I'm the same Larry Matthess who ran the MARS Radio Station at FLSG
Time periods in that far past distort on me, so my time period
estimates may not be too accurate. It seems like I did a lot during
what was only a 13 month tour in VN. Nowadays, 13 months go by
It was only for a relatively short time that I drove a truck at Truck
Company. From my initial arrival in country for perhaps three months
or so. During that time, it seems that I drove mostly at nighttime and
slept days (I suppose that must have been true for about half of us),
and this perhaps minimized my socialization time with the company
MGysgt Norman Larson of Truck Company desired to establish a MARS
station for FLSC, and he recruited me, a Ham Radio Operator in civilian
life, to accomplish that. To that end, he sent me (TDY?) to an
established MARS station on Marble Mountain near 'Charley Med' for OJT.
I worked there for some time, and then was sent up to Phu Bai and
established and operated a station there for some time (TDY from my
TDY?). During these periods, I was of course physically separated from
the members of my parent Truck Company.
When FLSC was established at Red Beach, I was recalled to my parent
origination, Truck Company, to set-up and operate a MARS station there
(as was MGysgt Larson's original objective), which I did. I operated
that station for the duration of my tour in VN. That work was also
mostly nighttime, and my sleeping quarters were in the station itself.
Although the Truck Company people were probably the majority of my
"customers" to call home, I had no real social contact with them. They
came in and I gave a short briefing on how the calls would be
conducted, and then they were in a waiting room and I was behind a wall
and glass partition operating the radio equipment. I believe that Tom
Beesley was recruited to help me after some time, and so he also worked
at the station. Prior to my departure, Sgt Dick Stultz, a field comm
guy, was brought in for training and he replaced me. There were about
five Navy/Marine Corps MARS stations in-country, and my "social family"
had become those fellow MARS station operators. I'm afraid that Tom
Beesley was the only name I recognized on your roster (and I'm not 100%
sure about that).
From VN I was sent to a Barstow, and very shortly thereafter sent to
Hawaii (Kaneohe Bay) and operated MARS stations until the end of my
4-year Marine Corps commitment, when I was discharged (at my desire) as
a Sgt E5.
Butch Haw forwarded me a link to your site which I find very nice. I had also read the article posted by Larry Matthess which is also very interesting. My involvement with MARS began with the station of the hill with Larry, Norm, and Al.
I was in RVN Mars for 26 months and served as NCOIC of the N0EFL station for about six months after which time, Butch, Johnny Higgins, and Richard Schultz arrived.
I worked extensively with Larry Matthess, and was present at Red Beach during the Rocket Attacks.
I was also awarded a Certificate of Commendation from General Olsen for my tenure as NCOIC of the station.
These are just a few passing memories, but they may help complete the puzzle of time. I might add that the photo on the wall to John's [Butch] right was my fiancee "Kathy".
Keep up the great work!
Leo "Bill" Apsey