Patrol Craft Fast|
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and especially ...
"...... to the men of the Navy and the Coast Guard who served as part of Operation Market Time ..... men who searched everything from reed basket boats to steel-hulled trawlers ...... who endured the chill of operating near the DMZ in January and the heat of summer days near Ca Mau .... who came in close contact with the Vietnamese people, sometimes making friends, sometimes killing .... who became intimately acquainted with boredom, fear, fatigue, and sometimes death."
|Introduction||Anchors Aweigh / Semper Paratus|
Travel along with young American sailors as they experience a year's tour on board Swift Boats during the late 1960's. In many ways the experiences depicted here are typical of all the crews that served on the boats during that time. But in other ways they were not ... and we will highlight those differences as we travel on this journey
The scenerio is the coastal waters and rivers of Vietnam in several differing periods of the conflict in South East Asia. Starting in late 1965 until the early part of 1968, when the North Vietnamese Communists were defeated in their country wide offensive known as Tet, the Naval war was one fought over interdiction of significant movements of men and supplies via the sea and coastline into the south. After 1968, a major change in the strategic phase of the war was evident as Hanoi capitalized on declining support by the US public for military operations in the area. America's involvement can be roughly divided into "Pre-Tet" and "Post-Tet" time frames. And the role of the Swift Boats reflected and reacted to the many changes wrought by this strategy shift and declining public support back home.
The US Navy's role in the earlier phase was significant and highly successful. The climax of the Navy's Operation Market Time (Task Force 115) was signaled in February of 1968 with the turning back and/or destruction of five North Vietnamese sea going vessels that simultaneously tried to infiltrate into the south. This effectively ended the North's ability to resupply their forces by sea Operational emphasis by both sides would be subsequently concentrated on the supply routes on the western side of the country: Down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and through Cambodia into the river delta regions of the lower Mekong. This shift, in itself, was strong evidence of the highly successful tactics employed during Operation Market Time to halt the flow of the North Vietnamese soldiers, arms and material into and along the eastern coast.
The "Post-Tet" phase of the naval war was characterized by active prosecution of infiltration attempts made by the North Vietnamese across the border from their Cambodian sanctuaries, and aggressive tactics by the naval and land forces to pacify, rather than simply react to, the Vietnam Communist's activities in the strongly held enemy areas on the southern most tip of the country. This strategy, known as SEALORDS, proved equally successful both in terms of interdiction and restoration of security to otherwise hostile territories. Our journey will visit many of the river locations and activities of this later highly successful campaign.
This is the story behind these rugged little boats
And the sailors that manned them
Suggestions for viewing the web site
Use the menu bar at the top of the screen. It is divided into four rows. Each row covers a different aspect or time frame of the Swift Boat history in South East Asia. Depending on your interest, you can find narratives, images and sounds closely associated with that interest in a particular row:
The sections in the last or bottom row provide personal accounts by Swift Boat sailors and their remembrances of shipmates from long ago. Please take a few moments to reflect with us on these heartfelt thoughts and memorials.
So ... come join us ... as we journey through the good times, the bad times, the sad times, the boring times ... and even the sometimes terrifying events that were all part of a South China Sea Swift Boat's existence along the coast line and inside the rivers of Vietnam.