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Am I the Only One Who Saw This?
By Gary Hubbard
I arrived in Da Nang in July of 1969 and was shuttled off in a cattle car to Camp Tehn Shaw [sic]. One of our first indoctrination classes was held by a Navy Lt. He told us of the evils that lurked just outside the main gate — grass, pussy and the like. After the meeting most of us went outside the main gate to purchase exactly that. Thanks Navy Lt.
After a few days I was assigned to the A.F.D.L. 23, a floating dry dock in Da Nang Harbor. At the time I was a 20-year-old Seaman 1st Class. We worked 12 hour shifts, 10 days a week, with 1 day off, and stood a 2 hour watch every 3 nights. I wish I could remember the exact date but it was probably between September and October 1969, sometime before the monsoon started. Anyway, I had the 2am to 4am watch. The floating dry dock had wing walls around it where the men slept and ate chow. Each wall was about 20 feet tall and at the end of each wall was a round watch area about 10 feet across that overlooked Da Nang Bay. My job was to walk along each wing wall and watch for swimmers with my M-16. Then I would go to the end of the wing wall and toss a percussion grenade, I would then go to the other wing wall and repeat this every 15 minutes.
At some time into my watch, I tossed my percussion grenade, turned my back on the bay and fired up a joint. Then the sky behind me lit up like it was noon time. I turned around and a huge fireball rose in the sky over either Army side or Air Force side. Understand this is across the bay several miles and it looked like an atomic bomb. Then the rumble of the blast came across the bay and the bay itself began to produce swells that rocked the dry dock.
I asked my C.O. about the blast the next morning and he knew nothing about it. I wrote my father about it and he said there was nothing on the news about this huge horrific explosion. I'm guessing that the VC tunneled under an ammo dump on the Army or Air Force side causing great damage.
Anyway I persisted with my inquiry about the phantom blast and the next thing I knew I was transferred to a life of luxury in Cam Ranh Bay.
I am 66 now and have never found another vet that knows anything about this. Respond to VVAW at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know anything.
Gary Hubbard was in the U.S.N.R. He served Vietnam July 1969 to July 1970.