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As these events were unfolding, the Pioneer Commander and the American Challenger
were racing toward Guam. The Pioneer Commander probably would have been the
first MSC ship to deposit seaborne Vietnamese refugees on American soil except
for an old naval tradition endowing the senior skipper in a convoy with the
privilege of entering port first. The Commander of Marine Detachment November
on board the American Challenger, Captain Michael T. Mallick, recently recalled
that pan of the journey:


"Enroute to Guam, the Pioneer Commander was ordered to reduce speed so as to allow the American Challengerto reach Guam first, the reason being the skipper of the Challenger (Captain Bouchie) was senior. We arrived at 0115 on 7 May, deposited 5200 refugees on Guam and departed before dawn."30


The Pioneer Commander arrived in Guam at 0800 on 7 May and it too began unloading almost immediately. By noon every one of the refugees had left the ship, beginning the first of their many days on the island of Guam. For three of those days, the Marine contingent from the Pioneer Commander, India Detachment, would also remain on the island, at the Marine Barracks, Guam. At 0630, 10 May, these AESF Marines boarded a bus and rode to Andersen Air Force Base where a C-141 waited to fly them to Okinawa. Captain Moyher, the detachment commander, summed up the experience: "On the morning of 7 May we entered the harbor at Guam and discharged 4,678 evacuees. Prior to disembarking, the refugees presented the detachment with a set of lacquered 4 seasons plaques and a letter of thanks."31


By 7 May, the American Racer, accompanied by Mike Detachment and carrying most of the remaining Frequent Wind refugees (including those that the Green Port had unloaded on 5 May), was less than 24 hours from completing the mission Admiral Gayler had tasked Rear Admiral Whitmire with five days earlier: safe passage to Guam for all of the Frequent Wind evacuees. At approximately the same time that Wednesday afternoon, the AESF control group, detachments Quebec, Papa, and Romeo, 17th ITT, and MP personnel began screening, unloading, and processing the refugees on board 29 Vietnamese Navy ships which had escaped from South Vietnam. They attempted to ensure that these refugees spent as little time as possible in Subic in order to honor the wishes of the Philippines Government that no refugee remain in

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