Picture found by Don Golberg:[Don served on Swifts - Dan ]
From: SMH To: Talk@swiftboats.org Sent: 2/17/03 3:35:51 PM
Subject: Nasties & The First Night of Market Time
Once upon a time, the Vietnamese did not allow US ships into their territorial waters without a specific clearance. That changed in March of 1965 when two DDs were dispatched from the CVAs grouped around what would later become known as Yankee Station.
The instructions to the two DDs were pretty basic: establish a barrier patrol at the DMZ. The destroyers, Black and Higbee, meant just off the beach. Black put her motor whaleboat with the ops officer in the water, he motored over to the Higbee and, in agreement with the ops boss on Higbee, created a barrier that was ten miles deep and twenty miles to sea.
That was Market Time's first night.
We were a little worried. That hunk of green glow on the radar scope was North Vietnam. We were somewhere near the waters where Maddox had been chased by PT boats. There was a real war around here somewhere.
And, then, about 2300 we saw 'em. Two radar contacts closing at something like 40 knots. Coming from the south!
We formed up in a column with Higbee and began to open the beach, intending to keep the closing targets within gun range and between us and the beach. Someone thought to call CTF77.
CTF77 was quite vocal that we were not, repeat, not to engage the contacts. Top secret traffic to follow.
I had the CIC watch, so I know that much happened. I had no "need to know" what was in that top secret message when it arrived. But the next morning, I was leaning on the rail with the ops officer when two PT boats come loping down the beach from the north. We passed them by about 2000 yards. I just looked at him and he said, "Yep. That's them."
- Stew Harris