officer and 10 enlisted men from Naval Communications Station, Philippines. Both contingents formed Detachment ALPHA, NavComSta, Philippines. Captain Donald J. Hatch, the Company L commander, was also the Detachment ALPHA commander. On 21 July, Major William A. Scott, Jr., relieved Captain Hatch. By the end of December, Company L consisted of two officers and 77 enlisted Marine cryptologists. Captain Hatch observed:
The stationing of this unit in Vietnam was an outgrowth of a detachment from the First Composite Radio Company, FMFPac having been in country on a TAD basis for many months. Company L was the first permanent unit assigned.22
The Marine Security Guard, led by Staff Sergeant William D. Kerakos, at the American Embassy in Saigon numbered 30 men. The mission of the Marines was to safeguard classified material and to protect U. S. personnel and property. During the year the detachment established two new watches, one at the U. S. Information Service Building and the other at the home of the Deputy Ambassador. An individual guard was on post an average of 49 hours a week.
During periods of political unrest, the guards were kept busy preventing Vietnamese street crowds from entering the Embassy. The physical threat against the building became a reality on the morning of 30 March when a bomb, secreted in a car across the street from the Embassy, exploded. The blast killed 11 persons and wounded 163, and did extensive damage to the building. A secretary to the Deputy Ambassador was the only American fatality, but 52 U. S. citizens were injured. The other dead victims were Vietnamese nationals, four policemen, the civilian driver for the Marine guard, and a Viet Cong terrorist. All of the Marines escaped unscathed. Off duty personnel immediately returned to the Embassy. The building was closed, a security check conducted; by mid-aftemoon the Embassy was back to normal routine. This incident, more than any other during 1965, demonstrated to the detachment that it too was in the frontlines.Page 211 (1965: The Landing and the Buildup)