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that country more than 72 hours. Major Quinlan reported, "This pierside operation involved processing the refugees, many of whom had to be disarmed, from ships ranging in size from gunboat to destroyer escort, then immediately embarking them on board waiting evacuation ships. In less than 24 hours over 20,000 people were unloaded, processed, and reembarked without incident. This herculean effort was directed by First Lieutenant Johnnie Johnson and Chief Warrant Officer Al Kent."32
On 8 May, the final phase started when the Green Port (carrying a new detachment, Kilo, which had replaced Papa on 5 May), and Green Wave (Detachment Uniform) left Subic Bay. These two ships, with 7,522 evacuees on board, preceded by one day the SergeantAndrew Millers (Detachment Sierra) departure with 3,200 refugees. Tango Detachment and the Green Forest joined these ships the next day when it boarded the last of the large groups of refugees (more than 4,000) and took them to Guam. Between the time the American Challenger deposited its load of evacuees at Guam and returned to Subic (7-10 May), the refugee camps on Guam had reached their capacity. No longer could Guam handle large groups, and consequently the American Challenger and its security detachment (November) were released from evacuation operations* Eleven days later, after the remainder of his detachments, save one, had also been released. Major Quinlan and his command group departed Subic. They left behind one detachment (foxtrot) on the Greenville Victory. Remaining for the exclusive purpose of assisting in any future refugee operations, they returned to Okinawa after six days of waiting without action. With Detachment Foxtrot's arrival on 27 May, the AESF's function, in effect, ceased- Two days prior to this, Admiral Whitmire had returned control of the AESF to III MAF. On 31 May 1975, Maj General Hoff-man made the termination official by deactivating the unit.33 A Vietnamese City in Guam
On Guam the American Command prepared to receive the expected flood of refugees. On 23 April a message from Admiral Gayler to his representative on Guam read: "JCS has directed immediate implementation Vietnamese refugee support at Guam."34 This, by no coincidence, came at the same time the Philippines Government notified the American Embassy in Manila mat the refugees could not remain in the country. Guam, only three hours flight time by C-130 from Cubl, offered an excellent solution to the diplomatic dilemma.
Earlier notification and more preparation might have eliminated a series of problems on Guam, but the alarmingly large number of evacuees seemed to surprise Washington. Despite the short notice, Marine Barracks Guam jumped into Operation New Life with enthusiasm and energy. That alone would not be enough to overcome the absence of time to plan and prepare, forcing in many instances the barrack's 11 officers and 333 men simply to react. "Having received word that we could anticipate involvement in the refugee program on the morning of 23 April 1975, the first refugees arrived Camp Asan at 1820 hours on 24 April. Planning therefore was brief and simple."35
Colonel Gene M. 'Jinx" McCain's first act, once having received notification of the operation, was to call a staff meeting. Just prior to it, he learned that Admiral Gayler had directed that the old Asan Hospital Annex, deserted since 1973, would be used as the site of the Vietnamese refugee center. Besides discussing this topic during the meeting, Colonel McCain detailed the initial responsibilities of his staff. He told them that he would serve as the commanding officer, Camp Asan, and that Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Gobat would be his deputy In addition, Captain Eugene R. Hardman and Captain Charles R. Provini became the Camp Asan executive and operations officers, respectively. First Lieutenant Ronald E. Spratt learned that he would fill the billet of camp supply officer.
That same day, immediately after the morning meeting, Captains Hardman and Provini, accompanied by Lieutenant Spratt, visited the site of the new refugee center. They found two years of rubble and hundreds of Seabees furiously attempting to put the place in habitable condition. Immediately, they set to work devising a scheme that would enable them to accept their first arrivals in less than 24 hours. Categorizing their anticipated concerns into general management areas, they formed three working groups, each with three subsections. The first, administration, contained population control and accounting, locator system, and billeting assignments. The second, operations, oversaw processing (both in and out), an interpreter pool, and coordination/liaison. The third group, logistics, involved food services, supply, and sanitation.
For every organization and participant, the foremost
*Captain Maltick related: "The American Challenger with 27 members of November Detachment and myself proceeded to Subic where we were assigned to provide security for 27 Cambodian/ Vietnamese ships." Mallick Comments,
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