Qui Nhon

Music by Simon and Garfunkle�

There is not much that the crew of PCF 45 can say about the PCF Naval Base at Qui Nhon, home to Coastal Division 15. We limped down from Chu Lai on our good starboard screw to have a quick repair accomplished to the ailing and out of commission port screw and shaft.

Our stay there was not very long. See the Rules of Engagement  section.


The harbor was entered from the south, moving past the USNS and commercial shipping that was anchored outside the harbor. Once past the south eastern prominence, the boat turned ninety degrees back toward the east and approached the base, which was located in a cove just to the north and east of the point.


Pulling up to the PCF pier, which jutted out west into the harbor, we tied up across from the crane that would lift the boat out of the water and allow the repairs to be made.

This peaceful scene was probably deceiving. Not long before our visit, a VC sapper squad had infiltrated the base, tossing satchel charges at the barracks area and the Swift Boat piers just before being subdued by the base defenses.


The following morning the boat was hauled up onto the barge that served as a floating dry dock, and repairs commenced. Like all sailors, seeing your home sitting on blocks was an unusual and slightly disturbing sight. Fingers remained crossed while ole number forty-five remained perched in what appeared to be a precarious position out of its natural habitat. We quietly breathed a sigh of relief when the repairs were completed in late afternoon, and our trusty steed was back in the water where she belonged.

Can you determine who is the Swift Boat sailor and who are base personnel?

The highlight of our visit had to be the absolutely palatial, and extremely well stocked, off duty clubs at the base ... at least by Chu Lai and Cam Ranh Bay standards. They even had "genuine leather" cups for the favorite pastime in all Navy bars ... ! Liar's Dice ! ... If a person was skilled enough - and also lucky enough - it was possible to spend two evenings in Qui Nhon and never part with any of the "script" that served as legal tender at military bases in country. Seeing six or seven cans of three point two (percentage of alcohol content) beer lined up in front of your bar stool was just an inducement to stretch to the limit the truth about the dice hidden under the cup !

Officer pier duty: "My Swift is the sharp looking one!"


Mooring your boat to the O-Club porch was NOT an option

On the following morning, with clear heads (?) and brave hearts, we bid a fond farewell to Qui Nhon and departed once again for the uncertainties that awaited us off the tortuous coast line and rivers of Quang Ngai and Mui Batangan.

Okay you Wiley Cong .... here we come .... ready or not !

Post Script

Terry Boone, a Swift Boat sailor that was stationed in Qui Nhon in 1968-69, returned for a visit to the Coastal Division 15 location in December 2002. There was virtually nothing left of the base except the pier where Sand Pebble #45 was hauled up on blocks for repairs. But the expression on Terry's face, as he stands in front of the site where the Swift Boat base was, speaks volumes for the emotions of that time long ago and far away.

After all these years, we finally know "Where All the Flowers Have Gone"

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