His hand bandaged, Lance Corporal C.D. Bradford, a New Jersey native from Longbranch, hefts an M1A1 Thompson submachine gun with its stock removed during the building-to-building battle for Hue City. He was a radio operator for Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines during the fighting. The photo was taken on 5 February 1968.
The 50-year-old Hamilton-class 378-foot high endurance cutter USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) has returned from her final trip under a U.S. flag last week following a 76-day patrol in the Bering Sea. She is scheduled to decommission in March.
From USCG Public Affairs:
During the three-month patrol, the crew supported the safe transit of a disabled vessel over 800 miles to Dutch Harbor, enforced fisheries regulations in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. They also provided a command and control platform capable of embarking a helicopter, thus providing search and rescue coverage to those operating in the Bering Sea.
Sherman has a storied history including being the last remaining U.S. Warship in the Coast Guard or Navy to have sunk an enemy vessel. It is also one of only two cutters to hold the Vietnam Service Award and the only cutter to hold the Combat Action Ribbon for action in the Vietnam War.
In 2001 it became the first cutter to circumnavigate the world, after conducting U.N. sanctions enforcement duty in the Persian Gulf and goodwill projects in Madagascar, South Africa and Cape Verde.
Adding to Sherman’s history, in March of 2007, a boarding team dispatched from the cutter discovered 17 metric tons of cocaine on the Panamanian-flagged freighter, Gatun. This seizure remains the largest drug bust in U.S. history with an estimated street value of $600 million. As the record holder, Sherman proudly wears the Golden Snowflake.
The crew rounded out the cutter’s storied career in the Bering Sea; conducting 16 fisheries boardings, issuing four fisheries violations and one safety violation, ensuring the integrity of the $6 billion fishing industry. As the primary search and rescue asset in the region at the time, Sherman also ensured the safe transit of the crew of the Resolve Pioneer, a Dutch Harbor-based ocean-going tug, following a severe casualty at the far end of the Aleutian chain, restricting their speed and maneuverability.
“As Sherman and her crew return home from this final patrol, it is humbling to look back on the history and the accomplishments of this crew and the previous,” said Capt. Steve Wittrock, commanding officer of Sherman. “This final patrol has been significant in that the Bering Sea mission is one of the most demanding and historically important in the Coast Guard and I am very proud of the way that the crew has performed throughout the last two challenging months.”
Sherman is one of the Coast Guard’s four remaining 378-foot high endurance cutters still in operation. The 1960s era fleet of cutters is presently being replaced by the 413-foot national security cutters, which will soon serve as the Coast Guard’s primary, long-range asset. Honolulu will serve as a homeport to two of the national security cutters, replacing Sherman and the already decommissioned Morgenthau.
So far, the State Department has passed on three of the stricken “378s” to the Philippines (USCGC Hamilton, Boutwell, Dallas), two to the Nigerian Navy (Gallatin and Chase) and two to the Bangladesh Navy (Jarvis and Rush). Morgenthau went to the Vietnam Coast Guard last year. With Sherman decommissioned, only USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) and Midgett (WHEC-726) based in Seattle, and Munro (WHEC-724) in Kodiak remain in U.S. service and are expected to be replaced by the National Security Cutter program by 2021.
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.
From Adm. Chester R. Bender, then Commandant of the service:
TURNOVER R212250Z DEC 71
FM COMDT COGARD
COMDT NOTE 5700
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
Over at Guns.com I did a quick geardo rundown of several of the Corp’s modern sniper rigs from the early WWI Rifle, “USMC Telescopic Rifle, Model of 1917” which is basically just a good shooting early M1903 with a fixed Winchester A5 scope through WWII’s updated M1903A-1 model Springfield with a Unertl 8x scope– immediately distinguishable by its long shade on the objective lens– which they designated the M1941 Sniper Rifle, and then the Korean War’s M1C and the various guns of Vietnam.
South Vietnam, November, 1967: Staff Sgt. Raymond Scherz of Addison, Ill., has a passenger, but the gobbler’s ride shapes up as a one-way trip to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving dinner at the nearby Bear Cat base camp. The turkey was one of 57,000 sent in to provide as many as possible of the half-million U.S. servicemembers in Vietnam with a traditional holiday feast.
Also rolling through the supply chain for the 1967 meal were 225 tons of boneless turkey meat, 28 tons of cranberry sauce, 15 tons of mixed nuts, eight tons of candy, 11 tons of olives and 33 tons of fruitcake.
This image, shows the converted light cruiser USS Topeka (CLG-8) firing a Terrier guided-missile on 18 November 1961, during weapons demonstrations for the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson, a week before Thanksgiving. Photographed from on board USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). Planes preparing for launch on the carrier’s flight deck are a F8U Crusader jet fighter, at left, and an AD-6 Skyraider attack plane (Bureau # 137588), in the lower center.
While probably not aiming at Thanksgiving dinner, Topeka was known for warming up some VC and NVA on occasion.