Coasties leave the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club, 46 years ago today

Beginning on 6 May 1965, the U.S. Coast Guard began ordering the first cutters and men to the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR to participate in the Vietnam conflict, namely as part of Operation Market Time.

Over a half-decade later, the participation came to an end when the last of over 30 cutters large and small had been transferred to the South Vietnamese Navy, on this day in 1971.

USCGC Cook Inlet (WHEC-384/AVP-36) conducts a close fire support mission off the coast of Vietnam in 1971 with her 5″/38 DP. She was the last cutter transferred to the RVN that December, and ended the Coast Guard’s 6 1/2 year involvement in Vietnam

From Adm. Chester R. Bender, then Commandant of the service:

TURNOVER R212250Z DEC 71
FM COMDT COGARD
TO ALDIST
BT
UNCLAS
COMDT NOTE 5700
FROM C
VESSEL SQUADRON THREE TURNOVER
ON 21 DECEMBER 1971 THE CASTLE ROCK AND COOK INLET WILL BE TURNED OVER TO THE REP OF VIETNAM NAVY. THIS WILL END OUR PARTICIPATION IN SEVENTH FLEET SOUTHEAST ASIA OPERATIONS AFTER SIX AND ONE HALF YEARS OF ASSISTING THE NAVY IN OPERATION MARKET TIME. DURING THESE YEARS 31 HECS AND 26 82-FT PATROL BOATS AND A NUMBER OF SPECIALIZED UNITS HAVE SEEN VIETNAM SERVICE. THEY HAVE COMPILED AN ENVIABLE RECORD. COAST GUARDSMEN BOARDED OR INSPECTED OVER 510,000 BOATS IN PERFORMANCE OF THEIR PATROL MISSION. THEY TOOK PART IN NEARLY 6,OOO NGFS MISSIONS IN SUPPORT OF ARMY AND MARINE CORPS TROOPS ASHORE. THE CUTTERS CRUISED NEARLY 5.5 MILLION MILES SINCE 1965. WE LOST SEVEN OF OUR BRAVE MEN WHILE 59 WERE WOUNDED. OVER 500 PERSONAL DECORATIONS WERE AWARDED TO COAST GUARDSMEN FOR VIETNAM SERVICE. AND DURING ALL THIS TIME I KNOW FIRST HAND THAT OUR MEN, TRUE TO THEIR HUMANITARIAN IDEALS, DID NOT FORGET THEIR FELLOW MAN. THIS IS EVIDENCED BY THE MANY CIVIC ACTION PROJECTS, MEDICAL MISSIONS, AND SEARCH AND RESCUE CASES. NOT TO MENTION THE PRIVIATE ASSISTANCE MADE TO CHARITABLE WORKS SUCH AS THE SAIGON SCHOOL FOR BLIND GIRLS. THE COAST GUARD RECORD IN VIETNAM IS A RECORD OF WHICH YOU ALL CAN BE JUSTLY PROUD. TO THE LAST MEN LEAVING SQUADRON THREE GO WITH MY BEST WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RETURN HOME. TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SERVED YOUR COUNTRY IN VIETNAM GO MY SINCERE THANKS AND ADMIRATION.
ADMIRAL BENDER, SENDS
BT

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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