MARINE AIR SUPPORT SQUADRON 3
Marine Air Control Group 18
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
FPO San Francisco, California 96602
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND WIVES
Marine Air Support Squadron 3 (MASS 3), of which your son or husband is now a member, is a unit of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which is a component of III Marine Amphibious Force, the U.S. Marine Command in Vietnam. The mission of MASS 3 is to control and direct Marine aircraft in close and direct support of Marine and other friendly ground forces. The squadron accomplishes this mission through its Direct Air Support Centers, Air Support Radar Teams, and Helicopter Direction Centers in various locations throughout Vietnam.
The Squadron base camp is at Danang. The climate is semi-tropical and pleasant. Temperatures range from 50 degrees in the winter to 90 degrees in the summer. Cooling ocean breezes make the nights comfortable. The most notable feature of the climate here is the northeast monsoon season with its frequent and heavy rainfall. All Marines in the Squadron are issued adequate waterproof clothing to protect them from the elements, and although the rains slow down our operations somewhat, we perform our mission regardless of the weather.
The Squadron has detachments at Quang Tri, Birmingham, LZ Baldy, Chu Lai and An Hoa. Danang is the location of the Danang Air Base, and besides MASS 3, a number of Marine, Army and Navy units are garrisoned here. First Marine Division is deployed around the base area.
The Marines of MASS 3 reside in tin-roofed wooden buildings known as "Southeast Asia Huts," and they are designed to keep rain out while admitting a maximum of fresh air. These quarters are, by no means, luxurious, but they are adequate and not uncomfortable.
The pride of MASS 3 is the Squadron Mess, which is considered by many to be the best mess in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Here are served a remarkable variety of tasty, wholesome foods, including such staples as beefsteak, milk, ice cream and fresh salads, in almost unlimited quantities. Most Marines departing the Squadron weigh more than when they joined.
Excellent medical facilities and care are available to the Marines of MASS 3. Navy medical corpsmen operate a dispensary in the Squadron camp and care for routine ailments and minor injuries. Patients suffering from serious ailments or injuries are evacuated in the Squadron's ambulance to a complete Naval hospital located within 20 minutes' drive of the Squadron's camp. Patients requiring the attention of specialists are taken by helicopter or boat to the U.S. Navy hospital ship anchored off Danang.
There is an enlisted men's club and a noncommissioned officer's club where the Marines of the Squadron can go after duty hours for relaxation and refreshments. Touring variety shows often perform in these Squadron clubs, and occasionally Marines of the Squadron can attend performances given by celebrities of the entertainment world in the Freedom Hill Amphitheater.
During his duty in Vietnam, your son or husband will have at least one opportunity to visit Hawaii, Australia, or one of a number of Asian cities during a 5-7 day rest and recreation leave. His transportation to and from the city of his choice will be by a civilian airline aircraft, at no expense to him.
A chaplain is assigned to the Squadron to conduct religious services, to provide counseling when desired, and to serve the spiritual needs of the personnel of the Squadron. Additionally, there are available to the marines of the Squadron, several military and Naval chapels within a short distance of the Squadron camp staffed by chaplains of various faiths.
Considering all the recreation facilities and programs available to the Marine in Vietnam, mail from home is still the most potent morale builder. Your son or husband is encouraged to write to you as often as his duty permits, and it is hoped that you will write frequently to him. His correct mailing address is:
Rank, Name, Service Number
MASS 3, (Section)
MACG 18, 1st MAW
FPO San Francisco, California 96602
In case of a family emergency in which you desire that your son or husband be notified immediately, you should contact the nearest chapter of the American Red Cross and request its assistance in notifying him.
It is hoped that the information contained herein provides you an idea of your son's or husband's organization and duties in Vietnam. Parents and wives are invited to write to the commanding officer when they have questions regarding the Squadron or their sons and husbands.
I held off writing this letter so I could send you my new address. I am now at Marine Air Support Squadron-3. Right now I'm the assistant to another Lieutenant who I'll probably relieve.
MASS-3 is located on top of a 1,000-foot high mountain overlooking Danang Bay, and it's really beautiful. Its mission is to give radar guidance to planes giving the ground troops close air support. The squadron has one Direct Air Support Center and five Air Support Radar Teams. As you can guess, the reason I got this job is because of my enlisted experience. My platoon's job is to provide communications between the DASC and the five ASRT's which are located all through "I" Corps.
I think I'll be here for some time, although it's hard to be sure. The whole Marine Corps is readying to pull back, although it's hard to say what will happen. Twenty three hundred men from the wing will go home (as a result of) the recent cut, and we're preparing for more (cuts) in the future.
Right now it's the same time as in Chicago with a 12-hour difference---explain that to the kids! I'm watching the 6:30 news on TV in my barracks, but this new barracks isn't air-conditioned (war is hell!). They say it stays fairly cool here because of the height-catching sea breezes. I'll send you pictures soon. I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places (views) I've ever seen.
I've taken a book on the Vietnamese language and will study tapes on it. I probably won't learn much, but it will help pass the time. I received your letter and the letters from the church two days ago---glad you enjoyed your trip.