Mining of the U.S.S. Card

SR 2093
Beep tone
Roll 93 of Vietnam Project
670 Take 1
Interview with Lam Son Nao, NLF docker.
Please describe what you saw when the Americans brought in their weapons and how mad you were at this. Also how you joined the NLF and how you helped fight the USS Card and what your feelings were when you heard the explosion on the USS Card.
Lam Son Nao:
Before I attacked the USS Card I had been a docker at the Saigon dockyard. I was educated by the revolution, given a mission by my superiors and protected by the city inhabitants. My job when I was a docker was to gather information on all the American areas, on all their boats and all their military storage facilities.
When I found out that the USS Card was coming up the river – this was a ship which was carrying all kinds of airplanes to the country in order, to kill the Vietnamese – people I got extremely mad. But I was able to turn my anger into action when I was given the job of trying to blow the ship up in order to give support to the political struggles of the city population.
In 1963 we had attacked the USS Barrytown which was carrying a lot of tanks, artillery pieces and airplanes. It also docked at the Saigon quay. But the mine failed to explode. And so I brought the mine back and refitted it, waiting for another chance to attack another American ship.
On May 1, 1964 the USS Card arrived. When it came, another comrade and I carried a mine in a sampan. I was rowing the sampan and the comrade was swimming. We were crossing the river near where Thu Thieu is, which is on the other side of the Saigon dockyard.
When we reached the other side, the secret police stopped me and questioned me. I told them that I was going fishing. After that, they refused to let me go back to the dockyard area again so I had to bribe them. After that, I and the comrade carried the mine to the other end of the dockyard.
When we reached that end, we sunk the boat. And, using commando tactics, we crawled into a sewer. In that sewage system, sometimes we had to crawl because it was so narrow. But sometimes we could walk, bending down a little.
We carried the mine all the way from the one end of the dockyard to the other end. It was about one kilometer in length. When we got to where the aircraft carrier was docking, we stopped. I then swam out there, using commando technique, to investigate the situation.
Having investigated the situation and decided on where we should place our mines, I swam out there again with one mine and placed it next to the hull of the ship. I then swam out there the second time with another mine which I placed about ten meters in distance from the first one.
After I had placed the two mines, I checked the automatic ignition device again. It was 2:00 a.m. when I finished checking everything. I then plugged in the timer and timed the explosion to occur at 3:00 a.m.
My comrade and I then began to crawl back to the other end of the sewage system. We got out, took a sampan and rowed to the other side of the river where we ran into a group secret police. They ordered us to stop because a while ago we had told them that we were going to buy smuggled goods. And so they were now stopping us to get their shares.
But when we stopped, they found out that we did not have anything in our sampan at all. So they let us go. When we arrived home, it was only fifteen minutes before the mines would explode.
After we rested a little bit, I looked at my watch and it was only five minutes before the mines would explode. When the mines exploded, the whole area was blacked out. It was a huge explosion and the two of us were so happy, knowing that our mission had been accomplished.