Between Sacramento and San Francisco on the United States west coast, a delta region is providing a perfect battle training ground for American advisers who'll be helping to train the South Vietnamese navy.
SV Gunner on M.T.B. boat patrolling Sacramento Bay, California, and GV boat. (2 shots)
GV Boat down river (2 shots)
SCU Gunner traversing gun, and boats down river. (4 shots)
SV Mock enemy throw hand grenades at oncoming boat from river bank
LV Boat under fire from bank. (SOUND - GOOD NATURAL EFFECTS.) (4 shots)
SV Boat down river at speed
TRANSCRIPT: COMMENTATOR: "As Australians, New Zealanders, South Koreans and the Americans leave South Vietnam, the military training of South Vietnamese has been stepped up. But the trainers or advisers have to be trained, too, and the Navy has been doing that in California. The terrain in the delta region between San Francisco and Sacramento is as close as you can get to the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. There are long narrow slews lined with heavy brush, the logical place to train American advisers in realistic battle tactics. Even though the war is winding down, U.S. advisers will be needed for some time to come. The Vietnamese navy has grown fourfold in less than two years, and many of its personnel have no experience in logistics, ship repair or electronics. The Viet Cong use the waterways of South Vietnam as major supply-lines. Patrol boats are the best method available to intercept their supplies. But the boats are vulnerable to ambush attack. The only way to learn what to do when you're ambushed is to be ambushed....even though its only a training exercises. Boats like these with Vietnamese crews are on patrol in the Mekong Delta with American Advisors who learned warfare on the Sacramento Delta."
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Background: Between Sacramento and San Francisco on the United States west coast, a delta region is providing a perfect battle training ground for American advisers who'll be helping to train the South Vietnamese navy. A National Broadcasting Company crew filmed the future American advisers training under battle conditions in the delta. A full commentary, with good natural sound of the battle exercises, is transcribed below. An alternative is provided overleaf.
SYNOPSIS: While the withdrawal of United States fighting men from South Vietnam continues according to schedule, the Americans have been facing up to a new problem. Because of the withdrawals, they're short on men with battle experience to act as military advisers to the South Vietnamese. On the American west coast, a new generation of advisers train on Navy gunboats. The California delta region between Sacramento and San Francisco provides a realistic counterpart for South Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where Saigon's naval patrols have a vital role in intercepting Viet Cong supply routes.
In South Vietnam, patrol boats face the constant danger of Viet Cong counter-ambush. So American battle training in California includes a full quota of mock ambushes. In less than two years, the South Vietnamese Navy has quadrupled in size. But many of its personnel have no experience in logistics, ship repairs or electronics. So, despite the rundown in the war, these American advisers can play an important part in training the fast growing Vietnamese Navy in its new, independent role.