USS SKAGIT
and
Operation Double Eagle
Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
January 28, 1966








Double Eagle was the largest amphibious operation of the Vietnam War, and the largest amphibious invasion since Inchon Korea.

Despite rough seas and poor visibility, the landing was carried off as scheduled on the morning of January 28, 1966.

In early January 1966, Skagit embarked combat cargo and combat-loaded marines at Okinawa in preparation for an amphibious landing.

On 28 January, Skagit, as a unit of Task Group 76.6 made an assault landing near Thach Tru in southern Quang Ngai Province, in Operation "Double Eagle". Twelve amphibious force ships landed 5,000 United States Marines against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.

Amphibious activity continued until 16 February. This involved both Third Marine Amphibious Forces, based ashore at Danang, and Seventh Fleet ready forces afloat.

The attack transport Paul Revere was flagship.This operation was considered highly successful.

Four Marine Battalion Landing Teams, with a helicopter element and a battery unit participated. The Amphibious Ready Group was requested until 28 February by MACV to provide continuing support for the second phase.

Where amphibious assault features were incidental to what was mainly a land-based drive, the quality and extent of Navy support was judged particularly noteworthy. Battalion teams were landed, backloaded, and moved as called for with exceptional mobility.




The Ships of Task Group 76.6



 

  • Paul Revere (APA-248)

  • Skagit (AKA-105)

  • Catamount (LSD-17)

  • Navarro (APA-215)

  • Tom Green County (LST-1159)

  • Westchester County (LST-1167)

  • Windham County (LST-1170)

  • Fort Marion (LSD-22)

  • Valley Forge (LPH-8)

  • Princeton (LPH-5)
  • Montrose (APA-212)

  • Safeguard (ARS-25)

  • Elkhorn (AOG-7)

  • Oklahoma City (CLG-5)

  • Topeka (CLG-8)

  • Barry (DD-933)

  • Monticello (LSD-35)

  • Weiss (APD-135)

  • Repose (AH-16)

 




~ Recollections ~




Good Afternoon,

My name is Bryan Wilson and I am the youngest son of Sergeant Major Frederick Wayne Wilson (Captain, USMC Ret.) I am trying to find some stories to spread to my children about my father. Still to this day my father doesn't speak much about Vietnam, but I do know he was a part of Operation Double Eagle because I have a citation for the presentation of the bronze star. I have attached a copy of this citation. If you can find any additional stories about my father.

SGT Wilson's Bronze Star Citation

Thank You

Bryan E. Wilson
E-Mail: bwilson@hartdistrict.org




Mike,

I made the landing for Operation Double Eagle from USS Navarro (APA-215) or had transferred to a LST down a landing net to get to the beach in rough seas, it made this Marine's sphincter pucker.

Officially I was with Mortars (4.2") -1-12. However, I frequently found myself donated to other units as needed- a curse, I believe, related mostly to my being the junior enlisted man in Fire Direction Control, the place where the senior NCOs and officers liked to hang out. I was an E-3 / E-4 and therefor outranked.

Anyway, like I said, my recall is a tad shaky, having been half asleep much of the time in Nam. You have to understand, my time was spent filling sand bags, humping artillery ammo, digging foxholes, building bunkers, laying barbed wire, going on patrol, standing perimeter guard, standing FDC watch, responding to fire missions, acting as FO on OP50, and going on operations into the interior. That was the bulk of it anyway.

Sgt. Rick Smith USMC
e-mail: rrsmith@mtintouch.net

50 cal.

DECK MOUNTED 50 cal, USS NAVARRO




Blue Beach

BLUE BEACH




Rick Smith

HANGIN' OUT





Michael Stanley
Onboard: 1965-1967
Division: X Rate: PN3

I have a few news clippings and PIO releases from Operation Double Eagle you may find interesting.

TO VIEW THE CLIPPINGS
CLICK HERE






William J. Anderson
Onboard: 1963-1966
Division: M
Rate: FN

Operation Double Eagle was at Quang Ngai, Vietnam. Prior to that we had a practice operation in the Philippines. We were off at Quang Ngai from 28 January, 1966 - 16 February, 1966. We had landing craft from the Skagit bring troops and supplies onto the beach. I remember that the night before the landing we would see lanterns swinging along the beach like soldiers marching. After it was all over I remember the Marines returning in the mike boats singing the Marine's Hymn. After the operation was over we moved the Marines to Chu-Lai. I was told that the army was landing inland and the Marines coming from the sea idea was to cut them all off from escape.
Not too long after the operation I transferred off the Skagit for permanent duty in Vietnam I was on a mike 8 for 12 months, 6 months on the river that went to Hue, 6 months DaNang and AnWah.

Bill Anderson
gande@suffolk.lib.ny.us




Tom Herbert
Onboard: 1964 - 1966
Dept. E (Gunnery)
Rank: LTJG

I was aboard during Operation Double Eagle. The Amphibious part of Double Eagle started on 28 January 1966. I remember that the weather was bad. We made a dawn landing which meant that we approached the landing area with no lights. It was tough putting the boats in the water because of the seas and the fact that we could not use lights on deck except for small red lights. I remember a cruiser and a destroyer firing on the beach before the landings. The initial landings were made by LVT's from the LST and the LSD. The Skagit boats were used to send in supplies as needed. The weather was bad most of the time which made it difficult to off load from the cargo holds. I remember seeing helos from the Valley Forge flying overhead a few days later carrying in Marines to the beach. I understand that most of the Viet Cong escaped. At the end of Double Eagle, another operation was started called Double Eagle II. Marines from Chu Lai and from the Valley Forge again tried to attack the Viet Cong and again they were unsuccessful. The last picture in the cruise book for that cruise is a picture of an explosion on the beach caused by a Marine Howitzer.
We had, I believe about 100 Marines on board. I remember talking to some of them in the wardroom during the cruise from Okinawa. One lieutenant was a forward artillery or air spotter. They did go ashore to participate in the operation but I think that after the operation we loaded them back on the ship and probably finally put them ashore at Chu-Lai. At various times during the operation Marines would come aboard for various things. They were so glad to get some good food and a shower and to be able to sleep without worrying about the enemy.

Thomas Herbert
thomas.herbert@mcguire.af.mil




W. E. " Bill" Darling
Onboard: Jan. '65 - Nov. '66
Dept. Navigation
Rank: LT.

Here's some information from the '65 - '66 WesPac cruise you may be able to use on the Double Eagle web page.


  • Days Deployed - 259
  • Miles Steamed - 25,419
  • Days Underway - 118
  • Days In Port - 23
  • Combat Personnel Transported - 556
  • Cargo Transported - 5,365.52 Short Tons
  • Landing Craft Beachings - 845
  • Gallons Of Diesel Used For Boats - 49,488
  • Days In Combat Zone - 38
  • Days Of Hostile Fire Pay - 25
  • Gallons NSFO Burned - 1,484,656


The practice landing prior to "Double Eagle" was held at San Jose on the southwest tip of Mindoro Island the Philippines. It was code named "Hilltop III".
The weather was warm, clear and during daylight hours. Just the opposite of the "Double Eagle" landing.

W. M. "Bill" Darling (LCDR) Ret.
cdarling6@juno.com




Glenn Bergeron
Onboard: 1965 to 1967
Division: X
Rate: PC3

I do remember Operation Double Eagle very well, also Operation Bootstrap right after that off Phu Bai. I wrote a poem titled "The Eagles Night". The first line was taken from a Radioman or Electronics Tech that was there and he said one day he was going to write a poem that began "An overcast sky breathed a wet whistling wind". and that line always stayed with me. I hope he doesn't mind that I used it here because it fits so good.

"The Eagles Night"


An overcast sky breathed a wet whistling wind
Troops were aboard with a prearranged plan
"Course due west" to a place call Quang Ngai
Our Captain announced tomorrow we land.

The mess deck was crowded, Sailors and Marines
Our Chaplain endeavored to give them some ease
Hanoi Hanna seductively whispered their names
and promised sure doom to men who were teens.

Ship's approached shore in the early morning mist
we checked and re-checked our equipment and gear
as we looked to each other for comfort or grit
One Alpha was called this could be dreadful and dear.

Landing craft slipped into the angry sea
Marines went down nets in full battle gear
Assault boats in line made their dash to the beach
as the first light of dawn was seen in the East.

Wave after wave boats made it to the beach
such a foreboding sight this land we had reached
the coast line was rugged the beaches were steep
VC were waiting they were not asleep.

Explosions, small arms were heard all around
as Marines pushed inland to take the high ground.


Glenn J. Bergeron
glenn1796@earthlink.net




I was a Marine in Vietnam 1969-70 mostly in Chu Lai area and just retired as a naval gunfire liaison officer with 3rd Bn 14th Marines as a Navy commander. I also saw service in Beirut and Desert Storm.

To see the 1968 - 1971 Army's operations at Red Beach following Operation Double Eagle, go to the Bravo 1/20 website:

Bravo Company 1st Bn / 20th Inf / 11th Inf Bde / Americal Division-Vietnam

Robert Skwaryk CMDR USN Ret.
rfsnglo314@earthlink.net




My ship, USS Topeka (CLG-8) relieved USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5), but isn't mentioned on your site?

Tom

***********


Navy gunners fired 19,556 rounds in February in support of missions that ranged from small besieged fronts to the amphibious operation DOUBLE EAGLE and the U. S. Army's search and destroy mission, MASHER.

Oklahoma City (CLG-5) with COMSEVENTH Fleet embarked and Barry (DD-933) started the month by firing 100 rounds in support of DOUBLE EAGLE, and when Oklahoma City departed for Yokosuka, she was replaced by Topeka (CLG-8).


************





Request permission to come aboard.

My name is Bond, J.T. I was assigned to LCM1 during Operation Double Eagle.I can remember a lot of the operation, even though I was a small part of it.
The Mike boat that I was assigned to ended up losing one of it's engines and the debarkation ship used us as a messenger boat. At the time it was enoyable and exciting, but also a lot of work.

Joseph T. Bond




Hi--

I am Miles J.O. Gullingsrud Jr., USMCR. I was a radio telegraph operator with Second Battalion Third Marines during Operation Double Eagle, January-February 1966.I was a lance corporal at the time of the operation and later was promoted to corporal just before rotating home. My battalion, originally 1/5 at Camp Pendleton but morphed into 2/9, arrived in RVN after a layover on Okinawa in late April 1965. We were the last battalion to transplace to WestPac under the original peacetime schedule. Shortly after our arrival, all battalion personnelin country were shuffled, which is how I wound up in2/3.
Like most 2533s in the grunts, I served as a voice operator just like the Division-trained 2531s, the main maddening difference being that our weapon was the M-14 rifle rather then the easier-to negotiate Colt .45 pistol.

My specific assignment was personal radioman for the battalion commander, Lt. Col. William Horn, in which role I carried a PRC-25 tuned to the battalion tactical net, making me the link between the colonel and hiscompany commanders and other supporting units. My spot in the command group was pretty much between the colonel and Sergeant Major Poorman.

I am planning a trip to Vietnam in October, my first visit since returning home in June 1966,when we sailed all the wayfrom Danang via Naha, Okinawa, directly to San Diego.
I would be interested in any tips pertinent to such a return trip. I'd especially like to know how to arrange visits to places where I served, mainly on the Marine line around Danang, particularly on both sides of Hill 327.

My memories of Double Eagle include tuning up in Subic Bay, arriving off Quang Ngai aboard the Valley Forge,and then a lot of flying about in those old high-backed helicopters with the single door, looking for an enemy which, it became obvious, had learned all about our plans well in advance. We met some light opposition along the way and took some light casualties.

At one point we got right next to the border way inland and may even have crossed over in search of an enemy POW camp, that is, a place where our guys were supposedly being held.

I also remember trudging along through some rough terrain and looking up to discover that we were negotiating the line of cratersfrom a recent B-52 strike area.

Another Double Eagle recollection was digging in for the night by a bridge along Route One, pretty close to the beach,and providing security there for a gaggle of ARVN and US brass who choppered in for a meeting of some kind. I was pretty close to the group and have always thought one of the Vietnamese bigwigs looked a lot like Nguyen Cao Ky with his shades and light blue scarf.

We marched one night through a valley with our own naval gunfire shells bracketing us on both hillsides to keep the bad guys away. As dicey as that was, we reckoned it was preferable tothe large force counterattack that never materialized. I think it was right after thatepisode that the brass relented and sent us back to Danang and our old CP on the far side of 327.

I held arather cynical viewregarding what we were doing while I was there. For one thing, being privy to radio traffic between the colonel and his subordinates, as well as the regimental commander at times, I came to understand that these guys were flying blind sometimes and making it up as they went along at other times. Also, it seemed pretty obvious to us that the civilians were anything but thrilled to see us arrive in their midst, especially in the villages removed from Danang proper. The kids were all over us, begging cigarettes and candy, but the older folks kept their distance. Finally, I was carrying copies of Hell in a Very Small Place and Street Without Joy, two insightful books by French political scientist Bernard Fall, who was pretty much resigned to the idea that the failed French experience was likely to be repeated by any subsequent foreign occupiers.Fall was killed while patrolling as a civilian observer.

Semper Fi,
Miles Gullingsrud, USMCR




I was a Marine officer in command of the Amtrac Platoon assigned to BLT 3/1. We deployed from USS Catamount (LSD 17), and were the first wave ashore on D-Day of Double Eagle.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

OPERATION DOUBLE EAGLE

Reveille at 3:00 A.M.,
chow at 3:15.
Steak and eggs,
General Quarters,
we man our Amtracs.

I smell it first,
a pungent Terra Incognita.
Offshore musk of smoke,
pine and sour shit
envelops and disturbs.

In the well deck,
infantrymen scramble,
losing packs, grenades
and breakfast.

Assault teams aboard.
Green light,
splash,
there's the guide.

Small boat swoops up.
Khaki Ensign wrapped in
fat orange lifejacket
signals "line astern."

Night haze lightens,
gray ships surround,
fighters umbrella,
my radio chatters.

This morning
in Quang Ngai Province,
the sun comes up with thunder:
8", 5" and .50 caliber.

We form a column,
guide boat skips ahead,
our tracs plod in his wake.
We draw six inches of freeboard
but manage to kick up a breeze.

Onshore, bright explosions mangle palm trees,
dunes disappear behind rising brown-gray clouds.
We haven't learned to distinguish
naval guns from the massive crump of bombs
but there's no mistaking napalm's coruscating bounce.

Wide surf zone,
six foot breakers,
Left flank on line,
we button up,
guide boat turns away,
Ensign's salute too full of panache.
He'd practiced that one.

I stay out,
waves bear down,
washing over and soaking.
Radios cut out in surf-foam,
someone must control touchdown.

Galvanic adrenalin rush
shuts out sensation.
Calm envelops as
fear disengages.
I hear nothing.

Phase lines, checkpoints,
routes and objectives,
all seem superimposed
on beach and dunes.

Naval gunfire lifts,
close air rolls in,
everything enlarges.
This is not a movie,
there is no danger.

Dune machinegun flashes,
it's my decision.
We lock into the curl,
surfing into Vietnam.

Operation Double Eagle,
part of Masher/White Wing,
Young men heading West.
Army pushes Charlie our way.

For us,
it was payback,
revenge for friends who died
last Chu Lai Summer
in the burning tracs of
OPERATION STARLITE.


"LARGEST AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT SINCE INCHON"
(Stars and Stripes January 1966)

- - - - - - - - - - -

For more information on Amtrac operations, check out


www.amtrac.org


David Sconyers, PhD
Dean for Arts and Sciences
South Florida Community College
Avon Park, Florida
e-mail: David.Sconyers@southflorida.edu




Hello,

My name is Michael G. Murray II and I am a United States Marine Captain (Infantry Officer), prior enlisted, named after my uncle LCpl Michael G. Murray.

LCpl Murray was a USMC Boxer, infantryman, and he died during Operation Double Eagle.

I am not sure what Bn or Company he was with but if I could find out that would be great. I have recently come into posession of some of his documents and letters from Vietnam.

I visited in 1993 but was unsure of which operation he was in, where to go, etc.

If you could please pass this information along to anyone who could help me learn more about my name sake it would be greatly appreciated. Our family has a rich military tradition, especially in the Corps, and I am trying to preserve it for my children.

Thank you,

Captain Michael G. Murray II
2D MARDIV, Anti-Terrorism Battalion
e-mail: michael.murray@usmc.mil




I was a hospital corpsman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, and landed in Quang Ngai Province from U.S.S. Paul Revere on 28 January
1966. That of course was at the beginning of Operation Utah.
I have a detailed web site about my experiences in Vietnam, at

http://www.ingraham.ca/bob/vietnam_home.html

Bob Ingraham
Vancouver, BC




The map used on this page came from the

TASK FORCE OMEGA

web site and has been modified to show only the coast.




TASK FORCE OMEGA





Here are some other web sites that contain information on
Double Eagle

Naval Op's Vietnam

Operation Double Eagle

Amphibious Landings in South Vietnam

Vietnam Highlights - 4




If you were with a unit that participated in this operation, and would like to contribute to this web page----

e-mail me




Home - What's New - Skagit's Awards - Skag' Facts
Captains List - Sign Guest Book - View Guest Book - Time Line
Other Ships Of The Class - Ship's Pictures - Liberty Call
Crew Scrapbook - Reunion Assn. - Memorabilia - Links
Operation Double Eagle - Operation Passage to Freedom
Memorials - Sea Stories - Final Voyage - I Was a Sailor Once
Our Web Site Awards


This page last modified
Tuesday April 28, 2012
Web Site Designed by Mike
Copyright 1999/2012 All Rights Reserved.