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Coast Guard Fires Single Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow


US Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy (WPB-1326) in 2005. US Navy Photo

US Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy (WPB-1326) in 2005. US Navy Photo

A Coast Guard small boat sent to intercept an Iranian dhow fired a warning shot after the crew of the dhow charged and aimed a .50-caliber weapon at the Coast Guard crew in the Persian Gulf, U.S. Fifth Fleet officials said in a Tuesday statement.

“This action by the dhow’s crew demonstrated hostile intent, which resulted in the defensive fire by the Coast Guardsmen,” Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard small boat — sent from Coast Guard patrol cutter USCGC Monomoy (WPB-1326) — was conducting a routine query in international waters on Tuesday, according to U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The dhow, a common sight on the Persian Gulf, had initially been in touch with Monomoy but then broke off communication prompting the patrol boat to send a small boat to investigate.

As the boat closed, the Coast Guard crew saw two .50-caliber guns on the deck of the dhow.

“When the dhow’s gunner aimed and charged the weapon at the approaching U.S. personnel, the small boat crew immediately turned away from the dhow, and its gunner fired one round,” according to the report in Stripes.

The Coast Guard response was inline with rules in the region, according to the Pentagon.

“U.S. military rules of engagement state that unit commanders always have the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent,” read a Pentagon news release.

  • Tom Fortin

    Rounds are expensive! There should be no “warning shots”!

  • madmike

    If we’re so desperate for Naval support in the Gulf region that we’re using the Coast Guard over there, maybe it’s time to rethink our strategy in the region.

    • gunnerv1

      CG did the same thing in Viet-Nam (same thing in WWII). So what’s the big deal?

  • jfreddick

    Okay, so what happened next? I’m hoping that the cutter closed the distance and trained its array of armaments on the dhow until a boarding party was able to board and further investigate. Please tell me that the Monomoy did not just allow the crew of the dhow to provoke such a response and then allow it to continue on its way unimpeded.

  • AZsnipe

    They should have sent the dhow to the bottom.

  • politicaljules

    Why was a US Coast Guard ship in the Persian Gulf? That is kinda very unusual, and if I were the Iranian ship, I might have been worried too.

  • WolfNippleChips

    Maybe the CIC can divert a drone from assassinating US citizens abroad to sinking armed Iranian boats. Keep our military out of harms way if possible.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Which coast were they guarding?

  • MFranken

    Eight PG deployments of experience suggests that the CO of Monomoy is in trouble for launching a Rhib and provoking the IRGCN into a response…no different than what the USN would do…his/her actions lead to miscalculation, int’l outrage, a knee-jerk reaction from legislators, and dead sailors. For what? ‘Don’t be a fool’ should be general order #1 in the Gulf. Unless Monomoy received higher guidance, they failed in common sense.


    They were just feeling him out. What would he have done if there were 50 of them, which the Iranians have lots and lots? That’s called SWARM. We are defenseless, at this time, against such an attack. The Coast Guard is the proper service to handle this. They need 20 PHM class hydrofoils, with 40mm guns, to do it.