1978-2002 - Special Boat Squadrons

Special Boat Squadron -1

  Special Boat Squadron -2

Special Boat Unit - 11

Special Boat Unit - 12


Special Boat Unit - 20

Special Boat Unit - 22

Special Boat Unit - 13

Special Boat Detachments


Special Boat Unit - 24

Special Boat Unit - 26

Special Boat Unit ELEVEN, located at Mare Island, California was established on 1 October 1978, and was 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 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.  Read more here

View Pictures from the SEPTEMBER 26, 2009

Last Patrol for HMCM "Doc" Michael O'Boyle

Doc was one of the Best of XI Boatguys. From the days of Coastal River Squadron One and Coastal River Divison-11 to Special Boat Unit XI.

Everybody knew Doc. I always enjoyed his company and "pearls of wisdom"... Except for him giving me shots. He always told me this would hurt me allot worse than him. He wasn't kidding. He gave lousy shots.

Doc left us Jan 20th 2009 on his Last Patrol. Here is his Obituary.

RIP Doc...Jim Gray

Aerial View of  MARE ISLAND in 1979. Note SBUXI and in top near Unit, two ASPBs on skids.
(added 10-26-2010)    

Low Resolution

High Resolution    

SBU-11 History - GMCS Clark Gertner SWCC ret.      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. Read more here

07-29-06  Rob Gale, CDR Ret   Hello, An old friend GMCM Jim Gray contacted me about your site. It's a good one and thank you for setting it up. Lack of time prevents me from telling any stories but I do happen to have a digital copy of a Det photo taken during an ORE about 91 or so. This Det was one of the best I ever worked with or even knew of at that time. Good guys.
God, Country and Fast Boats.

11-17-2015 - Added the story about the ORE.   

11-05-07 Lawrence D. Albert HT2 USN July1978-April 1984, at SBU-XI known as Bert. My Time at SBU-XI 78-81.  After graduating from HT "A" school I received ordersto Coastal River Division 11 Vallejo Calif. So after a week home on leave, I flew into Oakland airport then catching a shuttle to Vallejo to be dropped off at the head of a pier at a guard tower. more here photos too.

01-15-08 Mike McWilliams BM2 I was a BM2 at Coastal River Division -11 from 1975 to Plank owner at SBUXI till 1980. I was a crewman on an ASPB  which we called ALPHA 6. SBU-XI had two ALPHA Boats 5 and 6. Sometimes I felt SBU-XI didn't really know what to do with the ASPBs because it was primarily a PBR and MATC unit. However we did participate in the war games up in the sloughs, and we would be part of the aggressor forces. We would try and sometimes succeed in ambushing the PBRs. We also had the duty of escorting and guarding the CCB-18 in the war games. The one thing I remember was when the war games were over in the sloughs the PBRs and ATCs sped home, and we being faster than the slow CCB we would  tow her back to base because we were faster than the CCB. When the Alpha boats went away I went to the PBRs and spent most of my time on PBR-211 for about a year.

As a civilian I was a police officer and was transferred to San Diego in 1980 so I transferred to
Special Boat Unit -13 and rode the PB MKIIIs with you Jim. I had to leave in 1982 as the SDPD was not very supportive of the Reserves. Being a River Rat was a highlight in my life and I remember the days fondly. I don't have many photos but here are a few and some info on the ALPHAs....Mike. Napa, CA

ASPB photo sheet ASPB fact sheet River Rats on the MATC pier SBU-XI Alpha boat tied up to a yard Tug near Alameda. SBU-XI salty old River Rats

Added 03-20-09  
PBR MkII on a weekend run   Riverine Assault 1980s This is the lastest info on MINI ATC for export to Columbia  

    Unit Photo (US Navy photograph) CCB-18 Monitor. The last monitor left over fro the old Vietnam days of when the unit was NIOTC. MK78, Twin M-60 on MATC.
John "Doc" Ford, one of the "Greats" of SBU-XI. Qualified 9533. SBU crew wore the black beret with pride. MKII PBR - 1986 on exercise in Washington. Note special blank firing adapters on 50cals and MK-60s. CCB-18 was the floating command center for SBUXI assets during "Operation Northern Hawk" 1986 exercise. Mini ATC at pier 22. (photo-Cliff Murphy) 1991-Board search and seizure of a hostile craft without SEALs. The Hostile training craft is the Iranian Bogghammer captured during "Earnst Will", now operated by SBU-13.

Rare "Hardtop" MKII PBR in the Suisun Sloughs. Some of the Hard Top PBRs were exported to Israel.

PBR crews practice board and search. Training cell on boat "searched. Made realistic and interesting scenarios. Based on lessons learned from Vietnam. MATC high and dry. The tides went out fast in Washington during 1986 "Op Northern Hawk." SBU-PBRs cruise up the canal. Weapons are trained on both river banks. Ranges for a firefight on a river is extremely close. MBR-MKIIs transit the small canals of the Suisun Sloughs. The sloughs are the main training area for the Navy in riverine warfare from Vietnam, NIOTC, CRD-11, SBU-11

Photos Courtsey the SBU-11 CD.


Bobbit on the M-60/60mm Motar Piggyback River Rats all showing the 9533 Qual badges White, Red, Blue SBUXI's only PBRMKI in 1986 modified with MK56 twin 50s forward and MK78 twin M-60s aft Cliff Murphy shows how a River Rat should look in the early 80s wearing Qualified 9533 Black Beret and White Patrol Officers Patch. Mini ATCs alongside conducting 50cal live fire gunshoot in San Pablo Bay

SBUXI in the 90s regularlly did MTT in Thailand and rode Royal Thai Navy PBRs and other Riverine Craft. SBUXI static weapons display. Of course everyone remembers the Baccicco Twins. Ex-Army SF who like being River Rat Reservists better. River Rat acting as beachmaster for the Mini ATC Assualt with Marines Op Northern Hawk 1986 CCB-18 at Full Speed! SBUXI forward base camp and PBR MKIIs

SBUXI PBR MKIIs, Note variations in Radar domes. Note also the modified Twin 50cal Mount. This version ran on hydraulics and was very heavy! SBUXI PBRs nesting up during ORE 1991 in San Diego.


HARDTOP PBR 210 on step  

Added 01-05-08        
A great CWO McAllister cartoon An MATC holding its nose on the riverbank SBUXI's classic PBR MKII
PBR MKII showing its maneuverability Pulling an engine from a PBR MKII

Added 05-08-08        
An aggressor shows his spiderhole position from which he will ambush passing riverboats. CCB-18 and Mike-8 at the pier
PO1 Smith on USS Fort Fisher 1986, now he organizes the SBUXI reunions with his wife Mary. LTJG Fisk ( SEAL) on his first tour at SBU-XI he would return and Command SBU-XI
MATC-12 in slough and alert for agressors

The Classic PBR MKII on step A varation on SBUXI Patch

A SBUXI PBR MKII in Persian Gulf near Bahrain 1988 A Mini ATC view from PBR gunmount
a PBR patrol cruises by a Mini ATC on waterborne Guard Post

Added 08-23-09        
SBUXI Challenge Coin SBUXI Insignia SBUXI PBRs and MATCs 4 PBLs put on a Demo in Sacramento MATC on step circ 1996 re-engined with 6v92s she was fast!
50cal. gunshoot on MATC ATCs and PBLs SBUXI PBLs and MATCs Nesting near Sacramento MATC and PBRs SBUXI
SBUXI's PCF's hull showing her age. "Old School" SBUXI  River Rats on CCB San Pablo Bay Gunshoot Purple Smoke and River Assault except that damn Jet bucket is stuck again on MATC MATC Gunshoot San Pablo Bay coming alongside for next set of shooters MK56 twin 50cals on PBR MKII

PBR coming alongside CCB to switch out shooters... San Pablo Bay Gunshoot.        

(Added 04-31-2010)  These cartoons were drawn by "Doc" John Ford which captured the spirit of SBUXI River Rats. Saved by Tim Taramasso.

Rat overboard from PCF828.

Rats had trouble adapting to the deep ocean riding SBU-13's PBs.

Rat Attitude. SOC Septar outruns a XI PBR. XI Rats.
Sleep is good. Rats at PT. Rat on SBU-13 PB. The Famous Specter Strike incident and LT McKays 45. became legend. In photo a SBU-13 PL and XI PBR at Pt Hueneme SeaBee base.
Every Rat had his own personality even in cartoons. Rats at quarters  and SeaBees at quarters PT Hueneme Exercise Specter Strike. Engine compartment on PCF. XI SOC Rats hitch a ride to San Nicolas Is. Close encounter between Seabee and XI Rats.
The brilliant Rat. SOC Rats deliver captured MIUW watch officer in his under wear to his C.O. Gotta love Rat humor. OOOPs River Rat style  

(Added 04-31-2010)  TIM TARAMASSO a Veteran of Vietnam served on PCFs in COSDIV15 in 1976 joined Coastal Division ELEVEN and made the transition to Special Boat Unit XI. He served on every type boat and every dept of the Unit in his Career. In 1988 He  deployed with SBU-13 on PB MkIIIs during Op Earnst Will and in 1989 served in SBUXI's PBR det in Bahrain and was also mobilized during Desert Storm. He rose from GMG3 to retire as GMCS (SWCC) in Special Boat Unit XI in 1997. Read his great letter from Bahrain HERE.

Enjoy this Huge Collection of photos from Tim Taramasso.

50 cal. gunshoot. Gunshoot off Mini ATC.

Catching ZZZZZs on Mini. Warren Baccicco
one of the Rat Twins. Warren and Brother Joe
were both EX Army SF.
You could see Ken McAllister a mile a way by his pipe.
CPO Angel. BMC Dunn. GMC Taramsso. Aggressors load out their gear in Conex box. Aggressor with a RPG and has Mini ATC in his sights.
PBR Patrol as seen by Agressors view. Down time in the Slough. A River Rat Det outside the armory. Winter in the Slough PBRs nest in Slough.
Bow on PBRs note BFAs on twin 50s. PBR Patrol group photo note PBR being lifted and SEAFOX already on deck. The SBUXI Road Warrior. Aggressor Taramasso writing  field notes. Aggressor sleeps in back of his truck with his gear.
Aggressors in Base Camp note  Mock RPG-7. CPO Mess BMC Ron Saire in dress blues.

Aggressor PBL high and dry..got to watch the tides.

Mini ATC patroling the Sloughs.


John" Doc" Ford one of SBUXI's cartoonist and River Rat and as a Aggressor he had a Dr. Evil Mindset on ambushing Boats ...ask him about the mud man!!!!

Old Salt from XI. PBR Rats. Mini ATC Rats Combat Craft Support Rats. The Aggressor. all Cartoon drawn By CWO Ken McAllister.
CWO Ken McAllister  R.I.P. working on twin 50s on PCF note old BFA on on 50 cal and regular barrel on other. Cleaning weapons at  SBUXI Armory. Tim T Doc Gilpan and Ken McAllester. A good lookout.

Patrol Officer Cliff Murphy checking Paperwork. 1979 SBUXI went down to Panama and rode HPU Craft note two MKI PCFs and a MKII PCF. An interesting double exposure for PBRs. XI Rats on HPU PCFs Panama 1979. Shooting  the S...Breeze.

Mini ATCs and PBRs in the Slough. EN1 Nick Brown in Panama he retired MCPO. Tim Taramasso with Unit Black Beret and crest. SBUXI PBR MKII in Sloughs. Ken McAllister on Mini ATC.
Cliff Murphy on Mini ATC. 2 SBU-13 PBMKIIIs at SBUXI

At sea  with 13 PBs and XI's PCFs.


(6-01-2010) New photos from SBC Dean Lancaster - SBU-11 1991-1994 also SWCC Class 2 SBU-12
NSWU-3, SBT-20
Me on Mini ATC me and Scott Kalis as Training OPFOR

Dean Lancaster in Thailand "Sam, Sam, this is Jed Hok.. Over"


My Contribution to the Brass recycling Program

Target Practice under the watchful eye of Warren Bacciccio

Dean on M-60 Live fire exercise with Thai Boat Unit

Setting rear security as lead boat engages land target during live fire exercise with Thai Riverine Unit

Leon Castellarno and I at Hotel at Pattaya Beach Thai Land

(Added 04-21-2011)
  PBR in Bahrain 1988 A  SBUXI PBR at Sitra anchorage Final patrol brief before getting underway. River Rats Young and Old active and Reserve Rats all
SBUXI in Washington during EX Northern Hawk Mini ATC in the sloughs 3 MINIs ATCs at SBUXI Easy day for Rats

SBU XI on Occasion worked with Coast Guard provide boats for extra security for events like Fleet week. Note PBRs taking on CG Personnel and flying Coast Guard flags.

Aggressors of SBUXI circ 1996.
(Added 05-30-2012)
SBUX11's  SOC TEAM 1981-1983(added 08-31-2012) A Classic Rat Photo of Cornelius Brown(Added 10-29-2012) Formal photos of SBUXI RAT
(added 04-22-2013)
SBUXI raiding/aggressor whaler and Rat(added 04-22-2013)

(added 09-27-2013) LtCdr Daryl Taramasso

River Rats talk to the curious at Monterey Engineering pow-wow on PCF XI's SWIFT MKI PCF MKII on Pier SBUXI Boats in Boatbay on LPD heading to EX Northern Hawk 1984.

SBU-13 Seafoxes on LPD heading to EX Northern Hawk 84

50cal gunshoot on LPD heading to Exercise SBUXI Officers Taramasso and McKay Shipover. LtCmdr Taramasso and CWO Buddy Gun shoot in San Pablo Bay.
Gunshoot on the range Picnic table armory on the Range You shoot good you eat Good on Range River Rats shooting M-60-E-3s SBUXI in Panama
NAVSCIATTS in Panama SBUXI Command function

SBU-13 PBMKIIIs with SBUXI during Specter Strike EX 82.  Guns stowed so not to offend civilians while anchored in Avalon.


Tom Lyon -  Rat Portrait
(Added 02-16-2014)
The RAT VAN Det Alpha Persian Gulf 1987 Iran Ajar seen from PBRs of Det Alpha. PBRs in Susian Sloughs
PBR from Aggressors point of view  PBRs loaded on LSD for exercise PBRMKII in Washington State PBRs on  LSD  moving to EX Northern Hawk Checking water Depth.. EXTREME tides were in Washington
ahhhh PBRs    

(Added 02-16-2014) Mark Lang,  Det. Alpha - Persian Gulf 1987
PBR launched from the USS LaSalle Failed White PBR paint job on LaSalle Chicky, Chua and Lang Det Alpha Yes I fished in the Gulf PBR stored on LaSalle
WBVII leaves the pier and towed out into the Gulf 1987 PBRS of DET Alpha 1987 SEC of NAVY James Webb inspects the DET Alpha Recovery of a Downed Marine Helo.. note PBR in Background Wilson, Lang, A.J.
MCPO Rhodes of Det Alpha SBD Subic Bay PBMKIIIs arrive in Bahrain 1987 Me painting Aircraft ID on PBR Canopy Chicky, Heyes, Diegle Heyes
Persian Gulf Sunset Rats in Transit Frankfort Germany Color Guard SBUXI,  Lang, Murray, Walker, Osburn Rat bar, a Favorite hang out  

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