Working with these centers RONONE cutters were assigned to different patrol stations off the northern and southern ends of Vietnam. US authorities decided to turn over a greater share of the war to the Vietnamese, and as part of this program the Coast Guard was instructed to begin training Vietnamese sailors so that eventually they could take over the 82 foot cutters of all three divisions. In addition to these fire fights the WPBs were called upon on several occasions to provide support for US Special Forces and ARVN units along the coast. 36 returned with heavy damage to the radar and electrical systems. May 26, 2017 - Paul Yost, commandant of the Coast Guard from 1986 to 1990 learned a powerful lesson on leadership one fateful mission in Vietnam. It noted that "counterinsurgency water operations are difficult, demanding, and unique. Eventually two more cutters, the Castle Rock (WHEC 383) and Cook Inlet (WHEC 384) were also transferred to the Vietnamese Navy; The turnover of Coast Guard assets to the Vietnamese continued throughout 1970, with the last of the 82 foot cutters being officially transferred by 15 August 1970. The Swift Boats were transported to the Philippines; An Thoi and Da Nang were selected as the two areas most critical to the needs the new craft could address. 816 adopted the nickname The Dirty Boat Guys. In early 1970, two more cutters, the Bering Strait (WHEC 382) and Yakutat (WHEC 380) were selected for transfer to the Vietnamese. Fortunately, in my case I played baseball and I worked on Swift Boats 48 years and 62 pounds ago. During her deployment, she received a total of 58 underway replenishments and replenished many Navy Swift boats and Coast Guard 82-foot patrol boats herself. During the remainder of 1966 and the early part of 1967 no significant ac­tion occurred with communist trawlers. Throughout the spring all three division had numerous run-ins with small junks carrying contraband, and carried out the occasional fire support mis­sion for troops ashore. After being boarded, the ship was refloated and towed back to Vung Tau where several tons of arms, ammunition, and medical supplies were un­covered in her holds. The portside batteries were for standby power and the starboard bank provided general boat power. The larger cutters, with their heavier armament, participated in a number of fire support missions for US Army and ARVN troops, particularly in the Cau Mau peninsula area. No matter what the conditions were, these men carried out their assignments. It was then placed on a unique truck/trailer rig. 55 Years Ago, the U.S. Coast Guard Joined the Fight in Vietnam The 82-foot patrol boat Point Cypress in her camouflage paint scheme in Vietnam. The Point Welcome, severely damaged, was eventually refloated and towed to Da Nang for repairs. Days later I almost didn't hear Santa coming. ', Primary Location During Vietnam: An Thoi, Vietnam, Veteran Organization: Swift Boat Sailors Association, Story Themes: 1968, 1969, 1970, An Thoi, Brotherhood, Dan Daly, Enlisting, Forest Lake, Look, Navy, Swift Boat, Swift Boat Sailors Association, Tom Edwards, USS Krishna, Virg Erwin, Virgil Erwin, A Twin Cities PBS initiative in collaboration with the MN PBS Stations. Virg and his crew wanted to transport her to a hospital but her father resisted. Various Market Time forces, including the Point Ellis (WPB 82330) shadowed the vessel until it neared the coast. Throughout the remainder of the summer of 1967 few major contacts oc­curred. Utilizing 5 Coastal Surveillance Centers to coordinate their patrols, Operation Market Time proved to be successful in its assigned task. The Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument was funded by private contributions and was built by veterans to honor those Navy and Coast Guard sailors who died in Vietnam, in the air, at sea, on inland waters, ashore and in POW camps. At these stations the cutters came under the direction of the minesweeper or destroyer escort that maintained the outer barrier patrol, and which provided the Coast Guard cutters with radar and navigational aids. I was on my way back to 'the states'. The batteries were located in the aft section of the 'engine room'; trust me, that's a relative term. Personnel of the first unit, Coast Guard Squadron One (RONONE), was commissioned on 27 May 1965 at the Coast Guard base at Alameda, California, receiving an intense course in survival training following commissioning, along with instruction on weapons systems, patrol procedures, combat indoctrination, and a variety of other subjects in preparation for their service in Vietnam. By mid-July, the first of the squadron's two sub-units, Division Twelve, was operational and on 15 July it departed Subic Bay for Da Nang near the DMZ. No more can be asked of a fighting man than that. I still remember the Captain of the Krishna seeing that, laughing and saying "Well, that's one way to do it". Days later I almost didn't hear Santa coming. As in past wars, their performance had been outstanding, but it had not been without cost. Examples of such vessels include swift boats, river patrol boats, and LSTs [landing ship, tank]. Seven Coast Guardsmen lost their lives and an additional fifty-three were wounded. These boats were employed by Inshore Undersea Warfare Units: IUWU-1 at Vung Tau, IUWU-2 at Cam Ranh Bay, IUWU-3 at Qui Nhon, IUWU-4 at Nha Trang, and IUWU-5 at Vung Ro. During this early period USCG cutters intercepted numerous junks and sampans carrying enemy soldiers and/or supplies. I still remember a Swift Boat coming back from a patrol and some of the battery posts were in, shall we say, less than new condition. I noticed a few now-empty 50 caliber machine gun shells were on the deck and saw them as the answer to the battery post problem. 1968, 1969, 1970, An Thoi, Brotherhood, Dan Daly, Enlisting, Forest Lake, Look, Navy, Swift Boat, Swift Boat Sailors Association, Tom Edwards, USS Krishna, Virg Erwin, Virgil Erwin, Terms and Conditions for Submitting Your Story. It was officially turned over to the Vietnamese Navy on 21 December 1971. 67 and is the author of 'Cat Lo - A Memoir of Invincible Youth'. How appropriate. Coast Guard river patrol boats in Vietnam. For the Krishna electricians it was all hands on deck. Twenty-four Mk V picket boats were turned over to the Vietnamese. The larger cutters, however, stayed on duty for a while longer and were involved in two more battles with trawlers. It left Subic Bay on 12 February for Vung Tau and by the end of the month its cutters were on station alongside other Market Time forces. The San Diego bound Swift Boat was transferred to a container ship and arrived in Norfork, Virginia. Dan Daly was the Officer in Charge of P.C.F. I had the pleasure of meeting Virg in 2007 shortly after I joined the Swift Boat Sailors Association. I have believed for years you can never have too much chocolate or laughter and Georgie provided plenty of the second. A Swift Boat would be coming home to San Diego! There is now a list of more than 325 ships that were operated by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard off the shores of Vietnam. 3 - The first Swift Boat in Vietnam. A swift boat transporting marines up-river in Vietnam. Their assignment - curtail the flow of North Vietnamese troops and supplies to the south via waterways. Says he saw service on patrol boats with the "Brown Water Navy" and mentions the "Cat Lo" base. The rest of the summer saw little action with the enemy but a case of mistaken identity resulted in a tragic incident. 67 and is the author of 'Cat Lo - A Memoir of Invincible Youth'. The beginning of 1968 saw the largest battle of the entire war for the bar­rier patrol when North Vietnam made a desperate attempt to infiltrate men and supplies during the end of February to bolster their failing Tet offensive. Any claim filed by Blue Water Veterans for compensation would be decided by the VA on a fact-based basis. They were thrown into the water occasionally to keep Viet Cong from planting explosives on the ship. As these units closed in on the trawler, heavy defensive fire was encountered. During this period, the first of a new class of cutter, the Hamilton (WHEC 715), arrived off the coast to relieve the older cutters which dated back to World War Two. On December 20 I had mid-watch, midnight to 4 AM on the bow and had an M 16 and a box of concussion grenades. Swift Boats Pier in Cat Lo Cat Lo base was attacked in early 1969 by mortar and RPG fire. By the end of May the boats had been loaded aboard cargo ships and were on their way to Subic Bay in the Philip­pines which was to serve as an advanced training facility to ready the crews for deployment to the war zone. Hello, I'm acquainted with an person who was in the Coast Guard between 1966-1970 and claims service in Vietnam. It also includes ships supplying and supporting those operations. At month's end, Task Force 115 (Market Time) was of­ficially established and RONONE became part of the organization. Swift Boats quickly proved to be the perfect fit for the type of warfare underway on the rivers and along the coast. During these engagements the indirect fire of the 81mm mortar on the bow of these cutters proved to be especially effective in providing fire support and illumination at night. To coor­dinate the numerous units which comprised TF 115, five Coastal Surveillance Centers (CSCs) were set up at Da Dang, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and An Thoi. Virg recalled "I do not think the young girl will live. The majority of junks that Swift Boat sailors encountered were operated by legitimate fishermen. Some memories of war are absolutely indelible and not all of them occur during combat. I would have given almost anything to have served on a PBR or Swift boat. These missions provided the only instances where the large cutters actually en­countered the enemy. Pulling back beyond range of this fire, the cutters opened up with 81mm mortars, scoring several hits which destroyed the vessel. Near Da Nang the cutter Androscoggin (WHEC 68), along with the Point Grey (WPB 82324), Point Welcome (WPB 82329) and a PCF spotted a trawler close inshore. The Grey tried to put a boar­ding party on the ship, but intense automatic fire from the beach forced the cutter away. A third trawler was encountered off the Cau Mau peninsula by the Winona (WHEC 65), Point Grace (WPB 82323), Point Marone (WPB 82331), Point Hudson (WPB 82322) and Swift boats. A full-scale restoration was done, with a significant amount of the volunteer work performed by Swift Boat Sailors Association members, at the Marine Group Works in Chula Vista; not far from San Diego. 's), also known as Swift Boats. The 50 foot long 25 knot quarter inch thick aluminum hull Swift Boats had twin 50 caliber machine guns above the pilot house and a single 50 over an 81 mm mortar aft. 816 was placed on exhibit at the museum and operates narrated tours that detail the Swift Boat history of Vietnam and Malta. I believe all members of the military that made it back are obligated to live our lives to the fullest as an acknowledgement to those that gave their all. One component of a Swift Boat electrical system was two 24 volt battery banks. Swift Boats - In for repairs and maintenance. Life in Vietnam was never boring. I have believed for years you can never have too much chocolate or laughter and Georgie provided plenty of the second. The Swift Boat Sailors Association members that worked on the restoration of P.C.F. For those interested in the history of the Vietnam War, the chance to ride on a Swift Boat and have that tour of San Diego Bay narrated by a former Officer in Charge provides insight into an aspect of the war that, over the years, has not received a lot of exposure. I enlisted in the Navy on February 5, 1968; that was 3 days after my 19th birthday. When you hear,read or see any documentaries on Riverine Forces in VN they are primarily about the PBRs and Swift Boats along with other rivercarft that were involved frequently with combat operations. In March, a 120 foot trawler attempted to run the patrol barrier near the DMZ. He knew he couldn’t leave anyone behind, and realized he couldn’t in good conscience order his men to go back into that hell. Despite attempts to identify herself, the cutter was attacked by the aircraft and received a number of hits. In order to access, service and replace them you had to navigate over and around two 480 HP Detroit Marine Diesels. Taking heavy fire, the trawler exploded and disappeared from the radar scope. Those Swift Boats had been used for training at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California. Picking (DD-685) Operated on Saigon River during November 16, 1965: Pictor (AF-54) Tom Edwards taking a Swift Boat for a 'test drive. I still remember a Swift Boat coming back from a patrol and some of the battery posts were in, shall we say, less than new condition. 76. During the day typhoon warnings were issued. On December 5, 1968 (my memory isn't this good; I kept a log book) former Vaudeville performer Georgie Jessel was in An Thoi for a USO show. Today, every new entrant to the Coast Guard trains aboard a Metal Shark. At 14 feet wide, 16 feet high and 43,000 pounds it required a highly skilled driver to bring her 2,600 miles back to San Diego for a warm ‘welcome home’ reception. On 20 November 1970, the Rush (WHEC 723) and Sherman (WHEC 720) destroyed a trawler with gunfire after it failed to stop. I have always found it interesting that 80% of the crews were volunteers. Upon completion of this training the officers and men followed their WPBs to Subic Bay where they took part in refresher training and put their cutters through shakedown cruises. That news was shared, at this point, years ago and I can still recall the applause that broke out in the meeting room. As the cutter approached, she came under fire from the trawler. Shortly before completing basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center I received my first set of orders. 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