Notice to Mariners - Mining of Haiphong (1972)

By Don Gardner

 

There is no fun relating the experiences but Coasties also go to war and war has it's share of mistake and error............

While working in communications as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, who provided communications support for the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (now FEMA), I served as Assistant Communications Officer at the Federal Regional Center in Olney, Maryland, when this message came through the Automated Digital Input Network (AUTODIN) for torn-tape relay to the U.S. Army District Corps of Engineers at Norfolk, Virginia.

I believe I can speak for many when I say that I am relieved this period in our history is over.

PFA84

PTTUZYUW RUEBNSA356 13122-UUUU-RUEOFPA.

ZNR UUUUU ZOC

ZON2 NRTT NALD

RUEBPAA T USAENGDIST BALTO

RUEOFPA T USAENGDIST NORVA

P 122Z MAY 72

FM CCGDFIVE PORTSVA

TO AIG EIGHT NINE THREE SIX

ZEN/COGARD STA BALTO

RUEDEEA/MAROPR WILMDEL

ZEN/MAROPR NORVA

ZEN/COGARD BASE FT MACON

INFO RUEBDQA/VIRGINIA PIL0TS ASSN

RUEOEGA/USAENGDIST WILMNC

RXFEDCF/USS CHARLES F. ADAMS

BT

UNCLAS

SAFETY BROADCAST UNTIL CANCELLED

USCG NOTICE TO MARINERS FIFTH DISTRICT NR 1366-72.

SPECIAL WARNING NR 42.

ALL MARINERS ARE ADVISED THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS ANNOUNCED THAT,

IN FULL COORDINATION WITH THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, THE INTERNAL AND CLAIMED TERRITORIAL WATERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM IN AND AROUND THE ENTRANCES TO THE PORTS OF HAIPHONG, HON GAI, CAM PHA, VINH, QUANG KHE, DONG HOI, AND THAN HOA, ARE BEING MINED BY

PAGE 2 RUEBNSA356 UNCLAS

THE UNITED STATES AS A PART OF THE COLLECTIVE DEFENSE EFFORTS IN RESPONSE TO THE NEW ARMED ATTACKS BY THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AGAINST THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AND THE UNITED STATES FORCESREMAINING IN THAT COUNTRY. THE MINE FIELDS WILL BE ACTIVATED AT 11Z, 11 MAY 1972. VESSELS TRANSMITTING THESE WATERS AFTER THAT DATEMUST DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. ADDITIONALLY, ALL VESSELS ARE ADVISED THAT THE NAVAL AND AIR FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE REPUBLIC 0F VIETNAM HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TO TAKE APPROPRIATE MEASURES WITHIN THE INTERNAL AND CLAIMED TERRITORIAL WATERS OF NORTH VIETNAM TO PREVENT THE DELIVERY OF SEABORNE SUPPLIES TO NORTH VIETNAM. THE NAVAL FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO USE THEIR BEST EFFORTS TO INSURE THAT ALL VESSELS TRANSITING THE HIGH SEAS IN THIS AREA ARE NOTIFIED BY APPROPRIATE SIGNALS OF THE ABOVE-NOTED MEASURES BEING UNDERTAKEN WITHIN THE INTERNAL AND CLAIMED TERRITORIAL WATERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.

BT

#356

And never will I forget the day about five years earlier at Coast Guard Hqtrs. when we received CONFIDENTIAL traffic that a USAF aircraft sank one of our 95-footers, killing several Coasties and the South Vietnam advisor on board. The aircraft pilot reported to his ground controller a "target" and provided the position. He was advised the vessel must be an enemy, and permission was given to fire.

With its white hull and "U S COAST GUARD" boldly painted on its sides, the 95-footer was fired upon and sunk-an easy target.

Further investigation after the "accident" revealed that the USN had widely disseminated a notice in country, which the USAF should have absolutely been aware of, that reported the 95-footer was in a well-marked "safe" area where the U.S. Coast Guard was operating with the South Vietnamese. The USAF disagreed, claiming the 95-footer was in a target area.

War is especially hell when you kill your own!

 

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