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The following account is that of a crew member of the U.S.S. Coontz (DLG-9) and is for informational purposes only,
as it differs from the standpoint of U.S.S. King (DLG-10) accounts.

PT Boat Incident 1966

Submitted by Don R. Dodson ETR2,

U.S.S. Coontz (DLG-9)

Time Served: 1963-1967 [on USS Coontz DLG-9]

I have read every contributors story, and I wish the COONTZ DLG-9 had such a web site.

It was back in 1966 in Tonkin Gulf I last saw the King. We were at Yankee station waiting to get relieved by USS KING and the shotgun destroyer, when we all got the call to action of SAR (search and rescue) All four ships steamed North toward Haiphong Harbor when it was discovered the pilot went down over land.

When all four ships turned around and headed south and after about 15 minutes our Combat Air Patrol reported high speed surface targets closing in on the formation. I was sitting on ECM GQ station at the time, and squawked to Upper Combat that PT Boat Skinhead Radar had been detected and gave the coordinates of the signal.

Alpha Whiskey (The Carrier) sent in aircraft and sank two boats and the third was put dead in the water. King went out and picked up North Vietnamese sailors while the Coontz pulled up along side the PT Boat dead in the water.

The Captain couldn't get the crew members of the PT boat to tie a line onto the boat for tow. Instead they pulled the plug and we watched it sink into the deep. All together there was 19 sailors captured and I understand they were later traded for US POW's.

King offloaded the sailors she rescued and put them on the Coontz. We went to Danang to offload them but South Vietnam would not accept them as we were not officially at war. We offloaded them to an oiler that had a brig for them to cherish.

The ships crew went to the only place that would accept us, Taiwan for R&R. We had caused an international incident and would not be accepted in Hong Kong, Japan, or the Philippines. From Taiwan, we went back to San Diego.

What ever happened to the crew of the King at that time when the crew earned R&R? Those COONTZ class ships were fine homes for thousands of sailors for many years. Best food I ever ate, maybe because it was flag for Desron 17. Steaks every Thursday, Lobster tail once a month on Fridays, lots of cow food (salads), and brunch every Sunday.

Thanks for allowing me to reflect on 4 of the best years of my life.


Don R. Dodson ETR2


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