A-Z Solomon Compass Style: Point Boats

Welcome A-Z bloggers!
And everyone else, of course :)
My A-Z posts are all about my new book, SOLOMON'S COMPASS.
Read the A post to learn who AJ is.

AJ again.

Today I'm going to chat about Coast Guard Point Boats. Remember ... the Compass Points from C Day.

The Compass Point names began with the first letters of the four winds - N, S, E, W, and R for the Compass Rose. AND the men all served aboard Coast Guard Point boats in Vietnam.

The Point boats were a class of 82-foot boats. In particular, I'm going to talk about the Point boats used in Vietnam during that conflict.

Like the 26 letters of our alphabet, 26 Coast Guard Point boats went to Vietnam. Under their own power. Wouldn't you like to make your way across the Pacific in an 82-foot boat?

They were called Point boats not because they had one pointy end - yes, I know at least one of you thought that - but because their names began with the word Point. Two of these were the Point Banks and the Point White.

Carol combined those two names into the Point Whitebanks for the one Point boat she called by name in SOLOMON'S COMPASS.

From Wikipedia, this is a photo of the Point White before she was assigned to Squadron One. When the boats went to Vietnam, they were painted Battleship Gray.

If you go here, you'll find all kinds of photos. This takes you directly to the Coast Guard Squadron One page, which includes all the Point boats used in Vietnam.

You can also go here, to see a list of all 26 Point boats involved in the Vietnam Conflict. There's a photo on this page of the gun crew of the Point Comfort at work.

Both of these links contain a lot of additional information.


You're right - scary to travel all the way across the Pacific in a boat so small.
The last time I travelled by sea was just across the Irish sea to England it was so rough ......never again.

Great post.
Clarissa Draper said…
The boats do have a pointy front. Well, kinda. Anyways, very informative topic. I can't believe those boats made it across the ocean.
Ella said…
I'm always fascinated when I see their rescues. We have a rescue team near me in Elizabeth City. I worked with a woman, whose hubby did that for a living...yikes!

Nicely done :D
Maggid said…
These are things i did not know. Thank you for sharing, and the extra links to offer more . .

Thank you for doing the work!

Happy A to Z!
Teresa Coltrin said…
I you're stealing the show, AJ, but I guess that's ok.

This is a very interesting post!
Linda Kage said…
Wow, looks like you really did your homework for this story. And I did think that's why the pointy ended boats were called point boats too!

Sorry, I think I missed out on most of the alphabet, will try to keep up for the q to z posts!
Julie Flanders said…
Very interesting, I never knew anything about this. Thanks for the lesson, AJ, it's always fun to learn something new. :)
michelle said…
A teensy weensy boat out on the big blue sea... quite a scary thought...

Writer In Transit
Carol Kilgore said…
Right, Alex. It's about the length of four cars or two large motorhomes.

I've been in rough seas, Yvonne. It's no fun.

Clarissa, they were in the hands of experienced sailors.

Ella, Carol said she things the air station in Elizabeth City is pretty large. For the Coast Guard.

Maggid, we're happy to offer you something new. Thanks for stopping by. And Happy A-Z to you, too.
Stephen Tremp said…
I have been on a replica of a ship the Pilgrims used. Its small and creaked and scared the heck out of me just thinking of crossing the Atlantic in it.
nutschell said…
i'd be terrified to travel across the ocean in such a tiny boat! interesting post, i love all these facts.
Carol Kilgore said…
I'm just here every once in a while, Teresa. But I may have received more face time here than in Solomon's Compass!

No problem, Linda K. The pointy end is called the bow. As in bow-wow, not as in hair bow.

Julie, it's my pleasure to present new information.

For most of us, Michelle. I like going out in the bay, but not so much in the Gulf. I do go out on fishing trips once or twice a year, though.

I've been thinking about this, Stephen. I've come to the conclusion it's what you're accustomed to. Most of us wouldn't want to cross the ocean in a small vessel, yet explorers ventured out in them all the time. But I wonder how those men would react to zipping down the highway at 70+ mph? Probably about as well as us getting in a creaky boat.

Happy to share them with you, Nutschell.

Al Diaz said…
I would be scared to get on a boat. I am allergic to boats. I like them but I would not get in one of them, unless it is some sort of Apocalypse and that's the only way to save me.
Sandy said…
That was interesting, didn't know it, and yes did think it was because of the point in front. lol

Romance Reader said…
Interesting information. I always have wanted to do a cruise yet am scared!

Julie Luek said…
Carol, I've been impressed on a number of your A-Z posts how much research you did for your book. You are a wealth of interesting information!
Robin said…
Here I thought the worst of Vietnam happened on land (and I am sure plenty did), but I cannot imagine being trapped on an 82 foot vessel all the way across the Pacific.
Carol Kilgore said…
We each have different fears, Al. Acknowledging them is winning the battle.

You're not alone, Sandy.

With all the problems of late, Nas, I'd be concerned about a cruise, too.

Julie, I will pass your comment to Carol. She says the more details she gets right, the easier it is to drape the lie of fiction around it.

So much happened to those with boots on the ground that people tend to forget about the sea services. Especially the Coast Guard.
Helena said…
I love the idea of travel by ships, and would love to be on a Point boat. What I don't like to admit is that I can get seasick and large bodies of water kinda freak me out 'cause I'm from landlocked Colorado.
Michael Di Gesu said…
I'd be SOOOO seasick.... I would never be able to do it at any cost...

More power to the ones who can...
Tui Snider said…
Great post. Very informative!

I've had some bumpy transatlantic crossings in a big cruise ship.What an adventure an 82 foot ship would be.

I would be hesitant to cross the ocean in such a small vessel. Man, you would really need serious sea legs - and a strong stomach, too!

Tui, from A to Z
Twitter: @mentalmosaic
blog: Tui Snider's Texas, Travel, Photos & Reviews
Jo-Anne Meadows said…
Can't imagine travelling so far in such a small boat, remember I get seasick so I think I would spend most of the time throwing up and feeling like shit........lol I enjoyed this post learnt a few things thank you
VR Barkowski said…
Feeling a bit queasy here, AJ. I love being out on calm waters, but across the Pacific in a boat that size? No way! I wrote a story about Monhegan Island, which is about 12 miles off the coast of Maine. I got seasick watching a YouTube video of the mailboat leaving the Monhegan dock in a stiff wind. Seriously.

VR Barkowski
Carol Kilgore said…
Come to Rock Harbor, Helena. I'll ferry you around the bay, and you can see land all around.

My brother doesn't like the water, either, Michael. I think he gets seasick just looking at some of the pictures I send.

Thanks, Heather.

Tui, hose large cruise ships have massive stabilizers, too. Not so much with the Point boats.

Great! Always good to learn, Jo-Anne.

I'm sure you have other skills, VR. All of us don't have sea legs.
How terrifying to travel across the Pacific on one of those boats. And isn't as if the destination was a picnic either.
I too get seasick. Very seasick. And would undoubtedly have wanted to fling myself overboard long before reaching land.
Carol Kilgore said…
Exactly so about their destination, EC.
Medeia Sharif said…
Interesting. I had no idea about those boats being used during the war.
Carol Kilgore said…
The accounts from some of the sailors are amazing, Medeia.