10-06-06 Charles (Chuck) L. Thoin
I was surfing the web and came across your web site. I
reported for duty to Boat Support Unit One on 20 SEP 68
right out of Boot Camp across the bay. The CO was LCDR
Russ Gleason. I had been classified as a Machinist Mate
FN but when I
reported I was informed that BSU-1 needed EN's not MM's.
I remember standing at the counter in the Admin Office
and was asked if I could type. I could and they said
they needed help and invited me to join them on the
other side of the counter. They needed extra help
because there were so many TDY orders to type up plus
all the other personnel stuff that needed to be done.
People were coming and going all the time.
I remember the general buzz and excitement surrounding
USS Flagstaff and USS Tucomcari because they were
"experimental" and something new and flashy. Never got a
ride on either, but did get to go out on some of the
other boats from time to time.
They changed me over from an FN to an SN and within a
few months I had been promoted to PN3. Within a week of
getting my "crow", I received orders to the USS
Carronade (LFR-1) No one was quite sure what type of
ship it was and no one had ever heard of her. I left
BSU-1 on 26 MAY 69. I never had an opportunity to deploy
with BSU-1, but made up for it on the Carronade.
Turns out she was a one of a kind Inshore Fire Support
Ship attached to Task Force 93 with 3 converted LCM's
designated as LCMR's that rounded out TF-93. The
Carronade was AKA "The Bobtail Cruiser" because the
superstructure was on the Fantail and the main deck was
rocket batteries with the firepower of a Cruiser. Since
the ship only drew 6 feet of water we were able to get
up the rivers and right into the surf to lay in fire
support missions. The
Carronade was essentially permanently deployed to Vietnam and I was on her
until she was decommissioned in 1970. I served on her in
Vietnam for almost a year and a half. Unlike the BSU-1
operation, there were no 6 month rotations on Carronade
and no going home to a place on the beach after the work
was done! Saw lots of the Coastal Division small boats
and around Carronade checking Vietnamese small boats. A
couple of years ago I came across a web site for
Carronade put together by one of the crew. I have since
met some of the shipmates I served with that live in So.