Comments from Robert T. Webb
(10-19-02) Added photos from Bobs collection.
I was recently introduced to the website 'ptfnasty' and learned that BSA Troop 544 is in possession of PTF-7. My name is Bob Webb and I was the original Captain of PTF-7. In JAN 1964 I was ordered to report to Boat Support Unit 1 (BSU1) in Coronado, CA. After some initial training I flew (with my crew) to Subic Bay, PI and linked up with PTF-7 which had recently arrived from Norway. After refitting and training, we accompanied PTF-7 aboard USS Fort Marion (LSD-22) enroute Vietnam.
We departed Subic Bay on 4 JUL and arrived in Danang, Vietnam on the 7th. I actively participated in the exercises described in the website until SEP 64 when I returned to Coronado, Ca for crew rotation. Since learning of PTF-7's reappearance I have searched my attic and have found some slides of PTF-7 and 8 in Subic Bay and several more of PTF-1 to 8 at the base in Danang. I am in the process of having them converted to prints. I would like to share them with you and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the information I got from the deck logs of the USS Fort Marion on her June and July, 1964 trips from Subic Bay to "Special Operations." Please feel free to add any comments or such.
I got into the 1964 deck logs of the USS Fort Marion (LSD-22) at the National Archives. Unless you KNEW what went on and when it happened, the deck logs would offer little or no information. Looks like the security clamp was down tight.
LSD-22 made two trips to "Special Operations" in 1964 from Subic Bay, one in June and the second in July. The deck logs do not mention any specifics concerning the cargo, the destination city or country or the any personnel that came aboard for the trip with one notable exception.
We have determined from the former skipper of PTF-7 that the July trip was to transport PTF-7 and maybe others from Subic Bay to DaNang. The special cargo was loaded in the well deck between 0800 and 1200 on July 4th. At 1803, the pilot was taken aboard and the ship departed Subic Bay. At 0520, as she was entering the destination harbor and still underway, she started ballasting down. At 0629 on July 7th, the USS Fort Marion "anchored in the special anchorage at destination in 6.5 fathoms of water." At 0722, the cargo was unloaded and at 0810, she started deballasting. The Fort Marion got underway at 1303 for their return trip to Subic Bay. Her noon position for Time Zone 2 on July 7th was reported as 15d 49.5' N and 109d 52' E, a position to the east and south of Da Nang in the middle of the ocean. She was at anchor for 6.5 hours and none of the crew left the ship, just the special cargo. One quick turn around.
The description of the June trip has all the same wording/phrases as the July trip. On June 3rd at 0630, the Fort Marion ballasted down at Berths 5 and 6, Alava Wharf, Subic Bay Naval Base. Later, at 1135, she ballasted up, took a pilot aboard and was under way at 1602. At 0635 on June 6th, the Fort Marion dropped the hook in the Special Assignment Anchorage. Nineteen minutes later, she started ballasting down to unload her cargo. From 0905 to 1110, the special cargo was unloaded. At 1114, she starting deballasting. The noon position is not recorded in the deck log. At 1300 hours, two officers (LTjg William B. Schneider 660172/1105 and Ens. Richard K. Austin 669816/1105) "reported aboard for transportation to Subic Bay, P.I. in accordance with OinC MST 1-64 orders." The Fort Marion got underway for Subic Bay at 1823. On return at Subic Bay on June 9th, she anchored in anchorage E-24. The next day ! around noon, the ship was ballasted down and an LCM-6 debarked. After deballasting, the Fort Marion moved to an assigned berth at the Alava Wharf. No mention is made in the deck log about the passengers from MST leaving the ship.
I suspect when we find the other ships involved in the support of the base at Da Nang, we will find the same non-descript verbiage. Maybe at the tail end when the boats were brought back would the story be a little less classified and a little more open. We'll see.