Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

US Coast Guard Cutter Campbell Cruise Book 1967-1968

US Coast Guard Cutter Campbell Cruise Book 1967-1968 – http://www.uscg.mil/history/WEBCUTTERS/Campbell_VTN_Cruise_Book.pdf  (site currently down 8/25/17)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What sort of background might the captain of a 1960s USCG cutter have?
  • What operational sections did a Coast Guard Cutter have during Vietnam?
  • What sort of nicknames did enlisted men get on a cutter?
  • What did Guantanamo Bay look like in the late 1960s?
  • What did replenishment-at-sea look like?
  • What did the “crossing the equator” ceremonies look like?


From the introduction: “This is a story of a ship, and the men who serve aboard her. A remembrance of one year in the lives of the officers and crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter in Viet Nam.”

The book opens with a brief history of the ship, then has biographies of the captain and executive officer who served on the cutter during the year being documented. The biographies include state of origin, education and previous assignments. This section is followed by photographs of officers with notations of their assignments on the Campbell. Following photographs of the officers come descriptions of the ship’s different departments, including photos of enlisted and sometimes some personal detail about them.

The description of ship’s departments is followed by a large number of photographs broken up into sections, but minimal annotation and virtually no identification.

The sections are (pages refer to PDF file):

  • Departure and Training (p.27)
  • Operation Market Time (p. 30)
  • Replentishment at Sea (p. 37)
  • Gunfire Support (p. 50)
  • Medical Assistance Aboard (p.57)
  • Med Caps Ashore (p. 61)
  • Work Parties Ashore (p. 63)
  • Boardings (p. 67)
  • The Off Hours (p. 72)
  • Harold’s Night: Gambling in the Campbell’s Plush Floating Casino (p. 75)
  • Crossing the Equator (p.78)
  • Cookouts (p. 81)
  • Ships Parties (p. 83)
  • Personnel Inspection (p. 87)
  • Destruction of a Derelict (p.90)
  • Home Stretch (p. 92)

While the book definitely suffers from the lack of an index, table of contents or careful annotations of photos, writers ought to be able to construct a reasonable “life aboard” story from this cruisebook. At 102 pages, this is short enough to be browsable.


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