MCB 53 Alumni Association

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount "up to and including my life."

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MCB 53 VIETNAM


Vietnam Fact versus Fiction

Link to MCB 53 Unit and Personal Awards resource


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Looking across Mag-16 towards the Hospital, Camp Adenir, and the Song Han River. The Marble Mountains, also known by their Vietnamese name of Ngu Hanh Son (Five Mountains Range), which the Vietnamese refer to as the five elements: water, metal, wood, fire, earth.
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This is more than a just a scenic photo of the entrance to Danang Harbor 1967. I took it through a airliner window on the way to R&R. Forty years later; I shared this photo via email with some fellow Seabees and found out that Monkey Mt. in the background was a multi-battalion project in 1967. Seabee Rick John, EO-3, MCB-6/ Island X-2, Fl with his D-8 and Jimmy Picotti, EO-3, MCB-7 with his dump truck helped build the road to the top of this mountain 2,200’ above the South China Sea. This mountain was critical in the war. On top was a USAF anti-aircraft Hawk missile battery plus radar and communications facilities. At the base of the mountain in the background of the photo is the deep water pier under construction. At the moment this photo was taken, Paul Curry, EO-3, MCB-128 told me he was operating a pile driver on the right pier.

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Was at the "Hawk Facility" towards the end of MCB 53's deployment. There was a typhoon that caused a lot of damage there and in the rest of the area. Had been to Monkey Mt. many times, but did not know what was at the top. Hauled a D8 up there to repair the roads and remove debris..... These guys lived a privledged life. Their two to four man "Huts" were more like hunting cabins with tongue and groove pine boards....Joe Bilak EO1. ----


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Night time East DaNang



THE PICTURES OF THE SHIP (THE KINGS POINT) AT SEA IS THE SHIP THAT WAS HAULING ALL OF MCB'S TOOLS TO RVN. THERE WERE THREE SECURITY GUARDS ON BOARD LARRY L. BECKETT (WHO WAS IN CHARGE), DONALD J. STRANDELL AND ME JOHN M. DIENST WHO TOOK THESE PICTURES. THAT SHIP WAS ALSO HAULING 200 TONS AND I REPEAT 200 TONS OF PREMIUM BEER. WHAT A TRIP THAT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Deyoung photo album   
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Richard Cheers album '69 tour


The linked photographs were taken from 1967 through 1969 and are in no particular order. There are misspellings and I would suppose a few descriptions that are not correct. Please overlook those little inconsistencies. I was on the advanced party on both deployments for the BEEP. My travels were from Da Nang to the rock pile at Vin Dai on Route 9. I saw some beautiful country. I ran the tire shop during both deployments and ended up the Battalion Tailor, inheriting my own sewing room adjacent to the tire shop. Most folks probably noticed the shined magnesium wheels with some fancy "General" tires on the CO’s jeep? I was given the wheels off a jeep that had broken loose from a helicopter. They were of course painted green. Using sandpaper and steel wool, I brought out a shine. The tires as I remember were trailer tires that were a 10 or 12 ply, being quite difficult to mount. The CO’s used them on their jeep for both deployments. I also gave illegal haircuts for those who did not like the barber. During the second deployment I had two local “helpers” who could do some amazing feats of physics moving tires around using sticks and bars, where I would need a forklift and chains. I experienced rocket attacks, a few flew into our base trying to get to MAG-16 across the road. The 1968 TET Offensive Lunar New Year Attack was an eye opener, but after about three days with no sleep, I crashed 10 straight hours. The ammo dump blowing up, for half a week, during the second tour, was also memorable. We could see the crushing shock waves rolling towards us. Entire Camps were leveled, but the speed in which all the bases were put back together was totally amazing. My enlistment ended before the end of the second deployment, so I was not able to fulfill the whole stint there. Arriving back at the states in San Diego was quite disgusting. Leaving the base as a civilian, walking past the anti-war folks chanting slogans, attacking all of us as being baby killers and the like. It was nasty, to say the least. I enrolled into a junior college, earned a degree in forestry, and have never been employed in forestry. Instead, after shuffling through several different jobs, I ended up in the cable television trade, starting off with tube amplifiers. I saw transitions from tubes to transistors and solid state to fiber optics. I designed two systems and helped maintain four of them, finally exiting the business after wrecking my knee falling off a pole during a snow storm. 23 years down the tubes? No. I went back to school again and after two semesters, have become a desk jockey and love it. I am currently a manager/assistant in one real estate office and an assistant in another while on the side do minor property management for apartments. I have been married 38 years and have two outstanding daughters and sons-in-law with four grandchildren. I worship at the Evangelical Free Church where I am the webmaster and am on the local parks and recreation district serving over 20 years on the board of directors as well as other organizations. The "Can Do" slogan followed me into civilian life. This linked photo album originally were slides that I converted to jpg format. If you would like to learn this technique, please contact me directly or through the caretaker of our web site. Stephen Cutting CMA-3 


The Computer Center was supposed to have custom electrical switching equipment – which never showed up. So we made and put in a custom tray with custom boxes, featuring home made circuitry – worked great.



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Sunday, 27 April, 1969. The day the ammo dump went up.
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    Donald F. Hovanec was born on December 10, 1949. His home of record is Carteret, NJ. Don enlisted in the US Navy and attained the rank of Builder Third Class (BU3) with MCB 53. BU3 Hovanec expired July 7, 1969 in Thua Thien, South Vietnam. Donald is buried at Holy Trinity Church Cemetery, Hopelawn, NJ.
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aboveandbeyonddogtags
When visitors first enter the museum, they will hear a sound like wind chimes coming from above them and their attention will be drawn upward 24 feet to the ceiling of the two-story high atrium.   Dog tags of the more than 58,000 service men and women who died in the Vietnam War hang from the ceiling of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago. The 10-by-40-foot sculpture, entitled Above & Beyond, was designed by Ned Broderick and Richard Steinbock. The tens of thousands of metal dog tags are suspended 24 feet in the air, 1 inch apart, from fine lines that allow them to move and chime with shifting air currents. Museum employees using a kiosk and laser pointer help visitors locate the exact dog tag with the imprinted name of their lost friend or relative.
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