Operation Fluid Drive, by K.C.

Buck 110
Buck 110

On 6-20-1976 , eight U.S. sailors and I went to Beirut, Lebanon to evacuate Americans and other embassy personnel. It was during the 1975-1977 Civil War, the U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Ambassador had been murdered.

On June 19, 1976, President Ford ordered the evacuation, called “Operation Fluid Drive”. LCU-1654 was launched , a landing craft 134′ long, and headed into Beirut from more than 2 miles out to sea. Four standing armies were at war in Lebanon, Christian Lebanese, Muslin Lebanese, Syrian and the P .L.O. . The .50 caliber machine guns and M-16 rifles were removed, leaving the landing craft without any armament, even as the chance of the crew being held hostage were great!

We were allowed to carry only the folding knives on our belts. My choice and the majority of sailor’s choice , the Buck 110 ! A Soviet guided missile cruiser, Red Crimea tried to cut into us on the way in. We crashed head on into the Russian giant of a ship , its main deck 50′ us and 5 or 6 times as long as LCU-1654 . I joked with the craft master later, Chief Kennedy, that I thought we were going to be a PT-109 story, cut in two. Later in downtown Beirut, an officer from the P.L.O. stepped into the tiny pilothouse with a machine gun, I am guessing to check for weapons. The officer from Palestine should thank his god that he didn’t end up with a couple of Buck knives in him. We left with 276 civilian souls, pets, luggage and all the crew, returning to LSD-32,U.S. Navy ship we deployed from safely.

A knife can be used as a tool or weapon, I carry mine for both. I gave my original Buck to a family member, at over 40 years old it is still in use. My nephew works construction, he says in one day he sharpened his pencil, cut rope and cut up is apple at lunch time. I have a large collection of knives and swords, I bought several assisted knives from BladeOps . Modern knives have spoiled me, love the new designs, but enclosed is a photo of my present Buck 110 with an add-on thumb stud !

3 thoughts on “Operation Fluid Drive, by K.C.”

  1. I was on the U.S.S. Raleigh LPD-1 during this assigned as a corpsman with the Marines. We were told we were going to do the evacuation and the ship’s medical staff had broken out all our humanitarian gear in anticipation. We heard at the last minute the Speigel Grove was going to do it. I remember at one point during our time sitting off the coast of Lebanon they were talking about hitting the beach with the Marines and predicting a lot of casualties.

    I’d never heard about your story of the actual evacuation. I always assumed you guys just docked and they were escorted to you. Scary times and yes I still have my buck knife too. LOL

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