Swift Boats and the "Brown Water Navy" - Jefferson City, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 34.735 W 092° 10.357
15S E 572067 N 4270374
Vietnam Memorial and display inside the Military Museum in the Missouri State Museum.
Waymark Code: WM10G18
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 05/02/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 1

County of display: Cole County
Location of display: 201 W. Capitol Ave., 1st floor, Military Veterans Gallery, Missouri State Museum, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City

Marker Text:

Vietnam War
Swift Boats and the "Brown Water Navy"

  During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy deployed a "brown water Navy" of small watercraft to meet the unique conditions it faced. Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) boats or "swift boats" were adapted from civilian use in the oil industry. At 50 feet in length, the goal was versatility. The Navy designed the boats to be large enough to navigate both the ocean yet small enough for use in rivers and canals. In reality, they were impractical for both. PFCs [sic] struggled with the rough waters of the South China Sea. During river patrols, the diesel engines made them anything but stealth. Finally, the ¾" aluminum hull was like stopping a bullet with tissue paper. From 1965-1970, 116 swift boats patrolled the waters in and around Vietnam. "Market Time" operations along the coast patrolled for boats smuggling Viet Cong contraband. By 1968, South Vietnamese crews took over coastal patrols. United States crews focused on river patrols and raids. Swift boats ferried Special Forces to and from missions and provided fire support for ground troops.

  Jefferson City native Herb Blume joined the U.S. Navy in 1965. Blume chose to join the Navy's new small craft service in Vietnam and trained for "Swift Boat" operations. In December 1966 Lt. j.g. Blume headed to Vietnam. He became Office-in-Charge of PCF-14 and oversaw a crew of five enlisted men. The crew participated in :Market Time" coastal patrols and later river patrols in the MeKong Delta. Blume logged more than 130 patrols during his year in Vietnam. He noted, "I have mixed feelings about my time in Vietnam" but takes pride in his "in bring all my men back alive and without Purple Hearts." Blume added that roughly, 3,600 sailors served on swift boats -- 400 were wounded and 50 killed in action. That figure includes at least three Missourians who died while serving on swift boats. The model on display was acquired by Lt. j.g. Blume at a Swift Boat Sailors Association Conference.

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