Pictures and Comments  from Robert Tucker

[ Bob brings us PTF history from the MACV-SOG point of view. He is also looking for a buddy named Ed Clancy, RM1. ]

Dear Mr. Withers: 
I stumbled across your website today and what a surprise to see the PTF’s. I was stationed with Naval Advisory Detachment Danang (1969-1970) at Camp Fay under military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), (MACSOG-31). I road the PTF on Plowman Missions from Danang to the 17th Parallel and also on coastal search and destroy missions south of Danang. You have a great website and thanks for remembering the PTF’s and their crew! 

Sincerely yours, Robert K. Tucker RMCS USN (Ret.)

Dear Dan: 
As you may or may not know diaries and photographs were not allowed. I was surprised to see the photos of the PTF’s at Upper Base in Danang on your website. I do not proclaim to be a writer but I will forward from time to time information from memory that may or may not be acceptable; please feel free to completely discard, edit, delete or make additions to what I forward since I am not really sure what exactly your are interested in. No hard feelings either way. Since your website is primarily PTF’s I guess that I will start there with, What a watercraft! Fast, maneuverable, heavy fire power on the PTF that I road (40MM on the stern, two 20MM, one port one starboard amidships, M-60 machine gun on the bow, plus the M-16’s that we carried); I think that we had one PTF at Naval Advisory Detachment (NAD) Danang that also had a mortar on it. MST did the maintenance on the PTF’s/PCF’s and did an outstanding job in my personal opinion. The MST shipmates rotated back to the states every six months, which the NAD personnel took exception to. I think that some of the operations may still be classified; therefore, I will have to be careful here. I have read about the Plowman Missions that I participated in so I think that this is a safe area. The PTF’s were used on these missions from Danang north to the 17th parallel. I also participated in coastal search and destroy missions on PTF’s in “I Corps” south of Danang, and PCF search and destroy missions with the insertion of teams in “I Corps”. All of the Plowman missions that I was on were at night so I assume they all were. We would leave Danang at sunset and return around 10:00 am the following morning. These missions were harassment of the NVA, harassment of the “I Corps” VC, and the capture of specific individuals there were identified by a Marine Captain NAD Intelligence Officer. Some missions inserted the “Sacred Swords Patriots League” (SSPL) personnel for psychological warfare operations. I was the Radio Operator on the PTF’s and the PCF’s that NAD operated. I would communicate our position and operation status to (still classified) via morse code. Since our missions were at night around the 17th parallel we were very concerned that the United States Destroyers on patrol in the area would not mistake us for an NVA Patrol Craft and engage us. CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet) would send a message to the destroyers on patrol advising of a Plowman mission with the dates and times; however, we were always challenged and closed upon when they would see us on their radar. I would leave the radio room and authenticate our organization via morse code flashing light to the destroyers when we were challenged. I had the challenge/authentication codes in my pocked and written on my arm in felt-tip pen to ensure that I did not lose them and could reply with the correct authentication. We didn’t want to get blown out of the water by friendly fire! I can still remember the Commanding Officer (LCDR Edson) yelling down to the radio room; “Tucker get up here we are being closed upon and challenged by a destroyer!” I would hang around top side a little while to get a little of the warm breeze coming across the bow after I authenticated with the correct reply because that radio room was really hot with all of the radio equipment. I could not stay long because I couldn’t miss any incoming tactical communications and the Operations Specialist (OS) down below on the radar didn’t know morse code. In the morning on the way south back to Danang after the completion of the mission we would pull along side one of the destroyers because they were always interested in the PTF and the personnel aboard. The destroyers would always give us large containers of ice cream and tomatoes since we could not get any tomatoes in Vietnam. Every time the Commanding Officer of the destroyer would tell the crew “give these men whatever they want,” and it was much appreciated by the PTF crew! After a long night it was good eating that ice cream vs. “C Rats” from the 1940’s on our way back to Danang! I would save my tomatoes for dinner that night when I got back to Camp Fay. Well Dan, guess that this is a start. Don’t know if this is what you are really interested in or not. I can send more about PTF missions South of Danang, data about Camp Fay, and data about PCF missions if you are interested??????

Sincerely, Robert K. Tucker (Tuck) RMCS USN (Ret.)

Dean Dan: As “one of those destroyer guys” I would like to personally thank you for all of the ice cream and especially the tomatoes! I never went on a mission that we didn’t pull along side one of the destroyers on the way back to Danang the following morning to say hi to the tin can sailors and get some goodies from them. All of the CO’s on the destroyers were absolutely outstanding! It may have been the PTF since there were some destroyer sailors that want to know if I would swap duty with them. Do ya think that they wanted to ride that PTF??? I don’t think they understood the missions of the PTF or they wouldn’t have wanted to swap! Will e-mail some more since it appears that this is what you are looking for. I will also spend some more time at your site viewing the maps and photos to give you the best feedback that I can. Sincerely, Tuck -----Original Message----- From: Dan Withers [ ] Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 10:57 AM To: 'Robert Tucker' Subject: RE: PTF's Bob, that was an incredible contribution. That is the exact, personal recollection that makes sense to share. Take a look at the PTF base drawing and see if you recall it any different. We are constantly fine tuning that. I was one of those destroyer guys out there in the night. I was an ET on the USS Stoddard DD-566 ( ) and we were dodging PTF’s coming in and out of DaNang. This whole project started as a result of photos that I had taken in 1965 of PTF’s flying by us. One of the goals here is to gather info and photos, especially movies of PTFs for a “Great Ships” for the History Channel. No one knows about the PTF. The PCF and PBRs have gotten all of the glory. In the last month we have been contacted by guys with PTF 8mm footage. That was exciting to hear about. Anything you want to share may trip a memory from someone that will take us down another exciting thread. Your perspective is different seeing the boat as a death and delivery tool, not as a beast that came back shot up and needed fixed in too short of a time frame. Keep it rolling. Thanks, Dan

Dear Dan: Take a look at the photo located at I will call this photo “A” and take a look at photo located at I will call this photo “B”. If you look at photo “B” will you see an “L shaped” building directly to the left of the number 1 in this photo that indicates the Entrance to Camp Fay, this “L Shaped” building can also be seen better in photo “A” about in the center of the photo. This “L Shaped” building was “Monkey Mountain FOB” and was occupied by the Green Beret’s. The building contained Monkey Mountain FOB Communication Center, Operations/Mission Planning Room, Administration Offices, Green Beret EM Club, and living quarters for the Green Beret’s. Since their club was small and had no room for entertainment the Green Beret’s also attended the USO entertainment that was provided by NAD in Club Rendezvous which is correctly depicted by the number 7 in photo “B”. I was invited into the Green Beret’s EM Club on several occasions, which was a real experience with several Mountain Yard Cross Bows hanging on the wall. I didn’t go back after the last time there when I observed two Green Berets each at one end of the bar shooting beer cans out of each other hand with 9mm handguns and both of them were stewed to the gills! I remember one Green Beret named Al Davis, a real professional that had seen and done way too much in SOG. I sure hope that Al made it out of Nam okay because he paid more than his dues in my opinion!! I have the utmost respect for the Green Beret! There was no Theatre as depicted as number 9 in photo “B” when I was there from Feb 1969 to Feb 1970. I wish that I knew when this photo was taken. Maybe this building was converted to a theatre after I left. There was an outside cabana off of the Mess Hall correctly depicted as number 10 where we watched movies outside in the early evening. If you look at Photo “A” you will see an open field with some water on the left edge of the photo. This was the start of a Village that was named Soncha if I remember correctly. This field was always completely wet and was a rice paddy while I was there. The guard towers were exactly as I remember them to be and you can barley see one of the guard towers behind the corner of the “L Shaped” building. The rest of the buildings in the compound are as I remember them to be. I will take a stab at more later. 

Sincerely, Tuck

From Alan Sandoval:  There was no Theatre. It was an "outdoor enclosed area." There was some kind of roof, probably canvas, and it was enclosed with whatever mosquito protection we had at the time. Probably skimpy wood framing and screens. I was wrong to call it a "theater". It was right at the end of the enlisted barracks. Go down the "hall" turn right, and you are in the "mess hall." What did we call it? I can't remember! This was so cool after a year and a half on a ship. It really was more like a restaurant than a mess hall. This had to be the best part of my time there. There was always a "menu" to chose from. Cool! When I was on the Park County there was no issue over who was an officer and who was enlisted. Officers ate in the ward room and everyone else ate on the mess deck, aside from the 4 or 5 Chiefs who insisted on eating in their quarters in the far forward starboard compartment. On an LST that is about the most remote place on the ship. I do remember once or twice an officer would eat with us on the mess desk. I'm sure no Chief ever ate with the "crew". I guess I'm still pissed over that. What a bunch of arrogant assholes! At Camp Fay we all seemed to have a sense of equality. Make no mistake, enlisted didn't dis the officers, but we were treated with respect, most of the time. The true sign of this is that we all ate in the same place, enjoyed the movies together, and shared the club. In the late 60's this was a rare example of Officers and enlisted sharing the same space and enjoying the interaction. Camp Fay seemed to have an obsession with entertainment for the troops. Hired acts were at the club at least once a week, usually twice, Friday and Saturday. Also, bingo games! I think they were on Tuesday or Wednesday. I won a bunch of money on these. They were held in the "mess hall." There was an officer that had an obsession with some "special" cards and he'd show up early and get those cards for that night. I think he was the XO and I regularly beat him. I remember often leaving the bingo games with an extra 40 or 50 dollars in my pocket. Hmmm. I'm making it sound like it was fun. I guess parts of it were, aside from thinking I could be killed at any moment! Alan

Dear Dan: Yep, I remember the movies just like Alan does! And he is correct about the Mess Hall, we all ate together and the cooks and waitress's were Vietnamese. For breakfast we could order just about anything, lunch and dinner was what was prepared or we could always order cheeseburger and fries. I do remember all of the entertainment in the club and when we didn't have entertainment we had the slot machines. All the drinks were purchased with "Chit Books." I do not remember any bingo but I'm not a fan of bingo so maybe they had it and I was not in attendance. Do you know was Alan there any time from Feb 1969 to Feb 1970? I have been trying to locate Ed Clancy, RM1 that was assigned to NAD. I have lost track of Ed over the years and maybe Alan knows where he is. 

Sincerely, Tuck

Tucker1.jpg (38475 bytes) Tucker2.jpg (91340 bytes) Tucker3.jpg (61885 bytes) Tucker4.jpg (53425 bytes) Tucker5.jpg (48056 bytes) Tucker6.jpg (52266 bytes)
My pet Cobra. Camp Fay  Club Sign Guard Tower somewhere (?) Me in my room with some of those great tomatoes that the Destroyer sailors gave me. Bunker just outside my quarters at Camp Fay. Inside my quarters holding a large piece of shrapnel.
Tucker7.jpg (68615 bytes) Tucker8.jpg (70578 bytes) Tucker9.jpg (57804 bytes) Tucker10.jpg (75785 bytes) Tucker11.jpg (63423 bytes) Tucker12.jpg (60357 bytes)
My hope at Camp Fay Me at Camp Fay with Monkey Mountain in the background Me in the DaNang Hospital. In my quarters at Camp Fay with flack jacket on. Something was going on. Just could not do without my Crown Royal. Me in quarters in civilian clothes. SOG personnel were allowed to wear civies at the base camp and allowed to be in "out of bounds" areas among other things.

Dear Dan: I have some photos (e.g. Camp Fay, cobra in my room, ?????, etc.) around here somewhere of Nam. If I can find them are you interested in them for your website? Do I upload to your site or do you get them on? I sent some e-mail to some ex-Navy types promoting your site, are you still interested in new members? I’m still looking for Ed Clancy, if you could get me on your site (e.g. my recent e-mails to you) maybe I can hook up with him or someone that knows where he is at. 

Sincerely, Tuck

07/06/02   Dear Dan: When I was going through my Nam stuff I did find something that I was initially hesitant to send to you because I am definitely not a poet. I wrote the following in Nam after LTJG Vaughn USN (assigned to CCN) was killed. LTJG Vaughn was going North on Highway 1 from DaNang to Hue and he took an AK-47 round right on the side webbing of his flack jacket an inch either way and he would have been just fine. If he died in Nam he wanted to be buried at sea off the coast of Vietnam. I really don’t know Dan if this is appropriate for your website. Re-reading this after all of these years still brings tears to my eyes about the men that we lost over there! Sincerely yours, Tuck


A Shipmate Has Fallen
By: Robert K. Tucker 
In Memory of LTJG Vaughn, USN
Vietnam 1969 

Seas were choppy, the day gloomy as rain fell all round
DD-446 USS Radford the name of this fast moving Gray Hound 

Her mission a sad one twas the last cruise for a man that she carried 
To the seas of Vietnam for him to be buried 

This man was a good one who died for his country, freedom, and peace 
He left his Mother, Brother and Niece 

The “Our Father” was said when we committed him to the deep
The crew stood proudly by him and tired not to weep 

Yes, freedom we’ll have his shipmates pledged to him then 
We saluted him for the last time and ended with, Amen.