THE RACE

One balmy summer day, at Cat Lo, near Vung Tau, we were sitting pierside working on our equipment, when our Gunner decided he needed a (fill in the blank, I forget) to fix something in the 50 cal mount. He said, "the Antelope is off the coast, I know the Gunner, and he'll fix us up."

OinC said, "Nah, it'll wait till we get back to SaDec."

So Gunner says ... "They got ice cream on board."
OinC says ... "Fire 'em up, boys. Underway in 15."

So ..... a little while later, we are pulling alongside the Antelope. Gunner goes aboard to find the (still can't remember), and the BM goes aboard looking for ice cream. Gunner comes back with the (you guessed it, I still can't remember), and BM comes back with a deal.

We race ... if we beat them, they give us 5 gals of ice cream. If they win, we give them a case of steaks. Hell, we were a SWIFT BOAT for crissakes .. they were a big ol' honkin' Navy ship. How could we lose?

So we set up a race of about 5 miles, from our position to the buoy marking the wreck at the mouth of the river. Easy day ... shoot, we even cheated and took off before them. And we watched them fading away behind us.

About a mile from the finish, we were feelin' really good. The Antelope was about 200 yards behind us, struggling to keep up. About a half mile out, we heard a whiny noise coming from Antelope .. sort of a high pitch spinning noise ... and she started to gain ground on us.

To make a long sad story short ... she blew by us at the quarter mile point like we had started dragging anchor. When she passed the buoy, the whine went away, and she settled to a stop. I couldn't believe it. A case of steaks changed hands, and us Swiftboat Sailors learned what a gas turbine will do!

Just another ho-hum day in paradise, and another non-war story from the Nam.


Click HERE to go back to the main page.