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The Vietnam Experience


A Navy Corpsman Helps
Jim Sharpe, 1969.32
Acrylic on board, 1969


Wherever naval units were stationed in Vietnam, they instituted programs to assist the civilian population and gain their support for the allied cause. Such assistance included medical care, instruction in hygiene and sanitation, distribution of clothing, medicine, and other supplies.


Operation Market Time
Gulf of Thailand
Gene Klebe, #25
Watercolor on paper, October 1965

Established in March 1965, the U.S.-South Vietnamese coastal patrols tasked with ending North Vietnamese infiltration of the South by water were collectively known as Operation Market Time. Close to shore their primary vessel was the Fast Patrol Craft (PCF), or "Swift" boat. Capable of 23 knots, armed with .50-caliber machine guns and 81-millimeter mortars, the crews of these boats often performed routine inspections of papers and cargo of civilian vessels.


Highway One South
Seabee Detachment MCB-3, South of Phu Bai
John C. Roach, 1969.158
Acrylic on paper, 1968


Seabees of Mobile Construction Battalion 3 labor to keep open Route 1, Vietnam's crucial north-south logistical lifeline. Seabees also built roads, bridges, homes, schools, and other civic and commercial buildings. In addition to being concerned with the logistical need for these buildings, the work of the units also demonstrated allied interest in national morale and welfare.


R. G. Smith, 1970.98
Oil on canvasboard, November 1969


In 1968, the U.S. and South Vietnamese navies began operation SEALORDS (Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, and Delta Strategy), to cut enemy supply lines from Cambodia into bases in the Mekong Delta. As part of this effort, river patrol boats (PBRs), usually accompanied by helicopters, maintained a constant watch on inland waterways such as along the Vinh Te Canal, which paralleled the South Vietnamese-Cambodian border.


Riverine Patrol
R. G. Smith, 1969.116
Oil on board, 1968


The Co Chien River is one of the main arteries of the Mekong Delta, and keeping it clear from sabotage and infiltration was a major concern for Operation Game Warden forces.


Clean-up After Marble Mountain Battle
Gene Klebe, #25
Watercolor on paper, October 28, 1965


Following the attack on the Marble Mountain Air Facility, Marines recovered 17 Viet Cong dead and four wounded.


Reflected Night Battle, Marble Mountain
Gene Klebe, #26
Watercolor on paper, October 28, 1965


On the night of October 27-28, Viet Cong forces launched an attack on a newly built helicopter facility at Marble Mountain, southeast of Da Nang. After 30 minutes of fighting, American casualties were three dead, 91 wounded, 19 helicopters destroyed, and 35 damaged.


Sense of Humor
I Co. 3d Bn 9th Marines
Gene Klebe, #27
Watercolor on paper, Halloween 1965

In the days following Viet Cong attacks on Marble Mountain and Chu Lai airfields, forces around Da Nang remained on alert. South of Da Nang, members of I Company, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines had two days earlier successfully ambushed what was probably an advance party of a third attack force headed for Da Nang Airbase. In an effort to reduce tension, or perhaps as a show of macabre irony, a member of I Company put up a holiday reminder.

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27 July 2004