The Coast Guard cutter is the last active U.S. warship to ahve sunk an enemy ship in battle.
As one of the country’s five armed services, the U.S. Coast Guard often is called on to fight wars far from U.S. shores. Tracing its roots back to the 1790 founding of the Revenue Marine, the service’s expertise in littoral operations has played a role in each of the nation’s major conflicts, including the Vietnam War. While many cutters saw combat in Vietnam, one has the distinction of being the last active U.S. warship to sink an enemy in combat: the USCG cutter Sherman (WHEC-720).
Maritime Interdiction in Vietnam
Early in the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, senior military leadership understood that North Vietnam sustained the Viet Cong insurgency in the south through a well-organized supply system. The Pentagon believed that deprived of a steady stream of ammunition and arms, the Viet Cong could be defeated. The Army thought most supplies were sent over maritime routes, but the Navy demurred, citing a lack of evidence.