WATER, WATER EVERY WHERE BUT NARY A DROP TO DRINK
Seas were calmer today and the ride into Danang was beautiful. Chief met me at the dock and told me to be polite and respect the rank between Lt. Malera and me. I reported right away to the Lt. Office and he was eager to get started. We drove out to a remote area North of the Air Base and picked up several marines who would accompany us as we search for water. The area around Danang was mostly secured and only small pockets of resistance were reported and usually taken care of by the small units of Marines assigned for security around Danang. We spent the whole day driving around the foothills surrounding Danang and did come across some good sources of fresh water. One was an old french Dam that had been destroyed and the water allowed to run out. I suggested to the Lt. that with several bags of Quikrete and a length of 12″ pipe we could restore the Dam and use it for a source of water for the East side of Danang. I was to draw it up, submit a material list and a cost estimate to him by weeks end. Which I did. I went on to design four other makeshift Dams and design a water system to feed all of Danang, of course submitting them all to the Admiral for approval. I still have the Maps and drawings of all the water piping around Danang. I was becoming quite well known around the Public Works Division of the Naval Support Activity as the “Water Man” and it got me a new rating as Chief Petty Officer. For the next 2+ years I designed and submitted plans and costs for many Naval projects as well as being an Logistics person when it came to acquiring building supplies. I would go out to projected sites for updates on time estimates and material arrivals. I would even fly out to Subic Bay in the Philippines to the huge Navy stockpile yards to locate items for shipment back to Vietnam. All in all, it was a good tour of duty I fell into. Everyday more and more Seabees started to arrive and some even assigned to our Division. We grew from only 8 of us to a healthy 24 planners and estimators and even some draftsmen . Lt. Malera was now a Lt. Commander and would still come out to our building and chat with me about plans coming up. We were no longer in the Garage, but had our own Butler Building out by the Airbase. I had my own work area, a Third Class Petty Officer to work with me and I was to teach as my time over here was getting short. We had two South Korean soldiers who we used to draw up plans and let them do some small cost estimating. Indeed my time here was getting short. It’s May again and my tour of duty in Vietnam would end in October but there was one more thing I wanted to do before I left. Go on R&R to Hong Kong!