Pacific Stars and Stripes information
for HA(L)-3
LST HARNETT COUNTY
LST JENNINGS COUNTY
LST HUNTERDON COUNTY

For date 680104


HA(L)-3 was a US Navy unit
LST HARNETT COUNTY was a US Navy unit
LST JENNINGS COUNTY was a US Navy unit
LST HUNTERDON COUNTY was a US Navy unit
Primary service involved, US Navy
Operation GAME WARDEN
South Vietnam
Location, Mekong Delta
Description: SAIGON (PAO) - //Editor's note: what follows is an edited version of a feature story with photos// Each day the VC are faced with rocket, machinegun, mortar and cannon fire. His strongholds are threatened with total destruction and his movement of troops and supplies has become seemingly impossible. In short, Charlie has big problems in the Delta and a lot of these problems are due to four flat-bottomed, slow-moving U.S. Navy ships of WWII vintage, tank landing ships (LSTs) that until 1966 were lying idle in the Reserve Fleet. With the Navy's involvement in the river war, there was a need for mobile bases that could support river craft and armed attack helicopters. Four LSTs, the Jennings County, Hunterdon County, Harnett County, and Garrett County, were pulled from mothballs and outfitted to support the Navy's Operation GAME WARDEN forces in the Delta. The first arrived in Vietnam in Nov, 1966. Each "T", as they are called by their crews, carries a full river patrol boat (PRB) section, 50 to 60 officers and men, and a detachment of HA(L)-3 which consists of two UH-1B armed Hueys with 16 pilots and aircrewmen. Work on these support ships is an around-the-clock affair. They move almost constantly, anchoring only for short periods of time. The PRBs come and go at all times of the day or night, maintaining their constant patrol of the rivers. The helicopters make their regular patrols and are on constant alert for emergency support for the PRBs, friendly outposts or other forces that night need air support. The ship herself is frequently called upon to provide fire support. The PRB section is almost wholly dependent upon the ship both for logistics and maintenance. They are 31-foot, 7 1/2 ton fiberglass boats equipped with two V-6 diesel engines that power two water jet pumps; radar, radios and a variety of weapons including twin and single 50 cal. machineguns. Maintenance is done on the ship's tank deck which requires the PRB to be lifted out of the water and through a deck hatch - a task of skill and precision by itself. The helicopter crews perform their own maintenance, but the ship provides fuel and ammo plus landing signalmen to direct the helos on and off the ship. While the LSTs support MEDCAP visits to villages and hamlets along the rivers, they also treat sick or wounded Vietnamese who can come along side in sampans. The normal rotation for the four LSTs is to have three on the rivers in operational status while the other is at the Naval Ship Repair Facility at Subic Bay or maybe on R&R in Hong Kong.

The source for this information was 6801pss.avn & paper copy supplied by Les Hines


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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021