USS Benewah

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.