The month was early February 1968. I had been sent by the battalion XO from Dong Ha to Da Nang for a short mission -- the purpose of which I do not remember. However, it was only to take a day. By the time I was ready to return, no transportation was available. Because of the outbreak of TET all available aircraft had been diverted to higher priority matters. I was stranded, and I was very concerned about being unaccounted for and being away from my unit. Finally, I learned that I could get back to Dong Ha by taking a ride on a Navy LST from Da Nang up to the mouth of the Qua Viet River near the DMZ, and then by river boat to Dong Ha. I had grown up as a boy on the dry plains at Muleshoe (pronounced mule shoe), Texas. The ocean and the sea were completely foreign to me. I looked forward to the ride on a real Navy ship as a new exciting adventure.
As I boarded the ship, I was informed that I would be assigned to the officer's quarters because of my status of a 2Lt. I was quite surprised when I appeared for dinner. The officers were attired in their best starched khakies, while I was attired in my grungy field fatigues. I really felt out of place. Next, I was shocked when we sat down to dinner with a white table cloth, real silverware, and a Filipino waiter. The dinner was delicious. Afterward, I was invited to watch a movie. While watching the movie and puffing on a fine cigar, I began to wonder why I ever selected the Army over the Navy.
The movie had only started when that sickening feeling crept in. I had heard about sea sickness, but never had had the opportunity to experience it -- now I was experiencing it in full form. So much for the movie --The remainder of the trip was absolutely miserable.
Ultimately, I did arrive back in Dong Ha only to see the usual incoming. However, for some reason I felt like I was back home again where I belonged.
Charles G. White