During the Vietnam cruise, Captain Goodwin composed a monthly newsletter to be shared with the crew and those at home. For many of the shipmates these letters revealed the more human and friendly side of their Commanding Officer. Today it reflects the pride a man held for his crew - it shows as he makes affectionate comments about the crew as they worked and played.
USCGC SEBAGO (WHEC-42) NEWSLETTER
As I noted in my last Newsletter, we didn't get off to a very auspicious start last month; however, to no surprise on my part we snapped back - and the men did an outstanding in redeeming ourselves. It remains that I know of no other ship out here that we need to look up to. We continue to meet all commitments and, while accomplishing essentially the same task as destroyers, i.e., patrol and gunfire support, we do it with about half the men carried aboard destroyers.
We didn't do much firing this month - as a matter of fact we only fired once. Nevertheless, we had good results. In firing about 50 rounds we were able to produce three secondary explosions (indicative of hitting ammunition caches), two large fires and 1 small fire. We were firing in an area where the VC were thought to be having a meeting of province chiefs.
Aside from the firing, we accomplished quite a bit in our MEDCAP and Civic Action Programs. On Coast Guard Day a group went in at Qui Nhon - about two thirds of the way up the east coast of South Vietnam; here they worked at the "Save The Children Fund Center." This is really a hospital with nearly 100 children ranging in age from several months to about 13 years. Many had spinal TB, though others were suffering from lost limbs due to vehicular accidents and war connected injuries. The project is operated solely by volunteers with contributions received from throughout the world. Our contribution consisted of painting out a number of rooms and painting the screens and shutters on the building. We didn't accomplish all that we wanted to and so several days later we went back to put a second coat of paint on the screens and shutters and to paint out several more rooms - while additionally repairing plumbing, parts of their electrical system and the starter on their Jeep - which had been inoperative. They appreciated our help and we in turn came away with a better realization of how luck we were and how brave young children can be.
In addition to our two Civic Action Program projects at Qui Nhon, we conducted three MEDCAPS, treating a total of 260 Vietnamese - so we managed to keep fairly active.
We were relieved on 14 August and headed back to Subic Bay - a place we had left five months previously with no regrets, but which now held some attraction - mainly because the time is getting short, we will heading home before too much longer, and there were a lot of things we wanted to get at the fine exchange facilities which are available. We had twelve days in Subic in which to take advantage of the exchange facilities and, most importantly to me, turn to on the ship's upkeep. It was a busy period and we got a lot accomplished. As was the case in Kaoshiung, the men challenged the neighboring ships to first football and then baseball; however, they must have terrorized them for there were no takers. The end results was that the crew played the chief's in softball, with the chief's (in deference to youth and inexperience (?)) handicapping themselves with a sprinkling of officers. Well - there sure was a lot of spirit, and each team had about nine coaches and an equal number of Mickey Mantles - but the chief's really tore 'em up - in spite of their handicap. Of course there were some moments that were truly spectacular, like the crew's triple play and the time the chief's had two base runners on second base; and some of the fielding absolutely defied description. The crew left muttering something about being disorganized and underestimating the old folks - so a rematch was arranged. The rematch was equally exciting and at the conclusion of this one the crew was muttering something to the effect that the chief's had thrown in a ringer in the form of their pitcher. Guess it all goes to prove that as you get older you have to be a little cagier. At anyrate the chief's had been hard to live with lately.
We're now back on patrol. Things are pretty routine which doesn't make time go by any faster. Regardless, we only have one patrol left after this one and then we'll be headed back. It is a good feeling. Our schedule for the return trip has not come out yet - as soon as it does, and we can release it we will. I would expect that to be around the middle of October. In the meantime get busy with your Christmas shopping - most of us are through already!
Best regards to all,