Revisiting the Past

Vietnam Veteran Remembers and Reconnects

When Storekeeper 2nd Class Ray Bruder reported aboard river repair ship USS Krishna (ARL-38) during the Vietnam War, he wasn't sure what he would encounter.

"It was the only time I was attached to a ship," said Bruder. "I flew in from Saigon on helicopter and landed on a barge that was tied up alongside the ship."

Bruder's primary job was maintaining the ship's inventory. But in June 1970, with less than a month aboard, Krishna was ordered to Nam Can to support operation "Seafloat" on the Cua Lon River.

One night, while on the Cua Lon River, Bruder's primary job changed. A suicide bomber blew a hole into Krishna. Survival became everyone's only job.

"The night that it happened, after that, it was like, they can't do anything else to me. I mean they've already sent me here. They've already tried to blow up our ship," he said. "What else could they do to us?"

Bruder remembers it all very vividly. See his full story below.

More than 40 years later, Bruder was invited aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) for a tour. Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Charles McNeely jumped at the opportunity to guide the former Sailor around the ship.

"It's an interesting experience because you don't really hear much about the naval side of that war, and so to get a Sailor's perspective of what was going on then, I was really excited at the opportunity," said McNeely.

The two Sailors immediately connected like old friends and enjoyed trading sea stories through the entire visit. See how Bruder felt about the opportunity to view a modern U.S. naval ship and talk with Sailors of today.

Comments (2)

  1. Shmoo
    Darrell Hannah. EN3 November 28, 2013

    It was a miracle more people were not killed on that night, July 5 1970. As I remember it, the captain had just step back into the officers quarters from the main deck just before the explosion. He had been right above the explosion area. There was a sailor on watch on the barge throwing grenades, he had ran out of grenades and gone to get another crate or he would have been killed. I was on sound and security watch that evening and was about to go down into the port shaft alley when I remembered the officer on the bridge wanted me to bring back some batteries. Instead of checking the shaft, I dogged the hatch back down and went to the store dept. for batteries. This took about a minute to get to the store dept. and I usually spent 10 - 15 minutes in the shaft alley! I would have been there when the explosion occurred if not for the batteries!! Oh by the way, Ray Bruder looked fine when he burst thru those store room doors after the explosion! God was with us that night o

  2. Shmoo
    David Borden November 9, 2013

    Great article, but it should be noted that a crewmember of Swift Boat 40, which was tied alongside the Krishna awaiting repairs, was killed as a result of this attack. QM2 Lanny Buroff was onboard PCF 40 at the time of the attack, and was hit with shrapnel. He died instantly as a result of this attack.

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