During peacetime or undeclared conflicts, the Coast Guard serves as a force provider to the Department of Defense by transferring operational control of units to fulfill niche capabilities. By summer , nineteen 82 foot coastal patrol boats and crews had been relocated to Vietnam. As the war escalated, the total number of patrol boats eventually increased to 26 and several larger high-endurance cutters rotated in-theater to deter trafficking farther offshore and to lend their five inch guns to naval gunfire support missions. However, it is typically these law enforcement-based skills, tactics, and expertise in the prevention and suppression of crimes at sea the Coast Guard draws upon when providing its specialized maritime security capabilities to the Department of Defense during low-intensity conflicts and military operations other than war. Holden and Sergeant James D.
The recent public television series on the history of the Vietnam War serves as reminder of the Coast Guard's role in that conflict. Their activities included interdiction and inspection of coastal vessel traffic to stem the smuggling of arms and supplies to the Viet Cong, naval gunfire in support of infantry units ashore and the occasional firefight with enemy vessels. Coast Guard units, like the cutter crews based in Bahrain, advanced interdiction teams deployed overseas to combat piracy or terrorism, and international training teams performing military security cooperation activities abroad, learned the basics of their craft here. Yeend, Staff Sergeant Elmer L. Holden and Sergeant James D. After repairs, the Point Welcome returned to combat service and later destroyed an enemy trawler in a ship-to-ship firefight during the Tet Offensive of By summer , nineteen 82 foot coastal patrol boats and crews had been relocated to Vietnam. During the dark morning hours of August 11, a U. Although the Coast Guard has not been transferred to the Navy Department since World War II, the latter arrangement as a force provider was used successfully during the Vietnam War and continues to this day. However, it is typically these law enforcement-based skills, tactics, and expertise in the prevention and suppression of crimes at sea the Coast Guard draws upon when providing its specialized maritime security capabilities to the Department of Defense during low-intensity conflicts and military operations other than war. The Coast Guard continues to fulfill military duties abroad, notably through its ongoing operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf. Of the seven Coast Guardsmen killed in action in Vietnam, six served on the patrol boats. Dozens of cutters and approximately 8, Coast Guardsmen served in Vietnam. By law, the Coast Guard is an armed force at all times and may be transferred in its entirety into the Department of the Navy during times of war. Navy to promote regional maritime security. In April , the Coast Guard experienced its sole casualty of the Iraq War, when a combined Navy-Coast Guard crew from the USS Firebolt attempted to interdict a suicide boat targeting an offshore oil terminal for attack. Since , six patrol boats have provided a niche capability similar to what the service had provided in Vietnam, acting once again in a partnership with the U. At that time, both services used the HH-3 helicopter for search and rescue, and the exchange program took advantage of Coast Guard aviators who were skilled operators of this aircraft. As the war escalated, the total number of patrol boats eventually increased to 26 and several larger high-endurance cutters rotated in-theater to deter trafficking farther offshore and to lend their five inch guns to naval gunfire support missions. The seventh Coast Guardsman lost in the war was a helicopter pilot on exchange with the U. Locke, were shot down over Laos while attempting to recover a downed Marine pilot. Lieutenant Jack Rittichier was among three Coast Guard pilots who volunteered to fly HH-3s during combat search and rescue missions over South Vietnam, and took part in multiple rescues. At the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy here in Charleston, our mission is to train Coast Guardsmen in the safe, legal and professional enforcement of federal law over waters subject to U. Early in the war, the Navy was still developing its fleet of small patrol craft suitable for this mission, and it called upon the Coast Guard to provide this capability along with its counter-smuggling expertise. Despite being riddled with shrapnel holes and the helm being shot away, the cutter was saved through the heroic action of her crew.
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