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.
PTTUZYUW RUEBNSAØ356 131Ø2Ø2-UUUU-RUEOFPA.
ZNR UUUUU ZOC
ZON2 NRTT NALD
RUEBPAA T USAENGDIST BALTO
RUEOFPA T USAENGDIST NORVA
P 1ØØ2Ø2Z MAY 72
FM CCGDFIVE PORTSVA
TO AIG EIGHT NINE THREE SIX
ZEN/COGARD STA BALTO
ZEN/COGARD BASE FT MACON
INFO RUEBDQA/VIRGINIA PIL0TS ASSN
RXFEDCF/USS CHARLES F. ADAMS
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 RUEBNSAØ356 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 11ØØZ, 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.
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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