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Attack on Marble Mountain Base

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  • Attack on Marble Mountain Base ... r_Facility
    27 Oct 1965 attack on Marble Mountain.
    I was there all day at Marble Mountain base 27 Oct visiting my old Marine Friends in VMO-2. At that time each Wednesday the units had the afternoon off for recreation in this case a barbeque & beer afternoon. I happened to be on my rotation to the VNAF Sqd 211 on the Danang base in my Advisor status I returned to the Danang base in the evening & joked to my friends; this would be a time the VC having watched the days action to attack There was CH37 & UH34 helicopters there also besides the HU1Es that were damaged & lost. I heard all the explosions that night over on the Danang Base . During my 4 years (1964/1968) I saw many such actions, some were on Army & AF units over all 4 sectioins of Vietnam during VNAF Operations. (Danang, Nhatrang, Saigon & Binh Thuy) PM

    Extracted from above URL
    Marble Mountains near Da NangOn July 28, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that the U.S. would increase the number of its forces in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000. Shortly thereafter the Joint Chiefs of Staff dispatched Marine Aircraft Group 16 (MAG 16) to Vietnam on top of the three Marine helicopter squadrons already there. This rapid build-up of helicopters and other aircraft from the United States Air Force at Da Nang saturated the base and had the leaders of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (I MAW) quickly looking for an alternate site for their helicopter squadrons. The Marines ultimately chose a stretch of sandy beach on the South China Sea that was about five miles southeast of Da Nang and just north of a series of red marble mountains for their first helicopter facility. American military construction units were overtasked at the time so the initial construction of the field was done by Raymond, Morrison-Knudson/Brown, Root & Jones (RMK-BRJ). By the end of August 1965, they had completed a 2000 ft runway and on August 26, MAG 16 officially moved in. A week later Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) would approve the name Marble Mountain Air Facility.[1]
    On the evening of 2728 October approximately 90 Viet Cong attacked MMAF. They attacked under the cover of 60mm mortar fire using four demolition teams armed with bangalore torpedoes and hand grenades. They were able to reach the MAG 16 ramp destroying 19 aircraft and damaging another 35. VMO-2 took the brunt of the attack with thirteen of its UH-1E Hueys destroyed leaving the squadron with only four serviceable aircraft. The attack left two Marines and one Navy Corpsman killed in action with another 91 wounded in action. Forty-one enemy were killed during the battle along with four wounded that were taken prisoner
    Attached Files
    Last edited by pm3777; 10-08-2012, 22:08.

  • #2
    Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

    Quite a night, Paul!


    • #3
      Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

      It was that for sure Especially for the Marble Mountan MAG-16 units !!! Some additional info >>>>iThe base had several local Vietnamese working on the base. In fact one of the VC that attacked that night was the barber at the base. I know first hand how that works. At the VNAF Sqd there at Danang 3 of the enlisted maintenance personnel were discovered to be VC on active duty. They were noted to be traveling each weekend & by following them discovered their activities. . Prior to the Tet Operations I had noticed a large increase of funeral processions. A large hand carried vehicle with a picture of the supposed deceased was carried by tough looking mourners to the local cemetary near Tan San Nhut air base. Also many logging trucks with huge timbers were suddenly in Saigon. There was no saw mills in Saigon. Our units had very little activity that the VC didnt know about . As in my Recollections my last mission at Binh Thuy (June 1968) ended up in the same type scene . Photo of hangars after VC attack Binh Thuy June 1968. All helicopters & AD A/C were destroyed)
      Attached Files
      Last edited by pm3777; 10-09-2012, 17:29.


      • #4
        Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

        I remember that night so vividly during October, lost my best friend Thomas Rowland, that night . I was the lucky one who got to scurry
        down the flight line to notify the remaining perimeter guard that Capt Rider was bringing reinforcements. Then had to go to C Med to identify Tom.
        Nightmares still.


        • #5
          Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

          Rough night John!!! What Sqd was you in at that time ?? I am trying to remember the name of Maint Chief Gy at VMO 2 that I was visiting .After so many units & years names escape me !!! Did you know Msgt Leroy Garrison or Msgt Jud Rowe ?? Couple my olf friends that were over there.


          • #6
            Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

            DANG! Paul!

            I didn't know that you and Skid were Buds!

            Skid was the Senior enlisted Marine in HMH-463 during '67-'68 at MMAF.

            I recall at squadron parties at Marble, there would be an iced down wash
            tub of Schlitz with a sign in it, stating: "Skid's Beer".

            One day all of us enlisted weenies surrounded that tub and drained it.

            We were tired of the Carling Black Label that was left to the remainder of
            the enlisted folks.

            I think that I heard that he died of a heart attack while walking on an
            Arizona highway, some years after we returned from Vietnam.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Mike Amtower; 10-10-2012, 18:31.


            • #7
              Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

              Yep, I remember the shoot out at MCAF Santa Ana NCO Club when Judd got a 45 slug in his chest by the Tsgt that shot him & another Msgt that died. Will remember the other names eventually. Jud got up off the floor & decked the TSGT Killer !!! I thought he retired in Australia. Heard that some place. .....Finally remember names; The shooter was Tsgt Carr & one Msgt Willis was shot & killed. While Msgt Jud Rowe survived with the shot through his chest. Never knew what sentence Tsgt Carr recieved!!
              Last edited by pm3777; 10-14-2012, 20:45. Reason: Names Tsgt Carr & Msgt Willis


              • #8
                Re: Attack on Marble Mountain Base

                I was assigned to HMM-163 in 1964-65. We returned to Okinawa after our float phase on the Iwo Jima in September 1965. In October part of our squadron was reassigned to HMM-361 at Marble Mountain.

                The night of the attack I had just secured my aircraft and was walking to my tent. In front of the lead Huey was a corpsman. He was a chief corpsman on medevac duty. Don't recall his first name but his last name was Hunter. We spoke at length and had a great conversation. He told me his youngr brother was Tab Hunter, the movie star. I found that hard to believe but what he told me about Tab led me to believe he was telling me the truth. I told him I had an early wake up for the morning's launch and it was time to say goodbye. I asked him where he was going to sleep and he pointed to the lead Huey. I told him that was not a good idea because if we got overrun that bird would be the first one to be destroyed.

                The night of the attack on the base whether it be 18 October or 27 October I don't recall. I do recall the first blast I heard came from the above ground fuel bladders. It was midnight, or close to midnight. The blast was so loud I believe the entire tent city was awakened. My eyes opened to see a huge ball of flame. We all dove into our trenches and stayed there until our reactionary company was called out to form up on the flight line. I believe satchal charges were laid in each Huey and completely blown up. Many of the H34s were also destroyed. When the little gooners ran out of satchal charges they continued their mission with hand grenades. The H37s, well the clam shells were blown off. My newly made friend, Navy Chief Corpsman Hunter was killed that night. If only he had listened to me. The rest is history.

                Fast forward to the Popasmoke reunion in San Diego, in 2000. For those of you who attended the memorial service at Miramar you would have seen Tab Hunter. He was a guest at most of our reuynions. He often brought his mother with him. After the service my wife and I approached Tab and I told him how and when I met his brother and I might have been the last person to speak with his borther. Tab told me he was very appreciative of my story and wished his mother would have been with him to hear it also. I continued flying until the day I was transferred back to Okinawa for my return to CONUS.

                That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

                GySgt Bob Torres
                USMC, Retired


                • #9
                  Hard to believe it has been fifty years, but certainly an event to remember for those of us who were there.

                  Lowell Johnson (H&MS-16 at the time)


                  • #10
                    Lowell Its hard to believe that we are old as we are now too! Seems that when you meet those Gal's we use to get for babysitters,and they say this is my youngest and they are having Kids!!!! Then you go into a Spin>>>>>>>>>> Am I that OLD. sure enough it is I.