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so they could in turn inform the rest of the refugees."6


Shortly after noon on 18 April, as these specialists and the AESF started to arrive at the Cubi Point airfield, it became obvious to senior American commanders that the South Vietnamese would lose the battle for Xuan Loc. To prepare for the consequences, Admiral Gayler ordered Admiral Whttmire and Task Force 76 to return to the waters off Vung Tau. The first ships weighed anchor at 1600, long before the last of Quintan's detachments was scheduled to arrive from Okinawa. Knowing this, Major Quinlan went to the Dubuque's commanding officer, Captain Roy W. McLain, USN, and asked him to delay the ship's departure until 2130. Captain McLain agreed, and Quinlan immediately dispatched First Lieutenant Kinsell to the Cubi Point Airfield with instructions to meet the last detachment and personally escort it to the Dubuque so as to arrive no later than the new departure time.


Unaware of the events taking place in Subic in prcp-paration for their arrival. Captain David A. Garcia and his detachment, Victor, began at 0600 what would become an extremely hectic and demanding day. By 1300, he had mustered his Marines in front of the 9th Marines' headquarters for what seemed an interminably long truck ride to Marine Corps Air Station Fure-ma and an awaiting "Ichi Go Ni" (VMGR-152) KC-130. After a two-and-one-halfhour flight in the Hercules, which began its taxi Just as Captain Garcia buckled the two halves of his seat belt together, the detachment landed at Cubi Point. While Captain Gar-ica unhooked his seat belt, the ramp and cargo door opened the plane's innards to the pitch-black, tropical night. Suddenly, Garcia and everyone on board beheld a strange sight, a Marine standing on the ramp signalling double time. Before anyone could react to this "apparition," it started heaving gear off the back of the plane. To expedite the transition. First Lieutenant Kinsell, without the approval or knowledge of the aircraft's loadmaster, had begun throwing Garcia's Marines' gear to an awaiting ground crew. Kinsell's unusual conduct moved everyone to rapid action and ignited a chain of events which gained speed as Garcia spied his welcoming committee: Generals Houghton and Coffman, and Colonel WyHe W. Taylor. Their presence and words of encouragement only served to underline the importance of the mission and added urgency to the detachment's impending rendezvous with the task force, Detachment Victor, Captain Garcia, and First Lieutenant Kinsell "enjoyed" a quick ride to the MAU camp landing ramp where their waterborne taxi, a "Mike" boat, shuttled them to their ship, already underway. Finally, after chasing the Dubuque across Subic Bay, they entered its well at 2200.7


As the Dubuque passed Grande Island outbound to the South China Sea, eight of 10 of the AESF's detachments and all of its attached personnel settled into their new quarters. Included in the group of attached units were: two doctors, Navy Lieutenants Ken Andrus and John Oakland; the 3d Counter-Intelligence Team led by Captain Charles J. Bushey (who would later become the executive/operations officer);


a 26-man military police detachment from the 3d Marine Division MP company, with First Lieutenant Joseph J. Streitz in charge; the 17th Interrogator-Translator Team led by Chief Warrant Officer Alien F. Kent; and Lance Corporal Rtcardo Carmona, on loan from BLT 1/4 because he knew better than anyone else the disposition of the Dubuque's stock of ammunition. Major Quinlan used the nearly five days of voyage to organize and school his Marines. Ordered to provide 14 54-man detachments vice the initial 10 72-man ones, Major Quinlan formed Kilo, Mike, Quebec, and Romeo detachments from the Marines still on the Dubuque. Marine first lieutenants commanded each of the new detachments.*8


While enroute to South Vietnam, the AESF began its preparations for the impending security mission:


"Training was conducted for embarked detachments in key Vietnamese language phrases, conduct of evacuation operations, rules of engagement, security of vital shipboard spaces, and riot and crowd control to include use of 150 psi hoses."9 Additional training in the use of the M60 machine gun, the M79 grenade launcher, and the M72 LAW (light antitank weapon) took place after the AESF commander received word that senior commanders seriously entertained the idea of inserting four detachments of his force onto ships docked at the Newport Pier. This option would involve the insertion of 200 Marines into an extremely hostile environment for a dangerous trip down the Saigon River. During this time, the Marines would provide order among thousands of refugees on noncombatant MSC ships which might come under enemy attack.


To carry out this mission and the necessary training, Major Quinlan needed combat arms. Captain McLain,


*A Coral Sea helicopter flew a section of foxtrot Detachment from tlie Greenville Victory ro the Dubuque in support of this reorganization. On 27 April a contingent of 28 Marines led by First Lieutenant David A. Kratochvil went on board the Barbour County (LST 1195), thereby constituting a 15th detachment. AESF ComdC.








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