The U.S. Coast Guard recently welcomed 17 Vietnam veterans for unit tours of Air Station Washington and the Coast Guard National Capital Region Air Defense Facility.
During their tour, each veteran also received their commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.
The veterans had all served on the Coast Guard Cutter Owasco, which was attached to Coast Guard Squadron Three in Vietnam from Aug. 10, 1968 to March 6, 1969. The cutter participated in “Operation Market Time,” keeping Communists from sneaking men, arms, and other supplies into the Republic of Vietnam.
During the war, six Owasco crewman were cited for meritorious service as a result of direct action with the enemy while the ship was patrolling Market Time Area Two on Nov. 6, 1968.
The six men had just completed a medcap mission ashore in Phouctan. Embarked in Navy Swift Boat PCF-75 for rendezvous with the Owasco, the boat, in company with the ill-fated PCF-70, received hostile gunfire during which PCF-70 personnel were hit from a surprise recoilless rifle ambush on the beach.
Two men were killed, and four others wounded. U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr Spott, the medical officer, and Seaman Maison, corpsman assistant rendered medical aid in the midst of the enemy attack.
Four other Owasco men, Lt. J.g. Mack, Petty Officer 2nd Class Scheyer, a boatswain's mate, DC3 Petty Officer 3rd Class Bane, a damage controlman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Switlik, an electrician’s mate, all assisted in rescue and salvage operations to the battle-damaged Navy craft.
For their achievement under fire, Doctor Spott and seaman Maison received Navy Commendation medals, while the other four were cited in Letters of Commendation by Commander, 7th Fleet. On June 19, 1969, U.S. Navy Lt. J.g. Warren Hudson , the PCF-70 skipper who was wounded in the action, visited the Owasco in New London to express his thanks to the commanding officer.
Learn more about the Coast Guard Cutter Owasco at the Coast Guard Historian's page.