Jim Gray Slide Bin



Ray Ashcraft, EN1, SBU-26.


(07-20-2011)  Ray Ashcraft EN1 - I arrived at HPU in 1982 as a EN2 and boats engineer on a PCF under CPO Bill Pressler. I attended the Army's Jungle Warfare School, with CPO Tony Laconte and about 12 others.

I later qualified and became Boat Captain of PBR 3..I also continued my training under "Wild Bill" Pressler and eventually became Boat Captain of PCF-5 and was promoted to EN1 and received the Navy Achievement Medal.

I also received The Small Craft Command Insignia. I was offered one of the new 68' PBMKIVs that were coming if I would extend a year.. and like a dumb ass, did not and I left HPU in Nov 1985.

Two unarmed MKII PBRs of HPU PBR MKII On step and gunned up PCF Swifts of HPU

PBRs and PCFs were the Workhorses of HPU in the Canal Zone.

PCFMkI on step on river Swift boats at sea Twin Detroit Diesels Engines powered the PCF HPU PCFs two MkIs and a MKII Hull #'s 4, 5 and 6

The classic photo of the PBR MKII here in Panama

PBR MKII pulls up to the pier. The beginning of pulling the boat from water

Coming out, note the lifting rig.

Just about there. The crane lifts the PBR over the cradle.
Swinging her over and around. Now they guide her into her cradle. Now the work begins putting her back into shape. Boat captain proud of his Texas roots. Boathouse of HPU.
Cast and recovery off PCF Cast and recovery  IBS and PCF Kicking back on towed IBS Lounging in IBS Guillermo in IBS
Yep..you can eat them. Jungle living. Going thru a detainee search.

Jungle school Grads LT I can't remember his name but Nice guy. Front row Chief Lancontte, Ray Ashcraft, GMG2 Wysocki Backrow: En2 Wyatt (Grit) Hart, Instructor, Pinky,or K-Dog and Guillermo.

under the Bahia This Op with Doctors practicing Jungle Medicine. Chief Pressler, Hoop Adans, and one fine Doc ...LOL


More HPU Jungle school  Grads and Army Instructors. Seems like only in Panama do you get such great mix of people in such as small place. High Value Transit (HTV) escorting and force protection of USN assets transiting through the Canal. Nuke subs like OHIO even got air cover on a HVT.

HVT with sub, locks drained and Mr Whitingham and Ray Ashcraft share a word.

Locks full and high. HVT with the Battleship New Jersey. A Battleship is a TIGHT fit in the Locks. Going through the cut and two PBRs flanking.

Meeting the HVT at sea and all the way thru the canal and back out to sea. Once released from escort duty there is a race for Home at Rodman

Ramo Raider floats on ocean waiting to go hot on live fire exercise.

Some things never change like.. hurry up and wait. Going HOT Ray Ashcraft on 50cal, Howie Nash oversees. Mind the swells or you put holes in water. HPU PBR waiting to go Hot with Twin 50s.
PBR waiting to go HOT. HPR Rats waiting their turn to shoot and watch the the shoot. Bores clear, Rounds expended, Job satisfaction. Ray Shooting a 40mm Grenade from M-203 off PCF. The 50 Cal./ 81mortar Piggyback on PCF note flash reducer on 50 barrel.
Ramo Raider bobs in the waves HPU Swifts set smoke float for gun shoot Another HVT.....

The War Game begins when an Aggressor boat darts out of Jungle spotted by Helo and PCF

The Helo on top of the Aggressor boat as it nears Sub
The HPU River boats engage with firing of Blanks and Maneuvers

The Aggressor Boat the" Frankenstein" whaler of HPU its mission is to try to penetrate the HPU protection and hit the Sub (by throwing flower sacks at sub to simulate explosives.)

The aggressor maneuvering and a PBR on its heels.

Gunner on PCF tracks and fires M-60 blanks at aggressor boat while the PBR closes in firing. In reality real bullets would have killed the aggressor boat early on.

HPU PBR Patrol.
PCF and Aggressor craft at each others throats. PBRs close in on Aggressor craft seen from PCF.

PCF approaches the river bank at night.

PCF settling in for a night in the jungle. Swift boat moored in jungle.
Jungle living.

Jungle living with all the critters Howling Monkeys, cutter ants, vampire bats and the list goes on.

Taking a nooner in the PCF.

Killing time in a Swift boat.

Chief Wild Bill Pressler.
PCF 5 a MkI Swift Boat at HPU. PCF - I started out as engineer on here later Boatcaptain.

The main Craft of HPU, the PBR and PCF.

PCF surfing the wake of another.

Anything mechanical will break PCF-9. The MKIIP CF under tow.

PCF in the wake. A Rat a PCF and a PBR. Armed SWIFT boats get underway from Rodman. Ramo Raider alongside PCF. Panama and here comes Trouble!

The HPU PCK MkI was different from Vietnam PCFs as you can tell from radar and the MK56 Twin 50cal MGs.

Riding the wake near Pearles Islands. Getting ready to tow local native boat. Bring Navy Doctors Back to PCF after visiting a Village. The high speed tow.
Woman and son approach PCF near Miguel de La Lorda. "Hoop" Adams on M-60 on modified stantion on PCF. Ray in the Rain and a cigarette.

Panama Weather. Awsome water spout behind Bridge of the Americas.

San Lorenzo on mouth of the Chargres River  was captured by the Pirate Henry Morgan in the 1680s


Ray Ashcraft and Wyatt Hart receive their  Small Craft Insignia from the  Brass.
Ray Ashcraft receives the Navy Achievement Medals for services at HPU. Ray Aschroft is Pinned with the small Craft insignia for command  of a Combatant craft for over six Months. PCF doing a high speed tow with native boat.

There she is!!! PBR1 drifted away after getting loose from her mooring lines.

PBR1 high and dry being examined after escape from the Navy.