Friday, May 22, 2009


As we begin our full scale assault on the new summer with promise of fun and sun and the long MEMORIAL DAY weekend, many of us tend to forget why we have this "time off", "holiday", and so on - - - Some of us who have seen many "summer holidays" go by may have a slightly different view - - we know many who have not seen these "weekends" & "holidays" for years because of their sacrifice.  Let me tell you a short story about one such sacrifice that I shall always be mindful of:  JERRY PHILLIPS, EN2, USCG.  I joined the Coast Guard in 1965, shortly before my 21st birthday.  After completing boot camp in Cape May, I was assigned to Cape May Station, this was the small boat Search and Rescue (SAR) unit for the Cape May area & lower Delaware Bay.  I was a Fireman Apprentice (FA) and was training as a Boat engineer.  The 95ft USCGC Cape Kiwanda, WPB 95329 was stationed in Cape May and one of her engineers had orders to Squadron One, Vietnam so I was assigned to the Cape Kiwanda for temporary duty.  That engineer was JERRY PHILLIPS,  Jerry took me under his wing and trained me in the duties of an engineer aboard the cutter with 4 main diesel engines, generators, fuel systems and so forth.  I spent a great deal of time with Jerry before he was shipped out to Vietnam.  He was a great instructor and became a friend. - - - -

The Coast Guard entered the war in July of 1965 and Jerry was assigned to the 82ft CGC Point Welcome WPB 82329, sometime after his arrival in RVN 1966.  On August 11, 1966, just a little over a year after the USCG arrived in Vietnam, the POINT WELCOME fell victim to "FRIENDLY FIRE" - - resulting in the death of the skipper, LTJG Brostrom and Engineer,  Jerry Phillips and wounding three others. 
This entire incident is best described by William R. Wells III,  "Bill" Wells, a Coast Guard Combat Veteran, did an exhaustive research of  the entire "incident" and it can be read here;  Point Welcome A Target of Opportunity


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