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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 8/19/2002 6:51:33 PM EST
Hey all. I had an uncle who served in the US Navy during the war in Vietnam. I am not sure what unit he was with or any of that stuff, but he was a machine gunner (on a .50 caliber if I remember the pictures correctly). I think it was a twin .50 in fact! He served on a river patrol boat and was in the Mekong Delta region. He was there in 1967-1968 I think. I don't get to see him all that much now, as he lives in a different state. I have lots of questions I would like to ask him, but when we do meet, I hate to ask so many questions about something that he would probably rather not discuss. So can anyone tell me what kind of operation the PBR's were involved in over there? Interdiction? Search and Seizure (or destroy)? Dropping off and picking up SEAL's and or offering them support? I have heard he saw some pretty hairy things but as I said before, I just don't want to bring it up all that much when I'm around him. But I would like to learn about some of the things he was likely involved in and the type of missions they did. I would appreciate any and all info anyone can provide. And thanks to all of the veterans here who served and sacrificed so much for our nation....there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of what you folks have done in preserving our freedom.
Link Posted: 8/19/2002 9:23:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/29/2002 4:59:24 PM EST by Striker]
Cut and paste this link. It should give you a good start. Let me know if it doesn't work. [url]http://hawley.hispeed.com/vietnam/vietnam.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 8/20/2002 12:45:52 AM EST
Thanks for the link, it worked very well. That was informative and interesting. I got to learn a considerable amount of stuff regarding the various boats and the missions that each individual boat type was responsible for doing. While I never found his boat, I did find some stuff that I had forgot...such as the base he was stationed at, Dong Tam. Some of the photos he sent back had some of the same buildings, cranes, towers, etc in the backgrounds so I know that I was in the ballpark where I was looking. Again, thanks for the link. Perhaps I can mention that website to him and have him send pictures and stories to the webmaster for inclusion. I enjoyed learning more about what he did there and it gives me a better appreciation for what they all went through. Nearly every male of age on both sides of my family served in one branch of the service or other during the Korean - Vietnam era. I think it's important for me to learn more about them, the times, and the places they served. Until now, the "brownwater navy" was one of my least understood. But now I am much more knowledgeable about the role they played in the Vietnam War. Thanks. ---Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/27/2002 3:56:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/29/2002 5:02:48 PM EST by Striker]
Charging Handle, having served in the same AO maybe I can help a little. There were 3 Navy task forces serving on the Mekong Delta river system. TF-115 was the PCF's, known as Swift Boats, which served primarily along the coast to interdict VC and NVA resupply coming down via the waters surrounding Vietnam. They also entered the rivers from time to time. They were called the Coastal Surveillance Force, and "Market Time". TF-116, the River Patrol Force, was the PBR's you mentioned and their primary job was to deny the enemy the use of the rivers for troop movement and resupply. That's why they were called the "Gamewardens" as they spent many hours stopping sampans to check for contraband. TF-117 was the Mobile Riverine Force, which was a unique combination of Navy assault boats and support ships and elements of the Army's 9th Infantry Division. Their primary job was to use the rivers as a water highway to seek out and destroy Charlie throughout the Mekong Delta region. All three task forces were involved with SEAL operations, however I believe the SEAL's were primarily attached to TF-116. The various boats and ships of all the task forces were used for SEAL insertion and pickup, along with fire support. Boats from all three forces used twin .50's but you offer a very good clue as to which group your uncle may have served with. Dong Tam was the main base used by Task Force 117, the Mobile Riverine Force. I doubt if there were ever any PCF's there, as the base was a hundred or so miles inland. There were definitely PBR's there from time to time but I don't recall any permanent detachment stationed there. There was a detachment of SEAL's on the base. If your uncle served with TF-117, there are several types of boats he could have served on. I don't recall the troop carriers (ATC's, or "Tango" boats) having twin .50's, but rather they used 20mm and 40mm gun turrets. I believe the Monitors, CCB's, Zippo's, and ASPB's may have all used twin .50's, along with 20mm, 40mm, and even 105 howitzer's, but not all boats of each type were armed the same. The web site mentioned by Kaiser Soze is a good one. I had the pleasure of meeting Kent Hawley at the Mobile Riverine reunion this past June. However, there is a Mobile Riverine Force Association web site located at [url]http://www.mrfa.org[/url] with much more info. If you think your uncle was part of TF-117 I can recommend a good video which will give you a very good history of the unit. "Force Afloat" is available from the MRFA or can be ordered through Kent Hawley's web site (look towards the bottom of his site). While you're at it, email Albert Moore (on the MRFA site) and find out if your uncle is a member. If not, he should be. They accept members from TF-115 and 116 too! With all this information I'll just bet your uncle will be surprised at how much you know and will willingly open up about his experiences.
Link Posted: 8/28/2002 6:55:25 AM EST
[b]Sea Float ![/b] [X]
Link Posted: 8/28/2002 3:27:32 PM EST
Followed by Solid Anchor! Had the honor last year of meeting a former Lieutenant in charge of whatever??? on Sea Float! He's now a 4 star bigwig called CincLantFleet.
Link Posted: 8/29/2002 5:49:30 PM EST
Wow..you met Admiral Natter. Thats impressive. From what I've heard from my friends on the east coast he's a outstanding man. I guess you have to be to be the Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet! [pyro] i'll keep the smoking lamp lit for ya.
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 1:23:20 PM EST
That's the guy! He is the top dog riverine sailor so was on the Coronado Amphib Base to present the first SWCC pin last year. Scroll down to [url=www.vietnamunitmemorialmon.org/cismfield.htm]Saturday August 18, 2001[/url]for a story about it. The Admiral wasn't the only brass there. The top dog SEAL was also in attendance, along with Rudy Boesch from the original "Survivor" series. Just one of those days where I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Believe me, the E-6 receiving the pin was shaking like a leaf till the Admiral calmed his nerves. Natter turned out to be a very friendly type and even offered the E-6 a ride back to Virginia on his plane. Of course he did have a few comments regarding just where did we get those .50's for display on the monument boats!
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