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[Image 1: Department
of Defense Photo
(USN) 1162851.
Capt Walter Wood, left, and his Company D Marines provide
security for the Mayaguez as
it sits at anchor
a mile offshore
from Koh Tang. At 1700, the security force was transferred
to the USS Wilson as the
Mayagucz bid farewell
to its unexpected
12-hour ordeal.]

Page 252(The Bitter End)







enroute to Utapao, five CH-53s and three HH-53s lost in the first assault
wave, and five helicopters operationally ready to fly. Thus onlyJG 11, JG
12, JG 43, K 51, and K 52 prepared for the impending mission, the insertion
of the second assault wave.46


The second wave took off at staggered times between 0900 and 1000. It carried elements of Captain Mykle E. Stahl's Company E and Captain James H. Davis' Company G. For Captain Davis, this would be his second attempt at landing on Koh Tang. The five helicopters in the second wave carried a total of 127 Marines. While enroute, the pilots received word from the ABCCC that the crew of the Mayaguez had been picked up by the Wilson and that the flight was to return to base. With the successful rescue of the ship's crew, there was no need to insert a second assault wave.


At approximately the same time the last elements of the assault wave left Utapao,
the crew of the Mayaguez sighted the Wilson and began waving white flags.
An airborne P-3 Orion reported to the destroyer that the approaching boat
appeared to carry a number of Caucasians. Within minutes, at approximately
1015, a Thai fishing vessel pulled alongside the Wilson and unloaded its 40
passengers. Apparently, earlier air strikes which had sunk a number of Cambodian
gunboats and sprayed the captors with tear gas had changed their minds about
the best use of the hostages and instead of taking their captives to Kompong
Som the morning of 15 May, they decided to release them along with some Thai
fishermen they had been holding captive for five months. Within a few hours
of Captain Charles T. Miller and his shipmates' arrival, the Wilson returned
a somewhat harried but otherwise healthy crew to the Sea Lanes container ship.
By 1700 the Mayaguez, manned by its own crewmembers and steaming under its
own power, had no further need of assistance from the Department of Defense
and transferred its security force, 15 members of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines,
to the Wilson. These Marines had remained on the Mayaguez to act as a security
force after the conclusion of the early morning raid, but with the Mayaguez
enroute to a new destination, Singapore, the ship's master, Captain Miller,
felt reasonably certain he would no longer need their services.


The sudden change in plans caused by the crew's rescue translated into actions which altered the flight path of the second assault wave and almost cancelled








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