The CCB (command control boat) was a Monitor with radios in the well
deck and dozen antennas topside used by the Army for communications between
the troops in the field and the battalion TOC (Tactical Operations Center).
There was a canvas roof over the radio space so you couldn't see out unless
you stepped up the ladder that was the only way in or out. The radios where
stacked on a table where we kept a written log of all the radio activity.
There were bunks for at least two. The radio deck was manned by an officer
and two radio operators, and an FO (Forward Observer - artillery). At least
two people were awake at all times but four could work at the same time
if need be. It was a confined space and there was never enough air movement.
The heat could be brutal.
Six radios were standard operating procedure on a CCB. One radio was
set on the battalion command frequency, one on logistics, one on fire support,
one on brigade, one for utility (for a company frequency or for calling
in dustoffs, etc.) and one spare. Each had its own telephone-style handset.
There was routine traffic on some of the radios but when hell broke loose,
all demanded attention at once. The VC/NVA knew that we depended on our
radios and they watched for antennas. The more antennas, the more important
the target. CCBs were usually in the thick of it and with the guns onboard
firing the noise was deafening. There was never enough time to look outside
during a firefight. Whatever there was to know about it came over the radios.