Jerry PhillipsEngineman 2nd Class
USCGC POINT WELCOME, USCG COSDIV-12, TF 115, USNAVFORV
United States Coast Guard
13 March 1939 - 11 August 1966
Corpus Christi, Texas
Panel 09E Line 128
The database page for Jerry Phillips
I went to school with Jerry and even then we knew that he was destined for greatness. As many years as it's been, I still think about him most every day and wonder how he would be if he had survived. I've even wondered about his family and how they are doing. Being Jerry's family, I know that they have his strength and love. Jerry, we will miss you and will until we meet again.
From a friend and school mate.
A Note from The Virtual WallOn the night of 10/11 August 1966 the US Coast Guard Cutter POINT WELCOME, a unit of USCG Coastal Division 12 based at Danang, was conducting a MARKET TIME patrol off the mouth of the Ben Hai River (the Ben Hai was the mid-line of the Demilitarized Zone). At 0340 the ship had just turned southbound when she was bombed and strafed by a B-57 from the Air Force's 8th Tactical Bomb Squadron. Hit and with casualties, the cutter continued southbound, taking evasive action as best she could using differential engine thrust (her steering gear had been shot away). After the B-57 exhausted its munitions, the USAF on-scene commander (in a C-130, which illuminated the area with parachute flares) called in a section of F-4s from the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The F-4s prosecuted the cutter with Mk81 250-pound bombs and CBU-2A cluster bombs - but fortunately mostly missed. By this time the cutter was approaching the mouth of the Cua Viet River, where she came under fire from Vietnamese Junk Force ships.
The senior surviving deck officer ordered the ship beached and directed the crew to abandon ship - but as the two ship's boats approached the beach they came under fire from forces ashore. They turned around to return to the POINT WELCOME, arriving at about the same time as their sister ship, USCGC POINT COMFORT.
The arrival of POINT COMFORT, with her intact communications gear, was a decided turn for the better - she was able to halt further friendly fire, take aboard the surviving crewmen, coordinate medical evacuation of the wounded, and put a skeleton crew aboard POINT WELCOME, getting her off the beach and underway. USCGC POINT WELCOME reached Danang under her own power, arriving at 1615, 11 Aug 1966, twelve hours after the last attack.
The attacks on POINT WELCOME failed to sink or even seriously damage the cutter, but they did kill two Guardsmen and wound five other men. The dead were her Commanding Officer, LTJG David C. Brostrom of Los Altos, California, and EN2 Jerry Phillips of Corpus Christi, Texas.
The subsequent boards of investigation were as uncoordinated as the circumstances of the attack - MACV, the Navy, and the Air Force each held their own board, and each attempted to place the blame elsewhere. Eventually all parties agreed that the basic problems were a lack of coordinated planning, inadequate communications procedures, and flawed command and control structures. MACV, as the senior commander, directed a top-down review and restructuring of arrangements relative to the off-shore patrol units and larger ships.
While the arrangements ultimately put in effect did work, they were not perfect. Two years later, on the night of 15/16 June 1968, USAF aircraft attacked PCF-19 while she was operating off the DMZ, sinking the boat and killing five men (4 USN, 1 VNN). USS BOSTON, USS EDSON, USCGC POINT DUME, and PCF-12 also were attacked (unsuccessfully) by unidentified aircraft. HMAS HOBART was hit by three US SPARROW missiles fired by USAF F-4s, losing two men killed and several wounded.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 08 Sep 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009