Al Varney, Sgt, N0EFY, 2/68
My Dad had been
involved in amateur radio since the late 40's when we lived in Germany.
After my service started in 1966 he got involved with the hospital ships
running phone calls. I think Frank Ayd was on the Repose at the
time. I had been in country for almost a year before I had a chance
to call using one of the stations. When I was transferred to the COC
at III MAF I wandered into N0EFY and met Dick Steinbaugh. I used the
equipment to talk to my Dad on several occasions using some bogus Okinawa
amateur call sign. Dick asked if I wanted to work at the station
since they were shorthanded. I did for about a month while working
12 on and 12 off in the COC. Dick later arranged for me to be loaned
to the station permanently sometime during March 68. I left late in
October 68 to finish my time at the Camp Lejeune station.
In thinking back
the calls I remember most vividly are the calls from the hospital in
DaNang. We had arranged for a phone with a 50 foot cord and we made
attempts to run calls for patients in the intensive care unit. It
was more than heart wrenching when you knew that some were making their
Since we were in the III MAF compound
we got some of the USO folks into the station for calls. Some were
pretty nice to look at. On the down side we ran a remote at the
Naval Hospital in DaNang. Since I was the Junior in the group I got
the duty. I'm certain the effort was appreciated by those in the
intensive care unit but it was very disheartening to see them. Some
could only listen which was tough.
On the lighter
side we made numerous trips to N0EFS on Monkey Mountain during the night.
Our night schedule would finish sometime after midnight, we would check
out a jeep from the motor pool and drive up the mountain for party time.
We continually conned the duty officer into letting us leave during the
night to deliver "tubes" to N0EFS. We must have delivered 100's of
It was a great
service and I like to think the calls we completed made a difference for
the sailors and Marines as well as their families.
Back to Top