Browse Exhibits (13 total)

Swift Boat Sailors "Still on Patrol"

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Fifty Swift Boat crew and personnel lost their lives while serving in the Vietnam War.  The remains of four of the men are still unaccounted for and remain missing in action.  The fifty men remain in the hearts and minds of their fellow Swift Boat Sailors.  Their fellow Swift mates remember them as “Still on Patrol".

There are two ways to learn more about the Swift Boat Sailors that lost their lives.  You can click on the year for a timeline of the Swift Boat Sailors that lost their lives for that year.  You can also click on a name for a picture and biography of each Swift Boat Sailor.

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"Latch" Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann


Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II, was called back to serve when the Korean War broke out, and was aboard the USS Pirate (AM 275) when it struck a mine and sank in less than four minutes in Wonsan Harbor.   In his long career, Hoffmann commanded four ships. In May of 1968 then Navy Captain Hoffmann became the commander of Task Force 115 in Vietnam, leading his command in pursuit of the enemy on the coast and inland waterways of South Vietnam.

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Training for Swift Boats began in 1965 at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA.  In the first year, some of the men went next to the US Naval Base in Subic Bay, Philippines to ready the Swift Boats for service.  The remaining men went on to Vietnam.  After arriving in Vietnam, the men dispersed to one of the following bases:  An Thoi, Cam Ranh Bay, Cat Lo, Chu Lai, DaNang or Qui Nhon.


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Malta Magnificent Seven


The worst peacetime tragedy suffered by the AFM (Armed Forces of Malta) occurred on September 7, 1984. An explosion onboard the Swift-class patrol boat C23 (later ne-named P23) killed seven people.  P23 remained in service until 2010 and the AFM retained the patrol boat as a memorial. A monument was built at Xatt it-Tiben soon after the tragedy, and a new one was unveiled in 2009 on the 25th anniversary. The Maritime Museum of San Diego has another memorial to those killed in the tragedy near P23's (PCF 813) sister ship P24 (PCF 816) which is preserved in the museum.

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Oral Histories

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Oral histories are a unique opportunity to learn about individuals who traditionally do not appear in the historical record.  They are great tools to learn about the Swift Boat Sailors’ personal experiences in the Vietnam War.  The United States Navy Memorial has conducted several oral histories of Swift Boat Sailors that can also be viewed in this exhibit.


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Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) - Swift Boats

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Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), also known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy.  Its initial duties included patrolling the coastal areas of South Vietnam.  Its later duties included working in the interior waterways as part of the brown-water navy to prevent Vietcong movement of arms and munitions, transport Vietnamese forces and insert SEAL teams for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.

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PCF 816


PCF 816 was one of ten Swift Boats used to train Swift Boat Sailors at Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA.  In February 1971, the U.S. Navy donated PCF 816 (and PCF 813) to the Republic of Malta and renamed P24 (and P23, respectively).  Her duties included coast guard duty, interdicting smugglers, harbor security, and search & rescue. She served for 40 years and finally decommissioned in 2011.  She was one of the last two PCF's to be in service.  The Swift Boat Sailors Association received PCF 816 from the Malta Government in 2012 and she is currently restored, on display, and available for sea tours, at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

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Printed Documents

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This exhibit contains printed information pertaining to Swift Boat Sailors and their service in the Vietnam War.  The information includes comic strips, Cruise Books (similar to a high school yearbook), letters from home/written home, maps and charts, miscellaneous documents (including leaflets and day passes), newspaper articles from Stars & Stripes, and personal stories told by Swift Boat Sailors. 

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Roster of Swift Boat Sailors

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A thorough search of the National Archives uncovered BUPERS Reports and Personnel Diaries of Boat/Coastal Squadron One for the years 1965-1970.  Hundreds of manpower hours in data entry and vetting of the information yielded one of the only public and full listings of a unit serving in the Vietnam War.  This is the most complete listing to date of all men who served as Swift Boat Crew or Personnel from training through service.

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Swift Boat Crew and Responsibilities


Swift Boat crews consisted mainly of six (6) individuals including an Officer in Charge (an LTJG, LT or ENS), Quartermaster, Radarman, Gunners' Mate, Engineman and Boatswains' Mate.   The crew of enlisted personnel ranged in pay grade from E3 (Seaman) to E6 (Petty Officer First Class).  In earlier crews, a Radioman took the place of a Radarman.  In certain circumstances, you could find other ratings among the crewmembers including Firecontrolman, Hospital Corpsman, Machinery Repairman, Mineman, Radarman, Signalman, Sonarman, Torpedoman and a single Yeoman.

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Swift Boat Sailors produce the videos contained in this exhibit during their time of service in the Vietnam War.  In most cases, they used Super 8 cameras to shoot the footage.  Swift Boat Sailors narrated some of the videos years after the events, some are without sound, and others have been set to music.  The raw videos portray life for a Swift Boat Sailor.

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Vikings in Vietnam and other Clandestine Operations


This exciting Exhibit will be available shortly!

We Remember...Memorials and Tributes


This exhibit showcases personal memorials and tributes to Swift Boat Sailors often from the point of view of personal experiences of Swift Boat Veterans.