Clark Gertner SBU-11 History


SBU-11 History by GMCS Clark Gertner SWCC ret.

SBU-11 History


LCDR R. S. Streit 1 July, 1972 – 16 September, 1972
CDR P. E. Guay 16 September, 1972 – 17 April, 1975
CDR J. G. Callaway 17 April, 1975 – 15 May, 1975
CDR R. M. Dunbar 15 May, 1975 – 21 January, 1978
CDR J. E. Pafias 21 January, 1978 – 15 November, 1980
CDR M. D. Larson 15 November, 1980 – 22 May, 1983
CAPT G. W. Young 22 May, 1983 – 15 September, 1984
CDR J. L. Letcher 15 September, 1984 – 23 August, 1986
CDR R. C. Metz 23 August, 1986 – 20 August, 1988
CDR D.D. Livingstone 20 August, 1988 – 19 August, 1990
CDR D. P. Hatfield 19 August, 1990 – 4 August, 1992
CDR G. M. Moy 4 August, 1992 – 17 December, 1994
CDR S. P. Frisk 17 December, 1994 – 24 August, 1996
CDR R. P. Harger 24 August, 1996 – 26 August, 1997
LCDR J. Wren 26 August, 1997 – 30 September, 1997*
  *SBU-XI was officially disestablished 5 September, 1997 but LCDR Wren remained at the command to oversee inventory packing / shipping.

Special Boat Unit ELEVEN, located at Mare Island, California was established on 1 October 1978 and charged with maintaining the Navy's and U.S. Special Operations Command's expertise in riverine warfare.  Originally established as Coastal River Division ELEVEN, in June 1972, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN is the proud successor to the Naval Inshore Operations Training Center (NIOTC).  From its base at Mare Island, located adjacent to the causeway, and throughout the sloughs and waterways of the Napa and Sacramento River Deltas, NIOTC trained over 15,000 American and foreign students in riverine warfare between 1966 and 1972, primarily for service in Viet Nam. 

When the U.S. Navy’s involvement in Viet Nam ended, NIOTC was disestablished and Coastal River Division-ELEVEN was commissioned to carry on the responsibility of maintaining the U.S, Navy’s riverine warfare expertise.  Over time, the primary mission of the riverine and coastal boat commands shifted toward Special Operations, taking over the role of the Boat Support Units of the Viet Nam era.  Therefore, on October 1, 1978, CRD-XI was disestablished and Special Boat Unit ELEVEN was commissioned. 

Of the five original Special Boat Units in the Navy, only Special Boat Unit (now Special Boat Team) TWENTY-TWO, continues to exclusively train for riverine warfare.  This type of warfare requires the use of heavily armed, shallow draft, high-speed boats capable of interdicting, pursuing and striking the enemy in his camps located along the coastal bays, inland rivers and waterways. 

From March 1988 until it was disestablished on September 5, 1997, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN reported operationally to the U.S. Special Operations Command and its naval component: Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.  Special Boat Unit ELEVEN was a subordinate unit of Commander, Special Boat Squadron ONE.  In addition, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN reported administratively to Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region TWENTY-TWO and Commander Naval Surface Reserve Force for reserve matters.  At its zenith, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN operated and maintained over 24 craft, manned and supported by 150 active and selected reserve personnel, making Special Boat Unit Eleven the largest Naval Special Warfare Naval Reserve Force command.  In line with the "ONE NAVY CONCEPT," these active and reserve sailors trained, operated and deployed together.  Primarily responsible for the Pacific and Southwest Asian operational theaters, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN routinely conducted advanced training deployments to Thailand and also conducted the first Navy-to-Navy training in the Kingdom of Cambodia in over twenty-two years.  In support of its active duty counterpart, SBU-22, SBU-XI personnel deployed to South America on Mobile Training Team (MTT) and Counter-Narcotics missions (CNT), including the first ever “SELRES” MTT to Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela in 1991, establishing that SELRES could plan and conduct Special Operations Missions in a riverine environment in support of theater commanders.

Additionally, SPECIAL BOAT UNIT ELEVEN provided disaster relief in 1986 by rescuing and evacuating citizens of the flooded Russian River Valley.  Beginning in August 1987, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN supported Operation EARNEST WILL by providing a total of eight PBR Detachments until its conclusion in August 1989.  Following the devastating Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN provided two weeks of around the-clock water taxi service to over 2,900 military and civilian personnel between Naval Station Treasure Island and Naval Supply Center Oakland.  During Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, from 1990 to 1991, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN mobilized reserves to provide 24-hour waterborne security to vital munitions loading operations at Concord Naval Weapons Station.  Each spring from 1985-1995, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN provided training and orientation in Riverine Warfare to over 50 total foreign naval officers as part of the International Riverine and Coastal Operations course (IRCO).  Each October, Special Boat Unit ELEVEN participated in San Francisco's Fleet Week festivities and performed numerous demonstrations at many other local, civic and military celebrations throughout the year.

With the disestablishment of Special Boat Unit ELEVEN, the "Brown Water Navy" lives on with its active duty sister unit, Special Boat Team TWENTY-TWO, now located at the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, and in the establishment of Naval Reserve Special Boat Team/Training and Operations, Detachment Sacramento (NRSBT/T&O-SAC).  Under the Naval Special Warfare reorganization of NSW-21, NRSBT/T&O-SAC has combined with Naval Reserve Special Warfare Unit One and both units are located in the NSW compound at the Navy Operational Support Center, Sacramento.

Added 05-22-08

Back in '80 - '81, SBUXI sent guys to 26 to relieve their boat guys so they could go home and see mama.  SBU-26 was doing round-the-clock anti-drug picket duty on Swift Boats, over on the Colon side as well as the Rodman side. 

We went down for 30 - 45 days at a time (SPECAC and ADT SPEC because it was beyond 17 days) and there were also non boat guys from other Res Dets who had needed skills like ENs and GMs.  That was a fairly short-term deal as the pickets were canc'd.  After that, we continued to augment SCIATTS until they shut down Rodman and SCIATTS moved to Stennis, MS.  I did one SBT-22 deployment, 2 to SCIATTS, and one to NSWU-10. We did NOT take any boats as 26 had a bunch of each type of craft at Rodman.  I got my Panama Canal Pilot's License while there.  I received a plaque from each unit for my work there. 

The down-side to the first deployment was that a lot of the "OLD" chief/s-chief types from SBUXI grabbed the slots and they didn't do a damned thing down there except drink and swap lies, which left a bad impression with the CO of 26, who's name escapes me.  The rest of us partied hard but we worked our asses off.  I was a GMT-2 then. 

I had a girl friend on each side.  One day the girl from P-City came to Rodman to pick me up and the gate guard at the back gate called me at the Transient Barracks to tell me to come get her before she caused a traffic accident.  She was VERY hot!!!!!!!!!




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