The History of the "boats" in the Vietnam War


Vietnam era Patrol Boats

“Long before American combat troops arrived in Southeast Asia, the CIA was conducting covert operations and programs to bolster the South Vietnamese government.” [Douglas Pike, WIS, p. 34]

Initially the CIA Maritime forces used junks rigged for clandestine missions. Soon many other craft were procured to provide the different mission support necessary to meet the goals of the command authority. Some of these boats are outlined here.

As the Vietnam war was drawing to a close more modern craft were being introduced. Some of these presented here are pre-Vietnam War era to bring the history up to the end of that war.

As important as the technical aspects of the boats is the stories of the men that served aboard them. There stories are recorded under the units that they served with. This chapter attempts organize that information into an easy to find summary of this history.


The Warboats of Vietnam are highlighted in this section with a technical description, any photos received and many personal experiences aboard the vessel.  More Here

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Boat Support Unit Summary compiled by GMCM Jim Gray (SWCC) Ret,  BSU-1 was originally established by CNO on 1 February 1964 a component command of Naval Operations Support Groups, Pacific. Its mission was to administer the newly reinstated PTF (Patrol Torpedo Fast) Boat program and to operate high-speed craft in support of Naval Special Warfare Operations, this primarily in conjunction with UDT and SEAL units.     More Here

The Family Tree - This was created to provide an opportunity for BSU/CRD and SBU members to contribute any piece of history they choose.  If you have photos of people or boats send them along for the record. If you know the location or email of a former  BSU or any of the later SBU, CRS or SBS members, send them along for the directory.  More Here

DaNang Harbor - this is a great collection of photos, maps, drawings and genuine seastories. In 2007 a veteran returned to the area and shared a selection of photo of the base as it is in service today.
More Here

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PTF is the website that got all of this started. An early website and some photo of PTFs taken by a tin can sailor has evolved from a PTF website to this website and beyond. If you haven't seen this site, Click Here.

USN/USCG Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument/Small Boat Display - In the early 1990's a concept was developed that a memorial which listed not only the names of the individuals who died in Vietnam, but their date of passing and the unit to which they were attached would provide additional meaning to a memorial display. Visit it HERE

GMCM Robert Stoner (Ret) is our resident author and story teller. He has amassed a great collection of photos, drawings and technical material that he shares in his different articles. This is a summary of his works.  Bob's Bio Here

Sea Float/Solid Anchor were  joint US/Vietnamese attempts to inject an allied presence into An Xuyen Province, 175 miles southwest of Saigon. More Here   U.S. Combatants – Gulf of Tonkin Incident  A summary of US and Soviet vessels involved in the now famous incidents in the Gulf.
More Here.

mst11.jpg (83119 bytes) Naval Special Warfare: Small Combatant Craft Development  History, an Informal History This is a rare collection of photos and description of craft from the US and No. Vietnamese. . . .
More Here
  stoner21.jpg (10674 bytes) Coastal River Division - 21 In the July - August 1972 time frame, Naval Reservists in the Midwest Were told about the formation of a new units at Great Lakes, IL. This unit was were initially scheduled to operate fast patrol boats (PTF). . . .   More Here

Stoner Ordnance Notes: A complete technical description of the weapons used during the Vietnam War .    More Here    Stoner Briefing: The Fabulous Flops of Naval Engineering The Shallow Water Attack Boat (SWAB) was a 28-foot (later 31-foot) Bertram Yachts, Miami, Florida, design.  It was designed to ambush larger vessels and devastate them . . . .    More Here

Introducing Bob's newest series - The Brown Water Navy in Vietnam

Operation Market Time: TF-116 was the Navy’s effort to stop troops and supplies from flowing into So. Vietnam from No. Vietnam by way of the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. . . More Here Operation Game Warden: TF-116 Task Force 116 was established on December 18, 1965. During the Vietnam War, there were over 50 LSTs serving in direct support of the Navy’s . .   Start Here

Mobile Riverine Force: TF-117 The purpose of the MRF was to support an infantry brigade and an artillery battalion using modified landing craft, support ships. . More Here   Naval Bases and Support Activities - South Vietnam was divided into four Corps areas: I Corps was in the North, II Corps was the central highlands, III was the area around the capital city of Saigon, and IV Corps extended from the Mekong River Delta. More Here