[ Vietnam ]



River Patrol Boat

Displacement: 6.8 tons light, 8.1 tons full load
Length: 32 feet oa
Beam: 11 2/3 feet
Draft: 2.5 feet
Propulsion: 2 GM 6V53N diesels, 216 hp, 2 water jets, fuel - 160 gal.
Speed: 25+ knots
Crew: 4 or 5 (enlisted)
Weapons: 1 twin .50 BMG, 1 single .50 BMG, 2 7.62mm mg.

Note: All specifications for PBR Mk II.


HISTORY: Link to:   http://www.rivervet.com/pbrs.htm for a complete description of this craft.
(Linked with permission)

In 1965 there were an estimated 80,000 Viet Cong and VC sympathizers in the Mekong Delta. Of these some 30,000 were thought to be regular troops and 50,000 part-time guerrillas capable of operating in battalion units.

The task of recapturing the waterways was assigned to Task Force 116, code named Game Warden, established on 18 Dec. 1965. Its original mission was to patrol the inland waterways, enforce the curfew, search river traffic and deny the Vietcong an opportunity to infiltrate and re-supply.

With nothing in the Navy's fleet designed or equipped to do battle on the brown waters of the delta, they turned to United Boat Building of Bellingham, Washington to modify a pleasure boat that became the very famous PBR. [Forbes & Williams]


PBRs are on display at :

  • Naval Reserve Center, Orange Texas
  • Naval Reserve Center, New Orleans LA
  • At Hackensack, NJ
  • Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado CA
  • American Patrol Boats Museum, Rio Vista CA.



The Gamewardens of Vietnam Association, Inc. has taken custody of a Mark 1, Patrol Boat River (PBR) from the Naval Historical Center and is currently restoring the PBR at Little Creek, VA. It is anticipated the PBR will be on display near Commander Special Boat Squadron Two compound on the Naval Amphibious Base by the end of the year. This will be one of only two Mark 1 PBRs on display in the US. There were only 160 of this Mark built. Please use the attached information notice and photograph on your website. Lee R. Wahler, coordinator for Gamewardens. 703-845-9169  

The Gamewardens of Vietnam Assoc. Inc has taken custody of a Mark 1 PBR from the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. The PBR was moved to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, VA onboard the Military Sealift Command fleet tug USNS Mohawk on May 24 2002. While a site plan at Little Creek is not yet complete, the boat will augment the memorial obelisk to fallen brothers, which is already at the base. Commander Special Boat Squadron Two is assisting the Gamewardens with the arrangements and has offered to display the boat at his location. 

There are very few Mk 1 boats available for the public or current sailors to see. The boat is in very good condition, but does not have engines, or waterjets or its original forward gun mount. The Gamewardens will need help from any members in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area to restore and maintain the boat. If you can work on the boat at Little Creek, contact Larry Weatherall at (757) 560-1655. Our goal is to restore the boat to its original Mark 1 condition starting with the exterior and eventually re-installing its engines and waterjets. We want the PBR to be the best boat on display at Little Creek. 

The Gamewardens need special donations to cover the boat's movement and restoration costs. Please contribute to the PBR Maintenance Fund via the web site. Here is a photo of the boat in its current condition.

PBRafter33.jpg (50956 bytes)


Hello Dan, We are the National Vietnam War Museum located in Orlando, FL. we have a restored and operational PBR, in addition to a Huey med evac helicopter, an A-4 Skyhawk, a Seabee deuce and a half, a jeep and a small but growing indoor exhibit. our web site should be up and running shortly. meanwhile you can reach me by e-mail at this address, i'm interested in hearing more about your plans. regards Harry Scholer,  Hoiyuan1@aol.com

 12/28/00  On the Mark II PBR we had the twin 50 tub forward electric or manually controlled, a universal tripod mount far aft for mounting another 50 or a mortar/50 tandem (or also an M-60 or the Mark 19 or 20 grenade launcher) but there were also 2 mounts atop the engine covers for M-60s. These were highly exposed standing positions but as you can see from the flick attached, those vertical plates were armored (supposedly, at least that's what we were told). I don't know of a 40 mm MG for this boat. Frank Cumberland  [rundog@home.com]

02/06/03   Hi Dan, The fiberglass "2" might be a draft mark. Jim doesn't say if there is another similar mark on the other side. If there is, I'd probably go with a draft mark. As for the "13" on the bow and stern, those are probably the boat's individual number in whatever unit that it was attached. The boat probably belonged to Special Boat Unit 22 at New Orleans, LA. Special Boat Unit 26 also used PBR boats to provide security for the Panama Canal. These assets were turned over to Panama when SBU-26 was decommissioned.

In the first picture of the stern, the darker colored rectangle on the transom is where the boat's serial number should be. The form of the serial would be: boat length; type of boat; year of manufacture; and serial number. An example for a Mk III PBR would be 31 RP 7705. Jim should check this spot to determine his year of manufacture. Uniflite of Bellingham, WA manufactured all of the PBR boats for the Navy. The original factory where most of them were made burned-down in 1980 and Uniflite was purchased by Chris Craft shortly afterwards. Chris Craft when Chapter 11 in 1986. Although a reorganized Chris Craft company is back in business, Uniflite is gone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003 8:57 PM

To: Dan Withers Subject: PBR

Dan, Just thought I'd let you know that we now have a PBR MK 2 in our collection. I went and picked it up Saturday in Orange TX at the Naval Reserve Center that was letting the Vietnam Vets Assn. store it there. Granted it's just a hull but it's something to work with. Even if we just fix it up and trailer it around to events (Air Shows, Parades etc) It has a 2 made in the fiber glass just below the water line on the bow and stern and a 13 on the bow and stern. Can you tell me the meaning of those numbers? Anyway that's it in a nut shell, just though I'd let you know.

Here are a few pics. How's everything your way?

James Trousdale Director / Vice President Defenders of America Naval Museum, Inc. Hm. (281) 837-0785 Cell (281) 734-3247  jtrousdale@houtsron.rr.com Check out our web sites: http://www.defendersofamerica.org    http://www.pt-309.org/


The Gamewardens of Vietnam Association, Inc. http://www.tf116.org/ 

PBRs and PBR movies - by Richard Rongstad  [rongstad@vikingphoenix.com] http://www.vikingphoenix.com/public/rongstad/military/warmovie/pbrmovie.htm 

PBR Forces Veterans Association, Inc.   http://www.pbr-fva.org/

The Mobile Riverine Force Association: http://www.mrfa.org/  and especially http://www.mrfa.org/navyinvn.htm