Gene Glasco’s Service in Vietnam
Gene is a native Californian. In 1967 Gene enlisted in the United States Navy. After 12 weeks of basic training, he received orders to Radioman “A” school in San Diego. After graduating “A” School he was sent to a U.S. Navy Communication Station on Kodiak Island in the Aleutian Islands Region of Alaska. During this time the United States was engaged in a long drawn out war in Vietnam and force deployments to in-country assignments were approaching their highest levels. After a year in Alaska, Gene received orders to report to Counterinsurgency and Survival Training and Vietnamese language school at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. While there, he also underwent combat weapons training at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corp base in Oceanside, California. Just before his 1969 deployment to South Vietnam he promoted to Petty Officer Third Class.
Once in-country Vietnam, Gene was assigned to Naval Support Activity- Nha Be (nah-bay) as a Radioman in the Communications Center. Nha Be was located seven miles south of Saigon and was a major IV Corps combat and logistic base during the Southeast Asian Conflict. The base was strategically placed at the junction of the Long Tau and Soi Rap rivers between the Port of Saigon and the South China Sea. The Navy base at Nha Be lay astride waterways traversing the Viet Cong infiltrated “Rung Sat Special Zone” and the eastern Mekong Delta region. Radiomen were needed by the Navy’s riverboat patrol units so he was reassigned 150 miles away to a remote and primitive Advanced Tactical Support Base near the small town of Ha Tien in the Kien Giang province. Ha Tien was far from the supply chain on the western end of the Mekong Delta and dangerously close to a large NVA/VC enemy presence on the nearby Cambodian border. From the Tactical Operation Center, Gene coordinated Navy Seawolf helicopter gun ship support for the Navy’s Task Force 116 combat operations on the river and canal that ran adjacent to the Cambodia border. While there Gene helped train Vietnamese Navy personnel learn proper radio communication protocol. Gene also worked side-by-side with his Army counterparts of MACV Advisory Team 55 monitoring top secret listening devices that were inserted along routes and areas used by the North Vietnamese to move men and materials across the Cambodia border into South Vietnam. When Gene wasn’t on duty in the Tactical Operation Center, he would frequently accompany PBR (Patrol Boat River) crews on nighttime ambush and interdiction patrols on the Giang Thanh river and Vinh Te canal.
Gene’s medals and ribbons include: the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Expert Rifle, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Star, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm device, the Republic of Vietnam Naval Service Medal and Navy Commendation Medal-NSA Saigon.
Gene is the West Coast Chapter President of the Gamewardens of Vietnam, America’s oldest continuously operating Vietnam Veterans Organization; Life Member-Veterans of Foreign Wars; Life Member, Disabled American Veterans, Director, Vietnam Unit Monument Memorial Foundation in Coronado, California; and member of the American Legion. Gene is a 64 year resident of Arcadia, and is Arcadia’s elected City Clerk. He is also a Realtor affiliated with Art Del Rey Real Estate in Arcadia.
Gene is the Founder of the Vietnam War Memorial Monument which was dedicated on 28 May 2016 at the Arcadia County Park in Arcadia, California