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History and Heritage

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.