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Communists Sink U.S. Transport Ship in Saigon Harbor

May 1, 1964 - Communist terrorists sank a United States aircraft transport in Saigon Harbor today. All 73 men of the civilian crew were reported safe.

The Viet Cong guerrillas blew a hole into the 9,800-ton U.S.S. Card below the waterline. The ship had arrived in Saigon with a cargo of helicopters and fighter bombers.

It was the first time a major U.S. vessel had been sunk in the battle against the Viet Cong. How the explosive was put in or on the ship was not determined.

The explosion occurred at 5 a.m., and the ship began sinking almost immediately. The ship settled onto the muddy bottom of the 48-foot-deep Saigon River with her flight deck and superstructure above water.

Capt. Borge Langeland, the 55-year-old civilian skipper of New Orleans, said there was a possibility the ship would capsize.

The Card had World War II service in the North Atlantic and has a Presidential citation from her clashes with Nazi U-boats.

Langeland said the full extent of the damage to the Card, or the size of the hole, had not been determined “but the hole must be very big, and it probably will be many weeks before the Card can leave Saigon for the United States.”

“The explosion hammered through the ship, jarring engine room attendants,” Langeland reported. “The ship began to take water immediately, forcing several crewmen to hurriedly evacuate their quarters. The crew immediately closed off the lower compartments.”

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