Surface Forces: February 22, 2003


For the first time since the Vietnam war, the U.S. Coast Guard has sent a large force of it's patrol ships overseas. Eight 110 foot Coat Guard cutters have been hoisted aboard the decks of large merchant ships and moved to the Persian Gulf. Some 600 Coast Guard personnel are going with the cutters, to provide crews and support from nearby ports. The normal 16 sailor crews are being expanded to 22 to provide more eyes and ears while on patrol. The eight cutters will provide port security for American ships in the Persian Gulf area. During the Vietnam war, the Coast Guard sent 30 of its patrol boats across the Pacific for during off Vietnam. These boats were eventually turned over to the South Vietnamese coast guard. This time, the boats are being sent over aboard larger ships, to spare the cutters (and crews) the wear and tear of a long ocean voyage. The cutters have all their fuel tanks and lines drained before being hoisted aboard larger ships for the month long voyage. 


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