13 Oct. 1965
The USS Princeton (LPH-5) arrived
off the coast of Vietnam in the vicinity of Chu Lai on 31 Aug. 1965 with
helicopters, personnel and gear of MAG-36. Disembarkation began on
1 Sept.. 65 when CH-37 detachment, VMO-6 and HMM-363 debarked and ferried
their aircraft and personnel to DaNang East and DaNang to be parked until
such time as the helo mat was completed. A rifle company of 250 officers
and men were flown ashore where they set up a perimeter defense at the
proposed camp site. This company was formed by personnel from MAG-36.
A 140 man working party was also flown ashore to assist in unloading and
stacking gear. Ammunition, C-Rations and a limited amount of gear
was flown ashore. The weather was less than desirable with high winds
and reduced visibility due to rain. Lighterage craft were available
but could not be utilized because of heavy seas. The LPH-5 hoisted
anchor at 1930 and sailed to sea returning 2 Sept. and debarking commenced
at 0630. In spite of the limited landing areas all of the gear and
personnel, with the exception of HMM-364 was unloaded. HMM-364 debarked
from the LPH-5 on 4 Sept. and they also proceeded to Da Nang East.
The SS Iberville arrived off the coast of Vietnam near Chu Lai on 1 Sept. and because lighterage craft were not available, due to prior commitment, put to sea returning at 0700, 3 Sept. and started unloading the bulk of camp material and gear. The manner in which the Iberville was loaded hindered Base Utilities from progressing with Base Camp. Utilities did however grade proposed tent sites and when the first tents arrived on 6 Sept. and tent poles on 7 Sept. they started erecting tents. All personnel were tented in GP tents by 17 Sept. Construction grade lumber was used by the Iberville for shoring and dunnage and the first bits of lumber delivered were pallet sized and useless for construction. The first usable limber was unloaded on 6 Sept. and hardbacking of tents began on this day. The S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4 and communications tents were hardbacked in that order. Shower units arrived on 7 Sept. at 1300 and were in operation by 1630. This was a great boost in morale however it was short lived because on the 9th we had to supply 2,400 gallons of water per day (total of 9,600 gals.) to the SS Iberville to provide steam for their winches. The Iberville completed unloading on 11 Sept.
Helo Mat #1 was completed on 12 Sept. and units from HMM-362 and VMO-6 started moving down from Da Nang East. This was the day of our first "Red Ops." HMM-362, HMM-364 and VMO-6 continued moving to KY Ha and all aircraft were at Ky Ha by 25 Sept. The field was named Ky Ha on 14 Sept.
A temporary mess hall was in operation on 12 Sept. The delay was due to the cook stoves being one of the last pieces of equipment unloaded from the Iberville. Construction of the permanent mess hall started on 11 Sept. but was hindered because of the torrential rains which began on 11 Sept. and continued through 25 Sept.
Construction slowed down by rains picked up after the 25th and by the end of the month we had 163 tents erected and twenty of them hardbacked both at Base Camp and on the line. Flight operations continued and at the end of the month MAG-36 flew a total of 3,598 hours and 6,381 sorties and hauled a total of 9, 87 troops/passengers and 1,161,688 pounds of cargo.
1 Sept.: The Princeton (LPH-5) commenced debarkation. The MAG-36 Rifle Company debarked USS Princeton to set up a perimeter defense around the camp site. A 104 man working party went ashore and began initial unloading.
2 Sept.: A security force from MAG-36 Rifle company departed for Da Nang East to provide security for parked helicopters. This force consisted of one officer and twenty enlisted men.
3 Sept.: The SS Iberville arrived off the coast of Vietnam near Chu Lai and commenced off loading the bulk of MAG-36 materials and equipment. Base utilities were grading the land preparatory to erecting tentage. HMM-364 aircraft supported the U.S. Army fly off the LPH-5 at Saigon.
4 Sept.: The Seabees began laying aluminum matting on Mat #1. HMM-364 completed unloading the last of MAG-36 gear from the LPH-5 and debarked for Da Nang East parking their aircraft awaiting completion of Mat #1. The MAG-36 Rifle Company received its first sniper fire on the eastern perimeter and first WIA occurred this day.
5 Sept.: HMM-364 began flying administrative runs from Da Nang.
6 Sept.: Tents began arriving and a limited number were erected. First beer sales (2 per man).
7 Sept.: Shower units unloaded at 1200 and were in operation at 1630.
11 Sept.: Work started on the temporary mess hall and the monsoon rains also began.
12 Sept.: Helo Mat #1 was completed.
14 Sept.: The field was officially named KY Ha. Rains continued and muddy ground nearly bringing construction work to a standstill. HMM-364 aircraft and personnel began moving to Ky Ha from Da Nang East.
17 Sept.: All personnel are under GP tents.
19 Sept.: Work started on the permanent field mess hall which will have a seating capacity of 400 personnel.
20 Sept.: HMM-364 now at Ky Ha in full strength.
25 Sept.: All MAG-36 aircraft and personnel, less HMM-363, are now at Ky Ha operating from one mat 600 x 900 ft. In spite of the crowded conditions flight operations continue on a large scale. There are 65 aircraft parked and flying from Ky Ha Mat #1. The field PX was opened on this day and many needed items went on sale. The rains finally stopped and personnel were busy trying to dry out their gear and clothing.
30 Sept.: Special Services opened and the first movies were shown at Ky Ha.
The MAG-36 engineering department rigged up a drying tent by erecting a GP tent close to a generator and ducted the hot air from around the engine into the tent. Thus providing drying facilities for clothing, boots, etc. In wet weather this was a welcome innovation.
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