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[Image
1: Marine Corps
Historical Collection.
The Amphibious
Evacuation Security
Force Commander,
Maj David A.
Quinlan, and
his detachment
commanders and
staff gather
for a post-operational
debrief. The
AESF deployed
to Subic Bay
on board KC-130Fs
of VMGR-152 on
17-18 April 1975.]


Page 162(The Bitter End)






lan buckled on his web gear and dashed for the helicopter. Already on board were his newly assigned executive officer. First Lieutenant Thomas W. Kinscll. and two radio operators. After the short flight to Futema. the new AESF commander stepped off the CH-46 and walked to the passenger terminal where the mission's significance instantly became clear. There stood Major General Houghton who greeted Major Quinlan with a reminder-the AESF represented the 3d Marine Division. Major Quinlan recalled what General Houghton said that day: "The AESF is a microcosm of the division. Use my call sign, 'Constitution,' lest anyone forger who you are."2


After meeting with General Houghton, Major Quinlan inspected his troops. Later that day, 17 April, the control group and two of the detachments boarded KC-130s. In the ensuing 24 hours. Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 and six of its KC-130 tankers (reconfigured as cargo aircraft) used 21 sorties to transship Quinlan and his detachments to the Philippines. Once there, the Marines of the AESF made their way to the Subic pier by whatever means of rolling stock they could beg, borrow, or procure. Major Quinlan recalled: "Lieutenant Kinsell singlchanded-ly coordinated the arriving detachments' transportation from Cubi Point to the Lower MAU Camp, and then across Subic Bay to the Dubuque. By phone, by radio, and sometimes in person. Lieutenant Kinsell was able to mesh a chain of trucks, jeeps, buses, and landing craft into an orderly flow enabling all of the detachments to get on board the Dubuque'.'3


Time was critical because as Marines of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines exited the Dubuque's "Mike" boats on 18 April, AESF Marines moved to occupy their places. Only hours after arriving in port, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines ended their shipboard security role.


Having assumed command of the Amphibious Evacuation RVN Support Group only the week before from Colonel Dan C. Alexander, whose duties as 9th MAB chief of staff negated a dual role. Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Hester disembarked his battalion from the Dubuque on Friday, 18 April. Actually, the first troops from Quinlan's AESF already had arrived. The previous evening, Captain Richard L. Reuier and his Detachment Echo accompanied by Captain Richard








Page 162(The Bitter End)