A total of 56 Coast Guard ships were involved in the Vietnam War. The Coast Guard sent 26 82-foot cutters known as Squadron One, and 30 high endurance cutters known as Squadron Three.
The Coast Guard sent Squadron One, the 26 82-foot cutters, to assist the Navy first by forming a barrier and later, after the barrier proved unsuccessful, by forming a picket line. The Coast Guard's 82-foot cutters were necessary because the Navy did not have vessels small enough to operate in the shallow waters near the coast.
The larger high endurance cutters of Squadron Three set up a barrier further from shore in deeper waters. The cutters of Squadron Three operated in groups of five ships for 10-month tours. These large ships were painted white, which resulted in them being nicknamed "White Ghost" by the Viet Cong.