The History of the boats after the Vietnam war



Lebanon 1983-84

On orders from President Reagan the US military committed troops ashore in Lebanon to support the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut. Its mission to was to be a buffer  between rival armed factions in and around Beirut.
This resulted in the Mediterranean Cruise of MARG 2-83 ( Marine Amphibious Readiness Group comprised of Amphibious Warfare ships) (on West Coast its called a ARG) On each MARG is a Naval Special Warfare Task Unit (NSWTU) comprised of a SEAL Platoon and Special Boat Detachment (SBD) usually with 2 SWCLs during this time frame.  The SEAFOXES were tasked with Day and Night RECON Patrols off Beirut and with the SEALs they were used to reconfirmed beach gradients for future Landings of Marines at Black Beach. Later SEALs went Inland with the Marines and the Seafoxes began Anchorage Protection Patrols around the anchored ships. This was to keep civilian and possible Hostile boats away from this restricted anchorage. It was MARG that requested the relieving MARG include a PBMKIII Detachment.




Before the time MARG 1 84 arrived  a Suicide bomber drove a truck bomb into the Marine HQ and Barracks and the explosion killed 241 Peacekeepers mostly Marines from the 1st Battalion 8th Marines. This effectively ended the US peacekeeping efforts ashore. When MARG 1 84 arrived they were already veterans of the Grenada Campaign. The two SWCLs and PBMKIII (the other PB had been damaged in Grenada) and the NSWTask Unit Command conducted real Anchorage Patrols and advised the Amphibious Warfare Commander on Maritime Threats on ships at anchor. They also pioneered the development of techniques to counter threats such as high speed boats, surface and subsurface swimmers and low flying air threats. This resulted later in Pre-deployment training  in these tactics for all Navy ships. While the tiny Special Boat Detachment was on Security Patrol the ships at anchor were never threatened by hostile craft.


Just as a small note I recall seeing a Photo of one SWCL during the "Lessons Learned" briefing, sporting a shark mouth painted on its bow!

[Submitted by GMCM Jim Gray (CC) ret.]