Letter to the Editor of Vietnam Magazine
by John Pagel II
Enjoyed the article in the April 2003 issue about the Engineer troops aboard USNS Eltinge. The full name of the ship was the USNS General Leroy Eltinge.
As a member of 1/327th. INF, 1st. Brigade(Separate), 101st. Airborne Division I also experienced the woes of the Eltinge.
Our Brigade also left from Alameda Navy Yard aboard the Eltinge July 9, 1965. Shortly after boarding the ship our general idea was that to have this ship named after him, General Leroy Eltinge must have been Custer’s intelligence officer. The mess hall, the troop compartments, lack of ventilation below decks and fresh water were still the same as the May cruise and true to form, the Eltinge also broke down on our trip across the Pacific.
We bobbed around without power for about a day and then limped into Subic Bay for a brief delay before we completed the trip to Cam Ranh Bay. We at last landed July 29th.
One of our Brigade Chaplains, then CAPT Curt Bowers had traveled to Germany during the Korean War as an enlisted man. Years later after Vietnam I met a woman who had traveled from Europe as a displaced person after WWII aboard the Eltinge.
John E. Pagel 2nd. VN 65/66