These pictures illustrate what happens when you mix jet fuel with rockets. This is Refueler 112-1. The top one(at Dong Tam) was recently sent to me by Mike Harris who was with 151 Div. The bottom two are ones I took shortly after the attack. We were still on the river.
It is also referenced as Romeo 112-1 (phonetic alphabet). Refuelers were used to fuel the Zippo boats which had a flamethrower in the well deck and were used for clearing foliage and bunkers. This particular boat was hit by rocket fire on the Song Ben Tre April 16, 1969.Several boats were enroute to Fire Base Khan from Dong Tam. They received 5 recoilless rounds from the South Bank of the Ben Tre 8 miles S.E. of My Tho. Compare to the unburned boat next to it to see how much destruction occurred. between this boat and Monitor 92 1 there were 3 USN wounded. Riding one of these or being involved in escorting one lead to a huge pucker factor. Stop and think about it,one gets hit you have got to get off, so either another boat helps which exposes them to the same attack or you go swimming. So, which shore do you want to swim to? Chances are the attack would occur on a narrow river or canal and with a burning boat blocking the way you came in your choices of exit are suddenly limited.
During TET 68 the Mobile Riverine Force is credited with saving the Mekong Delta. In the process the City of Ben Tre was destroyed. An American Major is quoted as saying, "we had to destroy it so save it". A statement which the American Press played this quote to the hilt, using it to epitomize the seeming futility of the war effort. For the efforts of the Mobile Riverine Force it received one of several Presidential Unit Citations. The equivalent to this award on an individual basis would be the Navy Cross, the second highest award given for heroism. On a personal note: When I was in New York City volunteering post 9/11 I encountered a Vietnamese Restaurant owner who lived at Ben Tre during the war. He personally thanked me for our efforts. That meant a great deal to me. THERE IS A VERY SHORT VIDEO SHOWING THE BEN TRE AREA.