From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Don't knock the smoke.  On one cross the desert trek in ODS, only had coordinates.  Compass reading was/is not one of my stronger skills.  Finally got to the top of a wadi and looked north.  I knew in an instance what it was and all we had to do was hone in on the smoke and Viola!  A very forward COB--- my new home for several hours.

Bob N


    From:  Ann Kelsey

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Love the shit burning detail story.  I can still smell the smell of those cut off shitters being burned every morning at Cam Ranh Army.  Nobody ever actually burned the structure though.  I have a couple of pictures of that smoke rising that I took in Chu Lai.

Ann


Marble Mountain

February 2013

    From:  Robert Romanieo

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Absolutely correct, Sir!


    From:  Robert Romaniello

     Date:  February 25, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Hi Group, I have been a member of this group for a number of years, but have not been active. You see, I've been busy writing a novel by the name of Marble Mountain Memoirs, with a chapter entitled:

Sgt. Pepper From the Delta to the DMZ

The book was four years in the making, and details the escapades of a rag-tag group of misfits stationed in the shadow if the Marble Mountains outside of Danang in 1969 and '70.

I owe special thanks to Jack Holsomback, Jean LeRoy, Tim Abney, and others who were kind enough to share some of their memories.

Marble Mountain Memoirs is available for Kindle for $3.99. (If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app for your pc). It is also available in paperback for $10.99. If you'd like an autographed copy, please send me a message, and I'll get one along to you postage-free.

Please keep in mind that the book is very controversial, and not your typical 'Nam book.

Thanks for your time, brothers and sisters,

Robert Romaniello


    From:  John Thomas

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Tuy Hoa, the guy wires went to the antenna.

[The guy wires are barely visible but three or four them run from in

front of the white buildings just left of center and then upwards.]

    From:  Ann Kelsey

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Nancy probably knows about Freedom Hill.  It was the area where the Red Cross Rec Center and the USO Club were.

Ann


    From:  John Mc Namara

     Date:  February 25, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Robert, I closed the DaNang site in 73.  The Monkey Mountain Music Makers potted down for the last time.  We were told to eliminate all signs of AFVN. Just before we left for the last time, we went through all buildings for a final check.  All was well.  We got in our vehicles and left.  About half way down the mountain, we gave one last look.  There in gigantic letters on the lower wall was AFVN.

OH WELL.


    From:  Steve Wiltsie

     Date:  March 5, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Jack,

The Da Nang section is about 19 minutes into the 35-minute movie so the file is pretty large.  It includes seeing the AVFN site from the road in Da Nang and on the way up the mountain as well as looking around the site and the views from up there back down at the city, waterfronts, and airport. That section is about 5 minutes long.

I don't think I can send that via e-mail due to the size but had given Jim White a copy on DVD when I met him at the Reunion in Memphis.  Probably the best we can do is be able to view it on the new AFVN website.

There was a version of this film on the old AFVN website but the resolution was reduced quite a bit.  Maybe today's technology will allow it to be a little clearer (given that it is from the original 40-year-old Super 8 film converted to VHS tape about 15 years ago and then converted to digital about 3 years ago).

Steve Wiltsie

    From:  John Hollsomback

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Steve,

It would be great if you could send a copy to all of us via this site.  I for one would love to see the old site again.

Jack

[Again, the movie referred to above is available on YouTubeWebmaster]

    From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

That would work too!  The spirit of cooperation.


    From:  Roger Romaniello

     Date:  February 27, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Thanks Roger. Were you near Marble Mountain?   Have you read the book? 

Regards.

Robert


AFVN Group Conversations

    From:  Steve Wiltsie

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

I've got some footage of most of the outside of the station's property during a 5 minute or so Da Nang segment on my Super 8 movie (converted to digital) that Jim is going to be putting on the new web site soon. It shows a little of that side of the area (including an interesting part where someone is pulling down a building using a Jeep!)

Steve Wiltsie


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Bob,

They stuck out of the ground at about a 45-degree angle.  That meant that even the short-timers were able to use them.  If they had stuck straight up out of the ground, some of the guys might have had to aimed skyward and hoped for the best.

Jim


    From:  Roy Burnette

     Date:  February 27, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Same war, same time, shared memory...nice seeing your name pop-up.

Roy Burnette

DaNang 70-71


    From:  John Holsomback

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

It is kinda hard to autograph a Kindle. I have read the book and frankly, it isn't the Vietnam I knew or the troops I commanded.  Of course the ones described were apparently draftees, unguided, undisciplined, rabble who would not have lasted five minutes in the Corps.


    From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Three or four feet....What happened to the short timers!


    From:  Robert Dillion

     Date:  February 27, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Hi John. 

Nice to hear from someone else that was there when we closed.  I wasn't there long before we turned out the lights.  Only there for 3 months.


    From:  John Holsomback

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

During my last visit in 1971, the head and showers were located at the lowest point just before the drop off into the water point.  The water tank we put next to the head was a shade too low to feed water to the bar located under the main building.  As you faced the station, the head was located on the far left.


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Bob,

They stuck out of the ground at about a 45-degree angle.  That meant that even the short-timers were able to use them.  If they had stuck straight up out of the ground, some of the guys might have had to aimed skyward and hoped for the best.

Jim


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 2, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

I know I was at the Da Nang Detachment up on the mountain once, but I don't recall if it was Marble Mountain or Monkey Mountain.  Are they two different mountains or two names for the same place?

Embarrassingly yours,

Jim W


    From:  Mike Jackson

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Was that also where the shower was located?

Mike


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Heck, I always thought that if the line got too long, you could use the pocket of the guy in front of you.

Jim


    From:  Robert Romaniello

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

They were two different places.  Monkey mountain was North of China Beach and Marble Mountain was south.  The AFVN site was on Monkey Mountain.  I believe Monkey Mountain was closer to Freedom Hill.  Hope this helps.


    From: John Holsomback

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

On Moneky Mountain, we installed toilet seats, and I scrounged a 100-gallon water heater and we built hot water showers.  People came from all
over just to use our "head".


    From:  JIm White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Robert,

Thanks for the clarification.  But must admit that I know nothing about Freedom Hill.  I've got your book via Kindle (I use Kindle mainly because it saves shipping charges to Japan)  Have only looked at the first few pages but am looking forward to reading the rest of it over the next several days.

Jim


    From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

ODS had the best... Coed with a small sand barrier between.  Never saw a problem never heard a complaint.  It's what you did and needed to do.  On the early convoy routes rest stops with fuel trucks and a chow tent were set up and operated around the clock.  We actually ran out of food early on and made do sharing what we had.  A good experience when the worst brings out the best.

Bob Nelson


    From:  Ann Kelsey

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

No toilet seats at Cam Ranh army, just plywood 2 x 4s with holes cut in them and plenty of piss tubes.  Freezing obviously wasn't a problem. The Air Force had flush toilets though.


    From:  Rodger McNight

     Date:  February 25, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Robert I was on monkey mountain in 70-71 we would sit outside and watch marble mountain at night,  we called it directing the war from where we saw the rockets and the flairs at night. I think I made one trip down there after the site became a remote and retransmited DaNang. Looking forward to reading your book.


    From:  John Holsomback

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Yes, Mike, the toilets were on the left with a partition down the middle and the bank of showers in that partition aimed toward the right wall.  Can't remember if there were sinks on the partition on the toilet side, and I don't remember where we put the hot water tank.  We painted the place white and it was about 10 x 10 total size with a screen door.

Jack


    From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

What's the old line....Tall guys in the front, short guys to the rear....When it came to a shortage of facilities.


    From:  John Holsomback

     Date:  March 2, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Jim:

Monkey Mountain detachment was about 2/3 the way up the winding two-lane road, about a mile above the tropo antenna site.  We used to sit on the side of the mountain, behind our tents and watch the fire fights going on at Marble Mountain.  Lots of flares, tracer ammo and those beautiful Gatling guns.  They always looked like ray guns.  Another item mentioned in the book was the "shit burning detail.  From Monkey Mountain, on a still morning we could see at least 20 tall columns of smoke rising over the area of Da Nang.  That brings to mind a very green army private named Beale who reported to me at the Detachment.  The first thing I had him do was "go burn the shitters."  In addition to the waste buckets, the fancy little building, complete with toilet paper rolls and toilet seats was such a lovely four holer unofficially designated as the "shitter."  He didn't know you had to remove the cut-in-half 55 gallon cans from under the holes before you poured fuel in them and set them on fire.  As I said, it was a beautiful "shitter."  Lesson learned.. always make sure army privates fully understand your orders, and then watch them like hawks.  Army privates cannot be held responsible for stupidity.  It comes built in...  After that incident, I gave Beale an intrenching tool and taught him to dig a 1,2,3 trench which was his alone to use as he started building us a new Latrine, Head, Toilet, or simply "Shitter."

jack


    From:  John Holsomback

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

As I recall, Freedom Hill was the location of Freedom Hill P.X.  It was another apex of a huge triangle.  The other two points would be Monkey Mountain, and Marble Mountain.  Beyond Freedom Hill was Happy Valley.

Jack


    From:  Mike Jackson

     Date:  March 4, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Jack,

Can you recall where at the station the head and showers were located?

Mike


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Bob,

They stuck out of the ground at about a 45-degree angle.  That meant that even the short-timers were able to use them.  If they had stuck straight up out of the ground, some of the guys might have had to aimed skyward and hoped for the best.

Jim


    From:  Jim White

     Date:  March 3, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

I don't remember any shit-burning details in Korea.  I missed the fighting by a few months but when I got there in May 1954, the engineer company I was with had a very fine six or maybe even an eight-hole non-flush facility complete with real nice toilet seats.  Of course, the BOQs that we had built at Osan Air Base were missing some toilet seats and therefore had to be re-ordered--but that wasn't our concern.  The outhouse certainly wasn't flush and you sure didn't want to drop your wallet--but we didn't have to burn anything.

Burning wasn't required because the Korean farmers were more than happy to come by once in a while and take all that good "fertilizer" out to their fields.  The big problem we did have was with the "piss tubes."  These were six-inch fuel line pipes that were buried at an appropriate angle and stuck up out of the ground some 3 or 4 feet.  They worked fine during the summer.  But, when it turned cold, the contents froze, added content just piled up frozen around them and then when Spring hit--Oh, boy, so did the smell!

One incident was when an older NCO who was sitting on one side had a heart attack, stiffened and died on the spot.  Two younger soldiers sitting on the other side were--shall we say--scared shit-less and I don't what facilities they used for the rest of their tours.

Jim


    From:  Steve Wiltsie

     Date:  March 2, 2013

Subject:  Marble Mountain Memoirs

Jim,

You can see the AFVN detachment on the side of Monkey Mtn in the movie I gave you.  Then you can see DaNang from the detachment a few minutes later.

Steve Wiltsie

[The movie referred to above is available on YouTubeWebmaster]