Da Nang, RVN

CivSEA Project

Da Nang, RVN

        The first U. S. combat troops committed to the war--two battalions of Marines from the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade--were sent to South Vietnam in March 1965, joining the 23,500 American "advisors" already in Vietnam.  Their limited mission was to put a tight security ring around the Da Nang air base, thus freeing South Vietnamese forces for combat.

        The Da Nang area, which by 1970 was known as the Da Nang Vital Area (DVA), encompassed about 45 square miles of territory.  It was bordered on the north and east by the Bay of Da Nang and the South China Sea respectively, and on the south by the Cau Do River.  The DVA included the city of Da Nang, Da Nang Airbase to its west, and the Tien Sha Peninsula and helicopter base at Marble Mountain to its east.  At the tip of the Tien Sha Peninsula, the southern arm of the Bay of Da Nang is formed by the bulbous fist of 621-meter Mon Ky (or Monkey) Mountain.  China Beach is located on the South China Sea between Marble Mountain and Monkey Mountain.  Da Nang is the old French colonial city of Tourane, and it is one of the few protected, deep-water anchorages on the Vietnamese coast.  It was second only to Saigon in tonnage handled prior to the war.

        In May 1969 at Marble Mountain Air Facility (MMAF) on the Da Nang coast, there were five CH-46 Sea Knight squadrons, two UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" squadrons, various Army units, and other aircraft types including the CH-53 Sea Stallion, O-1 Bird-dog, OV-1 Mohawk, OV-10 Bronco, and U-1 Otter.

U. S. civilians who served at MMAF in support of these units:

        Clark, Norm                      Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        Compton, Bob*                 Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        Dullighan, John*               Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        Hamilton, Bill                    Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        Holt, Howard***              Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        King, Ethmer "Curly"     Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        McNulty, Ed                     Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        Pierce, William L.**         Boeing-Vertol Corporation

       Whitman, Doug                 Boeing-Vertol Corporation

        *Actually a British citizen working for a U. S. company.

        **Mr. Pierce was killed on June 11, 1969.  He was 28 years old.

        ***Mr. Holt was later killed in an aircraft accident in Africa.

Quantities of Tech Reps working for other companies at MMAF in 1969:

        Air Research                5

        Bell Helicopters           2

        Collins Radio               1

        General Electric          6

        Lycoming                     1

        North American           2

        Sikorsky                       5

        Solar                             1

U. S. civilians who served in other parts of Da Nang:

        Coleman, Raymond          RMK-BRJ

        Miller, Melvin                  NHA (Norman Hartwell Associates)
        1970-71                              Senior Rotary Wing Mech      
                                                   Red Beach/Camp Viking

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(page last revised 05/22/2009 10:07 PM -0400 )