Left Behind by Kent Smith

Kent Smith was an OSC on Morton from 72 to 76. A few years before that he was on an old WW II DE, USS Vance DE 387 from 1965 to 1968. He was an RD1 and made RDC on Vance. This is a short story of one small adventure while on Vance.

I was standing JOOD one night on Operation Market Time. The JOOD was the boarding officer when we boarded junks to search. It was probobly about 1:00 AM when we went alongside a junk to search it.

Myself, (I was an RD1 at the time) and the bos'n of the watch, a BM3, (I cannot remember his name) went onto the junk and I went down into the forward hold to search it. The BM3 went to the aft cabin to search. When I came up out of the hold and looked around the Vance was gone! I just stood on the bow and about 10 or 12 Viet fishermen stood at the stern and we just stared at each other.

I had a 45 auto but I said to myself, "self, if these are bad guys, they got you out gunned". I never considered touching it. I don't know how long I was on that junk, but eventually the OOD asked where I was. They called back to the after lookout and he told them I was still on the junk.

The Vance was probobly 4 or 5 miles away from me by now, and there were junks all over the place. I was lucky that a good CIC crew had marked the junk on the DRT and had kept track of it. They used that to find me.

I feel lucky that I wasn't shot, dumped over the side or made a POW. All those thoughts went thru my mind while I was waiting to be picked up. I can't remember who the OOD was but I am glad he finally missed me and came back to pick me up.

Kent Smith

Kent also submitted this to ussmortondd948.org