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Old 02-21-2017, 03:40 PM
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Default Coast Guard and Tet 1968

I managed to snag this from the other place a few years ago. Most current day Coast Guardsmen seem to have little interest in the services history during the Viet Nam war. It is 50 years since we got involved...

From the CG Historians website..

Cruise book of USCGC Androscoggin, Coast Guard Squadron III

“On 29 February to 1 March 1968, she assisted in the destruction of an SL-class North Vietnamese trawler near Cu Lao Re island, 70 miles southeast of Danang. On the afternoon of 29 February 1968 the USCGC Androscoggin took the trawler under surveillance after it was first detected by a P-2 Neptune aircraft 150 miles south of the demilitarized zone.

The Point Welcome and Point Grey, along with two Navy Swift boats, waited close to shore as the trawler approached, with Androscoggin trailing. In the early morning of 1 March 1968 as the trawler closed to within seven miles of the coast, Androscoggin closed and challenged the trawler. After receiving no response, Androscoggin illuminated the target with 5-inch star shells. The trawler, positively identified as a North Vietnamese SL-class vessel, opened fire on the cutter with recoilless rifle and machine gun fire. Androscoggin then opened fire with her 5-inch battery, scoring one hit on the trawler's "after starboard side." The trawler then headed for the beach. Two helicopters took the trawler under fire while the 82-footers and Swift boats closed. The Point Welcome illuminated the target with illumination rounds fired from her 82mm mortar while the Point Grey and the Swift boats fired their .50 caliber machine guns into the trawler. It grounded 50 yards from the mouth of the Song Tha Cau river. Point Welcome then hit the target with two high explosive mortar rounds fired from her 82mm mortar. The trawler soon thereafter exploded, leaving little trace. The cutters were hit with debris but suffered no personnel casualties.” Three trawlers were destroyed that night and one turned tail with a cutter in hot pursuit. Took them a couple of years before trying the coastal infiltration route..

I put it up once over at mil.com, but deleted it, kind of figured it just didn't really matter. Then I had second thoughts about this, might just be some semi - geezers from that era with a slight interest.

February 29, 1968

That Leap Year Date that comes around every four years, and may or may not hold much significance to most people. For me, I guess, every 20 years, it’s kind of a time check, for the ending of one quarter and the start of another.

It’s February 29, 2016 and since 2008, I guess that realistically I’ll look at this as being in the fourth quarter of my life. Going into overtime on February 29, 2028 wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but I appreciate that it is the start of the fourth segment.

As on most Feb. 29ths, over the last 40 years, I will dig out my cruise book from the Viet Nam deployment of the USCGC Androscoggin during 1967 & 1968. I look through the photos of each Division and Department and recall the faces, the names, of the shipmates that I served with in that Cutter. They were the men that I had the privilege of sailing with at that point in time. That date marked the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, in my life.

On February 29, 1968, during the Viet Nam War TET Offensive, four armed North Vietnamese Trawlers attempted to infiltrate along the South Viet Nam coastline. I was lucky enough to be in one of the Cutters that engaged, and won, our part of that little fracus. The 82’ Coast Guard WPBs and 50’ USN SWIFTS, along with a US ARMY gunship, all did an important piece of work that evening.

It was an honor to be a part of that crew, that worked exactly as you’d expect, to make that Cutter, into the warship it was designed to be. From my GQ station, standing by the 24” searchlight on the signal bridge I got to witness the unfolding events. The incoming and outgoing rounds, the deck 50 cal. gunners protected by their small splinter shields, the 5" 38 performing as advertised.

The “OLD MAN” and the OPS right out in the open bridge wing conning the ship, ballsiest ship handlers I’d seen. Operating in very skinny water. The “Old Man” recently made his way to Fiddlers Green. BM2 Bob Miner, strapped on to the open air Gun Director, through it all, he didn’t have the option to take cover. He and the FTs right out there in the line of fire.

As I looked through the photos once again, I remember that crew as we were. For the greatest part, young men, in our teens and twenties, a few chiefs, older, but not the relics you’d think. All of us, embarked on one of those voyages that has an influence on the rest of your life.

To those remaining shipmates that may look in here, I hope to l be at the next reunion. We will mark the 50 years since we sailed into Harms Way.. To those shipmates that have crossed the bar, and dropped the hook in Fiddlers Green, we will someday meet again.

When I look into the mirror and close my eyes, it is not that long ago after all, and we were the “new Guard”.

I have since been to three reunions of that crew and have run into old ‘liberty mates’. We are a bit grayer, slower moving, but once we got the name tags straightened out, the same 20 year olds of bygone times. Some talk of what we’ve done over the years, but more great recollection about what got us started on the way to the present day. The deployment to Viet Nam in cutter ANDROSCOGGIN is what started the voyage. Character was born in that cutter.

Last edited by MastersMate; 02-22-2017 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 02-22-2017, 08:12 AM
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Someone at the other site once posted photos of WPB's in a narrow river in Vietnam. I found them very interesting and was surprised they could actually maneuver in those waterways. If it was you, any chance you could post them here at your convenience?
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:16 PM
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I recall those photos also. I checked the CG Historians site but they were not there. I did however find in the Squadron III section, a photo of me at one of our R & R beach swim calls. Wearing the rag head and shades.

Last edited by MastersMate; 02-24-2017 at 05:56 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:12 AM
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Giving this a little bump to the top for a moment.. The 50 year anniversary of this engagement is here...
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:22 AM
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A string of bad e-mails in the last couple of weeks. The WW 2 and Korea vets are leaving at a steady pace. Nobody keeps track or wonders, but for the Coast Gurad, about 8000 Coast Guardsmen served in Viet Nam. If our cutter could be an indicator, we have lost almost 1/3 of our crew of 150 as of the end of March..
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