Crews of PCFs 45 and 79
During the Year 1967

Music by Willie Nelson�

Crew of PCF 45

Bob Shirley LTJG-USNR

Ron Boulle QM2(SS)

John Willet RM2

Pat Hall EN3

Bob Stephenson BM3

"Nub" Ketterman GMG3

"Nguyen Nguyen"
VNN Liaison

Crew of PCF 79

From Left to right:
Bobby "Boats" Carver BM1 Senior Petty Officer
Ron "Porky" Rinehart EN1 Engineering
Ed Bergin LTJG-USNR OinC
Bob Middleton TM3 Gunner
Bob MacNamara SN Bo'sn Striker
Raul "Bean" Herrera SNRM Radioman.

The normal crew manning level on each Swift Boat
Officer-in-Charge (OinC) Junior Grade Lieutenant
Senior Enlisted Crew Member Senior Petty Officer Quartermaster or Bo'sn Mate
Engineman Specialist Qualified in Diesel Engine Maintenance and Operation
Gunner's Mate Specialist Qualified in .50 cal Machine Guns and Small Arms
Radioman/Radarman Specialist Qualified in Communications and Operations
Boatswain's Mate Specialist Qualified in Small Boat Handling and Maintenance
Vietnamese Navy Liaison Temporarily Assigned for each Patrol

The experience level of the crew on PCF 45 was typical of those on the boats at the time: All were in their twenties and most were in their first enlistment in the Navy. Each had served one or more seagoing tours in the fleet before volunteering for Swift Boats, and therefore were well prepared for the tasks they were asked to perform. But to say that they were experts in the sea going military arts would not be entirely valid. They were just young Americans trying to do their duty and serve their country in the best way they knew how.

Some would remain in the Navy after their tour on the boats, and others would choose to pursue careers in civilian life. One of the latter would even continue to embrace a life at sea, and eventually become the Captain of several large merchant freighters and container ships.

The experience level on the 79 boat was more of a mixed bag. Bobby Carver was in his fifteenth year of service with the Navy. "Porky" Rinehart was also a seasoned veteran. They provided the maturity and leadership for the other three less experienced crew members. Although Bob Middleton's training as a torpedoman didn't include machine guns, he quickly picked up the skills required. This crew was also fortunate to have Ed Bergin as their OinC. Besides being intelligent and very aggressive, he possessed a deep rooted zeal for the task that the Swift Boats and Operation Market Time were performing.

The main characteristic of all Swift Boat crew members was motivation and self-initiative. Long before management terms like "empowerment" were even thought of, these sailors took on the significant responsibilities of looking after their own areas of expertise with a great deal of pride and professionalism. And without any supervision required. With only six members in a crew, it could be no other way. Operating independently at considerable distance from their support base in a small fifty foot boat, and in what was sometimes turbulent weather, meant that the safety of their own lives, and that of their vessel, depended on each one insuring that his area was always ready for the worst that the weather and the enemy could throw at them ... despite the long hours on patrol and the short turn around times back at the base facility.

It was an honor to be associated with young American men of such caliber, dedication and enthusiasm. They are the primary reason this web site came into being.

This web site is Copyright � 2002 by Robert B. Shirley.
All rights reserved.

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