This page is devoted to photos of the early days, as well as any other "first photos" anyone would care to share. Send me YOUR Photo and Story NOW!
out Russell Irby's Home Page
with photos from when he went ashore with UDT 12
Once they did, in sailed the USS VERNON COUNTY LST 1161, painted in white to show her peaceful intent.
Here are Doug Brand's pictures of that very first day:
Meanwhile, Welcome to Diego Garcia, 30
logo, invented by Jim Murray:
Here's where Jim and his buddies lived - the infamous H-15 SEA Hut (see his story on the 1971 warstory page) . Here's his explanation for this official Navy photo of the H-15. "Apparently we got loaded up and painted FTN all over the front of the hut. The Chief made us paint it over so I got creative. I was at chow when this was taken (piss me off)."
Be sure to Check Out Roger Allie's
Photos of the Arrival
the USS Graham County - LST 1176
The following 1971 photos are from Carl Reid...
The USS Graham County (above) carried NMCB 40 from Australia to Diego Garcia.
Above: This is Carl, from Sewanee, Tennessee in his home in Hootch H4, playing guitar with a new leather strap that was a gift from EOC McCann. Carl played everywhere, including at the Chief's Club.
Below: A dart game in Hootch H4. Note that the plywood and lumber is BRAND NEW!
Above: Mike boat headed out to offload the S.S. Mobilian in October 1971. She was part of the regular resupply program.
Below: She looks like a rust tub from this angle!
On the S.S. Mobilian. On the right, Carl and Mike D. Swift.
Below, headed back to the Cantonment area with the offload, which was fuel bladders in the Mike boat filled with Portland Cement to make the concrete for the runway.
Everybody gets their picture taken at Canon Point!
Below, a Lorain Crane on ground that will become the runway.
Above - this is a P&H 955 crescent scraper used to drag in coral used for aggregate for the first runway.
Below: Carl with the 34 ton Lorain Crane in the runway area.
Above: At the ruins of Point Marianne.
Below Left: John McHorse, Larry Ray, and Mike Tanner with the fish they caught diving in September 1971.
Below Right: Carl and Mike Swift with an ocean bass Mike caught in October 1971.
Above - of course there were Coconut Crab Tricks done all the time in the good ol' days! These were caught while Carl was on guard duty. The one hanging from his right hand weighed 14 pounds, and was reportedly, delicious...
The following photos are from
Carl Villanueva - from 1972-1973...
Here's some stuff you might not know...we were issued bicycles when we arrived; chiefs and officers used to have motorized minibikes, but they ended up being buried someplace on the island because of too many accidents; wild cats were not a problem, but there were a few 'pets'; we used to have a few treehouses for "hangouts"; we made a "houseboat"; there were boats, catamarans and kyaks left behind by the natives which were passed down from one sailor to another (I had a red kyak); I was in the "air ops" department and we used to go over to the plantation side regularly to clear the roads and party (air ops worked directly for the britrep); we used to have only one supply plane a week (C-130); we used outhouses; R&R was 1 week in bangkok; we had the last bob hope christmas show (his C-141 was the first jet to land there); we used to have to put out smudge pots for the plane to land at night; also had to chase the donkeys off the runway with the crash truck and sirens; calling home was via ham radio; I remember when the 'control tower' was a 8x8 trailer sitting on the field. the controller sometimes was in his underwear when talking to the plane because it was so hot in there (I think the air conditioner had broken); all the wagon tire valve stems were in short supply because the guys swiped them for use as hash pipes (they were perfect!)....
The original Air Ops
building. On the left, looking through the
breezeway - on the right, an end shot.
instead, all they got was:
hmmmmm.....don't ask, don't tell...
anyway - on with the story:
The Chow Hall (later generations knew it as the gym). The main latrine (?) From Ron Kramarz: "Seeing Carl Villanueva's picture of the Chow hall brought back some memories. While I was there they set up a trampoline next to it but so many guys got hurt on it they had to take it down, I think it only lasted a couple weeks."
One of the Tree Houses built by the Seabees.
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This, and everything else I write and every photo I produce is copyrighted by Ted A. Morris, Jr.