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Gallery of War

Page 25

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Open Fire on Enemy Fortress
Vung Tau, Vietnam 1968
Archival Print #V-VT115LTF
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

And so, the Taylor aligned a position even with the peninsula of Vung Tau. Her mighty five inch guns blasted repeatedly at the top of the mountain. I was off duty and came on deck just as one of the shells struck the mountain top. It was a direct hit on the enemy fortress. I watched in disbelief, as the projectives sheered off the entire apex of the mountain. When the smoke had cleared, all was calm and the mountain beamed with the glow of a freshly erupted volcano. We hung around off the coast waiting for word on what was going on ashore. Hours passed and all was silent. Finally, the ship's speakers sounded. It was the Captain himself, saying he had a special announcement to make. "Crew," he said, "the enemy stronghold at Vung Tau has been demolished and the marines have run the Cong back into the jungle. We have saved the city from enemy take over." "I have just received a special wire from the states that the WAR IN VIETNAM IS OVER!" Screams of joy echoed across the South China Sea and sailor hats flew like frizzbies over the sea. When the noise finally stopped, he continued, "We will be heading into the Sea of Japan and our next stop will be at Sasebo." I could not believe my ears. Could the war really be over?