USS Skagit Family Gram
1967 WestPac Cruise
1 October 1967
We departed Subic Bay, Philippines on 13 September, arriving in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, early on the morning of the l6th. The supply activity there wasted no time in replenishing our fresh water and fuel while we loaded 30,000 tons of cargo destined for Hue (pronounced "way")Vietnam, about thirty miles north of Da Nang. Our crews worked around the clock once more, loading this vast amount of material. We were a very heavy ship when we headed out of the harbor, for in addition to our holds being completely filled, we also had filled seven of our "Mike" boats with light weight cargo, giving us an additional 9,000 cubic feet of cargo space. This load was probably one of the largest ever carried by an AKA.
It took us six hours to reach our anchorage, which was 2000 yards seaward of the Song Huong River mouth. Then began the long task of off-loading everything into the boats for the eleven mile trip up the river to the supply ramp at Hue. Our boats, led by the four boat group officers, and manned by their personnel and those from several other divisions, made the round trip in four hours. Each boat was well protected and well armed.
Meals while on the river were no problem, and many of us got our first taste of the new "C" rations. There are eight choices, including ham and eggs, beefsteak and gravy, chicken and noodles, beef and noodles, and franks and beans. Each ration includes dessert, protein crackers with spread, cigarettes, gum, and its own can opener.
The meandering river was lined with rice paddies, ancient temples and shrines, small villages, fish traps, and sampans. Because of the situation here we could not come in contact with any of the people, but there were smiles and waves from those along the shore, One fisherman who had made a particularly big catch, - a fish weighing about 40 lbs - was showing off his prize to us on one trip.
Today we off-loaded the last pallet of cargo and steamed back to Da Nang. I'll keep you informed as much as I can about our operations here. Again, I urge you to write as often as you can.
The mail service is normally excellent, and makes one's day easier and brighter when he's included in "mail call".
W. A. Mackey
Captain U. S. Navy