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Gallery of War

Page 19

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Enemy Attack at Da Nang Harbor 1968
Archival Print #V-DN102EF
(c)2003 L Nollenberger

I was off duty and had just climbed up from below decks to snap a quick picture of the harbor. Suddenly, the ship's speakers blared out, "Enemy attack, Enemy attack...ALL HANDS MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS." I looked toward the northern peninsula and could see the shells headed straight towards the ship. I snapped the shot and quickly tossed the camera below decks onto my bunk. I ran to the mount and jumped into the seat. I peered through the peek slot and saw the missle as it struck no more than 10 feet off the port bow. Water showered down over the focsile like a hard rain. The orders from the bridge came fast and furious through my ear phones. "Full speed ahead, train mount 30 degrees to port, aim, fire...fire...fire!" "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM," the gun mount blasted away, as we high tailed it out of the harbor. I could just barely make out the Marine chopper headed towards the peak of the peninsula. "Come on baby, fire your missles, hold em' back so we can get out of range," I said to the pointer. I could see a fog bank to the north that stretched far out into the sea. We were headed towards the fog, as it was the only cover in sight.

SPECIAL NOTE: The small white specks seen in this photograph are actual enemy mortar rounds that were launched against the Taylor. The small black speck is the marine chopper that came to assist us. Due to the Taylor's lightning speed, were we quickly out of range of the mortar fire but we remained at the mercy of the ground to air missles that were being fired from the top of the mountain.