History of BSU-1
Boat Support Unit ONE
was originally established by the Chief of Naval
Operations on 1 February 1964 as a component command
of Naval Operations Support Group, Pacific. Its
mission was to administer the newly reinstated
Fast (PTF) Boat Program and to operate
high-speed craft in support of Naval Special Warfare
operations, primarily in conjunction with the
Underwater Demolition Team and SEAL Units. The
mission was soon expanded to include all aspects of
riverine and restricted water warfare.
The PTF program grew rapidly, beginning with four "Nasty Class" PTFs in the fall of 1964. Crews attended schools in the San Diego area, then deployed to Subic Bay, Philippines, to put their boats in service and prepare for operational commitments. As a result of events in the Tonkin Gulf, there was a great demand for simulated PTF type attacks, and Boat Support Unit ONE was tasked with providing such services.
In September 1965, Boat Support Unit ONE implemented the original training for PCF (Swift) crews in underway boat operations for duty as part of the MARKET TIME patrol in Vietnam, using eight Swift Boats. On 1 July 1971, Boat Support Unit ONE and its mission broadened to encompass coastal/riverine patrol and interdiction.
The command was instrumental in the development and evaluation of a wide variety of small boat projects. These included the Landing Craft Swimmer Recovery Vessel; Coastal Patrol and Interdiction Craft; Swimmer Delivery Vehicle, Auxiliary, which continues to serve as a mother ship for SEAL Swimmer Delivery Vehicle diving operations; and the FLAGSTAFF (PGH-1), one of the Navy's first operational hydrofoils.
Read this comprehensive timeline of the changes from BSU-1 to the present organization compiled by GMCM Jim Gray (SWCC) Ret.
(added 02-16-2014) John
Woody, Captain USN, Retired
.I was assigned to BSU One in December 1965 as a Lt.
BSU One was
deploying training operators to NSA De Nang for the Nasty PTF
missions into North Vietnam, a CIA operation run by the Special
Operating Group. The
tasks were to train “third party operators” in the operations of the
Nasty PTF gun boats.
I was immediately placed in OJT aboard PTF
13, the stateside PTF as XO.
An order had come down about the use of the “REDEYE” shoulder
fired anti-air missile aboard the boats as they operated in the
North. PTF 13 was
deployed to the Navy missile range at PT Magu.
This test resulted in test firing of 31 missiles with 30
At the end of this test, I deployed to De
Nang as Training Officer.
The Navy role here was the operation and mechanical support
of the boats. US
personnel were not sent North on missions.
The crews I trained were Vietnamese.
Two operations I was part of stand out.
On the return of a mission one of the boats caught fire on
the stern. The crew
abandoned the boat just above Henan Island.
The Air Force was called to sink the boat.
They flew seven missions without finding it and called their
search off at sun set.
We received an order to go north and sink it at night.
I was OIC of the lead boat and we with directly to it and
found that the fire was out and the boat was still afloat.
We towed it back the base and loaded it out to our repair
facility at Subic Bay.
The second operation concerned a SEAL
training operation in which two US SEALs were to take a Vietnamese
unit onto the sand dune beach just south of Uhy.
I operated the lead boat and inserted the SEALs.
Just as they crossed the first sand dune, they ran into a
North Vietnamese patrol.
The SEAL point was killed and the North Vietnamese patrol was wiped
out. The US SEAL leader
and I loaded the KIA and we returned.
My first deployment ended at that time.
BSU One was in the beginning of its
deployments of Mobile Support Teams as boat operators for SEAL teams
in the Delta Region of Vietnam.
I returned to BSU One and was married.
Six weeks later, I was the only trained Team leader at the
unit and deployed to MST Two at Bihn Thuy.
Here I was the third boat support OIC for this unit.
I did fifty nine missions with Richard Marcinco’s SEAL unit.
We were in twelve shooting extraction missions.
I was awarded a Bronze Star during this deployment.
On return to BSU, I became XO.
We were involved with the PGH Hydrofoils testing during this
I was released from active duty in 1968 and
moved to Seattle to work for the Boeing Company Marine systems.
I remained in the Navy Reserve and served in
several capacities, some in Special Warfare.
I retired from the Navy in 1991. I served as President of Gamewardens of Vietnam Inc for ten years.
John Woody ,
,San Antonio, TX. (210) 494 5684
Woody Do not forget the
Subic Det out of BSU-1. It was normally
manned by one officer, and was the main
supply/logistics route for repairs and parts for the
MST-1 PTFs. The Napier repair facility was in Subic.
We moved parts, boats, and engines in and out of
Subic through the Subic Det. PTFs were normally
shipped to Subic every six to eight months to dry
the hulls out and get new engines. In 1967, when I
was at MST-1, we got our first 500 hour Napier
engine. Engine replacements were a big thing. The
Enginemen never saw the inside of a Napier, only the
clutch/transmission hydraulics connections and the
engine mounts. The hulls were placed on a pier in
Subic and dried out for six weeks or so. Those hulls
would absorb about six tons of water during
operations and the bilges would be dry. A fresh boat
was really a great thing to operate.
We had several rotating CONEX boxes that we placed loose parts in for repair and return. When they were less than full on return, we used the space for San Miguel beer. The Marines at Da Nang Air Base loved it when we returned a CONEX box as we would open one and pass a few cases of San Miguel around. We never had a problem getting a C 130 flight in or out of
|08/27/01 - Joe Burks - I rode PTF's,13 (very briefly), 22, and 21 boats out of NAB Coronado. Also spent a year in Craft Development Division of BSU1. Lots of memories of the boats although I am not sure which are real solid any more - been 30 odd years. More Here... More Here (This is a link to www.ptfnasty.com)|
|06/15/00 - Bryan Ellerman I served with BSU1 from July '68 through June '69 as an ETR2. My tour in DaNang was from October '68 through April '69. I actually replaced Ralph McMillan in DaNang. Reading your Web Page brings back a lot of memories. I too, have many stories to tell but no pictures. More Here (This is a link to www.ptfnasty.com)|
|03-25-02 - Jerry Fifield They weren't worried about me hurting someone else with that missile launcher, but them goats on San Clemente Island and that goddamn Mexican Patrol Boat that kept messing with us when we were fishing in the Coronado Islands were a threatened species. It was an old Navy minesweeper with a 3 inch single fire mount on the foredeck and he would shoot at you also. I pissed him off one day, showed him what speed and maneuverability was all about, ran circles and figure 8's around him at top speed, about 300 to 500 yards out . . . More Here (This is a link to www.ptfnasty.com)|
|08-21-01 - Richard Siebert (GMG-3) When I got to BSU-1 and suffered at the hands of a GMGC, went to my assignment in the security field of the USN, the info was received in general conversation. As I remember, I seem to remember better than I can see, soon after arriving the Chief had us all together to reorganize. He had so many people in and out he wanted to realign so he had seniority back in line. He was telling us about all that had gone on during the inquest. I was there after all the testimony was finish but still was able to go to some of the social function they had for the family. It was either the Chief or a GMG2 by the name of Greene (from Barbados) in one of those sessions that talked of the PTFs. . . . More Here (This is a link to www.ptfnasty.com)|
|Jack Sudduth - My first PTF experience was with the 13 boat when we received it from England. Beautiful boat. Learned how to drive a PTF on that one. Came to love that boat and and will never forget it and the many wild adventures we had together. Read More Here (This is a link to www.ptfnasty.com)|
Charles (Chuck) L. Thoin
I was surfing the web and came across your web
site. I reported for duty to Boat Support Unit One
on 20 SEP 68 right out of Boot Camp across the bay.
The CO was LCDR Russ Gleason. I had been classified
as a Machinist Mate FN but when I
reported I was informed that BSU-1 needed EN's not MM's. Read More Here
|Bill Bremmer - I was at BSU-1 from early 1970 until my discharge in June 1971, and I deployed with MST Two Detachment Golf in September 1970 returning in March 1971. We operated an MSSC and LSSC out of Long Phu across from what was called Dung Island near where the Bassac goes into the South China Sea, supporting both US and Vietnamese SEALs. Read More Here Also jump to BSU-1, MST-2|
|Robert Stoner Briefing: Fabulous Flops of Naval Engineering - The Shallow Water Attack Boat (1966) The roots of the SWAB program have been lost over the years, but it was one of the radical designs tested by Boat Support Unit ONE in late 1965 and early 1966.|
The boat was built by Bertram Yachts in Miami, Florida, and was powered by two Chrysler gasoline marine engines with four barrel carburetors and a pair of Dana stern drives. The stern drives required a lot of maintenance. Read the whole story here.
|From Stephen Thomas - Joe Judith was the AR SeaBlazer/MSSC project manager, and hosted the party for BSU-2 officers and wives/SOs to celebrate delivery of the BSU-2 portion of the production order. It must|
have been late 1970; I had recently returned from my second (April - October) DaNang deployment, and none of the MSSC had arrived in-country when I toured all deployed teams and detachments with Lee Mansi in January and February of that year.
Please forward any recollection you
may have to this project.
This brochure courtesy of Tom Beck, he snatched it from the trash in the '70's.
PTF-13, the stateside Nasty class PTF which was the
training boat for all PTF sailors deploying, was
also used as a weapons test platform. Most notable
was the 81mm rocket launcher built by Oerlikon. This
twin launcher was tested Oct 1967. and had rotary
drum magazines with 9 rockets in each magazine. The
rockets had a range of 10,900 yards and the system
weighed 2,300 lbs. The Rocket system was later given
to the Ecuadorian Navy. PTF-13 also tested a
stabilized 40mm cannon by White Oak Naval Ordnance
Laboratory and a 20mm Hispano Suza cannon at the
The two photos show
the weapons mounted on PTF-13
Jim Gray - PTF Historian
10-25-08 Stephen Thomas - The Oerlikon 81 MM rocket launcher trials were completed before I reported at the end of 1968. There was a short (silent) film of the weapon being fired out at the San Clemente target area. In the spring of '69 on a night DD-op, #13 struck some floating debris at speed and suffered significant damage. One screw was mangled, one of the frames (under the wardroom) was broken, and the starboard strut was deformed. She was never completely repaired, at least not during my tenure. PhibPac could never find funds or deck space to ship her to Subic and back for a proper overhaul. That may have had a lot to do with the decision to fit her as a drone target for trials of the air-to-surface version of Harpoon. An instrument package was to be mounted in the mortar position to measure and record miss distances with the Harpoons set to miss by a pre-set distance.
As to the 81 MM mortar, during my second DaNang tour we obtained a few VT fuses and converted a few HE rounds to VT frag. We found that air bursts would be more effective against personnel than impact bursts, and mechanical time fusing really needs a stable platform to be effective. The VT trials finally came to nothing, as it was discovered (fortunately by someone else) that the fuse was so sensitive that it could go off close aboard if you tried to use it in rain or even a heavy mist.
Chuckle: I once had to get an interpreter to explain to a CSS gunner's mate that it was not a good idea to try to dumdum 20 MM ammo with a hacksaw. Fortunately he had selected an AP round for his initial effort. But he ruined a few saw blades in the process.
|MORE SWAB AND SEABLAZER|
|01-18-09 My name is David Goff, I was transferred to BSU-1 in Aug. 1965 as a BMSN, and departed in AUG, 1968 as a BM2. During that time, I was assigned as Coxswain of the SWAB for a three month period. I was advised that the SWAB concept was that of two engineers from San Clemente Island, and the boat was converted there. Read More Here|
|(06-10-09) BIRGE, JACK L, EN2 March 64-Feb 67 Arrived Coronado Amphib Base for duty in Boat Training Team 7, same day as returning from WestPac cruise aboard USS Oriskany, CVA-34. Reported to a bare building with single desk being used as the Quarter Deck. While waiting for rest of unit to arrive, was granted a short leave. Read More Here|
|Barracks 1964||Burton EN1||Quick BM2||Morel, EN2||Engineer Officer|
|Rose, ENC||New SK Chief||Warren, BM2 & our Corpsmen||Pratt, En1||Birge, EN2|
|Green, EN1||Danang Hotel||Birge, EN2||Green, EN1||Ltjg Tierney, Michael Belden, EN1|
|Burial site of Spanish ship captain on Spanish Beach dated 1859||Departing DaNang after 1st tour with Phillipino friends||Danang Airport, Belding EN-1(no hat)||
Jack Pratt, EN-1 Budiongan, SK-2
Jack Birge, EN-2
Budiongan, SK-2 (standing)
Head after storm
|Zoom of PTFs in background from "after storm" photo|
(06-10-09) Rodger Berley EN1 Ever since I found the website I have been looking at it for people I can remember. I remember Tiny Edwards, McMillan, Shifferns, then the gunnersmate Estep. When I was in BSU-1 I was also in school for the PG boats. I was supposed to go on the Tacoma, but there was a big delay in her reduction gears being made. That was when I was putting hours on the LSSC and the STAB boats. We were just putting hours on the engines before anything else was done to them. I was there Oct 68 to June 69. The latter part in Subic. While at Subic I was in the Napier Deltic Class in April. I still have my course book. My Naval career was ASR-7 Chanticleer, ASR-9, Florikan. Sub Tender AS-12, Sperry. BSU-1. Naval Facility Lewes Delaware. DD-866 Oreleck. Naval Station 32nd Street for Discharge. 10 years, 5 months total.
|Engine Room on #3 boat before engines installed||#6 boat||#24 Boat - Osprey, all aluminum||Rear view of #24 boat||View of #20, #19 and airfield|
|#6 boat||#17 boat||Tiny Edwards at the helm|
07-10-09 , David M. McLean, Reno NV. I served in BSU-1 from 1966-1969 and had two tours to Da-Nang one in April 66 and the second in Aug 67. I was assigned to the shipfitters shop. We were responsible for all the welding/pipefitting and metal repairs for the boats/piers and drydock. Read More Here
|(Added 06-01-2010) PTF-2 at Little Creek Va. 1963||
BSU-1 compound 1970 NAB Coronado, photo credit GMG2 Mark
|DET FOXTROT from Charles Kieth William (Added 02-17-2014)||
New Command Commissioned News clip.
|Chip Maury photo|
[ Home ] [ Top ]