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These paintings of United States Marine Corps Amphibious Tractors (Amtracs) at Camp Pendleton and in Vietnam from 1967 - 1969 are part of a series recently commissioned by Robert L. Spence who was at that time a 1Lt Amtrac Grunt, or "Amgrunt." One of those years was spent at "Ocean View", the eastern most of the "McNamara Line" outposts on the DMZ, and other locations in that area, with the 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion attached to the 3rd Marine Division.
After much thought he felt that paintings like these, done from photographs he and friends took, are the best way to tell his story to others and to remember and share the memories, bonds and the experiences of these Marines. These paintings illustrate as art where they were and what they did and serve as conversation starters for those who were there or those who find them interesting.
Ocean View in Vietnam was the easternmost outpost of the McNamara Line along the DMZ. A wooden observation tower stood above bunkers on a sand dune in the center of a marshes surrounded by concertina wire fences. To ensure visibility and an unobstructed perimeter the entire area had been cleared using airborne bombs and other high explosives and agent orange; the only remaining vegetation were mostly broken denuded trees and low grasses.
The area was manned by an amtrac platoon of 10 LVTP5 vehicles along with, two M-48 tanks and an Army attachment of two "Dusters": tracked Patton tank frames mounted with twin 40 mm anti aircraft "pom-pom" guns for defense in the event of enemy attack. Platoons would rotate weekly. There was also a Navy gunfire team to call in rounds from ships off of Yankee Station