- Category: Maritime
- Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 09:40
- Written by Joe Follansbee
- Hits: 315
The Maritime Museum of San Diego has acquired a former U.S. Navy "Swift Boat" that served during the Vietnam War. The small craft, designated "Patrol Craft Fast 24," was donated to the museum by the Republic of Malta, which has used the vessel for naval operations since receiving it from the Navy in 1971. The tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea offered the donation as a way of honoring Vietnam-era veterans who sailed in the boats.
PCFs were first put into service in 1965 when American sailors used them to patrol the coastline of South Vietnam to prevent sea infiltration of soldiers and munitions from North Vietnam. Such counterinsurgency missions had to be executed quickly, and the crafts were nicknamed “Swift Boats” for their speed and agility. PCF training exercises were conducted on San Diego Bay at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
“This acquisition is a special opportunity to educate museum visitors about the significant history of Swift Boats and the brave Vietnam veterans associated with them,” said Ray Ashley, CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Approximately 3,500 Swift Boat sailors served as crew or support personnel from 1965 to 1973. At the museum, the fully operational Swift Boat will be used to carry passengers on narrated tours of naval facilities. Former Swift Boat sailors with current U.S. Coast Guard licenses will be invited to command those tours, whenever possible.
The history of Swift Boats gained new prominence in 2004 when presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's command of one such vessel came under scutiny. As a result, a new verb entered the political lexicon: "swift-boating."
The initial $100,000 transportation and restoration cost of the museum's Swift Boat is funded by donations to the museum, which has created a maintenance fund to support ongoing restoration. Direct contributions can be made online at www.sdmaritime.org/swift-boat.
Source: Maritime Museum of San Diego / Business Wire