Comments from Randy Miller

[  Hi Bear, Let's add your stories to the list.]

I was known as the 'Bear'. I was an Electrician 3rd when I got out in July of 68. Joined BSU in Jan of 65 after Electricians 'A' school. Bunch of us came from there and went straight to the LCSR's. Went to Danang with about 30 guys in June of 65 from BSU-1 to handle cargo. Then went to site in Sept 66 in an Engineman billet to work on the Nasty's. In Sept 67 went to Na Bhe to MST-3 to do river patrol work with the Seals in the Rung Sat Special Zone. All nite missions on the river.

I hung around with Branch, Retzko, Stewart, Bowers, Chouinard, Houston, Bill Moreo and others. Rode LCSR's when I was in the States on Highstreet's boat and a guy I can't think of. Many a night out at San Clemente Island. Worked in the battery locker next to the main shop and I drove the 2 1/2 ton truck into town to pick up engines at Solar.

If your the guy I'm thinking of, you were a 3rd class when I was an EM-3 at site. We replaced alot of Napier Deltic engines during that time. Went out on a few night runs along the southern coast. You got a little sea sick when we went out on the Nasty's. Sitting down in the engine room seat watching gauges while underway was quite an experience. A lot of pounding.

I'm in touch with a few of the guys. We had a mini reunion a few years back in San Diego.

Write back when you can and we'll swap some stories.

Ha Swik a Dee (remember that)

Randy  Miller

Monday, September 17, 2001 5:12 PM

Subject: What was your Rate??

Randy I was was there 64-65-66 as EN2 Jim Thomas( had a lavander 65 GTO) rode LCSR's and Trained PCF crew in the states, three tours in Da Nang with MST-1

Jim Thomas


Dear Dan,
Great website. Finally after 35 years there is someone out there that can verify what I was doing in Viet Nam. I went to BSU-1 around Jan 65 straight out of Electricians A school. Seems about 20+ or so of us came over. We mostly were assigned to the 52 ft LCSR's twin turbine boats. We had about 8 of them I think. We would go out to San Clemente Island and go chase ships at nite. I had no idea at the time why. Now I know. We didn't have the 13 boat then, it came around later. I went to DaNang in June '65 with about 25 BSU personnel to handle cargo at Tien Shaw ramp next to the PT base. We lived on troop ships in the harbor. We ran into a few folks and saw some of the boats depart but I was an E-nothing puke so I didn't have a clue what was going on . My claim to fame the 5 months that we were there is that we rented outboard boats from the USO and water skied up and down and around the Danang River. We worked our asses off though, until the Cargo Handling Battalions showed up and relieved us.

In Sept of '66 I went to 'site' for a 6 month tour. I went to SERE training before I left although I had already been in country. We were issued weapons upon arrival but hardly ever carried them. We worked on the boats all the time. We could replace an engine in 8 hours. I remember the snake and Pop's up at the shop. I remember that the PTF's had metal fuel tanks installed near the control room to give longer range. A 1st class engine man named Smitty noticed that the screws holding the planking together on the hull were backing out. We had to move those tanks all the flooring and use hand drivers to screw the screws back in then seal them. That was hard work. I got to ride only when we went south. I don't remember any of the MST personnel going north but they may have. We had a lot of spooks and CIA, Army, Air force and Navy types running around. I was down on the piers when they would bring prisoners in an we couldn't speak English in front of them. We were listening to the radio one night while on watch and heard Hanoi Hannah say that they had swimmers that were going to blow up the PT boat base in DaNang. That got our attention for awhile. I will always remember the flares lighting up DaNang at nite. It was really eerie.

I was known as the 'Bear" the 3 years I was in BSU-1. Most guys never knew my real name. In Sept of '67, I went to Nhe Be south of Saigon to do river patrol work with the Seals. We were MST-3 and had 1 mike boat, 2 LCPL's, and 2 boston whalers and about 25 personnel. Did 6 months there and came home in Apr of '68 and got out in July of '68 as an EM-3.

I'm touch with Gary Branch, Mike Bowers, and Nick Retzko all out of the original bunch from electrician A school. Jim Gray, who came along around 1970 has the history and pic's you would not believe about the history of BSU to the present. He just retired from the reserves as a Master Chief from the Special Boat Units.

It was great seeing the website and it brought up a lot of old memories. Some of the original guys are paranoid about their time in BSU but I'm not . The secrecy is off as far as I'm concerned. What did I know anyway. I have the same picture that's on your web site and some of the others and maps and pic's and slides but no scanner yet to send them. I also used to run the projector at the movie patio next to the enlisted rooms at Camp Fay. We used to have some kick ass volley ball games with the south Viet Namese. I can think of a hundred other things but must go for now. 

Keep in touch.

Randy 'Bear' Miller