The Coast Guard at War: Vietnam, 1965-1975
Although many books have been published on the Vietnam War, this is the first to chronicle the significant contributions of America's smallest armed ... Show synopsis Although many books have been published on the Vietnam War, this is the first to chronicle the significant contributions of America's smallest armed service in that conflict. The U.S. Coast Guard worked and fought alongside its sister services for ten years, conducting a wide range of operations that have remained until now largely unknown to the public. In May 1965 Coast Guard cutters engaged the Viet Cong in the service's first combat since World War II, and it was not until April 1975 that it shut down its last LORAN-C station in Vietnam. Alex Larzelere's vivid, fast-paced depictions of combat operations along Vietnam's coasts and in the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta benefit from his own service in Vietnam as a patrol boat skipper and from his interviews with seventy-five other Coast Guardsmen who were there. These on-the-scene descriptions together with the author's exhaustive research in official and private archives add up to a comprehensive picture of the Coast Guard's wartime operations - operations that included junk and trawler interdiction, downed-pilot search and rescue, naval gunfire support, port security, merchant marine and navigation assistance, and training and support for the South Vietnamese Navy. Also documented here for the first time are the high-level negotiations among leaders of the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard that provided for the employment of unique Coast Guard capabilities. Illustrated with dozens of official and private photos, many never before published, this landmark history fills an important hole in the literature of both the Coast Guard and the Vietnam War and establishes a blueprint for future joint military cooperation. Scholarlyin its approach yet written with verve and drama to appeal to a wider audience, the book sets the highest standard for military histories.