A sharp-eyed Navy warrant officer and an efficient motor whaleboat
crew from ServPac's gasoline tanker USS Noxubee have been credited
with the rapid recovery of a helicopter crew whose helo was forced
down in Da Nang Harbor because of engine trouble.
The quick reaction of Noxubee's command duty officer and the
crew of her motor whaleboat turned out to be the key ingredient in
the success of the operation as the motor whaleboat was dispatched
minutes before the Navy "chopper" hit the water.
CHMACH R. D. Bland, CDO at the time of the incident, spotted
the helicopter wavering over the harbor and realized it was in
trouble and about to ditch.
He immediately dispatched Noxubee's whaleboats at full speed to
the area about 500 yards from the ship where he thought the helo
The whaleboat manned by SN Lloyd J. Grawien, coxswain; FN Larry
M. Schmidtendorff and SN Lawrence W. Saliba was first on the scene
and was able to rescue the helo crew in less than one minute after
In a letter of commendation from the commanding officer of dock
landing ship USS Hermitage, Senior Officer Present Afloat at the
time, the boat crew members were cited for a performance which was
". . . outstanding In all respects, reflected their high
degree of readiness and was In keeping with the highest traditions
of the Naval Service."
Noxubee returned to her homeport of Pearl Harbor In late
September, ending her most recent six-month WestPac deployment.
While deployed, she pumped more than eight million gallons of fuel
to U. S. and Free World Forces in the I Corps Zone of the Republic
Her WestPac operations consisted mainly of ferrying petroleum
products from ServPac's Naval Support Activity, Da Nang to tank
farms at Cua Viet (Dong Ha) , Tan My (Hue) , Chu Lai and Duc Tho.
As reported in the "COMSERVPAC INFORMATION BULLETIN",