!!! The YRBM 16 !!!
Tan Chau 1967
This is a photo of the YRBM in 1967 at Tan Chau on the Upper Mekong River. It is photo copied from Lionel Burns's copy of the June 16, 1967 issue of the Jackstaff news. Lionel Burns was there and provided information for this page. The photographer is listed as Larry Lindburg, PH2.
The YRBM 16 superstructure was painted white and it was anchored in shallow water to the Tan Chau waterfront.
Joseph Slavish sent this account:
EMAIL: JOSEPHSLATCH[ at]aol.com
My name is Joseph M. Slavish GMG 3 788-58-34. When i landed in vietnam i landed in camh ranh bay awaiting the delivery of the YRBM-16. I was assigned as a mike boat coxswain. We moved it to Tan Chau. I ran troops and ammo up and down the Delta .
When we moved to Ben Tre we all had a funny feeling about the area. Increased enemy activity was noticable.
I want to say this to get it off my chest. The supply officer at the time i forget his name made the watches on the top deckstop throwing percussion grenades because it disturbed his sleep. It wasnt long after that the VC swimmer floated, they said 400lbs. of TNT under the barge.
The explosion was enormous. It blew out AC units into the isle trapping sailors in the berthing areas. I managed to swim over the partition to get out. when the bomb went off we were underwater immediately. One minute sleeping the next underwater.
Being Thanksgiving some guys were totally blasted drunk that day and i heard later they found some guys still in their bunks. they never woke up. General Quarters was sounding and like everyone else i was heading to the top deck to my battle station a fifty caliber.
We began firing at the shore line right away looking for a target but none was there. The barge was becoming engulfed in flames real fast . Chief Boatswains Mate Quigley and i tried to extinguish the flames with a giagantic fire extinguiser but it was all in vain. He pulled me back and told me to make it to the mike boat the word had already been passed to abandon ship
Just as i turned to follow the chief i heard a scream turned and saw ET Gray hit the deck on fire. His battle station was at the top of the crows nest. He had gone to his battle station inspite of the flames that were engulfing that area.
When the flames had reached him he tried to climb down but it was to hot and he jumped . When he jumped he went through this canvas cover over the deck for shade and it clung to his body on fire. When he hit the deck his legs must have been locked because when i ran back for him his legs were pushed into his body and he was screaming God he was screaming i still hear those screams, I put him on my shoulder and started for the mike boats..
He was begging me to kill him. I kept saying we'll be alright about that time an explosion went off about 5 ft from us and threw us across the deck i thought my back was broken..Gray had stopped screaming but i went to him and picked him up and carried him to the boat.
I collapsed and woke up in a field hospital. SHrapnel in my head legs. They told me Gray was sent to japan. I couldn't believe he was still alive Later i found out he died. When i go to the wall i always go to see gray's name. Thats what happened that night sir. One officers disturbed sleep caused that disaster.
I'm 100% with the va and social security. I live that night over and over again..If there is any way you know about any living relatives i would appreciate it I want to tell them what a hero he was manning his battle stations going up there when he probably knew he wouldn't come down alive he was a hell of a guy talked about his girlfriend all the time would not go into town with us to visit the ladies always talked about that fucking girlfriend. Drove us crazy haha.
He was the Hero that night. I got drunk some years back and i think i called everyone named gray in ILL. someone told me or i remembered he said he was from there but to no avail.
If you know of any phone nos. or email please let me know those people have to know what a hero he was and how he died.
I just got this computer two days ago and i can't believe i found this site the pictures made me break down and cry. It all came right back .
THE YRBM 16
The quality of these black and white photos is not as good as it could be.
I did not have a glass plate to flatten the newpaper page and took the pictures with a hand held camera and a 50 mm macro lens using direct sunlight.
The following excellent COLOR photos and aerial views of the YRBM 16
are from Steve Palladino who was there around 1967.
EMAIL:FUMANCHUS[ at ]aol.com
The following excellent COLOR photo of the YRBM 16
is from Doug Lindsey EMAIL: VERMIN250[ at ]aol.com
This photo was taken in January 1967 in the Shipyards of Yokuska Japan.
Notice the snow.
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