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Gallery of War

Page 22

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Coast Guard Swift Boat
Droping off on a prisoner
Vietnam 1968
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

We were somewhere between Da Nang and Vung Tau when a Coast Guard Swift boat pulled along side. Seems they had an American prisoner aboard and needed us to drop him off at the next port. God only knows what he had done. All I could find out was that he had "Freaked Out," somewhere in the jungle. Our orders were to drop him off at Vung Tau where he would be taken ashore by boat and then flown by chopper out to a carrier. Carriers had regular brigs on board and would take him to their next major port (probably somewhere in Japan,) where he would be flown back to the States. We had no such facility on our little destroyer, so we had to build a sort of make-shift jail. He was locked in a cabin with an armed guard posted at the door 24 hours a day. I took my turn on the Graveyard shift. If that door moved...I was ready to shoot it! Luckily, the guy slept all night, so it wound up being a long, boring evening. I was relieved by the day shift and made my way to my bunk for a few hours of sleep. The war did crazy things to some people over there.