My short bio: Born in Chicago, Ill in 1953 and enlisted in the Navy after High School in 1971. Served aboard the USS Hanson DD-832 and the USS Enhance MSO-437. Numerous trips north of the DMZ and into Haiphong Harbor under hostile fire. Would love to share my experience overseas.

β€œOn 10 May 1972, USS Hanson participated in operation Custom Tailor, a history making strike that assembled the most formidable cruiser/destroyer armada in the Western Pacific since World War II. During this strike military targets within four miles of Haiphong, North Vietnam were hit and enemy opposition was heavy. All told, USS Hanson spent 183 out of 214 days at sea during the April-November Deployment, expended 14,486 rounds of 5”/38 ammunition and successfully completed 97 underway replenishment's without incident.”

My Proof:

Edit: Thanks everyone for your awesome questions!

Comments: 263 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

AwkwardExaltation53 karma

I had an uncle who was in the Navy and ashore during the Tet offensive. He passed away last year, and claimed that his health issues were caused by transporting Agent Orange. Have you heard any other stories like this?

TR1V1UM-51 karma

Yes, I worked with a guy Fred Rodriguez who was Army in Vietnam and died of lung cancer caused by agent orange.

AwkwardExaltation26 karma

My uncle had throat cancer and other ailments, but he also drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney, so I always had my doubts. He did get 100% disability in his retirement, so I guess the Navy thought he was legit. Thanks for the response.

TR1V1UM-11 karma

No problem!

call_me_gunner11 karma

Not to high jack the question and answer or anything but my grandpas brother recently passed away from cancer all over his body that they said was caused from it too

TR1V1UM-11 karma

Sorry to hear that.

I_drive_all_over37 karma

does your father swim well? I have a buddy who is 55 yrs old and a Navy vet. He can barely swim. I found that mind boggling. He claims he basically floated during his required training.

TR1V1UM-41 karma

"I'm an ok swimmer. The boot camp requirement is you have to tread water for ten minutes in a pool. "

I_drive_all_over10 karma

ok thank you and thank you for your service.

TR1V1UM-18 karma

Thanks for the question.

davidvenice23 karma

Whats the worst thing that happened, which you personally experienced, you will never forget?

TR1V1UM-31 karma

In general quarters, below deck, in Haiphong Harbor we were shelling the City, as we turned to get out, we were hit with shore artillery that left 143 holes on the starboard side above deck. My rate was a Damage Controlman

naimnotname21 karma

Can your dad beat up my dad?

TR1V1UM-24 karma

My dad is getting up there in age. How fit is your dad?

Dad_Jokes_Incoming92 karma

A panda walks into a bar and says to the bartender 'I'll have a Scotch and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coke thank you'.

'Sure thing' the bartender replies and asks 'but whats with the big pause?'

The panda holds up his hands and says 'I was born with them'

TR1V1UM-22 karma

Well done.

TehKombatWombat21 karma

Do you have any good memories that can help overshadow the bad ones?

TR1V1UM-26 karma

Loved being at Sea, liberty call in Hong Kong, Japan and the Phillipines.

DeiLupus19 karma

How did your time in the service shaped the man you have become today?

TR1V1UM-28 karma

It gave me the technical skills that helped me get a job with the federal Government and recently retired from the National Park Service.

Nill18 karma

In your work at the National Park Service, did you ever encounter stairs in the middle of the forest? I'm wondering because there are stories on reddit that pertain to this subject.

TR1V1UM-2 karma

No only rock stairs that were cut into the rock on public trails.

Nill11 karma

ok because they speak about stairs in this nosleep post that just sit in the middle of the forest like if someone copied and pasted it from a house into the middle of a 300 mile forest.

trivium read this you will enjoy it. it's a 4 post series

TR1V1UM-1 karma

I'll check it out. Thanks.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

I'm reading it now and it's pretty creepy but my dad was at Channel Islands National Park in SoCal for most of his career. Islands instead of forests.

TrampledUnderfootLZ15 karma

What was your time in the Navy like as a whole?

And do you still speak to anyone you served with?

Thanks for doing this AMA

TR1V1UM-48 karma

There is a saying that you wouldn't do it again for a Million dollars, however you wouldn't trade the experience for a Million dollars. Generally it was very exciting for a 19 year old.

The USS Hanson will have a reunion this Sept in Albuquerque.

TrampledUnderfootLZ8 karma

Thank you for answering, hope you enjoy the reunion all the best!

TR1V1UM-11 karma

Thanks for the questions!

Dmano3 karma


TR1V1UM-4 karma

For sure.

InTupacWeTrust11 karma

Amazing father you have there! What did he think about the USA media that was covered during the war and was he think the war was needed?

TR1V1UM-25 karma

Overseas GI's got the Stars and Stripes news paper and only letters from home.

Looking back, all of the lives lost were for nothing because the Vietnamese will fight to the last man and communism can only be stopped by the people who want a better life.

the_original_kiki7 karma

Do you have any stories about the South China Sea sailors?

TR1V1UM-16 karma

There were 225 guys on my ship from almost every state. My best friend that I hit the beach with was from New York State. He loved to party. I pulled him out of a massage parlor in Sasabo, Japan before the Shore Patrol showed up and got him medical attention in Hong Kong when a cocktail waitress broke a shot glass on his face for getting fresh with her. British closed the bar for a month.

pinkadobe6 karma

My dad was also born in 1953, graduated high school in 1971, enlisted in the Navy, and served on the USS Enterprise. He and my mom actually met when he escorted his good friend, my uncle's, body back to the States (he'd overdosed on heroin, which I understand was relatively common at the time).

My dad since took his own life (in 1987--I was 11). Not a day goes by that I don't see a homeless veteran and think of him. Thank you so much for your service.

What are your thoughts on the mental health benefits available to service men and women and veterans?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Sorry to hear about your father. I worked for the VA for eight years in the seventies and I thought the care was good, however they hadn't diagnosed PTSD yet.

From what I hear today is the VA is struggling with the shear volume of patients.

Zircon886 karma


1) How does your father like his eggs? I'm partial to a lightly peppered poached egg myself, with slightly runny yolk.

2) Any particular recipe that he might like to share that they used while on the move to alleviate monotony from ration packets?

TR1V1UM-21 karma

  1. Eggs over easy

  2. No rations. We were served three prepared meals a day. The meals weren't bad, however after 45 days at sea you run out of fresh vegetables, fruit and milk.

ProfessionalDicker2 karma

Did you use alot of hot sauce? I soaked all of the crap they served in hot sauce.

TR1V1UM-5 karma

No the food wasn't bad. I could never figure out why they would serve spaghetti when we were riding out a typhoon and half of the crew was sea sick.

Sokonine5 karma

I know your dad was in the navy, not the army, but is it true that soldiers tended to have brief combat more often as to fewer days with more intense combat during Vietnam. What was your dad's task on the ship? Is it true that navy ships are like sort of like living in a jail? Also, what were your thoughts on the intervention on Vietnam? By then the conflict was being viewed rather negatively, and I'm wondering why you decided to join since you didn't specifically say you were drafted. Did you have a family member in the Navy during WW2 that you wanted to follow in the steps of? Assuming you weren't drafted, what was your purpose in enlisting?

TR1V1UM-9 karma

I was a Hull Technician which combined the two rates of Shipfitter (welder) and a Damage Controlman (firefighter/flooding).

When on gun line duty the shop would go into Haiphong Harbor early in the morning, fire 20 rounds and leave. Intense for a couple of hours every night.

Not drafted however my father was sea going Marine and was on the USS West Virginia that sunk at Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 41.

My Dad wouldn't sign for me to go into the Marine Corp because to many Marines were coming home in body bags.

Austin_Destroyer2 karma

Woot woot! Good to hear sea stories from a fellow HT of another generation. Thanks!

TR1V1UM-1 karma

No problem!

PythonEnergy4 karma

What, in your opinion, is "Communism"?

TR1V1UM-4 karma

Were a dictator tells you what is right and wrong and everyone works for the state.

rastel4 karma

Do you think the US was winning the war when we pulled out?

TR1V1UM-21 karma

The Vietnamese would Have fought to the last man, much like the Japanese in WWII. It was a stalemate and smart that we got out. Should have been sooner.

howlowcanIg03 karma

Have you considered ever being part of a history archiving project? History majors at colleges will interview you and record the interview and transpose it into written word. Then the college stores it as a primary source forever. They put all of the interviews into a database and can keyword search for specific events. They are able to see the same event from the eyes of 40 people all at the same time. It's really cool.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Yes it sounds like something interesting.

Drewsefs3 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA.

I'm in the Army, has there always been an inter-branch rivalry between us all?

TR1V1UM-3 karma

Not the Army. Only the Marines

Luke_Fletcher3 karma

what film if any would your dad say best captured his time in vietnam?

TR1V1UM-3 karma

The Final Count Down

lenabean133 karma

I just got back from a vacation in Vietnam. Does it surprise your Dad that Americans can visit this place so freely now? Would he ever consider going back?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Vietnam is low on my priority list. I spent a lot is time on liberty in the Philippines which is a lovely country as well.

_Joxer_3 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA.

My grandfather served on the Uss New Jersey. What was the open ocean like?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Loved the early morning and sunsets at sea, always fresh air and beautiful. Always have wanted to sail or crew on a boat from Calif to Hawaii.

My father served on the USS West Virginia during WWII.

shizknite3 karma

What's your opinion on the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Definitely an over exaggeration by the Johnson Administration to get the U.S. Engaged in Southeast Asia to push back at the communists.

ogonga2 karma

What does he think about the music born from the war? Jimi Hendrix? Fortunate Son?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Besides country music the oldies from the seventies are my favorite. Back then on ship we only had 8 track players and a very limited supply. I would play Carol Kings Tapestry album over and over.

Edit from son: My dad raised me on CCR, Van Halen, Hendrix and Zep. I dunno what the hell he's talking about above. HAHA. I was born in 1981.

[deleted]2 karma


TR1V1UM-4 karma

I was born in Chicago and attended kindergarten there but graduated HS at Sandia in Albuquerque. NM.

Mofreaka2 karma

As a ground pounder, what is life like aboard a ship? What occupies your time? What is the relationship between Officers and Enlisted?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

At sea we stood 6 on 6 off watch, plus you 8-5 work day so you were on watch, working, eating or catching a couple hours of sleep for 45 straight days at sea. If we're below the DMZ we had 3 prepared meals a day, movie call on the helicopter deck, barber shop and a small ships store. In your spare time you were probably sleeping.

badfan2 karma

One thing I remember reading about was how poorly american servicemen were welcomed home. Due to the active peace movement, some people were openly hostile to people who served in Vietnam. Considering how solders are cheered from home, but receive little in the way of compensation or support from the government, do you feel our post war treatment of servicemen as gotten better or worse?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Coming home from Vietnam I was always treated with respect. Today about 80% of the people I call a friend or worked with have gratitude for people who have served.

similar_observation2 karma

Did you guys have to cross the equator? What was the line-crossing ceremony like in the 70's? And what other time passing pranks or shenanigans you might like to share. Did you ever use the mail buoy?

TR1V1UM-4 karma

Didn't go below the equator, still a polliwog not a shell back.

All the the guys I hung with, snipes and the black gang, were pretty cold and not much with the pranks.

BuckyCop2 karma

How do you feel talking about your time overseas? My dad served 3 tours in Vietnam, 2 in the Army as a sniper and one later as a navigator in the Navy flying F-4 Phantoms. He seems to pretty level headed, he came back, was a teacher, a principal, and superintendent of a fairly large school district, but he NEVER talks about his time in Vietnam. He won't accept VA treatment or benefits even though his hearing is terrible, he doesn't want recognition on veteran's day or really any recognition at all. Do you have any experience with this, or have you heard of this? I don't want to ever push the issue, but I wish he would at least talk with other veterans.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Everyone is different, my father came home from being Sunk on the USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor and never talked about it. I don't either unless someone asks.

Your father a sniper and f-4 jockey saw some wild stuff he probably wants to forget and that's how he keeps moving forward on an even keel.

SC2751 karma

As a follow up question.. Some veterans are uncomfortable with being thanked for their service. How do you react to this and in general how should the public show their thanks towards veterans?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

I appreciate it. Some guys were drafted and hated every minute of it. If the subject comes up for what ever reason I'll simply take the Thank You and move on.

I think the public as a whole have the right balance of appreciation. Living in San Fran might give a veteran a different experience.

shiroboi2 karma

I just had the experience about a month ago, going to Hanoi on a short business trip along with my friends father, a Vietnam Vet in the Army. He mentioned that a lot of Vets wanted to stay the hell away from going back but he found it very therapeutic to go back. In this particular trip, he ended up going to a funeral where the father of the deceased was a Viet Cong General. If you could go back, would you? Why or why not?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

I only went into DaNang harbor to drop off a mate that was seriously ill and never set foot on land so my experience was different. Our main liberty port was in Subic Bay in the Phillipines and would like to go there in the future.

shiroboi1 karma

Yeah, I guess being in the water most of the time probably did give you a different perspective. Did you ever stop in Thailand? I moved here from the states and like it a lot.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

No, when you leave WESPAC after nine month they would give you a good R&R port and we went to Hong Kong. Some ships got to go to Bangkok.

woobryce20122 karma

Gulf of Tonkin??? Opinion??

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Copied from above: Definitely an over exaggeration by the Johnson Administration to get the U.S. Engaged in Southeast Asia to push back at the communists.

Sithis2 karma

Did you ever think about visiting Vietnam after war? Especially nowadays since the people have turned very pro US?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

No, I have about ten other countries on my bucket list.

HerrHoopla2 karma

Thank you for your service sir and high praise for your bravey. I have to ask for the sake of conspiracy, what are your thoughts on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident? And was the war worth it in the end?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Tonkin was exaggerated to get declaration from congress to commit troops and the loss of life served no purpose in the end that I can tell

Edit: He responded twice. I added the new answer.

Laloquera2 karma

What's the most interesting thing you saw out on sea?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

We had Russian long range fishing vessels that hung around us all the time (spying) so we would harass them. When we were taken on supplies by helicopter the pilots would hover over the trawlers very close and beat the shit out of the boats with the rotor wash until they would leave. Fun to watch.

Stuewe2 karma

My question is this: Will you please tell your dad thank you for his service to our country?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Will do! Thanks.

Edit: My dad said "Thanks for caring."

daoyinyang2 karma

I just wanted to say thank you for your service. As a Navy man who fought in the Vietnam war. What is your opinion on the Hmongs who are being prosecuted for their collaboration with the U.S.A? P.S my dad was a guerilla unit, he's the last remnant of his platoon.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

How's your Dad doing? I know a Marine that fought at Cason 80% casualty, he has major issues.

I'm not familiar with the Hmong issue however after all these years you would have thought they would move on.

daoyinyang1 karma

I thought so too. But the genocide is still a go for the red Lao and communist Vietnamese. 10,000 Hmong people just got deported not too long ago and the vietcongs and red lao are ordered to kill any Hmong they see. My dad has lungs like a smoker but never smoked in his life, it's probably all the chemical they sprayed into the jungle. He frequently gets severe asthma attacks. But he's holding on. I would like to know more about this Marine. 80% casualty is horrifying.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

The Marines at Caison not sure of the spelling were to hold there position and they lost 80% of there company. If you google it I'm sure there is a lot of stuff about on the net.

SternLecture1 karma

Why do old guys put like 5 different bumper stickers and the license plate frame and special license plate stating they are a veteran?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

I can speak for my dad and he doesn't, lol. I believe it's just a Lake Tahoe sticker.

TR1V1UM-2 karma

"I don't, however the guys that do are very proud to have served."

brownman831 karma

I love WESPAC during my time (2002-2009) . Do you miss it? I love the sea smell early in the morning during replenishment detail.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Yes WESPAC 9 months was great. I agree the first thing in the morning when the sun is coming up is the best!!

matfmath1 karma

Do you believe the Vietnam War was the government's solution to the Baby Boomers?

TR1V1UM-4 karma

As to population control?? No

MsNewKicks1 karma

What is your attitude today towards Vietnamese people and what was it like during the war? Was it more of "I'm just here to do a job" or "They are the enemy. Kill them all."?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Having no personal contact with the Vietnamese people because you're at sea, you are just doing your job and waiting out your time at sea looking forward to your next liberty port.

Superhereaux1 karma

I assume there was a lot of downtime and reading on board a Navy vessel in the '70s.

Aside from Playboy mags, what was/is your favorite book that you read overseas?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Actually very little down time, between 6 on and 6 off watch, a 8/5 work schedule, eating and catching a couple hours sleep, after 45 days at sea you hit the beach an party like Animal House.

alwayscondition01 karma

I am a Fire Controlman in the Navy right now and I'd like to ask you - how did you do it? I mean just get through the days. I hate being underway, some days even in port sucks with the long hours and manual labor - and this is on a modern ship with better creature comforts than you had I'm sure (plus, you were a DC! Those guys have it worse than I do!) I have a wife at home and a baby on the way, and although I've been at this for over 2 years now it just seems to never end. What did you do or how did you mentally deal with being on a ship?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

I do understand where your coming from. I ditched a girlfriend before I went into the Navy from advice from my Father so I didn't have home ties. On board ship the guys that were married had a tough time dealing with being away.

I feels like it will never be over, but trust me a couple more years will fly by and you will look back on your time in the Navy and smile.

Quitters never win, winners never Quit.

1tudore1 karma

was it difficult to reintegrate into American culture/civilian culture?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Not at all. I went to work within 30 days after getting out of the Navy and never looked back. I did live through some very dangerous situations, but no kill or be killed situations.

1tudore2 karma

Thanks for responding to all these questions.

What about the guys you served with? Did they have similar experiences?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

All the guys in the Engineering Division or "snipes" we're blue collar guys from all over the U.S. That liked fast cars, motorcycles, girls and a good time when we hit the beach.

The single guys seem to handle the nine months away better than the married guys.

a_wise_old_black_man1 karma

My grandfather served in the Korean War while his brother serve in the Vietnam War. Both were marines and faced heavy fighting however my grandfather never speaks about the war at all while my uncle is a bit more open (not much but he will answer some questions). Of both of their friends who served respectively, the Korean War veterans are extremely tight lipped while the Vietnam veterans are somewhat more talkative. Do you have any perspective on this apparent change between wars and veterans?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

WWII generation was the greatest. My father served in the Marines aboard the USS West Virginia At Pearl Harbor and was sunk. He couldn't swim!! They came away with the feeling they saved the world, a sense is accomplishment. Vietnam was more of a police action that didn't fulfill your sense of purpose or accomplishment.

ToxicKrusader1 karma

Did you ever interact with the guys from UDT?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

Yep, On numerous occasions there patrol gun boats would pull alongside in the morning, they looked tired, they went to the galley got a quick meal while we pumped fresh water inboard and the they would disappear.

wkgeorge741 karma

Did anyone on your ship just go missing? Like, they either fell off the ship, or jumped overboard, never to be see again. If someone does "disappear", what is the protocol?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

No, we did have a guy jump overboard north of the DMZ to swim ashore, knowing he would be brought back aboard and sent to a aircraft carrier for mental evaluation with the hopes of being sent home.

Another guy deserted in the Phillipines and was caught and spent a year in prison, then served his original enlistment.

During peace time a ship will back track and search however during heavy ops North of the DMZ it posses a lot of difficulties during the day because of shore batteries artillery.

thoughts_can_kill1 karma

Is your dad missing a personal knife he may have had at one point in time during the time he served? One that he may have etched his name into? I am trying to locate the owner of one I came across.

TR1V1UM-1 karma

No, sir!

OrangeBoss1 karma

was the dope good?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

I the early 70's you could drink on base at 18, a beer was 59 cents and a real drink was a buck. Never saw drugs aboard ship, just a little black market booze.

SoggyVag1 karma

What was the most dangerous situation he has been in?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Posted from above: In general quarters, below deck, in Haiphong Harbor we were shelling the City, as we turned to get out, we were hit with shore artillery that left 143 holes on the starboard side above deck.

halfwayoutthedoor1 karma

What has your experience been when dealing with the VA?

TR1V1UM-4 karma

I worked for the VA after Vietnam as a pipe fitter for about 8 years and my father in law received excellent care.

Today I understand it is the shear volume that the VA can't handle.

window51 karma

Did Dad follow the swift boat controversy between John Kerry and those who served with him? Who did he believe?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

I did follow the Swift Boat Controversy and believe the guys who served with him. He runs with Jane Fonda.

FrenchieSmalls1 karma

Some of my favorite stories from family members who have served involve inventive (often prohibited) things that they would do during their down time, like my uncle who would save all of his beer rations to freeze distill and then sell the alcohol to his mates, or my grandpa who got a hold of some film developing chemicals and created a makeshift darkroom in the field (including developing his prints in a bedpan).

Does your dad have any stories like this that he'd like to share?

TR1V1UM-2 karma

Because of the boredom the guys in the Shipfitter shop would build a cannon out of pipe, load it with welding Rod, fill it up with acetylene gas, ignite it and see how far we could launch the rod and then watch the pattern when it hit the water. After about 10 shots one of the Officers came down and told us to knock it off.

militantbusiness1 karma

What's your best memory in country and have you gone back?

TR1V1UM-3 karma

Haven't gone back however I would like to revisit the Phillipines, very beautiful country.

EpicFailure20111 karma

I'm already DEPed in and I'm trying to help my friend get through the process because he is interested in joining too. The only problem is he needs his dad's signature because he's 17 and his dad is very thick headed and needs a big list of pros and cons of why it'd be a good idea to join. Right now his dad is trying to push him into the Air Force because he has a friend who recruits for the Air Force apparently and wouldn't "B.S him." So basically is it possible for you to compile a good pros and cons list for the Navy?

TR1V1UM-3 karma

Not an extensive list but... when there is a large conflict in the world you probably won't come home in a body bag in the Navy. Also I joined the Navy to see the world not sit on one air base and eat at the same chow hall.

BunsBuster1 karma

Was your father drafted in the lottery or did he join with his own free will? And what was his best memory of serving?

TR1V1UM-8 karma

The draft ended a year before I enlisted in the Navy.

Many experiences, my very first oh shit moment was when we left Guam for the Philippines, and the bridge announced we had two long range Soviet Bombers incoming. I ran out on the deck to watch them fly so close to the top of the ship I felt their air and smelled the Jet fuel.

GreedyR1 karma

What was your opinion of JFK, LBJ and Nixon and did it change at all throughout the war?

TR1V1UM-1 karma

I was nine when JFK was shot and was sent home from school and watched the funeral on TV for a week. In today's political times he would be considered a conservative democrat.

LBJ was a hard nosed Texan, no bobs guy.

Nixon always seemed a little nervous and squirrelly to me.

techhead100-15 karma

have you ever killed anybody, if so what does it feel like?

TR1V1UM-4 karma

No. Our ship shot 14,500 rounds of 5" shells into Vietnam that was in support of our troops in the field.

[deleted]-2 karma


TR1V1UM-6 karma

I'm sure there were but I was damage control so it wasn't me firing them.