Commander River Assault Squadron Eleven
Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, CA. 96601
Commissioning and Organization March 67 April 67
May 67 June 67 July 67 August 67
29 September 1968
From: Commander River Assault Squadron Eleven
To: Chief of Naval Operations
Subj: Command History for 1966 and 1967
Ref: (a) CNO Ltr of 12 August 1968 Serial 382PO9B9
(b) OPNAVINST 5750.12
Encl: (1) Command History for period March through December 1967
1. Reference (a) requested that the annual command history be submitted as required by reference (b).
2. Commander River Assault Squadron Eleven was commissioned at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. In December 1966, under the command of LCDR Francis E. “Dusty” Rhodes, Jr. USN. The period from December 1966 to March 1967 was utilized by the command for progression through various phases of organization and training at NAVPHIBASE, Coronado and Naval Inshore Operations Training Center, Mare Island, in Preparation for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam. Enclosure (1) is submitted as a comprehensive history of River Assault Squadron Eleven operations in Vietnam from arrival in country in March of 1967 through December 1967.
LCDR L.B. Boswell
On 23 March 1967 ComRivRon 11, the squadron staff, and River Assault Division 111 arrived in the republic of Vietnam and embarked on the USS Montrose APA-212 T Vung Tau. From 23-26 march, an in country indoctrination and administration period was conducted.
Lacking assets of it’s own, the squadron commenced training operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone, utilizing Vietnamese River Assault Group (RAG) craft. On 31 March, LT Edward L. Therrien, Commander River Division 111 fell overboard from a Vietnamese CCB in the Rung Sat. LT Therrien was wearing complete combat clothing, including tropical boots, helmet, flak jacket and sidearm, and was in the water approximately ten minutes due to conditions of darkness and the poor maneuverability of the CCB. LT Therrien was unconscious when rescued by two Army personnel and as result of ensuing illness was subsequently relieved as ComRivDiv 111 by LT. Ray Riesgo, USN.
RivRon 11 continued to conduct training operations with Vietnamese craft, and also participated in combat operations in support of the 4th/47th Inf. 2nd Bde 9th Inf Division, in the Rung Sat. On 26 April ComRivRon 11 and the Squadron Staff transferred from the USS Montrose to the USS Benewah (APB-35). As of 30 April the squadron’s assets in country Consisted of three (ATC’s) of RivDiv-111 and five (ATC’s) of RivDiv-112
RivRon-11 and Staff, relocated with RivDiv 112, embarked on the USS Colleton (APB-36) on 2 May 1967. On 15-16 May, several squadron boats. Came into heavy contact while operating with RivRon-9 west of Dong Tam. Although this was the first real test under fire For the boats, the squadron units acquitted themselves well and suffered no serious casualties.
As of 31 May, all River Assault Craft with the exception of two CCB’s and two monitor’s, Had arrived in country.
On 1 June 1967, ComRivRon -11 relocated with the Mobile Riverine Force Base from Vung Tau To Dong Tam. RivDiv-111 embarked on the Benewah; RivDiv 112 and ComRivRon 11 moved ashore to Dong Tam.
Armored Troop Carrier 112-3, while minesweeping in Xang Canal on 6 June, was subjected To a command detonated mine explosion in the vicinity of the starboard engine compartment. The explosion lifted the engine off its foundation and drooped into the bilge’s. Both engine foundations were broken. Both sea strainers were ruptured, the fans were sheared off the bulkhead, and the reduction gear housing was broken. Vertical stiffeners on the starboard side buckled, and the starboard shell plating buckled and split in several places. The forward bulkhead of the engine room was bulked on the starboard side near the Overhead. All four batteries were broken, resulting in complete power lost. The fuel lines were broken close to the tanks, necessitating damage control plugs to prevent additional into the bilge’s. The port .50 caliber machine gun mount was sheared off and blown over the Side, with the loss of the armored turret, .50 Cal M.G. and M-18 grenade launcher. Both remaining turrets were distorted around the connecting points.
On 10 June, RivRon 11 relocated from Dong Tam to Nha Be to support strike operations in Long An Province.
Operations in Gan Giouc District, Ling An Province on 18-19 June came into very heavy contact with an estimated three to four hundred Viet Cong. Army losses were forty six killed when 4th-47th units were pinned down in open rice paddies in a day long battle. Navy River Assault Craft provided close fire support and assisted in the evacuation of Army wounded. Because ComRivRon 9 was wounded in this action and was evacuated from the Area of operations, ComRivRon 11 relieved as the on scene commander. HMC Robert Malone received the Silver Star for his actions in exposing himself repeatedly to heavy enemy fire to rescue and treat wounded Army personnel.
In early July, the first increment of mine protective flooring and seating was installed in ATC-111-12.
While supporting Operation Coronado Concordia (Phase II) in Can Giouc District of Long An province of 11 July, elements of the squadron came into heavy contact with Viet Cong insurgents. As ATC-112-4 was landing elements of “A” company 4th-47th a claymore mine On the bank was triggered into the boat, wounding seven Navy men and Four Army personnel. Later in the morning, Monitor 112-1 and M-111-2 were hit by recoilless rifle fire With no personnel casualties and only light boat damage. At 111620H ATC-112-7 received a B-40 anti-tank rocket grenade round on the starboard side of the bow ramp. Shortly after, At 1758, Monitor 112-1 received a rocket hit directly into the coxswain flat, killing the boat Captain (BMC Howard Bannister), and wounding six other crewmen. The boat returned to The MRB for repairs, and proceeded back to the operational area the following day. ATC’s 112-4, 112-12, and 112-13 were also subjected to small arms fire during this period, with no casualties. LT Norman E. Wells, ComRivDiv 112, received the Silver Star for this action and BMC Howard Bannister received a similar award posthumously.
On 27 July, The squadron relocated with the MRB from the Soi Rap-Vam Co River confluence to Dong Tam.
The Mobile Riverine Base shifted anchorage from Dong Tam to Vung Tau on 4 August to Support 2nd Brigade, 9th Division elements operating in the Rung Sat Special Zone. Operations in the Rung Sat and Long An Province during the remainder of the month produced no significant contact for the squadron craft.