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."
MCB 53 VIETNAM
Vietnam Fact versus Fiction
Link to MCB 53
Unit and Personal Awards resource
across Mag-16 towards the Hospital, Camp Adenir, and the Song Han River.
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.
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.
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. ----
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
Deyoung photo album
Fred Pais photo album
Richard Cheers album '69 tour
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
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.
Sunday, 27 April, 1969. The day the ammo dump went up.
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.
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.