Swift Boat Down: The Real Story of the Sinking of PCF-19

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Even if they had, they would not have been so foolish as to bring them over the DMZ, because that would have ensured their demise.


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Cooper later recanted his belief in an alien presence and instead insisted UFOs are "technology originally developed by the Germans in their secret weapons programs during WW-II, by geniuses like Nikola Tesla and many others". However the mystery of DMZ 'lights' marched on, and the following is from another American patrol boat crew member.

At approximately hours the PCF received a 'flash traffic' that PCF, the first 'friendly fire' target, had disappeared in a flash of light. As PCF searched in vain for more survivors, she found she had company. As he and the crew peered into the darkness, the moon sometimes behind clouds, "we spotted two aircraft 'hovering' on our port and starboard beams.

They were about yards away and feet above the water. Snyder [the Officer In Charge] requesting air support and identification of these helos. The answer from the beach was 'no friendly aircraft in the area, have contacts near you on radar and starlight scope'. Steffes says he saw one 'helo' in the moonlight and believed "It had a rounded front like an observation helo and it looked like two crewman sitting side by side".

Then, "I watched as tracers began to come toward us as this helo opened fire. The guns were from the nose of the helo. Our guns opened up and I ran back to my position as the loader on the after gun.


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We heard a crash of glass and a splash as one of the helos hit the water, the other helo broke contact and left the area. Steffes says for the next two and one half hours the PCF played cat and mouse with one or more helos, opening fire whenever they moved in.

He also observed the Point Dume firing tracers at blinking lights moving around her in the air. All the radios were crackling constantly as friendlies were checked out. Then, three and a half hours later, at about am, military jets roared overhead and after they acknowledged the PCF's position, he soon heard explosions and gunfire to the north the Hobart 'incident'?

Steffes concluded: "We continued to monitor and track these 'lights' for several weeks after this up until September I know what the 'official story' is, but this is mine as true and complete as I can remember. Did the PCF crew fall victim to 'cultural tracking': aliens using their advanced technology to mimick our technology to interface with humans? If the lights were North Vietnamese observer helicopters? Many Ufologists believe alien visitors havelong been studying human wars; and this may have been the case in Paranormal Postscript: Hobart served out three tours of duty in Vietnam, however it seems after she had an extra crewman.

The result is two dead and eleven wounded aboard the Australian ship and minor damage to the American Cruiser. An investigation, based on pieces of U. Missiles found on the two ships, determine that it was "friendly fire". Ordered to the scene to assist in the rescue, PCF came under attack by helo type aircraft, identified as hostile, receiving one rocket and machine gun fire. This Swift Boat returned a deadly barrage of 50 caliber machine gun and other small arms fire causing the two helos to break contact and run away.

Someone else said it was gunfire. No one knew obviously. From where I was I could see his neck bleeding. His head was arched back and his eyes, only half open and dazed, were searching for something. There was nothing close here for this man—his was a moment of complete loneliness, I thought. No one to hold on to. No one to talk to because he could not speak English and we could not speak Vietnamese and how, anyway, does one bridge the gap at a moment like this?

His left hand was wrapped in gauze. The gauze had turned almost completely red. A pool of blood had gathered on the table below the green army stretcher on which he lay. Everywhere there was blood pouring out of him. Even the transparent, plastic splints around both legs had assumed a red tint. I felt weak. My stomach began to twist and sweat poured all over me.

I sat down on the floor because I thought I was going to be sick. Suddenly Nguyen's right arm moved straight out, grasping towards the door. He grunted desperately. A doctor quickly took his pulse and his blood pressure. His toes, sticking out from the plastic splints, twinkled back and forth. He tried to raise his head and look—perhaps ask something—perhaps a last twinge of fight—and then he was quiet. His right hand, still reaching, came down slowly onto his chest and his other arm, bandaged and absent, lolled over the side of the stretcher.

Nguyen was gone. No words. No cry. Nguyen's corpse was carried from the room. A nurse came in and with large wads of gauze mopped up the pools of blood darkening on the table. When the fluffy white wads turned to sodden red sponges, she tossed them into a nearby container and readied the table for the next patient. After Gardner's x-rays were taken at Dong Tam, he and Kerry were directed across a helicopter pad to a building that housed an enormous outpatient clinic. While a surgeon cut into Gardner's arm, Kerry walked around and watched the streams of wounded coming in.

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The lines reminded him of those that he and his fellows had all waited in for physical examinations at boot camp, but instead of unscarred young recruits, here the queues consisted of patients with bloody bandages wrapped around their heads, legs, arms, chests, or stomachs. Kerry wrote in his war notes,. While Kerry was waiting, Nguyen's remains were carried out. Kerry watched in silence as the medics struggled to get the body into one of the dark-green rubber body bags used to transport the dead from battlefield to morgue.

This body, like all the bodies Kerry would see in Vietnam, had taken on a surprisingly cumbersome, waxy quality; it rolled "uncontrollably" as the medics tried to lay it in the body bag. Then they zipped the bag up and Nguyen was gone, driven away to be buried along a riverbank somewhere in the land he had died for.

Like many of the junior U. Navy officers who applied for Swift-boat duty, John Kerry had assumed that he would be assigned mostly to relatively safe coastal patrols off South Vietnam. A month before he arrived back in-country to begin his second tour of duty, however, the Swift-boat mission had changed into far more dangerous riverine assaults on the Vietcong in the Mekong Delta.

Zumwalt Jr. They were flown to Saigon for a most unusual meeting with Admiral Zumwalt and U. Army General Creighton W. Abrams Jr. To a history-minded junior officer like John Kerry, Zumwalt was already a legend at age forty-eight. He had graduated seventh in his class after just three years at the U. Naval Academy. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service during a torpedo attack.

Fiercely intelligent, hardworking, and exceptionally open-minded, Zumwalt was to become the youngest four-star admiral in American history. In September of , just two months before Kerry returned to South Vietnam to command a Swift boat, Zumwalt had been given responsibility for the soon-to-be-launched riverine strategy. The aim was to strangle the Vietcong by choking off their waterborne supply network from North Vietnam and Cambodia.

That day at his residence Zumwalt faced a score of young officers who were in awe of him—but some of whom were angry, too. Kerry's war notes captured the moment. Kerry was hardly the only skeptic at the so-called Saigon summit. We were creating negative feeling among the good guys, the Vietnamese who farmed and fished and tried to raise a family. We wanted to win the people over, not have them hate us for destroying everything in sight. What Kerry, Shumadine, and the other junior officers could not have known was that General Abrams—who had served as a tank commander under General George S.

Patton in World War II—himself harbored deep-seated worries about the progress of the war. It troubled Abrams that every day, it seemed, the deadlines for what would become known as Vietnamization were being moved up as the U. The Saigon summit did not leave the contingent of junior officers either less peeved or very impressed with Abrams; they were, however, glad to be informed that they might be getting Army helicopter support for their river runs.

Kerry wrote,. After completing his remarks, Zumwalt opened the floor to questions. One officer asked the vice-admiral about Marine Lieutenant Colonel William Corson's book The Betrayal , which argued that the United States would lose the war if it continued to prop up what Corson considered an utterly corrupt Saigon regime. As he wrote in his war notes,. After some more grilling the vice-admiral was finally rescued by an aide, who made a few remarks about the unavoidability of killing innocent people in Southeast Asia.

Zumwalt declared this normal—the fortunes of war, as it were—and to be expected. Then he went on to laud the actions of a boat driver in Danang who had stumbled on some Vietcong near the coast of the Batangan Peninsula and killed them all. This was the aggressive kind of officer the riverine war needed. The aide "started quoting Winston Churchill, telling us Coastal Division Eleven was doing the most important work in the U.

Navy," one of Kerry's fellow officers, Larry Thurlow, later recalled. The Vietcong were not easily frightened—and not easily recognized. The battlefield was everywhere in Vietnam, and the enemy was sometimes a barefoot child carrying a bomb in a satchel. As a result, for the most part the rule on a Swift boat was "better safe than sorry. If a noise came from the thick mangrove brush on a riverbank, it was deemed wiser to spray the area with machine-gun fire than to make a closer investigation.

And if in doing so one accidentally killed a civilian, it was better to keep it to oneself.

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Swift Boat Down - Google книги

One of the most horrific moments of Kerry's tour in Vietnam occurred one day toward the end of winter, when the second Swift boat he commanded, PCF, and another Swift were patrolling the Cua Lon River in the southwestern delta region. The night was pitch-black, neither Swift's search or boarding lights were working properly, and both boats kept getting stuck on the bottom of a shallow channel.


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Technically, the two Swifts had done nothing wrong. The sampan, operating past curfew, was undeniably in a free-fire zone. What's more, there had been several incidents of people in sampans trying to get close enough to U.

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Navy vessels to toss bombs into their pilothouses. But knowing they were following official Navy policy didn't make it any easier for the crews to deal with what they saw next. Almost every American who served in Vietnam witnessed or heard about innocents' getting killed. The civilian casualties would haunt the consciences of many veterans, including John Kerry.

It was impossible to rectify or rationalize a mistake that resulted in such a death. The longer he was in the Mekong Delta river system, the more Kerry's war notes reflected a distrust of his direct superiors.