SAN DIEGO TO PEARL TO DANANG
MACS Chronology


 map-vietnam
I was a “passenger” (member of Marine Air Control Squadron – 4 or MACS-4) transported from San Diego harbor to Danang harbor, with a  2 ½ day stop in Pearl harbor, arriving in Danang in May 1967.  My memory of that two week trip conflicts with the information available on the website. 
 
The Hermitage delivered our Marine Tactical Data System (MTDS) air-control computer system for installation on Monkey Mountain, east of Danang.  We had trained with this system at Marine Corps Air Station, Santa Ana, CA in 1966 and on a hilltop of Camp Pendleton (with the actual unit used on Monkey Mountain) through March 1967 while lodging on Camp Del Mar, CA prior to boarding the Hermitage.

I was much younger and faster in 1967 and was the first MACS-4 Marine into the quarters allocated.  I took an upper rack.  The racks were six high.  I could feel the coolness and motion of the water against the steel hull next to my port side rack.
 
Regarding the time frame for our trip to Danang from San Diego aboard the Hermitage: I served a full 12 month tour and extended for 6 more months in Vietnam.  Thirty days free leave were part of the deal for extending.  One of the benefits of doing so was I would return CONUS with less than 60 days until my enlistment expired and be separated without another duty assignment.  I spent about seven days out-processing at MCAS El Toro, CA and about seven days at Camp Butler, Okinawa before that.  Therefore, if we subtract the total of 12 month original tour, one month free leave (which I took in Indiana to save money), six months of the extension on Monkey Mountain, and a half-month between leaving Vietnam and separation from active duty on 27 January 1969 as shown on the DD-214, that’s a total of 19 ½ months.  I must have disembarked the Hermitage mid-June 1967.  

But – as they say on the late night television commercials – Wait! My memory of a May 1967 arrival at Danang might still be accurate if the two short periods of passing through Okinawa on my way to CONUS and back to Vietnam did not count against the 30 day period of free leave.  I don’t think they did.  So there’s another couple of weeks, more or less, which puts the total at about 20 months and me arriving in Danang either late May or early June 1967.
 
As I recall, the total time on the Hermitage from San Diego to Danang was around 2 to 2 ½ weeks. 
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  • Sơn Trà Mountain, known to American soldiers during the Vietnam War as Monkey Mountain, is a mountain located on Sơn Trà Peninsula, in Sơn Trà district,

  • Đanẵng, Vietnam overlooking the Bay of Đà Nẵng and the East Sea. Wikipedia Elevation: 2,789' (850 m)

 
I have several images of Monkey Mountain, but none of our trip on the Hermitage.
 
I am now a VA accredited claims agent, and have helped literally thousands of veterans since I worked as a VA employee 1975-1979.

Oh, one more data source!  One of the Marines who sailed with me on the Hermitage contacted me via email about 7 months ago.  Steven Paramenter, snsparm@cox.net

 
John W. Tilford
Corporal, US Marine Corps, Vietnam 1967-1069
Colonel, US Army Reserve (Retired), GWOT 2001-2004
Founder and President, Hoosier Honor Flight, Inc.
johntilford@comcast.net
"That society which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools." - Thucydides, The Peloponnesian Wars

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