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Vietnam, 1969

I would like to thank "Richard N. Mikesell", CWO4, USN (Ret.) for sending
the 1969 WestPac Cruise book, without it, the following pages would not be possible.... CW

Ahoy Mates, my name is Richard N. Mikesell, CWO4, USN (Ret.) Yes, I served on the old “TT” (Terrible Terrapin). I reported aboard in Subic Bay early in the last Westpac she made in 1969. She came in expecting a one week upkeep but because another LSD, I believe it was the Fort Marion, was DWI in the water alongside the pier. We just refueled and then went out to Anchorage to load a Company of Marines. That started a 43-day continuous underway period. This included being PCS for an amphibious assault south of Danang. At the end of the trip when we returned to Subic Bay, they tied us up outboard of that other LSD which was still there. Our liberty got “secured” a little early, but not until we “vented” a little steam on the other LSD’s crew in town.

The rest of that Westpac was pretty uneventful but I do remember that we were the first LSD to pick-up and return a complete Marine Unit (A Hawk AA Battery) to the U.S. from Vietnam. We made a non-stop transit from Okinawa to Seal Beach that seemed to last forever. I was an ETI when I was aboard as the leading ET. I was the last person to reenlist on board the Tortuga. I re-enlisted just a few days before she was de-commissioned. I was on or just short of a year but I will never forget her. She was a good ship and we had a good crew. I remember the Captain and a majority of the remaining crew crying as the orders to haul down the Commissioning Pennant were being read. I still have a copy of the program from the de-commissioning. Sorry I don’t have a scanner at this time. Hope to get one sometime this year. I live in El Cajon, California, and would like to hear from any of my old shipmates Richard N. Mikesell e-mail...