USCGC Point Caution (WPB-82301) was the first 82 foot USCG Point class cutter constructed at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, Maryland. She was built and commissioned in 1960 for use as a law enforcement and search and rescue patrol boat. Since the Coast Guard policy in 1960 was not to name cutters under 100 feet in length it was designated as WPB-82301 when commissioned and acquired the name Point Caution in January 1964 when the Coast Guard started naming all cutters longer than 65 feet.
After delivery in 1960, Point Caution was assigned a homeport of Galveston, Texas, where she served as a law enforcement and search and rescue patrol boat.
At the request of the United States Navy, in April 1965, she was alerted for service in Vietnam and assigned to Coast Guard Squadron One in support of Operation Market Time along with 16 other Point class cutters. While the crew completed overseas training and weapons qualifications at Coast Guard Island and Camp Parks, California, Point Caution was loaded onto a merchant ship, and transported to Subic Bay, Philippines in May 1965 where she was refit for combat service. Shipyard modifications included installation of new single-sideband radio equipment, additional floodlights, small arms lockers, bunks, additional sound-powered phone circuits, and the addition of 4 M-2 machine guns. The original bow mounted machine gun was replaced with a combination over-under 50 caliber machine gun/81mm trigger fired mortar that had been developed by the Coast Guard for service in Vietnam. For service in Vietnam, two officers were added to the crew complement to add seniority to the crew in the mission of interdicting vessels at sea.
Point Caution was assigned to Division 12 of Squadron One to be based at Danang, along with Point Arden, Point Dume, Point Ellis, Point Gammon, Point Lomas, Point Orient, and Point Welcome. After sea trials, the Division left Subic Bay for Danang on 16 July 1965 in the company of USS Snohomish County (LST-1125), their temporary support ship. After almost two weeks at sea, they arrived at their new duty station on 20 July and began patrolling the coastal waters near Danang Duty consisted of boarding Vietnamese junks to search for contraband weapons and ammunition and check the identification papers of persons on board. Permanent engineering and logistic support of Division 12 was provided by a U.S. Navy non-self-propelled floating workshop, YR-71. During this time, the WPB's were directed to paint the hulls and superstructures formula 20 deck gray to cover the stateside white paint. This increased the effectiveness of night patrols.