Navy-Marine Corps MARS in Vietnam


User's MARS Stories

Further comments may be found in our Guest Book


Ed Cathcart  Ollie" Olsson  Harry Hodges  Joseph Brown  Teresa Frith  Gerald Haas  Paul Hammond  Bruce Jones


Donald Edward Cathcart, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

I love MARS.  I have dozens of Happy Memories of the times I used MARS to talk to my wife during separations as long as 15 months.  MARS was wonderful.  I actually get a twinge in my heart and a surge of nostalgia just remembering those precious conversations I had with my wife during times when I was not home for the birth of my son or for 3 Christmas seasons and countless birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, etc.  MARS was an invaluable morale building service for Marines away from home.  God Bless MARS.

Thanks to all MARS operators. 

Semper Fi, 

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Orville "Ollie" Olsson

I was a Sgt with the Marine Corps, with FLSG-B Rat Plt in Dong Ha, My CO had made arrangements for me to call my Parents, as my dad was seriously hurt, and he knew I was worried. I remember I had to keep telling my Mom to say over before I could speak, and she was so happy to hear from me, and that I was alive and still kicking, she would forget to say over. The guys at the MARS station were great, just great.

The call was made in late 68, as I had got to Dong Ha in the middle of April 68, and left in the middle of May 69

Well, it made my day, and I appreciated the MARS guys for what they did for me my whole life.  I have never forgotten the call. My parents are gone now, but remembering this, when i found your site brought a big grin, and laugh to me, and it is 1:30 a.m. here in snowy and cold Maine right now.  I salute you guys, and say Semper Fi, and Welcome Home.

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Harry Hodges, LtCol USA

I was stationed in RVN 1969-70 and used MARS to phone patch home to my family in Riverside, CA. I was in Qui Nhon for half my tour and Long Binh for the second half. I would get up early every Monday morning to be first in line to make a call which would be mid-afternoon on Sunday in California.

In my year RVN I made 49 phone patches. I was on R&R two times and one week propagation was lousy but I made the other 49 weeks. I was so fascinated by the MARS operation, I got my own ham ticket while stationed in Paraguay in 1971 as AP5HZ and later as WA6YOO (now W6YOO). I joined Army MARS when I retired from my civilian job in 1990.

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Joseph Brown USN

Wasn't in MARS. Was in VP-45, USN 1955 -1958, Panama and Bermuda. Operated Station "ham shack" with Canal Zone call "KZ5IC", at the time (K7GKT came 4 or 5 years later.) Good Luck!

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JO1 Teresa Frith

I was both a military user and a military operator.  I don't remember the station call sign.

My rank then was SP4, I worked as a volunteer at the Nekursulm, Germany MARS station. I think the call sign was AAMAE1KZ

 I got started in MARS when I was stationed at Heilbronn, Germany as a journalist for the base newspaper. I did a story on the MARS station and became friends with several operators.  I used the MARS station almost every day to talk to my husband, who was in the Navy and stationed in Norfolk, VA at the time as a JO2.  It was fun and rewarding making calls for people.  A funny call I made once was one of my own.  My husband and I were involved with Square Dancing and he wanted my measurements so that a friend could make us some outfits.  By this time I had been an operator for several months and knew at least the names of operators all over the system.  Anyway, I went ahead and gave my husband the measurements over the air, not even thinking about what I had done.  Sure enough, a few minutes later several other operators were enjoying it and teasing me about my measurements.  It was sort of embarrassing, but funny too and showed the camaraderie that all of us developed from working with MARS. I will always enjoy my time there, and did it for about two years.

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Gerald Haas, USMC

I was stationed with Mag16 at MMAF in the communication center in 68 and 69. On two occassions I was able to make a phone call home using your radio relay facilities to a ham operator on the West Coast. The HAM operator placed a connect call to my family and I was able to talk for I think 5 minutes. Simply put it was "Great".

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Paul Hammond USA

I was never an official MARS member. In 1955, I was a high speed intercept, Morse Code, operator with the 337th ComRecon. Unit with the Army Security Agency, stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. I took my General Class Amateur Radio License test at the Ft. Bragg MARS station. After receiving my License I was allowed to use the station BC-610 and from time to time I passed messages for the MARS system. I have never actually been a MARS member.

It was a great experience and I have considered joining MARS on several occasions. I have enjoyed amateur radio for many years; have made many life long friends, and am active on several nets. We are presently in Fayetteville, NC in our motor home visiting our son who just returned from Iraq.

My friend Lee Hemmings, Ft. Madison, Iowa, W0IHC has been an Air Force MARS member for many years and is very active.

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Bruce Jones USMC

Just went through your site for 3rd Mar Div (FWD).  I arrived in DaNang in late April 1965. Was assigned to the Co. 'C', 3rd Eng Btn, 3rd Mar Div (FWD) from the 3rd Eng Btn on the Rock.

Stayed with the 7th Btn until about 7 July 65 when the 3rd Eng Btn came down from the Rock, we moved the compound from the DaNang airbase out to Dai Lai pass area.  And there I remained until med-evact'd out to Trippler Hospital in Hawaii - from there to Treasure Island Med Btn in SF, CA and waited for my discharge & release papers.

When I registered at the local draft board the guy told me that if needed, I would go "after the women & children".

Welcome home and thanks for the call to my girlfriend back in the states - but I never should have married her (lol).

Semper Fidelis

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