The "Rat Patrol" and VC sappers in the Saigon Port Complex

The following information and pictures were provided by Wayne Ferguson

with new pictures at the bottom.

Picture I - The Newport Bridge with a section blown out of it, not sure exactly how it happened, we were told the it was hit by a rocket during an attack on a storage area near by. This happened around March 1968.

Picture 2 - Smoke rising over Saigon during the TET offensive. This picture was made during the early days of the TET offensive , when things were still very chaotic. We had just got word that a company size force of VC were headed up river toward Saigon. We were told to stop them. I made this picture as we were headed out of Saigon Port. I guess we were lucky that day as we never made contact with this enemy force, either they were already gone or the report was false. Picture taken the first week of February 1968.

Picture 3 - The ship is the Seatrain Texas. In late February 1968 around midnight the Seatrain Texas was mined near Nha Be about 5 miles south of Saigon. The VC were constantly attacking shipping in these areas in hopes of sinking a big ship in the channel and thus preventing cargo from reaching the Saigon Port area. Though they used a mine here, their favorite weapon against shipping was the RPG. Many ships came into Saigon Port with holes in the wheel house from these and other weapons. See the related page on water mines used by the VC in this area

Picture 4 - This is the damage to the Seatrain Texas and the repair work under way. Pictures made February 1968.

Picture 5 - A mortar attack at Nha Be. Nha Be was a main fuel depot. I have been there several times when it was mortared. It usually took place at night. This was a daytime attack, and allowed me to get a picture of it. Picture made around April 1968.

Picture 6 - This is the back of my boat the J-3796. We were cleaning weapons and checking ammo. Picture made early January 1968.

GI in the picture is Fred Norgan.
J-Boats are work and inspection boats. In addition to patrol work as used above they can be used to ferry small groups of passengers. They are steel-hulled, about 46 feet in length with a beam of about 12 feet. It has two 200 hp diesel engines to propel it to a maximum 16.5 knots. The J-Boat has a mean draft of 3 and one-half feet.
Two of my VN buddies, Greg Dougherty (in back) and Fred Norgan. Fred and I have recently made contact with each other again after 29 years. We now keep in touch through email.
This is me and our "Jolly Roger" on Christmas Day 1967
This is a picture of Saigon as we were passing by on the Y-73. Picture made April 1968.
A tug pulling two barges of ammunition. Ammunition came in at Cat Lai and was off loaded onto barges and towed by tug to Cogido. See Small Tug Ambushed while Towing Ammo Barges on the Dong Nai from Rod Mitchell
This is a picture of me on the fuel tanker Y-73. We were taking a load of fuel (JP-4), to the Mekong Delta. The Y-73 had 6 - 5,000 gallon tanks. We took this load of fuel to Ben Tre. Picture made April 1968. The Y-73 had two 50 Caliber machine guns mounted on top.
One of the other guys manning the guns on our trip to the Delta.
Recovered items from one of our boats that was sunk by the VC.
Ralph,
Here is another picture on me on the Y73.  Add it to my other pictures if it looks okay to you.  I have also included some newspaper clips that might be of interest.
 
Thanks,
Wayne Ferguson

 

Hope you enjoy the pictures, they are a small part of 4th TC History. Wayne Ferguson, 528th and HHC 4th Trans Command, Vietnam May 1967 to May 1968.


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