The USAT General Walker was commissioned in 1945 and was used in the Korean War
and Vietnam War. Boarded the ship in Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division in January of
1966. It took 14 days at 500 miles a day to make the 7,000 mile trip to Vietnam. The USAT
General Walker was scrapped in 2005, after 60 years of service to the United States military
There was a lot of activity going on around Schofield Barracks in late 1965 and everyone knew something major was about to happen. Our orders for Vietnam came and we boarded the USAT General Walker in early January of 1966.
The ship traveled 500 miles a day for 14 days. The ocean was rough and some of the troops became seasick including myself.
There was plenty of time for reflection on what awaited for us in Vietnam. I was thinking of how many would return to the United States safely.
It was my first time on a troop ship and it seemed like we would never arrive in Vietnam even though we didn’t know what the future held for those aboard the ship.
7,000 miles is a long trip especially when the ship could only travel 500 miles a day.
The night before we got off the ship percussion grenades were dropped in the surrounding water to ward off any Viet Cong divers that may try to destroy our ship.
That last night aboard the ship was very hot since we were in a very hot climate once we got that close.
When we arrived the next day I drank several cold drinks that weren’t cold since we had no ice. It took awhile to get rid of our sea legs after being aboard ship for two weeks.
NEXT: FOUR MONTHS IN VIETNAM