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Gallery of War

Page 9

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Underway for Vietnam
Archival Print #H-O/M117TPS
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

Time passed quickly in those days and before I knew it we were underway for Vietnam. The ship now wore a fresh coat of Navy gray and I had mastered the art of turret turning during maneuvers. Being a trainer meant I turned the turret so many degrees to the left or the right. The Pointer turned the barrel so many degrees up and down and then pulled the trigger once we locked on target. Like my buddy Dave had said, we were headed for the P.I. to set up temporary port in Subic. I just kept hoping we would stay far enough off the coast of Nam not to take a hit. Rumor had it there were alot of shells flying around over there. And the last thing I wanted was to become shark bait in the South China Sea. Even worse, I might get captured by the Cong or blown to bits by a mine! Well, life at sea was somewhat easier than chipping paint. We swabbed decks and polished brass and I even found time to write a letter or two back home. Although, there was something strange about never seeing land for days on end. You begin to feel isolated and alone after awhile. Always at the mercy of the mighty sea. We had two stops scheduled before we got to Subic. One at Midway Island for fuel and a brief stop at Guam. If I was lucky, I might get a chance to pull a quick libery in Guam. It would be good to see land.