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Joe Witmeyer - Story and Slides - Part 2


The 50th  anniversary of my first trip to Da Nang.

(added 11-27-2016)

Forgive me on my lack of knowledge 50 years ago….  Didn’t really pay attention to details….  Then again maybe my memory has faded with age…

I had orders in September 1966 to go to MST1 and thought it would be a good time to go back and see what it is like now. So I took a trip in September 2016 back to Danang.

Our group that was sent to MST1 landed in a small cargo plane in the middle of the night, all I thought about was the airbase in Danang was under attack, because of all the flares in the mountains next to the base.  Surprise, I think that was normal precautions…. Danang airbase is now Danang International airport… In pictures # 25 – 27 show the airport from the window of the gate entrance to the plane.  You can see the old Quonset buildings that were used for cover/hanger for the USAF fighter planes.  They are still being used for the Vietnamese Air Force fighters.

I always thought the mountains behind the airbase was named Marble Mountain. My memory….  I guess I was wrong… I believe they have a different name, like freedom hills, I think.…  picture # 24 is the real marble mountain…. Which is located on the Penisula looking down on China Beach.    It is a big tourist place with caves and Buddha temple.

The lower base, the boat piers, are in pictures # 1 and 2.  I guess it is still a “spook base”, they had signs outside saying NO CAMERAS, so I didn’t get out of my car for the pictures.  Picture # 1 is the entrance and picture # 2 shows some boats.

 

The road leading to the old US coast guard base and the deep water freighter docks, is closed off now, see picture # 18.  Going down the road to the first place I could enter was a small loading dock.  My Vietnamese driver talked our way into the place.  Picture # 19 is of the deep water port.  Our lower base is hidden in the right side of the picture….  Wish I was on a boat for a better picture…..

 

Across from our lower base over a little hill was a place we called “Spanish beach”, that we used for our entertainment.  That was where we did our water skiing along with other things….This is now a resort.  See pictures # 14 – 17.

 

The whole road between upper to  lower bases is now pretty much government and military controlled.  See picture #12 of the road.  I tried looking for the old cemetery that I remembered seeing as we drove between our bases at the base of Monkey mountain.  Couldn’t find it…  I guess it got sucked up into the new VN Navy bases..  I remember it seemed it was always full of water….

The upper base appears to be in the same location.  See pictures # 3 – 9.  I remember the catholic church outside of camp fay on the road to the town I thought was Son Cha.   But it is really called Son Tra … 

Also, if you continue on the road through SonTra, it goes toward a view of China Beach.   Boy I sure didn’t know very much…..  Picture #10 is of the catholic church and picture #11 is of the road in front of camp fay going to Son Tra.  

 

There was a Navy base next to our upper base that I thought was called Camp Tien shaw, but could be wrong of the name.  Picture # 13 is that base now.  This was the base that Roger Staubach was stationed at.  This base handled the unloading of our Navy LST’s I believe.

To finalize my trip I had to see the War Museum, Ho Chi Minh Museum.  Pictures # 20 – 23.  I was the only person there.  Totally empty…. I guess there isn’t much interest……

i enjoyed my trip.  Now my interest of going back has been fulfilled…..


 

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