Eugene N. Tulich, USCG
In brief, the Coast Guard Historical
Monograph Program, of which this publication is the first product, is simply
the publishing of worthy historical works by Coast Guardsmen in the field of
Coast Guard history. All that is essential for this experimental program’s
continued success is the willingness of enough Coast Guardsmen to undertake
the task of researching and writing a concise narrative of specific segments
in the vast treasure trove of little-known Coast Guard history.
The idea for this program was conceived
by Captain B. L. Meaux, U. S. Coast Guard, Chief, Public Affairs Division,
Coast Guard Headquarters, in mid-1973. Primarily, his rationale for
initiating this program was: (1) to insure the preservation of as much Coast
Guard history as possible in order that no important phase of it may be
lost; (2) to stimulate interest in Coast Guard history among Coast
Guardsmen, the academic community, and the general public, (3) to attempt to
convince many individual Coast Guardsmen that the preservation of Coast
Guard history in a narrative form is primarily their responsibility, since
no one else can tackle this job with the same sense of identity, interest,
or knowledge of the subject; (4) to record the brave deeds and honorable
service of past Coast Guardsmen so that they can be compared to current and
future performances; and (5) to use history as a means of fostering esprit
de corps, as well as building and maintaining Coast Guard traditions.
This monograph is an overview of the
activities of the United States Coast Guard in
I would like to thank the Military
Readiness Division at United States Coast Guard Headquarters for allowing me
access to their files. The information in this monograph was gleaned from
operational and administrative reports submitted by the various cutters,
field units, and their operational and administrative commanders.
Appreciation is also acknowledged to
Captain A. L. Lonsdale, U. S. Coast Guard, Chief, Public Affairs Division,
and his Assistant, Commander J. L. Webb, U. S. Coast Guard. The
encouragement and advice of the former U. S. Coast Guard Historian, Mr.
Truman R. Strobridge, was most helpful.
Eugene N. Tulich is a 1965 graduate of
CDR Tulich (Retired) was awarded three
Navy Commendation Medals with Combat Distinguishing Device, the Combat
Action Ribbon, and the Government of Vietnam Staff Service Medal, First
Class for his performance in
2 COAST GUARD SQUADRON ONE
3 COAST GUARD SQUADRON THREE
4 PORT SECURITY AND WATERWAYS DETAIL
5 AIDS TO NAVIGATION
6 SHIPPING ADVISOR
7 SENIOR COAST GUARD OFFICER VIETNAM
EIGHTY-TWO FOOT PATROL BOATS ASSIGNED TO COAST GUARD SQUADRON ONE
II HIGH- ENDURANCE CUTTERS ASSIGNED TO COAST GUARD SQUADRON THREE
III OTHER COAST GUARD CUTTERS IN SOUTH VIETNAM
IV COAST GUARD SQUADRON ONE STATISTICS
V COAST GUARD SQUADRON THREE STATISTICS
VI MAJOR TRAWLER ENGAGEMENTS INVOLVING U.S. COAST GUARD UNITS
Early in the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong
and North Vietnamese forces obtained their supplies in many ways. The forces
allied with the
During February 1965, a U. S. Army
pilot flying over Vung Ro Bay near Qui Nhon noticed an "island"
moving slowly from one side of the bay to the other. Upon closer observation
he saw the island was a carefully camouflaged ship. Air strikes were called
in and the vessel sunk. Intelligence sources determined the ship was North
Vietnamese and engaged in supplying enemy forces.
A tight security and surveillance
system was necessary. This would be no easy chore with 1,200 miles of
coastline to patrol and over 60,000 junks and sampans to control. To provide
this coverage the Coastal Surveillance Force was established in March 1965.
Called MARKET TIME after the native boats using the waterways for fishing
and marketing, this task force provided a single command to integrate sea,
air, and land based units and coordinate U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and South
Vietnamese naval units.
MARKET TIME units stopped many enemy
vessels carrying supplies and men. The success of the operation forced the
enemy to rely on the Ho Chi Minh trail to transport supplies. As many of the
trawler kills were in southern
GUARD SQUADRON ONE
Shortly after the trawler incident,
Commander, Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFORV) considered maintaining
surveillance and patrols on the inland and coastal waters of the
Initially, 47 officers and 198 enlisted
were assigned to the newly formed Squadron One. These Coastguardsmen
underwent survival training at
On 12 June 1965 Coast Guard Squadron
One came under the authority of the Navy when it changed operational control
to Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINPACFLT). The Coast Guardsmen of
Squadron One were given orientation and refresher training at Subic Bay
Naval Base. While the cutters prepared for their voyage to
The boats of Coast Guard Division 12
departed Subic Bay for
The cutters immediately began their
patrol duties. The great profusion of junks, sampans, and varied other craft
required a prioritized system for boardings. The priority scheme was:
1) Vessels transiting the area;
2) Junks fishing or operating in
3) Fishing boats anchored and not
4) Fishing boats working nets.
Division 11 carried out patrols by
being underway 2/3 of the time; for Division 12, three days on patrol
followed one day in port with a five day rest after six patrols.
When the cutters were underway they
reported to a minesweeper or destroyer escort that was patrolling the outer
barrier. The escort ships provided the WPB’s with radar and navigational
information. In turn, the WPB’s provided similar service to Vietnamese
Navy Junk Force units that were close inshore. Although the water was too
shallow for the cutters to be in close with the VNN junks, they could
provide gunfire support if necessary.
A few matters required quick remedy. On
its first night patrol near the 17th parallel, the CGC Point Orient
received mortar and machine gun fire.
White cutters were easy targets in moonlight or by flare light. On 21
September CTF 115 ordered the patrol boats painted gray. Point Young
did not get the word and on one of its early patrols received fire from
friendly forces. Luckily no one was hurt and the cutter was quickly painted
After one month of aggressive patrols,
command felt there was only about a 10% chance of a junk slipping through
security and no chance for a steel-hulled vessel. In its first month of
operation, Division 11 boarded more than 1,100 junks and sampans, inspected
over 4,000 Vietnamese craft, and used more than 4,800 man hours to carry out
the assigned mission, "Stop Sea Infiltration of Weapons and
Supplies to the Viet Cong". In addition to the heavy patrol schedule of
the cutters, the support staff ashore worked an average of 84 hours a week.
The effectiveness of the patrols hurt
the VC and the barrier patrol became both a physical and psychological
battle. The VC told the local fishermen that the WPBs were driving them from
their best fishing grounds just so
Action was always just around the bend.
On 19 September 1965 Point Glover was nearly rammed by a 20-foot junk
carrying five men, one of whom was subsequently captured along with several
small arms, ammunition and papers. That same day Point Marone
attempted to inspect a 40-foot junk. The junk evaded and opened fire with
small arms and grenades. The cutter responded with machine gun fire, killing
8 Viet Cong. One VC was captured along with small arms, ammunition,
grenades, a lead sealed box, clothing, money and caulking compound. Besides
their normal patrol duties, the WPBs frequently provided emergency support
for U.S. Special Forces. This emergency support included transportation of
personnel, medevacs, and Naval Gunfire Support missions.
Despite the performance of the cutters,
there remained a large gap in the forces. Division 12 in
In April 1966 Point Comfort was
fired upon by a Cambodian patrol in the
During May Point Partidge
captured a junk containing Chinese Communists weapons and Point Grace
captured a sampan and took three prisoners, rifles and ammunition. On May
10, Coast Guard units fought a significant naval engagement. Point Grey
was on patrol near the Ca Mau peninsula when she sighted a 110-foot trawler
heading on various courses and speeds. Suspicions aroused, Point Grey
commenced shadowing the trawler. After observing what appeared to be signal
fires on the beach, she hailed the vessel, but received no response. The
trawler ran aground and Point Grey personnel attempted to board it.
Heavy automatic weapons fire from the beach prevented the boarding and three
were wounded on board Point Grey. Point Cypress, and U.S. Navy
units came to assist. During the encounter the trawler exploded. U.S. Navy
salvage teams recovered a substantial amount of war material from the sunken
vessel. This incident was the largest, single, known infiltration attempt
since the Vung Ro Bay incident of February 1965.
During that first year of operations
the cutters of Squadron One
1) steamed more than half million
2) stayed underway over seventy percent
of the time;
3) detected 15,000 junks;
4) inspected 30,000 junks;
5) boarded 35,000 junks;
6) accounted for 75 VC KIA/WIA/CIA;
7) arrested several hundred;
8) destroyed sixteen junks and one
9) captured more than 100 tons of enemy
weapons and supplies;
10) conducted thirty—five Naval
gunfire support missions;
11) participated in special operations
in support of
In the month of June, Point League
detected a 99-foot trawler in South Vietnamese waters. Point League
challenged the trawler and was fired upon. The cutter returned fire and ran
the trawler aground. Point Slocum and Point Hudson joined in
the fray, along with aircraft. After a small explosion was observed on the
trawler, she was boarded and captured. Two Coast Guardsmen were wounded
during the battle.
rescued an LCU from straying over the 17th parallel, a not uncommon
occurrence due to the configuration of the coastline. On 11 August 1966, Point
Welcome was on patrol near the DMZ when suddenly she was illuminated and
mistakenly attacked by U.S. Air Force aircraft. Before the mistake was found
out and the attack stopped the commanding officer and a crewman on Point
Welcome were dead. The executive officer, two other crewmen, the
Vietnamese liaison, and a freelance photographer were wounded.
September was a time for rescues when
the Coast Guard saved four of six crewmen from a downed helicopter. Point
League responded to a distress on the SS Dragonfly, de-watering a
flooded compartment, and replaced the injured Chief Engineer with one of its
October was quiet and November was
highlighted by Point Comfort dispersing enemy forces attacking U.S.
Special Forces personnel. Point Comfort provided naval gunfire
support, suppressed enemy fire and evacuated refugees.
The days went routinely until 14 March
1967 when Point Ellis and Navy units detected an enemy steel-hulled
trawler and forced it to beach. The enemy was forced to destroy a precious
cargo of mortars, small arms, uniforms and other contraband, and lost a
large quantity of much needed war material.
The waters around
On 15 July 1967, Point Orient
led an attack on an enemy trawler. The trawler was disabled, run aground and
The Coast Guard patrol boats were built
for offshore rescue work in adverse weather conditions while their Navy
counterpart, the PCF, was not. Well-suited to their mission, the Coast Guard
craft frequently remained on station in bad weather after larger naval units
departed. As a result, CTF 115 decided in September 1967 that WPBs would
shift patrol areas seasonally. The WPB’s followed the monsoons and the
PCF’s followed the sunshine. Though this policy may have been unpopular
with an occasional Coastguardsman, the cutters still maintained the patrol
schedule and fulfilled all their duties.
The largest naval engagement of the
Vietnam War was on 29 February 1968. Four trawlers attempted to penetrate
the barrier. Of these, three were destroyed and the fourth retreated to the
north. The first attempted to run the barrier south of
Another trawler was destroyed off the
Ca Mau peninsula. After numerous hits by gunfire from cutters Winona,
Point Grace, Point Marone, Point Hudson, and navy
PCF’s, she burst into flame and exploded. She disappeared from the radar
screens about the same time as the previous one.
About the same time a third trawler was
caught and beached northeast of Nha Tang. The trawler attempted to return
the fire of the Coast Guard and Navy units, but was destroyed after several
direct hits from 81mm mortars. While on outer barrier patrol,
In January 1969 in the first phase in a
transition of WPBs to Vietnamese control, two Vietnamese Navy lieutenants
reported on board WPBs. A month later seventeen VNN ensigns and two more
lieutenants reported as part of a turnover. Language and communications
problems were quickly overcome. Vietnamese enlisted men were phased in,
Paramount to other activities, the
primary goal was turnover. The turnover process included the training of
Vietnamese repair forces. By August the VNN WPB repair crew could remove and
install overhauled engines in the WPB’s unaided, except for some American
muscle. Certain personnel problems were encountered, attributable to the
fact that the VNN was emerging from a coastal junk force to a modern navy in
just a few years.
Boats were steadily turned over and
several significant operations took place while a substantial portion of
each crew was Vietnamese. In early 1970, Point Jefferson and Point
Partridge conducted many boardings, searches and psychological
operations. Three hundred fifteen junks were boarded or inspected and two
detainees taken; the cutters distributed 3,000 bars of soap and 5,000
leaflets along with numerous food items. Twelve Vietnamese received medical
treatment. Later Point Jefferson helped friendly forces retake an
outpost overrun by the VC. During May 1970 POINT BANKS and POINT GRAY landed
a group who detained sixteen suspected VC, captured twenty-two VC/NVA, and
killed nine VC. The group destroyed ten enemy watercraft, fifteen offensive
structures and thirteen other structures.
On 15 August 1970, the last two cutters
of the twenty-six, Point Marone and Point Cypress transferred
to the Vietnamese. The same day Coast Guard Squadron One and Coast Guard
Division Thirteen were disestablished. A new post of Senior Coast Guard
Officer, Vietnam was established as a sub—unit of Commander, Coast Guard
Southeast Asia Section.
GUARD SQUADRON THREE
Early in 1967, the Navy forces assigned
to MARKET TIME and other operations were being stretched thin. As a result,
the Navy requested that the Coast Guard provide five high endurance cutters
(WHEC) for duty with the Coastal Surveillance Forces. On April 24, 1967,
Coast Guard Squadron Three was formed at Pearl Harbor. Two days later the
squadron sailed from Pearl Harbor and arrived at Subic Bay on May 10.
left Subic Bay a few days later and on the May 22 fired the first WHEC Naval
Gunfire Support Mission (NGFS) mission of the war. Still, the WHECs
continued their peacetime duties with Half Moon acting as On Scene
Commander in the search for survivors from the sunken ship Shinagawa Maru.
Yakutat took a young girl on board for medical treatment after she
suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. Also the cutters immediately started
On 1 October 1967, Commander, Task Unit
(CTU) 70.8.6 (Coast Guard Squadron Three) consolidated with CTU 70.8.5 (Navy
Escort Squadron). The new unit, designated CTU 70.8.5, was commanded by the
senior Coast Guard officer, and given the additional duty as Commander,
Cruiser-Destroyer Group Seventh Fleet Representative, Subic. Besides the
normal squadron administrative duties, CTU 70.8.5 was also assigned
scheduling, equipment poo1s, boarding briefings, message handling, yeoman
and storekeeper services, casualty report control, material expediting,
personnel matters, and more. Coast Guard Squadron Three cutters were soon
included in the Senior Officer Present Afloat
Administrative (SOPA ADMIN) HONG KONG
rotation. Vessels assigned as SOPA ADMIN provided administrative support for
other naval units visiting Hong Kong including coordinating arrivals,
departures, services and activities, liaison with the Royal Navy
authorities, the American Consulate, and SOPA HONG KONG. Bering
Strait was the first cutter to perform these duties.
Due to their shallow draft the cutters
of Squadron Three were primarily assigned to the Gulf of Thailand. Not long
after their arrival, they began to provide 5"/38 gunfire support. The
primary NGFS aid was given to the village of Song Ong Doc near the Ca Mau
peninsula. Song Ong Doc had a small United States Special Forces base and
was located in the middle of a VC controlled area. The high endurance
cutters also supplied logistic support to the WPBs and PCFs on patrol. The
PCF is a rough riding boat, with few amenities. To allow the PCF to remain
on patrol for extended periods two crews were assigned. With the off-duty
crew lived aboard the outer barrier cutter. Frequently cutter personnel
replaced the sick, wounded or tired personnel of the PCF.
The high endurance cutters re-supplied
at either one of the support bases or from one of the oilers, ammunition
ships, supply ships transiting the coastal waters. The latter proved more
feasible; besides, the support ships also carried the mail from home.
On 29 February 1968, Winona and Androscoggin
engaged enemy infiltrating trawlers and destroyed them with the aid of WPBs
and Navy units. Minnetonka repelled another. These engagements have
been previously described in the WPB story.
The high endurance cutter constantly
provided medical treatment for other military personnel. Wounded U.S. Navy
and Army personnel were treated on board the cutters, along with other
friendlies. USN, USCG, and VNN vessels knew that the cutters carried medical
officers and would transfer their sick on board for treatment. Androscoggin’s
medical officer once performed four hours of major surgery on a Vietnamese
soldier wounded by a grenade.
In the spring and early summer of 1968 Campbell
and Androscoggin found action. Androscoggin assisted ARVN
troops in an amphibious operation. Other cutters participated in similar
operations at later dates. On patrol near the DMZ, Campbell came
across a derelict junk and blew it up so the junk would not be a hazard to
navigation. A few days later, the PCF 19 attached to Campbell was
sunk near the Cua Viet river by friendly aircraft. POINT DUME recovered only
two survivors. A month later Androscoggin provided emergency damage
control assistance to a PCF. Later Owasco saved a PCF hit by enemy
fire from sinking.
In June 1969, Androscoggin
conducted a hydrographic survey of a an uncharted area. This type of
operation became routine as the cutters charted the exact position of
lights, islands, and other landmarks. Morgenthau frequently
transmitted chart corrections and even located an uncharted pinnacle when
she struck it. Ingham provided a similar chart correction when she
The Song Ong Doc area was in a constant
state of battle and the cutters gave frequent assistance. Eventually, due to
the extreme situation a cutter was assigned to regular support of Song Ong
Doc especially with NGFS. The cutter would provide NGFS, logistics, damage
control, and medical support to PCFs travelling into VC controlled areas.
At the other end of Vietnam, the
cutters patrolling near the DMZ also prevented lost vessels from straying
over the 17th parallel. Gunfire support was not a prime duty in this area,
but on one occasion Owasco illuminated an Army post in danger of
being overrun while the USS New Jersey provided destructive fire.
On May 16, 1969, the Navy personnel of
CUT 70.8.5 were withdrawn. As the duties were only slightly lessened, the
Navy provided one officer and six enlisted on TAD to fill in the gap. A
month later, the RONTHREE staff worked nearly full-time on salvaging gear
from the stricken USS Frank E. Evans. Spencer caught fire in
Sasebo, Japan, during July 1969. The fire damage was not extensive and she
was soon underway. The same month, Sebago removed five ARVN’s from
an enemy—controlled area with a landing party accompanied by the ship’s
doctor. One hour after removing the five ARVN’s, the landing party
returned to rescue the spotter pilot who was shot down during the earlier
The cutters of RONTHREE consisted of
pre-World War II and World War II vintage cutters. Their performance was
handicapped by age, partial obsolescence, and relatively low speed. On 1
October 1969, Hamilton arrived in Subic Bay. She was the first of a
new Coast Guard cutter class, commissioned in 1967, with high speed,
improved gunfire control and quarters, and a large flight deck. The flight
deck made the cutters extremely versatile, allowing helicopters to use the
ship to refuel, transfer supplies, transport personnel, and evacuate
wounded. Less than a month after arriving Hamilton landed a large
In March 1970 the SS Columbia Eagle
was seized by mutineers, the crew set adrift, and the ship taken into
Cambodia. Mellon and Chase resolved the situation, and Chase
transported the shipless crew home. The Coast Guard cutters remained
in the Gulf of Thailand and gathered considerable knowledge about the area
which they passed on to arriving Navy ships. As the cutters normally
returned to the area after an R & R port, they frequently took
in-country personnel with them on these port visits which proved to be a
tremendous morale booster for the in-country troops. Vietnamese naval
personnel were also taken along, and on some trips it was standing room
In the Gulf of Thailand during April
1970 an ARVN unit was in danger of being overrun. Dallas responded
with naval gunfire support, providing a path for the ARVN’s and routing
the enemy. Dallas’ medical officer treated eight wounded Vietnamese
soldiers on board until they could be evacuated to a hospital. During the
operation, Dallas covered the landing and the subsequent extraction
of the troops.
and Yakutat were selected to be used by the Vietnamese Navy as
offshore patrol units. They arrived in Subic Bay in June 1970 with a small
cadre of Vietnamese on board, which was supplemented by another contingent
at Subic. The VNN personnel were taught the operations of the ship and soon
took over important positions in CIC boarding parties, NGFS details, and
repair crews. The VNN also performed the external functions of the ship,
especially boardings. The VNN officers soon became underway and in-port
OOD’s. Teams assumed engineering watches, navigated, piloted, and provided
all the control and most other positions in the NGFS teams. Their training
became apparent when a combined USCG/VNN rescue and assistance party from
YAKUTAT extinguished a serious fire and performed damage control on a USN
Rumors circulated that Song Ong Doc
would be overrun and in October 1970 the village and base were hit hard by
the VC and most of the base destroyed. In November, the base and village
moved inland to New Song Ong Doc and the need for Coast Guard support was
reduced. However, a month later Rush and an Australian destroyer
conducted emergency gunfire support for New Song Ong Doc killing
sixty—four attackers. A trawler attempted to infiltrate on 21
November 1970. After being hailed to stop, she resisted and was destroyed by
gunfire from Rush, Sherman, and USN units.
During November 1970 Bering Strait
and Yakutat in Subic Bay were painted gray except for Coast Guard
identification markings. In December, the cutters underwent refresher
training with nearly an all Vietnamese crew. After completing the training,
the ships departed for Saigon. There they were turned over to the Vietnamese
on 1 January 1971 in a colorful ceremony where the invocation was given by a
Navy chaplain and the benediction by a Buddhist monk.
On 28 February 1971, after dropping off
a MEDCAP party, Morgenthau struck an uncharted rock pinnacle in the
Gulf of Thailand causing extensive underwater damage. After being towed to
Subic Bay, the Ship Repair Facility repaired Morgenthau in record
time. On the night of 11-12 April 1971 Rush and Morgenthau
teamed up with Navy and VNN units to destroy an enemy trawler trying to
infiltrate supplies into South Vietnam near the Ca Mau peninsula.
and Cook Inlet arrived in Subic Bay in July 1971 for eventual
turnover to the Vietnamese Navy. The training progressed rapidly, with dual
ship exercises taking place in November. To display his confidence in the
high state of training, the Commodore of RONTHREE transferred between the
two ships on a highline.
In December 1971 Cook Inlet was
the last Coast Guard cutter on a combat patrol in Vietnamese waters, with a
primarily Vietnamese crew. On 21 December the final two ships of Coast Guard
Squadron Three were transferred to the Vietnamese Navy in Saigon. These two
ships proceeded to Subic Bay in January for refresher training conducted by
RONTHREE and Navy personnel.
Coast Guard Squadron Three was
disestablished on 31 January 1972, ending another chapter of Coast Guard
SECURITY AND WATERWAYS DETAIL
One of the missions of the Coast Guard
is Port Security in United States ports. The Coast Guard is also responsible
for supervising the loading and unloading of dangerous cargo. From early on
in the course of the Vietnam War, some sort of port security and dangerous
cargo safety was needed. The port of Saigon was especially unsafe. On 4
August 1965, COMUSMACV initiated a request for a Coast Guard Port Security
Officer to be assigned on TAD to the Commander, Capitol Military District
for the Port of Saigon. The Chief of Naval Operations concurred and
forwarded the request to the Commandant of the Coast Guard. The success of
the Coast Guard officer sent to Saigon prompted a request from CHNAVADVGRP
to CINPAC for the billet to be made permanent.
The need for personnel experienced in
handling explosives personnel became more obvious after the demonstrated
ability of the Port Security officer. On 17 February 1966, COMUSMACV
requested CINPAC ask the Commandant for two Explosives Loading Detachments,
each consisting of one officer and seven enlisted. The ELD’s were to be
highly trained in explosives handling, port security and also be able to
instruct others in these duties. Commander in Chief, Pacific forwarded the
request to JCS and the Chief of Naval Operations requested that the Coast
Guard provide them. The two ELD’s were sent, with ELD #1 located at Nha Be
and ELD #2 at Cam Ranh Bay.
After several months of operation
RONONE asked that the senior enlisted be upgraded to either a senior or
master chief as the chief petty officer ran into difficulty with senior Army
enlisted personnel and was frequently dealing directly with senior Army
officers on important matters. The ELD’s could stop any US flag vessel
from loading or unloading and basically had carte blanche’ to do what was
needed to enforce regulations.
The ELD’s lacked equipment because
they were assigned away from the Coast Guard and attached to the Army’s
First Logistics Command. However, they made do with what they could borrow
from the Army. Once ELD’s were in-country, masters of vessels carrying
dangerous cargo asked for them. Hairy situations were quite common on US and
Vietnamese vessels due to carelessness, drinking, and smoking. At Duc Pho
1/3 of the ammunition was lost due to sloppy procedures and it was common to
have ammunition barges with Vietnamese families living on board, cooking
with open fires.
Most recommendations of the ELD’s
were followed including a recommendation of ELD #1 to move operations from
Nha Be to Cat Lai in May 1967. In August, Nha Be was hit extremely hard by
the VC and had ammunition still been unloaded there a disaster, could have
occurred. A common problem in handling ammunition was smoking. The
military police assigned for security and merchant seamen were common
violators. One Coast Guardsman was assaulted by seamen who did not like
being told not to smoke on deck.
In the port of Da Nang, Division Twelve
provided an inspection and advisory team for dangerous cargo handling as
normal duties allowed. Though extremely useful, they could not provide the
necessary service and in August 1967, Commander Naval Support Activities Da
Nang requested a full-time ELD team. In October the port authorities in Qui
Nhon made a similar request in the aftermath of a potentially disastrous
incident. The latter request came after a bomb dropped into a LCM killing
the coxswain and one other man. The subsequent explosions would have caused
the greatest disaster of the war if the LCM hadn’t drifted away from the
ELD #1 was busy during February 1968. A
merchant ship was hit by nine rounds of recoilless rifle fire and started to
burn. The ELD team charged the hoses and put water on the deck, manned
winches and stowed ammunition located on deck, and finally got the
Vietnamese stevedores to cover the hatches. A second incident involved a
direct hit on an ammunition barge loaded with 81 mm mortar rounds. The barge
started to burn and the 1st class engineman assigned to the ELD boarded the
barge. Finding that the fire hoses would not reach, he fought the fire with
his bare hands and buckets of water. Six pallets of mortar shells burned
before the fire was extinguished.
The ELD’s for Da Nang and Qui Nhon
arrived and soon the Port Security Officer called on the new port commander
of Qui Nhon to discuss extremely hazardous conditions at Vung Ro Bay which
were noted by the officer-in-charge of ELD #3. Corrective action was
immediately taken and several army officers relieved on the spot. A TAD unit
was set up for the port of Vung Tau made up of personnel from the other
ELD’s and so there were now five ELD’s in-country.
The ELD’s were active teachers as
well as supervisors. They taught U.S. Army and Vietnamese boat coxswains how
to handle small boats and perform maintenance on outboard motors. The
ELD’s gave instructions in port fire fighting and pier inspections. They
instructed Vietnamese army stevedores in the techniques of blocking and
In January 1971 the Coast Guard began
to train Vietnamese personnel in the safe handling of ammunition. The first
eight ARVN officers completed on—the—job training in September. These
officers were assigned to the various ELD’s to further train ARVN
personnel. The Vietnamese learned quickly and soon began supervising the
offloading of ammunition, under the direction of ELD personnel. Some masters
objected to the arrangement, but complaints diminished due to the
demonstrated competence of the Vietnamese ELD teams. Training continued and
the Senior Coast Guard Officer, Vietnam presided at a graduation ceremony in
Cat Lai for twelve Vietnamese explosive loading specialists in which
graduation certificates were provided.
In early February of 1973, the Coast
Guard Port Security and Waterways Detail in Vietnam was disestablished.
COMUSMACV requested a buoy tender in
early 1966 and PLANETREE was sent that spring. Her job was to set petroleum
(POL) buoys for offloading fuel. Though requested by MACV, her appearance
came somewhat as a surprise. Most activities had to be improvised. Despite
these handicaps, the Planetree was able to set 16 large POL buoys in
four Vietnamese ports.
Once Planetree demonstrated its
expertise, more requests came in, such as marking a newly dredged channel,
marking coral reefs, positioning mooring buoys, and others. The Coast
Guardsmen trained in Aids to Navigation did attempt to fulfill these
requests, even under adverse conditions, including setting buoys from an LCM
in six to eight foot seas and using such navigational aids as ‘VC tree,
grassy knoll, prominent rock, etc.’
Eventually an improvised Aids to
Navigation (ATON) advisor billet was established at COMCOGARDACTV which
subsequently became permanent. As more aids were set, MACV hoped the
Vietnamese lighthouse tender CUU LONG would be able to service the aids.
However, the Vietnamese did not have the equipment or personnel to fully
support the U.S. buoys. A full-time deployment of a Coast Guard tender was
requested but denied. However, frequent short-term deployments were
In May 1967 Coast Guard personnel were
requested to set some ‘oil drum’ buoys in Vung Tau Harbor. To do this,
the men of Division Thirteen used a ‘cherry picker’ on an LCU. However,
they were handicapped by the Army’s use of only two small red flags as
position markers over a quarter-mile away. The mission proved difficult and
the Army replaced the flags with 4’ X 8’ plyboards painted brown and
green to blend into the background.
Army transportation officers were
responsible for the harbors and when Cuu Long entered port they acted
as advisors. The Vietnamese were too polite to argue with these adamant Army
advisors to set the buoys in accordance with the U.S. system rather than the
Vietnamese system. Buoy tenders spent considerable time switching the buoys
to the Vietnamese system.
Besides resetting buoys in the primary
harbors, Ironwood repositioned buoys in the Bassac River in 4 days
which compared favorably with the 42 days it took Cuu Long. Ironwood
also confirmed a harbor pilot’s suspicion that a sandbar was creeping
across Vung Tau harbor by running aground on it.
In August 1967 CINPAC requested to have
the Coast Guard tasked with the interim responsibility for the installation,
maintenance and servicing of U.S. sponsored aids in Vietnamese waters until
the RVN Directorate of Navigation could assume responsibility. The Coast
Guard accepted the mission.
All Coast Guard units in Vietnam
assumed the job of aids to navigation in addition to their normal duties.
They received reports of abuses, received requests for new buoys, and
conducted surveys to assist in establishing suitable navigation routes. The
abuses were mainly caused by collisions and target practice by friendly
forces. Another problem with lighted buoys was the constant replacement of
batteries. The Vietnamese found that they could use the batteries in their
junks and Coast Guard personnel in turn used car batteries as a temporary
When buoy tenders arrived in Vietnamese
waters, they were kept busy. However, as soon as it became known that a buoy
tender was in the area requests for services would pour in. One tender
established a light on a wrecked and a beached tug as a vital navigation
aid. The tug was also a forward observation post for the VC. The NAVAID was
important to naval units operating in the area and used by the VC who knew
the American forces would not destroy such an important navigational mark.
Tenders often constructed or replaced
range markers. Basswood planned to replace one for the fifth time in
as many months. A range dayboard was to be installed in the graveyard of a
small village. While the board was being hoisted by a small block and
tackle, an old man calmly cut the line and walked off with the board. That
made the sixth time.
Vietnamese lighthouse service personnel
were assigned to temporary duty on board Coast Guard buoy tenders when the
tenders arrived in—country. This relationship fostered an interest by the
Government of Vietnam in Aids to Navigation. Together Coast Guard and
Vietnamese personnel reactivated and automated Vietnamese lighthouses, and
activated U.S.-sponsored lights. While servicing lighthouses and other aids
the tenders also provided services to the local populace such as MEDCAPS.
The Coast Guard trained Vietnamese in
the various duties performed by the Service in the United States, including
aids to navigation. Soon their expertise was developed, and they were called
upon to relieve Coast Guard personnel of these duties. A tiMETAble was set
up for the turnover for responsibility of the aids from the Coast Guard to
the Directorate of Navigation. Vietnamese Aids to Navigation Structures
(VANS) were constructed under contract to replace aids such as buoys and
ease the workload of the single Vietnamese buoy tender. Cuu Long,
however, was the stumbling block in the turnover. She was old; her engines
obsolete, funds insufficient, and lacked a master or deck mechanic due to
low wages. The latter situation was rectified when the Vietnamese Navy
filled the billets. Other deficiencies were corrected with an increase in
funds and a reorganization of the Directorate of Navigation to combine the
Hydrographic and Lighthouse services. The transfer of responsibilities
started in January 1972 and the last servicing by a Coast Guard buoy tender
occurred that spring. The Directorate of Navigation assumed responsibility
for all aids to navigation in December 1972.
The Coast Guard established another
type of Aid to Navigation in South East Asia. It was called LORAN (Long
Range Aid to Navigation). The purpose of LORAN was to provide a means of
electronically aiding the mariner and aviator in an area where surface aids
were almost nonexistent, the waters relatively uncharted, and the sky
frequently overcast due to the monsoons.
ADVISOR/MERCHANT MARINE DETAIL
The escalation of the Vietnam War meant
that many supplies had to be transported by ship. Very little cargo could be
carried on combat ships and as a result there was a tremendous buildup of
merchant vessels under Military Sealift Command (MSTS) contract. The some of
the seamen manning these vessels got into trouble both on board and ashore.
The merchant officers and shipping
companies complained about the lack of a merchant marine detail and,
finally, in August 1966 MSTS requested MACV to provide Coast Guard Merchant
Marine Detail personnel. In December that year a marine inspection officer
was assigned to Saigon.
Coast Guard officers assigned to
merchant marine details have considerable authority when dealing with
merchant vessels and personnel. They have authority to remove sailors from
ships, order violations corrected, or stop a ship from sailing. To perform
those duties successfully, the Coast Guard officer needed to be a diplomat,
a judge, and also have a sense of humor.
Cases investigated by the marine
inspection officers included suicide, missing at sea, assaults, marijuana
use, desertions, gross misconduct, stabbings, drownings, pilfering cargo,
sodomy, drunk on duty, incompetence, flag desecration, murder, sabotage,
expired licenses, violation of statutes and regulations, hard narcotics,
malingering, racial incidents, and verbal abuse to a Coast Guard officer in
the performance of his duty. A constant problem was merchant seamen who got
into trouble ashore. The authority of the army to arrest and prosecute
merchant seamen often complicated matters. Courts—martial were not the
normal procedure because of many legal problems. Any matter could normally
be resolved by shipping advisor or the union representatives. In many cases
the seaman voluntarily surrendered his license to avoid prosecution and was
repatriated back to the United States. One man was given a General
Court-Martial for murdering a shipmate. The following are a few thumbnail
-A radio operator refused to fly from
Saigon to Cam Ranh Bay because he should have had first class jet travel all
the way from the Continental United States (CONUS) to his ship. There was no
jet service available.
-A 77 year-old first mate voluntarily
surrendered his license because he could not see other ships close by in
-The master of a vessel was relieved
because he was intoxicated during ammunition handling.
-A flag desecrator was removed from his
-A military guard was provided for a
merchant vessel whose crew had not been paid in several months and planned
to leave the ship. In a similar case in 1964, 150 sampans stripped a liberty
ship clean within 24 hours of abandonment.
-A seaman was accused of running a
‘house of ill-repute.’
-An abusive seaman with a prosthetic
leg woke up to find it had been thrown overboard.
The cases described above were routine,
but others were more unusual. In August 1969, the MMD officer received word
that a seaman was sailing on an altered license. Investigation showed that
he was sailing as Chief Mate on a forged Master’s license. In his
possession were twenty-one blank counterfeit Coast Guard merchant marine
licenses. He was also wanted by federal and local authorities for theft of a
half million dollars.
The officer-in-charge also investigated
cases where merchant vessels were fired upon while transiting the Saigon
River and other waterways. After the merchant ship Columbia Eagle
mutiny, the three MMD officers took testimony from the twenty-four crewmen
that had been put off in lifeboats.
The signing of the peace treaty
lessened the amount of U.S. flag merchant vessels arriving in Vietnam. This
reduction eliminated the need for a Merchant Marine Detail and their duties
were returned to the United States Consular Missions.
COAST GUARD OFFICER VIETNAM
The post of Senior Coast Guard Officer
Vietnam (SCGOV) was established on August 15, 1970 when RONONE was
disestablished. The main purpose of the post was to coordinate Coast Guard
activities and provide support for the Coast Guardsmen arriving or departing
Vietnam. This included normal rotation tours, R & R flights, emergency
leave arrangements, and the returning to CONUS the crewmen relieved from the
ships turned over to the Vietnamese. Other duties included administrative
control of most Coast Guard personnel in-country and operational control of
the Aids to Navigation detail and all buoy tenders deployed to Vietnam. The
post was also a liaison to NAVFORV for the turnover of Coast Guard assets
when specific turnover personnel were not attached. SCGOV also served on the
operations staff of NAVFORV and worked closely with MACV.
The senior officer provided delivery
service to Coast Guard ships of men and supplies, arranged USO shows, and
assisted in civic action projects. SCGOV requested the cutters seek out
fellow Coast Guardsmen assigned to various Army bases throughout Vietnam as
these men were ‘suffering from cultural shock by having to live with the
Army.’ Besides helping the Coast Guard, he also gave aid to the
Vietnamese when they needed supplies for the cutters previously turned over
to them on 11 February 1973 the post of Senior Coast Guard Officer Vietnam
Coast Guard Exchange Pilots
In April 1968 three Coast Guard
helicopter pilots were assigned to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery
Squadron at Da Nang. Pilots were assigned there until November 1972, while
their USAF counterparts were assigned to stateside Coast Guard air stations.
One Coast Guard pilot died in a rescue attempt. He was attempting to pick up
a downed Marine Corps flier when his helicopter took heavy ground fire,
touched down, and burst into flames.
Marine Police Advisor
This position was relatively
short-lived, lasting only 7 May 1970 to 18 March 1971. The duty of the
marine police advisor was to collect, to prepare, and catalog a law library
of pertinent Vietnamese laws and decrees. These included maritime law, ship
inspection regulations, ship licensing, crew licensing, motor boat licensing
and inspection, fisheries law, and navigation laws. The advisor also helped
the Vietnamese Marine Police obtain suitable boats.
WHEC Turnover Liaison
This position was established in June
1970 to assist in the turnover of the cutters Bering Strait and Yakutat
to the Vietnamese which was accomplished on 1 January 1971. The post was
disestablished on 31 January 1971.
Additional cutters were turned over and
much of the initial liaison was accomplished by SCGOV, and on 30 September
1971 the position was re-established. After the transfer on 21 December 1971
of the cutters Cook Inlet and Castle Rock the position was
Song Ong Doc
The village of Song Ong Doc was located
in the primary patrol area of the high endurance cutters from their arrival
in 1967 until November 1970. A U.S. Special Forces (USSF) camp was also at
Song Ong Doc. The commanding officer of this camp persuaded the cutters to
perform MEDCAPS and other civic action projects which benefitted the people
of Song Ong Doc, and also proved to be a great morale booster for the men of
built and installed playground equipment at the village school. Androscoggin
painted the school and gave a Christmas party for 500 children. Androscoggin
also purchased an engraved bell in Hong Kong for the school and Winona’s
band performed for the village on more than one occasion. Androscoggin
repainted the popular village school and repaired a generator while Minnetonka
painted the local dispensary, repaired playground equipment, and distributed
over 50 boxes of clothing, toys, and soap.
participated in the commencement exercises at the village school and gave
away 400 dolls and 400 yo-yos. Mendota poured a new concrete floor
for the village dispensary. Dallas erected a building to be used as a
dispensary and refurbished the village school.
The people of Song Ong Doc may have had
the best medical treatment of any place in Vietnam. Nearly every cutter
stationed of f Song Ong Doc conducted MEDCAPS in the village on a frequent
basis. Cutters providing MEDCAPs included Androscoggin, Yakutat, Winona,
Campbell, Minnetonka,Wachusett. Winnebago, and Mendota.
Saigon School for Blind Girls
This school received early attention
from the Saigon contingent of COGARDACTV. In late summer of 1966 Coast Guard
personnel purchased and gave the school a refrigerator. The refrigerator was
followed with a washing machine from Japan. Gifts of food and clothing were
The Squadron wanted to help send one of
the girls to the United States for further education. They contacted several
schools and in July 1967 they were successful in obtaining a $5000
scholarship from the Perkins School of the Blind. The biggest obstacle was
arranging an exit visa for the girl selected. The Squadron personnel visited
seventeen agencies in July and the end was not in sight. The visa was
approved by President Thieu and the Minister of Education, but each time
there was a referral to another agency. Finally on August 4, the exit visa
and passport were arranged. Pan American Airlines graciously provided
special VIP treatment for the young girl from Saigon to the East Coast.
The Saigon school constantly received
help from the Squadron with most of the men giving up a small portion of
their pay each month for its upkeep. Dental treatment was arranged with a
dentist trained in the United States who volunteered her services. RONONE
also arranged for transportation by Air Force helicopter of a girl from the
school to the hospital ship, USS Sanctuary, for eye surgery. The
Squadron Commander hand delivered a cornea transplant to be surgically
grafted on the girl.
In August 1966 the patrol boats
instituted an island adoption program. There were four main objectives of
1) to provide educational and
informational materials in order to promote understanding;
2) to counter VC propaganda through the
distribution of accurate information;
3) to provide medical treatment; and
4) to promote imaginative projects and
services in order to improve the civilian-military relationship.
The program had certain ground rules.
Since food was plentiful on the islands, none was to be distributed, but
rather news media and publications. Cigarettes, candy, fish hooks, salad oil
were given sparingly. Personalized gifts were encouraged. Visits were
limited to no more than once every two Weeks, for only three hours, and with
a VNN liaison present.
The Coast Guard units assigned to
Vietnam performed many different types of humanitarian service, including
- Catholic personnel renovated the
local church at An Thoi.
- WPB’s evacuated refugees from the
vicinity of Cape Batangan.
- Division 11 men helped make voting
booths in An Thoi.
- Point Arden saved an LCM
taking on water north of Da Nang.
- Campbell personnel repaired
the Save the Children Hospital at Qui Nhon.
- Campbell’s medical officer
treated a VNN officer’s badly swollen leg.
- Owasco responded to an SOS
from the SS Foh Hong which had lost power and was flooding. Owasco
rescued the twenty-three on board and towed the vessel to safety.
- Winnebago responded to the SOS
of the SS Aginar
- Division Thirteen personnel visited
the 36th Medevac Hospital Children’s Ward and gave toys, games, candy and
clothing to the children.
- Winnebago rescued thirty-five
persons from the distressed M/V Fair Philippine Anchorage.
- Klamath personnel donated 200
man hours of work and $187 to Holy Family Hospital in Qui Nhon.
- Taney’s medical officer
remained in Qui Nhon when the cutter went to Japan. He organized sixteen 16
MEDCAPs and treated over 3200 villagers plus another 300 patients at local
- Hamilton personnel repaired
the Save the Children Hospital at Qui Nhon.
- Klamath aided a fishing vessel
that had been drifting for ten days with engine trouble. Klamath
towed the vessel to Vung Tau.
- Hamilton personnel assisted in
preparing dependent housing for VNN personnel.
- Blackhaw rescued a Vietnamese
national drifting on a plank at sea.
- Hamilton delivered 2500 pounds
of canned goods, clothes, toys, and school supplies to Love of the Cross
Orphanage at Cam Ranh Bay donated by the New Bedford, Massachusetts junior
- Chase de-watered USS Winnemuca
which was taking on water and sinking.
- Chase personnel fabricated a
complete playground on board board Chase for the fifty children in
Coastal Group 16.
- Yakutat delivered 500 pounds
of materials to Can Tho orphanage from the people of New Bedford, Mass.
- Bering Strait’s crew
installed playground equipment near Coastal Group 16 which the crew
- Morgenthau delivered clothing
donated by the people of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
- Pontchartrain provided
engineering assistance to the merchant ship Sea Prosperity which had
been adrift for three days.
- Morgenthau rescued
twenty-three persons from the sinking merchant ship Joy Taylor.
- Sherman responded to a
possible cholera epidemic at New Song Ong Doc and immunized over 600
- Morgenthau medical teams
conducted twenty-five MEDCAPs and treated over 2600 people.
- Morgenthau personnel donated
$2200 to Operation Schoolhouse, allowing twenty-five children to attend four
years of high school.
This list is by no means complete, but
rather representative of Coast Guard non-military operations. All during the
Coast Guard’s involvement in Vietnam, there were several hundred medcaps.
Though the activities of the Coast
Guard in South East Asia are relatively unknown, the Coast Guard played a
significant role in the war. Some eight thousand Coast Guardsmen served in
Vietnam and Fifty-six different combatant vessels were assigned to duty
there. They participated in, and were normally the primary unit in all
trawler destructions. This alone set the VC/NVA back many months. The
statistics show that Coast Guard units boarded nearly a quarter of a million
junks and sampans in the attempt to stop infiltration. These cutters also
participated in nearly 6,000 NGFS missions causing extensive damage to the
enemy. Of these fifty-six vessels, thirty were turned over to the Vietnamese
and the Coast Guard played a significant role in training the Vietnamese
Navy to operate these vessels. The former Coast Guard cutters and the
Vietnamese sailors on board them formed the nucleus of the Vietnamese Navy.
The Port Security and Waterways Detail
was equally important to the war effort. They provided the necessary
expertise to allow the safe loading and unloading of vitally needed
ammunition. The Explosives Loading Detachments taught the Vietnamese safe
ammunition handling procedures which they needed to use on their own.
Teaching was also an important factor in Aids to Navigation. The Aids to
Navigation personnel and ships succeeded in their primary duty of assisting
the safe navigation of ships.
Merchant Marine Detail personnel helped
keep the merchant vessels sailing by providing investigative services,
judicial services, and diplomacy. They served the merchant sailor both
afloat and ashore. Though normally in the background, these officers were
vital to the supply effort in Vietnam.
When the Coast Guard went to Vietnam it
did not forget its training and tradition. The primary peacetime mission of
the Coast Guard is the safety of life and property at sea. Frequently the
cutters of RONONE and RONTHREE went to the aid of those in distress. In
helping to relieve the sufferings of others the Coast Guard personnel in
Vietnam conducted numerous MEDCAPs, Civic Action Programs, and distributed
considerable quantities of food, clothing, toys, and love to those in need.
The relief of suffering will probably remain in the minds of the Vietnamese
and Americans alike long after the battles have been forgotten.
EIGHTY-TWO PATROL BOATS ASSIGNED TO COAST GUARD SQUADRON
USCGC POINT BANKS (WPB
82327) 26 May 1970
USCGC POINT CLEAR (WPB 82315) 15 September 1969
USCGC POINT COMFORT (WPB 82317) 17 November 1969
USCGC POINT GARNET (WPB 82310) 16 May 1969
USCGC POINT GLOVER (WPB 82307) 14 February 1970
USCGC POINT GREY (WPB 82324) 14 July 1970
USCGC POINT MARONE (WPB 82331) 15 August 1970
USCGC POINT MAST (WPB 82316) 16 June 1970
USCGC POINT YOUNG (WPB 82303) 16 March 1970
USCOC POINT ARDEN (WPB 82309) 14 February 1970
USCGC POINT CAUTION (WPB 82301) 29 April 1970
USCGC POINT DUME (WPB 82325) 14 February 1970
USCGC POINT ELLIS (WPB 82330) 9 December 1969
USCGC POINT GAMMON (WPB 82328) 11 November 1969
USCGC POINT LOMAS (WPB 82321) 26 May 1970
USCGC POINT ORIENT (WPB 82319) 14 July 1970
USCGC POINT WELCOME (WPB 82329) 29 April 1970
USCGC POINT CYPRESS (WPB 82326) 15 August 1970
USCGC POINT GRACE (WPB 82323) 16 June 1970
USCGC POINT HUDSON (WPB 82322) 11 December 1970
USCGC POINT JEFFERSON
(WPB 82306) 21 February 1970
USCGC POINT KENNEDY (WPB 82320) 16 March 1970
USCGC POINT LEAGUE (WPB 82304) 16 May 1969
USCGC POINT PARTRIDGE (WPB 82305) 27 March 1970
USCGC POINT SLOCUM (WPB 82313) 11 December 1969
USCGC POINT WHITE (WPB 82308) 12 January 1970
HIGH ENDURANCE CUTTERS ASSIGNED TO COAST GUARD SQUADRON
4 May 1967 to 31 January 1972
USCGC BARATARIA (WHEC
381) 4 May 67 — 25 Dec 67
USCGC HALF MOON (WHEC 378) 4 May 67 — 29 Dec 67
USCGC YAKUTAT (WHEC 380) 4 May 67 — 1 Jan 68
USCGC GRESHAM (WHEC 387) 4 May 67 — 28 Jan 68
USCGC BERING STRAIT (WHEC 382) 4 May 67 — 18 Feb 68
(WHEC 68) 4 Dec 67 — 4 Aug 68
USCGC DUANE (WHEC 33) 4 Dec 67 — 28 Jul 68
USCGC CAMPBELL (WHEC 32) 14 Dec 67 — 12 Aug 68
USCGC MINNETONKA (WHEC 67) 5 Jan 68 — 29 Sep 68
USCGC WINONA (WHEC 65) 25 Jan 68 — 17 Oct 68
USCGC BIBB (WHEC 31) 4
Jul 68 — 28 Feb 69
USCGC INGHAM (WHEC 35) 16 Jul 68 — 3 Apr 69
USCGC OWASCO (WHEC 39) 23 Jul 68 — 21 Mar 69
USCGC WACHUSETT (WHEC 44) 10 Sep — 1 Jun 69
USCGC WINNEBAGO (WHEC 40) 20 Sep 68 — 19 Jul 69
USCGC SPENCER (WHEC
36) 11 Feb 69 — 30 Sep 69
USCGC MENDOTA (WHEC 69) 28 Feb 69 — 3 Nov 69
USCGC SEBAGO (WHEC 42) 2 Mar 69 — 16 Nov 69
USCGC TANEY (WHEC 37) 14 May 69 — 31 Jan 70
USCGC KLAMATH (WHEC 66) 7 Jul 69 — 3 Apr 70
USCGC HAMILTON (WHEC
715) 1 Nov 69 — 25 May 70
USCGC DALLAS (WHEC 716) 3 Nov 69 — 19 Jun 70
USCGC CHASE (WHEC 718) 6 Dec 69 — 28 May 70
USCGC MELLON (WHEC 717) [31 Jan 70 -- 26 Jun 70**] (**Corrected)
USCGC PONTCHARTRAIN (WHEC 70) 2 Apr 1970 — 25 Oct 1970
USCGC SHERMAN (WHEC
720) 22 Apr 70 — 25 Dec 70
USCGC BERING STRAIT (WHEC 382) 17 May 70 — 31 Dec 70* **
USCGC YAKUTAT (WHEC 380) 17 May 70 — 31 Dec 70*
USCGC RUSH (WHEC 723)
28 Oct 70 — 15 Jul 71
USCGC MORGENTHAU (WHEC 722) 6 Dec 70 — 31 Jul 71
USCGC CASTLE ROCK
(WHEC 383) 9 Jul 71 — 21 Dec 71*
USCGC COOK INLET (WHEC 384) 2 Jul 71 — 21 Dec 71*
* Turned over to the
Government of South Vietnam
** Second deployment
OTHER COAST GUARD CUTTERS IN SOUTH VIETNAM
USCGC BASSWOOD (WLB
USCGC BLACKHAW (WLB 390)
USCGC IRONWOOD (WLB 297)
USCGC PLANETREE (WLB 307)
USCGC NETTLE (WAK 169)
COAST GUARD SQUADRON ONE STATISTICS
27 May 1965-15 August 1970
Vessels detected 838,299
Vessels boarded 236,396
Vessels inspected 283,527
NGFS missions conducted 4,461
Personnel detained 10,286
Enemy KIA/WIA 1,055
USCG KIA 7
USCG WIA 59
Vessels damaged/destroyed 1,811
Structures damaged/destroyed 4,727
COAST GUARD SQUADRON THREE STATISTICS (1)
4 April 1967 to 31 January 1972
Percent of time underway 62.6
MARKET TIME patrols 205
Vessels detected 69,517
Vessels inspected 50,000
Vessels boarded 1,094
Personnel detained 138
NGFS missions conducted 1,368
Rounds fired 77,036
Structures destroyed 2,612
Structures damaged 2,676
Enemy KIA 529
Enemy WIA 243
Underway replenishments 1,153
Vertical replenishments 87
Small craft replenishments 1,516
Civic Action Projects 20 *
Medical Civil Action Program 131
* Data incomplete
(Subic Bay, Philippines:U.S. Coast Guard Squadron Three, 1972(?),
MAJOR TRAWLER ENGAGEMENTS INVOLVING U.S. COAST GUARD UNITS
10 May 1966
Trawler destroyed: POINT GREY, POINT CYPRESS
20 June 1966
Trawler captured: POINT LEAGUE, POINT SLOCUM, POINT HUDSON
1 January 1967
Trawler destroyed: POINT GAMMON
14 March 1967
Trawler destroyed: POINT ELLIS
15 July 1967
Trawler captured: POINT ORIENT
29 February — 1
1. Trawler destroyed: ANDROSCOGGIN, POINT WELCOME, POINT GREY
2. Trawler destroyed: WINONA, POINT GRACE, POINT MARONE, POINT HUDSON
3. Trawler destroyed: CG units not involved
4. Trawler turned back: MINNETONKA
21 November 1970
Trawler destroyed: RUSH, SHERMAN
11—12 April 1971
Trawler destroyed: RUSH, MORGENTHAU
U.S. COAST GUARD DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT
Truman R. Strobridge
U.S. Coast Guard Historian
Anderson, Jack. ‘The
Strange War at Sea,’ Parade (10 April 1966), p. 6.illus.
activities of the 285 officers and enlisted men of the U.S. Coast Guard and
their 17 cutters and 8 smaller, swifter patrol boats in Operation MARKET
TIME, as they patrol 1,500 miles of the Vietnamese coastline.
Beiter, R. H., LCDR,
USCG. ‘Life with Squadron Three,’ U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni
XXX, No. 6 (November-December 1968), pp. 13-19.
A letter by the
Executive Officer of the USCGC Owasco (WHEC 39) describing its
deployment to the Western Pacific from 20 May 1968 to 19 April 1969 and its
participation in Operation MARKET TIME in South Vietnam.
Gonzales, Arturo F.,
Jr. ‘Battling Bloodhounds of the South China Sea,’ Saga: The Magazine
for Men, Vol. 35, No. 5 (February 1968), pp. 8—11, 74—6, 78. illus.,
A dramatized account
of the varied experience of U.S. Coast Guardsmen in the Vietnam Conflict.
Deals primarily with the role of the U.S. Coast Guard cutters in Operation
MARKET TIME, but also describes other activities, such as providing aids to
navigation, rescue operations, handling merchant seamen problems, etc.
Gurney, Gene. The
United States Coast Guard: A Pictorial History. New York: Crown
Publishers, Inc., 1973. x, 246 pp. illus., map, index.
Page 174 contains a
brief narrative description of the varied U.S. Coast Guard activities during
the Vietnam Conflict, while pages 204-206 contain photographs with detailed
legends illustrating some of these activities.
Bickford, VADM, USN (Ret.). Mobility, Support, Endurance: A Story of
Naval Operational Logistics in the Vietnam War 1965-1968. Washington:
Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, 1972. xviii, 278 pp. illus.,
A historical account
of the activities of the Service Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet during the
Vietnam Conflict by one that commanded it that, of necessity, touches upon
U.S. Coast Guard activities in Southeast Asia during the period 1965—1968.
Check Table of Contents and Index for pertinent U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.
Coast Guard—related subjects.
Judd, Ralph W., LCDR,
USCG. ‘TIGHT REIGN Happenings,’ U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni
Association Bulletin, Vol. XXIX, No. 6 (November—December 1967), pp.
346—59. illus., map.
The Commanding Officer
of TIGHT REIGN, the Southeast Asia LORAN chain, discusses the highlights of
its first year of operation since it became operational on 28 October 1966.
Kaplan, H.R. Coast
Guard in Vietnam. (Washington: Public Information Division, U.S. Coast
Guard, 1967). (8) pp. illus.
A description of U.S.
Coast Guard activities in the Vietnam Conflict, including the denying of the
sea routes to Communist forces for infiltration in South Vietnam by U.S.
Coast Guard cutters, as well as other U.S. Coast Guard specialties, such as
explosive loading, port security, aid to navigation, etc.
Kaplan, H.R. ‘The
Coast Guard’s Other War in Vietnam,’ Defense Transportation Journal,
Vol. 25, No. 4 (July-August 1968), pp. 22-7. illus.
An account of the
various ways, besides combat, that the U.S. Coast Guard was assisting the
war effort in South Vietnam, such as port security, the handling and
transportation of cargo from ports, the handling and stowing of military
explosives, aids to navigation, the handling of personnel problems of
merchant seamen that caused delays to shipping, etc.
Kaplan, H.R. ‘Coast
Guard Played Vital Role in Vietnam War,’ Navy:The Magazine of Sea Power,
Vol. 13, No. 11 (November 1970), pp. 31-4. illus.
five-year accomplishments of the Coast Guard in Vietnam at a time when the
service was phasing out its participation in the Southeast Asia Conflict.
Kaplan, H.R. ‘Coast
Guard in Viet Nam,’ The World Wars Officer Review, Vol. 6, No. 1
(Sept-Oct 1967), pp. 8-13. illus.
A description of U.S.
Coast Guard activities in the Vietnam Conflict, containing identical
information as the preceding entry, (H.R. Kaplan. Coast Guard in Vietnam.
(Washington: Public Information Division, U.S. Coast Guard, 1967).
Lonsdale, A.L., CDR,
USCG. ‘Fourth Coastal Zone, Vietnam,’ U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni
Association Bulletin, Vol. XXX, No. 6 (November-December 1968), pp.
The author, who was
then serving both as the Commander, Gulf of Thailand Surveillance Group (CTG
115.4) and the Fourth Coastal zone Advisor to the Vietnamese Navy, explains
the relationship between his two jobs.
Moreau, James W.,
RADM, USCG. ‘The Coast Guard in the Central and Western Pacific,’ United
States Naval Institute Proceedings Naval Review 1973 Issue, Vol. 99, No.
843 (May 1973), pp.270-295. illus., map.
U.S. Coast Guard
participation in the Vietnam Conflict is specifically discussed on pages
286-294, including such topics as MARKET TIME, command structures, port
safety, shipping advisor to the Military Sea Transportation Service, surface
aids to navigation, LORAN, and U.S. Coast Guard aviators assigned to the
U.S. Air Force’s 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron.
Morse, Richard M.,
CDR, USCG. ‘Underway Replenishment,’ U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni
Association Bulletin, Vol. XXIX, No. 5 (September-October 1967), pp.
The Commanding Officer
of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Barataria, operating as part of the
U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet with the U.S. Coast Guard Squadron Three off the
coast of South Vietnam, gives lessons learned in underway replenishment.
Office of Director of
Information, Bureau of Health Services, Public Health Service, U.S.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. ‘The U.S. Public Health
Service in South Vietnam,’ The World Wars Officers Review, Vol. 6,
No. 1 (Sept—Oct 1967), pp. 14—7. illus.
activities of the medical officers of the Public Health Service assigned to
the U.S. Coast Guard cutters of Squadron Three, as well as those stationed
ashore in South Vietnam.
Oliver, Edward F.,
CDR, USCG. ‘Coast Guard Shipping Advisory Unit Vietnam,’ U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association Bulletin, Vol.
XXX No. 6 (November—December 1968) pp. 2—12.
First account by the
first U.S. Coast Guard Shipping Advisor to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sea
Transportation Service from 1966 to 1968, with the responsibility of
handling all problems involving merchant seamen not only in Vietnam, which
the U.S. Military Police and the Vietnamese authorities could, or would, not
handle, but those arising elsewhere in the Western Pacific, including the
major seaports of Singapore, Bangkok, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, and
Powell, David L., LT,
USCG. ‘The Last and Forgotten 100,’ United States Coast Guard Academy
Association Bulletin, Vol. XXXIV, No. 2 (March—April1972), pp.
An account of the
activities of the last remaining U.S. Coast Guardsmen in Vietnam after the
U.S. Coast Guard Squadron One completed the turnover of the last of its
twenty—six 82—foot WPBs to the Vietnamese Navy in August 1970.
These activities included the Senior Coast Guard Officer Vietnam (SCGOV),
port security, marine safety, aids to navigation, the handling of personnel
problems arising among merchant seamen, flying ‘Jolly Green Giant’
helicopters in the recovery of downed American airmen, and the operation of
two LORAN stations.
Powell, David L., LT,
USCG. ‘The Last and Forgotten 100,’ U.S. Coast Guard Engineer’s
Digest, No. 175 (April—May—June 1972), pp. 57—61. illus.
An account of the
activities of the last remaining U.S. Coast Guardsmen in Vietnam after the
U.S. Coast Guard Squadron One completed the turnover of the last of its
twenty—six 82—foot WPBs to the Vietnamese Navy in August 1970, being a
shorter, edited version of what appeared in the preceding entry.
Lieutenant David L.
Powell, USCG, ‘The Last and Forgotten 100, United States Coast Guard
Academy Alumni Association Bulletin, Vol. XXXIV, No. 2 (March—April
1972), pp. 49—53).
Schreadley, R.L., CDR,
USN. ‘The Naval War in Vietnam 1950—1970,’ United States Naval
Institute Proceedings Naval Review 1971 Issue, Vol. 97, No. 819 (May
1971), pp. 180—209. illus., maps.
As part of the overall
story, the author recounts the role played by the U.S.Coast Guard and its
cutters in MARKET TIME, the operation designed to prevent Communist
infiltration by sea into South Vietnam.
Sheehan, Neil. The
Arnheiter Affair. New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1973. 352 pp.
Pages 56, 151, 174, 187, 190, 193, 195, 197, 213, 217, 218, and 322 of this
paperback edition contains mentions of the U.S. Coast Guard and related
matters. Page 187, for instance, describes how Lieutenant Commander Marcus
Aurelius Arnheiter, U.S. Navy, got ‘chewed out’ by his commanding
officer, a Coast Guard Commander, on one occasion during his brief tour in
Vietnam waters, while participating in Operation MARKET TIME.
U.S. Coast Guard
(Subic Bay, Philippines: Headquarters, U.S. Coast Guard Squadron Three,
1972(?)20 pp. illus.
Historical summary of
the activities of U.S. Coast Guard Squadron Three, composed of high
endurance cutters (WHECs) during its existence in the Vietnam Conflict from
4 April 1967 to 31 January 1972. In all, thirty WHECs deployed to the
Western Pacific, two made a second deployment, and four were turned over to
the Government of South Vietnam. Besides providing naval gunfire support and
participating in MARKET TIME — an operation designed to prevent the flow
of enemy men, arms, and supplies into South Vietnam by sea — these WHECs
and their crews also engaged in civic action projects, medical civil action
programs, and the Vietnamization program. Appendices give detailed
information on: (1) the 8 deployments, including names of ships, commanders,
home ports, and dates deployed; (2) significant dates in the squadron’s
history; and (3) total statistics of the squadron’s operations summary.
Waterhouse, Charles. Vietnam
War Sketches from the Air, Land and Sea. Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle
Company, 1970. 128 pp. illus.
Pages 106-9 contain
reproductions of the combat drawings that the author made of U.S. Coast
Guard activities in Vietnam.
ADCON - Administrative
ARL - Repair Ship
ARVN- Army of the
Republic of Vietnam. Also soldier of same,
AtoN - Aids to
CASREPT - Casualty
CHICOM - Chinese
Chief, Naval Advisory Group, Military Assistance Command Vietnam
CHOP - Change
CIA - Captured in
CINCPAC - Commander in
CINCPACFLT - Commander
in Chief, Pacific Fleet
CNO - Chief of Naval
Commander Coast Guard Squadron One
Commander Coast Guard Squadron Three
COMNAVFORV - Commander
Naval Forces Vietnam
COMUSMACV - Commander
United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam
CONUS - A mythical
island far away (Continental United States)
COTP - Captain of the
CTF - Commander Task
CTF 115 - Commander
Coastal Surveillance Forces
CTG - Commander Task
Cruiser-Destroyer Group Seventh Fleet
CZ - Coastal Zone
ELD - Explosives
H & I - Harassment
KIA - Killed in action
LCM/LCU - Landing
MACV - Military
Assistance Command Vietnam
MEDCAP - Medical Civil
MEDEVAC - Medical
MMD - Merchant Marine
MSTS - Military
M/V - Merchant vessel
NAVADVGRP - Naval
NAVAID - Navigational
NBC - Nuclear
Biological Chemical Warfare
NGFS - Naval Gunfire
NVA - North Vietnamese
PCF - Patrol Craft,
POB - Persons on Board
PSYOPS - Psychological
PSYWAR - Psychological
ROK - Republic of
RONONE - Coast Guard
RONTHREE - Coast Guard
RVN - Republic of
SCGOV - Senior Coast
Guard Officer Vietnam
SOPA - Senior Office
SOPA ADMIN -
Administrative deputy to SOPA
SRO - Standing Room
TAD - Temporary
UNREP - Underway
USSF - United States
VC - Viet Cong
VERTREP - Vertical or
VNN - South Vietnamese
WHEC- Coast Guard high
WIA - Wounded in
WLB - Coast Guard
large buoy tender
WPB - Coast Guard