Navy-Marine Corps MARS in Vietnam

Home Up USS Colleton



November Zero Echo Foxtrot Papa

USS Benewah  APB-35 MRF

Amateur call N0EFP is not assigned.

Bob Holmes

As far as I know this is the only remaining pic of the 4 element YAGI that I build for 19.43mhz.  The ends are bent up to accommodate the tight space.  I developed a knack for keeping it pointed in the right direction while the ship moved.  I scrounged the materials from the guys at Dong Tam, but I don't remember any of their names.  It was built from electrical conduit and iron pipe.

The space was tight inside too, as the shack was about 5' x 5'.  I slept on the floor diagonally, because it was much cooler than our crews quarters. I think word traveled pretty well on the boats, because the boat crews would line up in the hallway and stairs just outside the shack a bit before skip came in.

I still get a tear to think of how the guys from the boats looked waiting outside my door for the patches to start.  Long tired faces of nearly beaten men looking like there was no tomorrow.  But, after the first patch, when that guy stepped out after talking to his family, things lightened up quite a bit.

As others have said, there were wonderful times when someone got some miscommunication straightened out, or got to hear about their new baby for the first time.  And, there were not so good times delivering bad news or listening to relationships fall apart.

We shared a Seattle gateway with N0EFN, (Jack & John in 1969).  Our gateway was terrific - Les Hill, N0AVD.  I don't recall his ham call.  He was ALWAYS there for us, anytime of night or day, holiday or weekend.  If there was a chance of patch quality, he would be there.

Les made special arrangements with the local telephone company, as I suppose all gateways did.  We would pass the numbers to dial before patch quality, sometimes CW.  Then when patch quality came, the telephone operator already had the other party on the line and instructed.  We were very effective at using every minute.  I'm sure I said thank you to Les many times, but although I lived in the same town for awhile, I was too much in denial to even see him again before he died a few years later.

I came home on leave after my first year, and married one of those wonderful telephone operators, then returned to the Benewah for another 5 months.  As you might imagine, she didn't have much of a chance with me, and we separated a few years later.

I'm not so sure I would have survived without Les, Jack, John, and that young telephone operator I married.  I hope life has treated them as well as they deserve.


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