Don't miss these great deals!
If we don't have it, Chesty wouldn't want it.
Questions or Ordering? 888-NOV-1775
Mon-Fri 8am-5:30pm CST. Sat 10am-3pm CST.

Monkey Mountain Moments 69-70 MACS-4 “Vice Squad ch-77, mode-3 code 23, Echo-Charlie 214 your pigeon

Submitted by Philip Boddy Jr.
Photos (click on a photo to enlarge)
Naval Support Fire 69 Past Marble Mtn Sunrise Over South China Sea 69 Sunset Hai Van Pass over Danang 69

I got to DaNang via staging in Pendleton and through Okinawa.  With a history of pneumonia already from the tear gas chamber at ITR in '67, my '69 arrival in Vietnam after the staging area training's own tear gas choral emsemble had my lungs blowing dark green chunkies.  The Corpsman at the 2 day transition/gear storage shenanigans on Okinawa shrugged, handed me two 1000 mg Bayer aspirin, and quipped, "Can't help you here, kiddo.  Go die in Danang... NEXT Marine!"  I actually laughed.  You had to be there to see the insanity and chaos... revisited on the way home 2 tours later.  The Navy really is way-cool.  My uncle was a Sailor in WWII.  Besides, they're actually our mom.  We're fed, clothed, taken to "after school games" and church.  "She" also pimp-slaps our butts when naughty.  If you were REALLY crazy, you were "grounded" in your room... at Portsmouth Naval Prison, NH.  When I got to my unit after a day in the Danang runway transit barracks, with the self-cleaning and debugging screens from insects compliments to the chameleons skittering about all night, the MACS-4 "Doc" up on Monkey Mountain (Son Tra)  scowled at the minute flecks of blood in my green chunked sputum sample, and hissed, "He said WHAT?" Our unit "limo," a '48 canvas topped weapons carrier, tossed me into the DaNang Navy Hospital down by Marble Mountain. 

The Navy pulmonary physician laughed and told me I'd hit the jackpot for locations with my medical history.  He said Son Tra is nicknamed the "Lungs of DaNang" because the botanicals yield an exceptional oxygen level year around.  He added the precip there is like being inside a nebulizer from the saline in the sea breezes coupled with pure water in mist form from the daily "duty cloud" at 4 pm.  He was correct.  We lived pretty much outside in plywood two story SeaBee-built hootches with sideways storm rain, white-misted cloud, and critters everywhere.  Axis deer, macaws, red-legged duoc langurs, birds, an entomologist's dream with insects, and ripped quads from running up and down steep grades and stairways like Hopi's on caffeine at Arizona's First Mesa.  A book storage box of slides and print negatives has my grandkids going crazy.  "Grandpa, why do you call the M3A1 Grease Gun sexy?" and "What's a blooper?"  I'll just share some moments that still get me chokey.  My lil' bro, who was a Marine tanker, just laughs it off as being "a Marine Thing."  Semper Fi


  1. Walter Edwards March 08 2013, 8:08 am

    I am working in Da Nang at the present (March 2013) time and I was here ‘67-‘69 on Monkey Mountain. Things here have changed so much that if anyone that was here at that time would not know the place. The Vietnamese Army now have occupied Monkey Mountain and it’s hard to find the places in which you where stationed. A lot of restricted areas that once was occupied by Marines.

  2. James Fiero March 08 2013, 8:23 am

    Wasn’t ever stationed at at Monkey Mountain (or Da Nang), was with 5th Marines at An Hoa Feb.‘69 - July ‘70. Went up and down Liberty Road a lot on convoy runs and mine sweeps between An Hoa & Liberty Hill, and Liberty Hill & Da Nang. Question for you, I’ve heard An Hoa is gone. Nothing left of the base. Just wondering if the vill (Duc Duc) was still there, and did they ever do anything with the French built industrial complex that was just outside the wire?
    Jim Fiero

  3. richard lemke March 08 2013, 10:51 am

    I was at AN Hoa 68-69.  I was told that DUC DUC is gone.  After the Americans left there was a slaughter of the inhabitants of the the ville.  Saw photos 2 years ago of An Hoa combant base and the runway was still visible but not much was left.  I wonder what ever happened to the German Red Cross hospital near An Hoa.

  4. Robert Bliss March 08 2013, 1:12 pm

    Hey Jim,
    I was with you at An Hoa, G Com. 2Bn./5Mar.Rg., and I have read from any website that the Firebase is all gone now.  You can still see the L.Z. and airstrip that’s all.  The A.O. we worked was loss to the NVA almost as soon as we pulled out of there.  I guess it’s true question “Who won that war?”

  5. FRANCEnk Twupack March 08 2013, 2:20 pm

    I was stationed on Charlie Battery for a time just outside Da Nang TAD from the 1st Marine Div. We caught security duty for the radio jocks up there. Believe it or not we had anti-aircraft surface-to -air missiles on that hill. Charlie used to love to throw satchel charges under them. We did, on occasion travel to Monkey Mountain. Has anyone ever heard of rock apes? I was told that is how Monkey Mountain got it’s name.

  6. Robert Bliss March 11 2013, 7:25 am

    My unit went up Monkey Mountain once (that I know of) and the apes would throw things at us.  Hence the name rock apes.  I’m not sure if everything they threw was picked up off the ground.  If you know what I mean and I think you know what I mean.  The rock apes actually had pretty good throwing arms and would hit the guys.  I was lucky enough too stay out of their range.  I didn’t mind being a target but not for some monkey!

    Semper Fi my friends!
    Robert H. Bliss
    0341 and sometimes a 2535 but always a 0311

  7. Bob Burns March 11 2013, 3:50 pm

    Anybody remember Hoi An,19 miles south of Danang? I was assigned to the Province Interrogation Center as an Interrogator/Translator.I had a card giving me unlimited travel in country as
    long as it was official business. We had NVA and Charlies as POWS. When I had a slow time at work I would handcuff a Charlie in the backseat of my Jeep (he was my official business excuse) and take off to DaNang for some Ice Cream at the Air Force compound beside the airport runway. Then to DaNang Hotel for a real bed and a real shower.

    The hotel security had a holding cell and was nice enough to watch my Charlie for the night.That card was worth a small fortune. Can you imagine what my Charlie told his buddies about
    the trips to DaNang after the war was over?

    Semper Fi
    Sgt Bob Burns
    ‘67-‘71 Nam ‘69 and ‘70

  8. FRANCEnk Twupack March 12 2013, 9:03 am

    Please change my name to “Frank”, anything remotely associated with France is an insult.  Tks

    L/Cpl Frank Twupack ‘68-‘70

  9. Robert Bliss March 14 2013, 9:21 am

    Hey Bob,

    I was station with Golf 2/5 out of An Hoa.  It was just south of Liberty Bridge.  Do you know the place?

    Robert Bliss

  10. richard baker April 08 2013, 8:52 am

    Nov. ‘69 set foot in country, mortar attack, so after I took off my skivvies I was sent to 1st Mar. Div. as TAD 4631/0331 (my old man served during WW2 and his last words to me before I left was Don’t Volunteer for anything); lol… that went out the window when I volunteered for the Corps… so here I am,  FNG TAD and the CO Col.Walker comes up says ya going to Que Son Mts. You’ve been volunteered to go on hand held sensing device ops. Well being a 19-yr-old who knows it all, I ask why? His answer, “who the f-ck ya think you are?” He calls for my SRB, looks at it and said your a military school grad from 4th grade thru HS, yes sir, “your scores state, if they are true 121, why the f-ck aren’t you in OCS?” My response, “I rather be an act of GOD then an act of congress, SIR.” Walker was a real f-cker, he has me wait, this was the change of command from Simpson to Wheeler, I’m listening to all sh-t they are talking about, SgtMajor says, “Ya can’t do that SIR.” He’s just arrived, goes up to CG, who isn’t even posted his Flag yet, all I hear is Wheeler laughin’ his azs off, told walker do it. Col. comes out and says, “ya promoted to W-1 effective NOW. Get ya azs to Que Son Mts taor.” True f-ckin’ story. So I’m arm carried by a Gunny to a bird at Marble, thrown on literally and for the next 9 days on 5 of the 12 ops. Now here’s wear it gets good. I’m still attached PP to Air Force Combat Photo School.  I wasn’t supposed to be in country for another 4 months… when I get back to 1st headquarters we started unloading the wounded and dead, a RAMF (I’m an old salt)  LtCol (Army) from the White Elephant comes running up and pushes his way thru to us to get at the film in my pouch, I swung around and my camera, by accident ahem, hits him square between the running lights, this is all Jake , thus ended my career as a W-1.

    Semper Fi Do or Die

  11. Philip Boddy Jr. March 17 2014, 9:00 pm

    For Robert Bliss on “Rock Apes” and Walter Edwards for pics…

    The critters were all over day and night on shifts.  Days had the macacs ranging around the perimeter.  Some were bold and knew who the “friendlies” were with handouts and care.  Ritz crackers, ground coffee, sugar, and dry creamer sometimes “ran low” on supplies. They and the nightshift mongoose population were handy to have around.  They always could spot the rare wandering snakes. The Beautiful duoc langurs-rust legged (there are grey and black legged varieties also across Danang Harbor) traveled by leaping through the trees.  When I got my first night guard mount instructions, the SgtOG mentioned NEVER taking food out on the lower guard posts close to the treeline.  His admonition of walking the post in the “Duty Cloud” whiteness and reliving the scene in “Jack the Ripper” with a 48” tall shadow barking at you for your sandwich or chow wasn’t meant as humor.  The langurs could smell food and then dismantle your flak jacket to get it if refused. Never had it happen to us.  However, I did see them throw a few times at night if pissed or running off a reptile. On guard one night with a pard we heard screeching about 40 feet below us just out of the lights by the main “gate”.  A langur baby had gotten curious about our virtually useless single roll of rusty razorwire.  It inadvertently had snagged on the “real” perimeter gimmick of our field of tangle-foot just under the low scrub.  My pard went out and started laughing.  Immediately the mother appeared and grabbed the baby for comfort.  Just as she carted the wimpering kiddo into the darkened foliage, two large males appeared at the wire silently looking up at us. My pard stooped and picked up a rock.  I barked at him to drop it ASAP!  They are amazingly accurate and throw exactly like any champion Brit-Indian-Pakistani cricket player with all the laws of physics applied.  I put some distance between us.  The langurs were just watching without any sound.  He tossed the rock over their heads as a joke.  He spent the rest of the night listening to thudding impacts against the sandbags, bunker wall, and a few bangs from the CONEX box storage area/“brig.”  Remarkably, when I was on, nothing.  The family stayed all night in the leeward gully below us for shelter from a strong wet chilled westerly squall coming over the harbor.  There are lovely pics of the duocs on the Vietnamese/International Duoc Langur Preservation site.  For Walter Edwards and Robert, there are some great Youtube vids of the area.  There is one that gets me misty.  It is the exact Post 15 Guard Trail behind the Officers’ Club and hootches by the large rock where the LAAMs Hawk missiles were before being transferred out.  It shows the exact view in daylight I have in sunset photo of the Hai Van Pass across the Harbor. I have a gazillion BWs and slides buried I need to dig out and get refinished.   Nice windy (always) and clear day. 

    Thanks to John Abbott a fellow “laundry pad groupie” :-)

    Semper Fi!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

Login Now

Shop over 5000 USMC ProductsShop 200+ USMC T-shirtsShop our Gun and Ammo ItemsShop our selection of Vietnam ItemsShop our selection of KA-BARs and Knives