Not Your Father’s Coast Guard: The Untold Story of the U.S. Coast Guard Special Forces

Just in time for your holiday gift giving, author Matthew Mitchell, a Coast Guard officer and former member of the International Training Division brings us a look at a previously unknown portion of the Coast Guard’s War on Drugs.

While the Coast Guard’s many battles at sea in the War on Drugs are widely known, its participation in the ground offensive is not. Indeed, the Guard didn’t just send its cutters to interdict narcotics-laden vessels attempting to bring their illicit cargo into Uncle Sam’s territorial waters, it sent ground troops to foreign lands to train their forces and, when necessary, directly engage the enemy. But to create the type of force needed was no small task and would not be without tribulation, both from within and outside the organization. The road traveled to complete the mission was laden with obstacles. This is not a story about the Coast Guard you know, or think you know. Rather, this is a story about the other side, the side that history nearly forgot; not the standard, but the antithesis of standard. It is a story that will undoubtedly make even the most seasoned Coast Guardsmen question their understanding of the organization to which they belong. To be sure, “This is not your father’s Coast Guard.” author –  Matthew Mitchell

The forward was written by former Commandant, Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr. Here’s an excerpt:
9781449044398_cover.indd“In the decades of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, there was a cat-and-mouse game being played off the U.S. coasts in the air and on the sea between drug smugglers and the U.S. Coast Guard. The need to have a strong in-country effort to destroy the drugs at the source was obvious. This book is a history not of the war at sea, but the war on the rivers and jungles of South America between enforcement personnel and the powerful drug cartels. The personnel included U.S. Coast Guardsmen, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and personnel from in-country navies and national police forces. The Coast Guard had been asked to help the host countries by providing trainers for their enforcement teams. These trainers, along with the DEA agents, soon became the glue and often provided the drive and persistence that made these teams effective. Hundreds of tons of cocaine were destroyed, hundreds of cocaine labs burned, and tens of bad guys were captured or killed by these teams.”

And finally, an excerpt from Chapter 1:The Antithesis of Standard

Halloween Day, 1992, Deep in the Bolivian Jungle

The mission was simple enough. Locate and destroy a clandestine cocaine lab somewhere in the Bolivian jungle. The team had progressed five hundred meters toward the location of a suspected lab. Five hundred meters might not seem like a lot if you’re walking down the street, but every inch is earned when you’re hacking through dense bush. Covered with sweat and what can only be described as a swarm of mosquitoes, the team finally made it to the encampment. It was then that the jungle exploded all around the insertion team. Bits of wood, dirt, leaves, and whatever else was unfortunate enough to be in the path of poorly aimed automatic weaponry fire was violently launched through the air and rained upon the insertion team. The onslaught of bullets came from five heavily armed narcotraffickers, accompanied by one semi-innocent, unarmed cook. The team acted quickly, taking up defensive positions and returning fire with their M-16s. One member fired a precisely aimed MK-79 grenade round, which exploded just behind the lab. The firefight lasted only minutes. At the end of the skirmish, four of five gunmen were wounded, while the insertion team remained unscathed. Randy, who had only moments before been directing fire on the narcotraffickers, had a new fight on his hands. Randy and his team now had to fight to save the lives of the men who just tried to kill them.

Not Your Father’s Coast Guard is available from as either a Hardcover or a Paperback

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