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View from the Front: Vietnam (cont'd)
Doc Speaks the Language
When the cry "Get the Doc up here"! rings out, it usually means there is a wounded Marine or Vietnamese soldier to be attended. Not always.
If that particular corpsman's name is Louis L. Piatetsky, HM3, it could mean there is a prisoner to be questioned, for Doc Ski also acts as the unofficial interpreter and interrogator.
Piatetsky's command of Vietnamese, learned at a language school on Okinawa, has enabled him a number of times to question prisoners and possible Viet Cong suspects.
"I think my greatest help to the company," says Piatetsky, "is when we pass through a village on sweeps. I question the villagers to find where the VC hide, where there is drinking water, and if any mines or booby traps are in the area."
When not administering to the wounded, Piatetsky can usually be found in a Vietnamese village administering to the medical needs of the people.
In many villages he is known as "Bac-se Lou," meaning Doctor Lou. He has struck up a friendship with a Vietnamese corpsman who helps further his knowledge of Vietnamese. Whenever he can, Piatetsky uses the language and tries to learn new words and phrases.
HOT SPOT - Copters deliver Marines for clearing operations south of Chu Lai.
Above and Below: IT'S A LARK - LARC rolls off LCU during Operation Hastings to deliver supplies upriver to Dong Ho airstrip.
Seventh Fleet Carriers at Work
As most people know, launching air strikes against North and South Vietnamese targets is a continuing job, with little rest for the carrier's crew, or her embarked air wing.
USS Intrepid (CVS 11), and Constellation (CVA 64) have been particularly busy lately.
Atlantic-based Intrepid found her first month of operations as an attack carrier with the Seventh Fleet a little hectic.
The day Intrepid arrived on station she launched her first strikes against enemy targets. In the ensuing weeks her pilots flew more than 2400 aerial sorties, and dropped some 2700 tons of bombs.
During a 31-day period, the carrier went alongside replenishment ships 50 different times, often next to the same ships two or three times the same day. The pattern was set by the air operations schedule, which called for launch and recovery at short intervals. Intrepid would go alongside and begin the required replenishment, interrupt it when planes were launched or recovered, then go back to filling up as soon as the aircraft cycle was completed.
The Fleet oilers, which fastened their lines to Intrepid about every third day, pumped nearly five million gallons of fuel oil and aviation fuels into the carrier's storage tanks. Of the aviation fuels, some 2.1 million gallons were consumed by Intrepid's Al Skyraider and A4 Skyhawk aircraft.
In ammunition transfer, the carrier took aboard more than 2300 tons of bombs, rockets, 20mm machine gun bullets, and related ordnance items.
Replenishment ships highlined nearly 700 tons of food and stores to the flattop. During the period, the ship steamed more than 10,500 miles in her operations on Dixie stationoperations reportedly executed without a hitch.
Constellation, a recent returnee to the South China Sea, has been racking up some statistics of her own. In her first Dine days on station, Carrier Air Wing 15's total confirmed bomb damage assessment included the destruction or damage of 117 water vehicles, 74 buildings, 32 railroad cars, and 21 motor vehicles.
Some rail tracks were ripped up, in places for as much as 300 yards, eight petroleum-oil-lubricant (POL) sites were hit, one ammunition depot and a fighter control radar site destroyed, and at least three Sam or antiaircraft sites destroyed or damaged.
Constellation crewmen feel that's not bad for openers.