Army Ship Names

MEMORANDUM FOR  Chief, Marine Qualification Division, Office of the Chief of Transportation, 705 Read Street, Fort Eustis, VA  23604-5407 

SUBJECT:  Nomination for Army Vessel Name

1.  Reference Memorandum, ATZF-OCOT-S, 18 April 2003, subject: Letter of Instruction for the US Army Vessel Naming Program.

2.  I nominate Mekong Delta for the naming of one of the new small tugboats in the Army       watercraft Fleet.

3.  The Mekong Delta region of the Republic of Vietnam was the focal point for Army watercraft operations during the Vietnam War.  Heavy boat, medium boat and amphibious (LARC) units from both Fort Eustis and Fort Story were based throughout the region.  The 544th Medium Boat Company was at Vung Tao.  The 1099th  Medium Boat and the 5th Heavy Boat were at Cat Lai.  These and other units participated in operations such as Operation Enterprise, a long-term mission to clear the Long An province using Army watercraft for logistics support and troop movement.

4.  Slow moving vessels suffered high casualty rates.  Examples include the sinking of a LCM-8 on the Van Go Tay River and a 65-foot tug being hit broadside by a rocket near Dong Tam.  Boats usually operated independently and moved with no security other than their own .50 caliber and M-60 machine guns.  On occasion, a 105mm Howitzer was placed on a barge being pushed by a tug or LCM-8, providing added firepower yet making them a bigger target.  Vessels and barges were loaded with everything from gravel and lumber to ammunition and troops.  They brought larger craft, like Navy LSTs, into the harbors.  They also performed as recovery vehicles for other stranded vessels.

5.  Army watercraft operated in Vietnam from 1965-1973.  Army watercraft conducted logistic and combat operations along the length of Vietnam’s South China Sea coastline.  Riverine missions took vessels inland all the way to the Cambodian border.  As units began redeployment from theater, much of the Army’s fleet was turned over to the Vietnamese.


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