Riverine operations were possible because
of the presence of mobile logistical bases like the self-propelled barracks
ship Benewah (APB-35), shown here in 1968. Alongside are three ASPBs and
five ATCs, two with helicopter flight decks and three with protective canopies.
Note the heavy armament installed aboard the Benewah, including quadruple
40 mm guns fore and aft, and two single, slow-firing 3 in/50s abaft the
helicopter platform. There were two other ships like this in the MRF. The
Colleton and the Neuasus.
The three sectioned pontoon alongside
the ship moved with it when we changed anchorage. When the sun went down
they would pull up the anchor and move a few hundred yards so that the
VC couldn't get a good fix on our location for a mortar round or two. The
buildings on the pontoon are the supply shacks for the Army and the boat
crews. At the back of the Pontoon two small boats are tied up. The one
on the left is a PAB (Plastic Assault Boat), a 16' Boston Whaler with a
big tiller steered outboard motor.
A view of the MRF base
This is a view of the MRF
base with the Benewah in the upper right corner. The boat next to it is
one of the unpowered barracks barges. The ship in the lower left corner
is one of the unconverted LSTs. Notice how many boats are tied up to the
pontoon of the center ship.