport were well appointed next to hooch life in Camp Camelot. During a money exchange, I lived here for a few days, enjoyed the
hot showers and almost thought I was on R&R. Needless to say, it didn't last, but for the guys who lived there, they never knew what they were missing not being able to live out in the "country". - Right Photo - LT Stenerson -
Does anyone remember LT Stenerson or know what he did?
Boy, Didn't We Look Young! - Does anyone remember LT Coyne or know what he did? Right Photo - SGT Robert E. Leigh - A terrific guy from West Virginia who always got the most out of his men and made life easy for them.
Left Photo - Warrant Officer Willie O. Lucas. WO Lucas was transferred from the delta to the 368th. I think he enjoyed life in Newport and Camelot. We drank a lot of Johnnie Walker Black and laughed a lot, especially when
Busacca went into his act with the scungelli. - Center Photo - The Major - I believe this is one of my fellow Lieutenants (does LT Mango ring a bell?) making a political statement as the major was conducting his morning meeting.
Many of the (jr.) officers I served with stateside and in Vietnam had a similar outlook on military life. Many of us who were attached to companies tried not to be too blatant about our indifference to the war or "Army way", but
some others were more obvious "radicals". Right Photo - First Sargent Siegel - 1SG Siegel kept the 368th running like a well-oiled machine. We didn't see him very much at Newport, which is testament to the leadership and
teamwork of the NCO's under his command. When I was on night shift, he let me sleep in his air conditioned hooch.
Left Photo - Back at Camp Camelot, the company area was being made shipshape as the housekeepers handled their chores. - Center Photo - The Officer's Shower - My bedroom was just to the right of the shower room. The best
time to take a shower was after a full day of sun. Morning showers were too exhilarating to be enjoyable. - Right Photo - In-Comming At Camp Camelot I know this baby landed in the company area one morning in August of '69. We
were on night shift at the time and luckily missed the excitement. The indication was that there were two casualties but I never heard the outcome of the event. All I remember was that LT Householder told me that it provided a
rude awakening for everyone in the 368th.
|Not Sure Where Or What This Is
|Don't Know Where This Is Either
I Wonder Where He Is Today And What He Is Doing
|Saigon - High And Low Rent Districts
|Below are the photos I took on my R&R in Taiwan. I thought everyone would enjoy seeing a small part of that terrific country
|This Concludes My Taiwan R&R Photos
|Local Civilian Stevedore
This is my favorite photo and maybe one of the highlights of my military career. During the last couple of days in country, I visited the port for the last time to say so long and good luck to everyone who had supported me
throughout the year. For whatever reason, I took my camera to recollect this important place in time.
As an officer, I wasn't able to see things from the EM's perspective, so I apologize if I'm off target with my assumptions or the details. Please feel free to email me and correct me where I am wrong or let me know what I may have
missed. I'd love to hear from you.
I always tried to respect everyone I came in contact with and I remember stopping to talk to one of the Trieu-Tiet ship foremen to tell him that I was going home to my "mama san" in the States. A stevedore, who I had seen
many times throughout the year, was standing nearby. The ship foreman translated to the stevedore where I was going and the stevedore immediately took a step back, snapped to attention and gave me this salute. I'm glad I
caught his salute on film. It captures the essence of that year and all the terrific people I met and worked with-American, Aussie and Vietnamese in 1969-70 in the Republic of Vietnam. Yes, I did return his salute.
Good luck and good health to all. I hope to hear from old friends who come to this web site.
Please feel free to email me from here.
|She's Not There - The Zombies - 1964
|Civilian Stevedore Foreman
|More Of The Pier Coolies Taking A Break
|Looking Toward DD2, 3 And 4 In The Early Evening
A View From The Documentation Shack Between DD1 And DD2
|Captain Rettig Addressing The 368th On DD1 & DD2
I don't remember much about Rettig, and I can't tell you if he arrived before me or as I was leaving.
Captain John Taylor was there for most of my tour of duty and judging from Captain Rettig's comportment,
I'd venture to say he wasn't as laid-back as Captain Taylor.
|River Dunnage Retreived By The Local River Population
GI Offloading Planks From After Completing A Backload Of Retrograde
|The GI's - Looking For Trade Bait On The Numerous Barges And LST's
|Below Are Some Photos I Took In And Around The Saigon Area
|Captain Mike Haas - Adjutant
|In-Comming At Camp Camelot
|Crippled Lady Begging On A Saigon Street
|High-End Transportation In Saigon