Advance Team
James "Pat" Crane , Ft Bragg, Det B and 45th MID/Det D Commander, ARLO, 1965 December '66

The advanced party left Bragg on a C130 with a Navy crew shortly after the battalion left by ship. The aircraft engines wouldn't sync and we flew to San Bernardino CA with right and left engines "fighting" with noise. From California we flew to Hickam AFB in Hawaii, then on to Wake Island, to Okinawa, and then on to Tan Son Nhut. We got the aircrew to come up with a reason to remain overnight at Okinawa and the rest was appreciated. Our aircrew changed at each stop en route. The aircraft was outfitted for cargo and we had a lot of it on board, so all the people were confined to the cling seats and on top of cargo pallets.
We arrived at Tan Son Nhut and Major Esterline got us all billets at Camp Alpha. They didn't know what to do with us so we were pretty much left alone until arrangements were made for us to move on to pre-arranged detachment locations.
Everything was chaos at Danang. MACV had no idea what to do with us, the Marines didn't want us there and the ARVN were too busy worrying about the upcoming increase in VC activity during Tet to care. The annual Tet was normally marked by an increase in activity since they knew that most Vietnamese would be relaxing and celebrating the arrival of the Chinese New Year. Christmas was coming and everyone was in near panic mode.
Bob Rosak and I had hit it off at Ft. Bragg. I had been a battle group motor officer with the 82d Airborne before my branch transfer to AIS from Infantry. As motor officer, I had met and made friends with all of the 18th Airborne Corps and III Army tech inspectors and IG types. I returned from Holabird to Ft. Bragg and was assigned to 1st MIBARS. Once we got orders for RVN every unit had to stand for Command
Maintenance Inspections. If the unit failed, the officers were relieved and bad things happened. I called on old friends for guidance and pointers and Rosak made sure their tips were followed. The Det B guys worked their tails off and our detachment came off with the highest scores of any unit departing Bragg!
In 1966 the Army was still really old school. Once we left Camp Alpha for Danang I seldom saw Rosak again. Officers went one direction and NCOs went another, but golly was he ever busy! The first thing we heard, there was no room at the Danang Hotel for our men. Rosak made it happen. Officers quarters at 2 Yen Bay came about via jaw boning and schmoozing with the help of a MACV G2 captain and I cannot remember his name, but he was great. Rosak was a phenomenal guy! I am certain that he still is; some things only get better with time. He was such a great supply sergeant that I longed to have him around to work with several times after I got back to CONUS.
The 45th MID had been formed at Ft. Bragg out of the 1st MIBARS and had been in country for a couple of months or so when we arrived. That's why Lieutenants Mike DiCarlo and Steve Brophy were seen on the cover of Life Magazine at Mary Martin's performance at Danang. The 45th was re-designated as D Detachment, but I cannot recall exactly when that happened. I was moved from Danang to Nha Trang very quickly after the main body arrived in country.

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