This site has Historical Information on Vietnam Deployment of
Army Reserves Medium Boat, 1968-69 from St. Petersburg Florida
231st LCM8's (Mike Boat 72' x 22.2') Mekong Delta 1968
19 LCM8 Mike Boats with typical crew of six men (live aboard)
2 Coxswains, 2 Marine Engineers, 2 Deck Hands
All men were expected to handle the two 50 Cal and two M60 Machine Guns
M79 Grenade Launchers, Individual M16's auto, 45 Cal auto pistol.
231st initial crew 1968 Bravo 16
Roger Kennedy, Russ King, Jon Cameron, Phil Skeleton, front Tom Twitty, Robert Reid
Average age 25, two years of college, Spec. E-4 or E-5
231St Army Reserves War
Call Up The Army Reserves - It was May 1968 and President Johnson approved a limited call up of 35 Reserve Units for 24 months or less. Many of the Army units were not combat-ready and only a few, about 1,000 were sent to Vietnam. One of them, the 231st Transportation Company Boat Company from St. Petersburg, FL was called. Ready or Not, we were chosen to get battle-ready in 4 months and shipped directly to Vietnam Mekong Delta. The 231st was staffed by 196 men of worldly experience from 19 to 50 years of age with the average age of 25. Combat was not our DNA but the Army had other plans which we were not aware of. The Army figured out a special mission using our Men and Boats. (Note; we had never seen or trained with these LCM Boats).... The Mission was to support the Mobile Riverine Force and 9th Infantry in an all-out effort "Game Warden" in the Mekong Delta. It was an Allied Offensive using US Navy, Army, Air Force along with South Vietnamese ARVN troops. The mission was to cut off all influx of enemy supplies and troops from North Vietnam coming threw Cambodia down to Mekong Delta and beyond. The main enforcement on the Rivers and Canals was handled by the Navy PBR Boats and Army 9th Infantry units. Our 231st Army Transportation Unit maned and operate 19 LCM 8 landing crafts that were customized for the Mission. We were to support the massive Riverine Force and deliver logistic materials and troops to the many out bases. There was no way to reinforce this effort except via Air and Water using Rivers and Canals that were dredged during the failed French Indochina War 1946-1954. Most of the 231st was unaware of this mission until arriving in-country. Our River War was underway for the next 12 months. Another name for the mission was the Shallow Water War. (The Mekong Delta consisted of 15,600 Sq., 3,000 miles of waterways.) Many of then unpassable (LCM 8's drew a little over 4.5 Ft. of water). They could bounce over logs and sandbars usually.
Politics - We had lost the first battle with the Army through our Congressional Delegation of Florida for we were trying to negate the call up in general. The reason, the unit was not trained in close combat operations using this equipment. We were a Heavy Boat unit I.E. Tug Boats and Cargo Ships. We lost that battle and proceeded to get ready for the mission that only a few knew about. Suddenly the unit had been designated LCM Med Boat Unit with 19 LCM8’s (Landing Craft Mechanized).
This Reserve Call-Up was dubbed as the ” Clark Clifford Experience”. Clifford had replaced Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in 1968 and convinced President Johnson to deny General Westmore land’s request for an additional 206,000 American troops. So the training began for the 231st at Ft. Eustis for 120 days and then the main body arrived in late Aug. 1968 in Vung Tau South Vietnam. It was right after the North Vietnam TET Offensive and the US Command was planning a major counteroffensive in the Mekong Delta and surrounding Rivers. This had been the main route that the North Vietnam Army had infiltrated men and supplies for the Tet Offensive.
On arrival by air in Vung Tau, Vietnam late Aug. 1968 the Unit received the 19 bare bones LCM's 8's. These 72 Ft Landing Craft boats had been Mothballed since new around 1956-58. We went to work for the next 30 days to un-mothball and build-out Plywood Living quarters for a crew of 6 men to a boat. We armed the boats with two 50 caliber machine guns and mounts including a protective armor plate along with other weapons issues including two 30 caliber M60 machine guns, two M79 grenade launchers, and 6 personal M16’s fully automatic. The Six-man crews were all ( NCO’s) with highest rank of E5 for Coxswain and Chief Engineer. The missions for Bravo 16, my boat, began with a surprise cargo of Budweiser Beer. This cargo was destined for delivery to the 9th Infantry about 200 clicks deep in Delta at their Base known as Dong Tam. It was in a very remote area with zero road access on a cross-section of canals about 40 clicks from the main river. We hunkered down beached behind an unknown artillery battery (another story). We were instant heroes flying our Florida Flag as we arrived at this base bringing beer for all. The mission of the 9th Infantry was to root out the Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops and supplies from the hamlets and surrounding villages. They were inserted by various means including Helicopter and Landing craft etc..
Note: we were informed by Col. Boyd (see below) the 50th-year Commemoration of serving during the Vietnam War. Boyd indicated the 231st was not only the first Reserve Unit in Vietnam but of all the reserves call-up, only 1,000 served in the war zone. The following links and pages will attempt to put it on record. The Photos and other details of this Unit’s service and the History and current situation of its members. Send any updates please and I will try to post them asap. TJTwitty@gmail.com
This site created and Published since 1999 by Tom Twitty, Publisher, and Editor of CombatVets.net
THE ARMY RESERVE AND VIETNAM by JAMES T. CURRIE
Members of the 35 USAR units in Vietnam received 277 Certificates of Achievement and the following other awards: one Silver Star, five Legion of Merit awards, 384 Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals, 779 Army Commendation Medals, and 20 Purple Hearts. Additionally, the 231 st Transportation Company (Floating Craft), from St. Petersburg, Florida, was selected as the Army's outstanding transportation unit in Vietnam and received the National Defense Transportation Award. Two Army Reserve units were recommended for the Presidential Unit Citation, 13 for the Meritorious Unit Citation, and one for the Unit Cross of Gallantry (Vietnam). There were some problems with Army Reserve units in Vietnam, but they were not problems caused by the units themselves. The biggest gripe from unit personnel was the Army's policy of "infusion," i.e. of taking members out of USAR units and replacing them with non-unit personnel. As the French military thinker Ardant Du Picq stated: "Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a lion. Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid will attack resolutely. There is the science of the organization of armies in a nutshell."
Fantastic collection by our Traveling Company Clerk
Mekong Delta Yacht Club License Tags New Order Arrived - Changed Date from (1965-1971) on Tag. Good for all Navy and Army personel that served in the Delta.
This tag is really cool and says it all in a discreate way. All troops that served in the Brown Water Navy should have one of these. Pass The word.
Cameron Design (copyrights pending) Mekong Delta Yacht Club License Tags for your ride. A discrete way of all Delta Vietnam Vets saying, "I was there".
$15.00 each, Plus $5.00 if mailed. Send orders via e-mail to TJTwitty@Gmail.com and pay for them using PayPal link below.
Note the company receiving donations is LovedOnes Inc.
LovedOnes has handled all cost to publish CombatVets and 231st Vietnam
T Shirts for 231st Army Reserves.
Norm Cameron has designed some really great cool looking T's and is collecting orders at this time. Go to this page to inspect and order your shirts. These shirts are Limited Edition one time print and only available to members of the Army 231st Reserves Members and their families. This includes all 231st members that served at any time and any place.
See Larger Images and order form here.. Order blank is obsolete..
April 7th 2015-231st Vietnam Luncheon American Legion
Post 273 Madeira Bch. Click Photo or link below for photos.
We had a great turnout at the Legion and Norm Cameron delivered all pre-sold T-shirts that were done to attendees. Tom Twitty presented the Mekong Delta Yacht Club License Tag sample and took Pre-Orders for 25 units. Happy to say two of the guys allowed their Wife's to attend.
20 of the troops, the best showing of the year. Thanks Tom
New 2/21/2015 50th Commemoration of the Army Reserve in Vietnam
Dr. Boyd and other VIPs did a fantastic job
presenting the 50th Commemoration event at the Max Stover Army Reserve Center. He presented a Certificate of Appreciation to all attending 231st Army Reserves Boat Unit Members.
I have sent out a high resolution to all members that we have e-mail for and it may be printed for framing.
It was a well done presentation and 15 of our 231st Vietnam Vets present and some with family plus 2 from the 319 Truck Unit out of Augusta GA. The current St. Pete 788th Medical hospital reserve unit was present plus a covey of Army Brass. Our hands were sore from all the Welcome Home Handshakes. Where were all those nurses when we were over in Nam?
Here larger Pix.
What we did. Friday, Oct. 13th: 2006 Arrival reception around Harry’s
Pool Bar at Sirata Resort. About 31 of the vets showed up for
cocktails and then it was off to Silas Dents for Dinner and more drinks.
The night ended up at Sirata Lobby Lounge whereas about 8 of the
seasoned Vets closed the place down, or almost. . Saturday, Oct. 14th: 10:00 AM
started with a hang-over for some and we spent the day telling lies and
showing the DVD's and slides. Notable DVD' included the Super 8
movies converted by Jim Sanders and Tracy Presser which we were able to
project for all to see. (These images will be available shortly
vis this website) 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM we
boarded the Starlight Princess for our dinner cruise with speaker
George Calder Supervisor of the Florida Dept. of Veterans Affairs at Bay
Pines. Interested facts and pointer were obtained for the benefits
of both Vets and Spouses for now and into the future. Lt. Joe
Vetrano read the list of our departed comrades in arms and we toasted
them in spirit. An outstanding dinner was served and we visited and
listened to the band and did some dancing. Everyone split at 10:00
PM when the boat landed to watch the Gators have a melt down. It was a
great night and the weather was perfect. Sunday, Oct. 15th: Breakfast
at Resort Restaurant. for those that were up and at them.
Goodbye's by all and a promise to get together in a year at Chat A
Ways for lunch and plan a Caribbean Cruise for the 40th
Anniversary of our Call Up. So put it on your calendar now
George Calder gave me his direct e-mail to
his Bay Pines office and is standing by to help with any claims you may
want to submit for Service Connected Disability. Note: Send any pictures that
you want published on our website to me at the e-mail list below.
Also I want to thank all the folks that participated and helped me run
down the troops for this reunion. Special thanks for those that
donated some Cash to make all this happen. Till the Tide Comes In!
NEW-- posted 2/19/2015
Sander's Video of the 231st Army Reserves
River War on Vietnam's Mekong Delta Area
New -- Posted 3/06/2015
Tracy Pressners 231sr Army at War
Movie on the Mekong Delta
Movie on YouTube Published from Lowell Thomas movie collection. Interesting new images of the mission. Click on Lowell's Photo. ENJOY!
(If no music, it's been blocked, -but we have disputed the copyright claim) .
Thanks Rod Harris for providing Lowell's Movie. RIP Lowell Thomas on of the great guys.