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THREE ARTICLES BELOW ABOUT USCG SQUADRON ONE.
-First from NAVY MAGAZINE,
-Second from SAGA MAGAZINE
-Third by JERRY SAMPONT LCDR USCGR RET
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|NAVY MAGAZINE 1966|
| BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S. COAST GUARD SQUADRON ONE IN VIETNAM
By Jerry Sampont ET2 Vietnam, LCDR USCGR Ret
Few people today realize or remember that the Coast Guard was in South Vietnam or the large impact they had on the war. In 1965, the war was rapidly escalating and the U.S. Military realized they had a serious problem. General Westmoreland estimated that 70% of the enemy’s supplies were coming into South Vietnam by sea and rivers (U.S. Navy Proceedings June 1984). The Navy only had deep-water ships, which could not be used to stop the flow of supplies coming into South Vietnam from North Vietnam and China via large enemy trawlers. The Navy turned to the Coast Guard for help. The Coast Guard had just the right type of cutters, the experienced crews to run them and the Coast Guard’s can do attitude to get the job done.NOTE: Coast Guard vessels are called CUTTERS not ships. A tradition carried on from the days of the Revenue Cutter Service which was formed in 1790 and in 1915 became the Coast Guard. The Revenue Cutter Service call their vessels CUTTERS.
In 1965 Coast Guard Squadron One was formed. It consisted of twenty six 82 foot cutters which were divided into three Divisions, 11, 12, and 13. Squadron One operated in South Vietnam from July 29, 1965 until August 15, 1970, at which time the last cutter was turned over to the South Vietnamese Government. Divisions 11 and 12 arrived in South Vietnam on July 29, 1965. Division-11 consisted of eight cutters and was stationed in southern part of South Vietnam (An Thoi). Division 12 consisted of nine cutters and was stationed in northern part of South Vietnam (Da Nang). Division-13 consisted of nine cutters which arrived in South Vietnam on February 22, 1966 and was stationed in central part of South Vietnam (Cat-Lo).
By the end of 1966 the twenty six 82 foot cutters of Squadron One, their eleven man crews and the support staff who kept the cutters and crews running, had reduced the estimated 70% of enemy’s supplies arriving by sea to less that 10% (U.S. Navy Proceedings June 1984, C.G. Reservist November 1996). This forced the enemy to transport most of their supplies over the more difficult and rugged Ho Chi Minh Trail. Fewer than 400 men made up USCG Squadron One in 1965 and1966, yet in less that eighteen months they had cut off 60% of the enemy’s total supplies that were arriving by sea. A remarkable job, when you think about it.
Seven Coast Guardsmen were killed and 59 wounded in South Vietnam.
During their five years in South Vietnam the men of Squadron One:
-Patrolled 4,215,116 miles
-Detected 839,299 vessels
-Boarded 236,396 vessels
-Inspected 283,527 vessels
-Detained 10,286 personnel
-Engaged in 4,461 naval gunfire support missions
-Damaged or destroyed 1,811 vessels
-Killed or wounded 1,232 enemy
-Damaged or destroyed 4,727 structures
(U.S. Navy Proceedings June 1984, USCG Action in Vietnam by Paul Scotti)
For additional information on Coast Guard operations in Vietnam read "COAST GUARD ACTION IN VIETNAM" by Paul Scotti.
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